Monthly Archives: September 2010

Only 1750btls & 66 Magnums Arnaud Ente’s Volnay Les Santenots 2006

I have had a personal connection with this grower since I fell in love with wine.  It was 1997 and I was on my first “kiss the dirt” & “schmooze with the farmers” tour with Kermit Lynch Imports, more specifically w/ Bruce Neyers.  We were in Beaune and had the most amazing dinner at Ma Cuisine (the place to eat and drink and rub elbows with the famous in Burgundy), Bruce and the elders retired to their hotel room and left (at that time) the young guns behind with Arnaud and his wife.  Arnaud invited us back to his house for a tasting in the cellar, which was at the time no bigger than my single car garage. The 4 of us along with Arnaud and his wife all picked a barrel to straddle and sit atop, funny thing that I still remember was the TINY amount of wine…we were “Riding” 6 barrels and there may have been maybe another 10 in the tiny cellar.  That night we passed the wine thief around and Drank 4 whites and 2 reds out of the barrel till the sun came up.  When the rooster sounded, myself and one other who could get to his feet left with Arnaud and went to La Goutte d’Or his most prized Premier Cru vineyard to this day.  He has two rows which drunkenly we help him with “Ecolage”(yes its French but the only word I know) the training of the shoot of the vines through the wires and breaking the cane at a point so the canopy fills in around the fruit zone. Yes, I think I was 29 and I was having the best time ever and have never forgotten my time in Beaune or his wines.

Arnaud Ente is a perfectionist. He works his vineyards meticulously (en bio, but not officially certified), yields are low. His aim is to make pure, mineral wines. He gained experience working with no other than Coche-Dury. In 1992 he began his own Domaine, renting vineyards from his father-in-law. Today he belongs, as far as I’m concerned, to the Big Four of Meursault (the others being the usual suspects Comtes Lafon, Coche-Dury and Roulot), even though the domaine is quite small (a little over 4 hectares) and Ente doesn’t have a lot of premier cru’s in his line-up.

Ente is better known for his Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts and his various Meursault bottlings, but this is flat-out gorgeous red Burgundy. Light to medium garnet color (always a good sign for me, suggesting no heavy extraction); the bouquet is just so lovely – ripe cherries, inflected with subtle notes of pine and sea salt; the palate is one of fleshy red cherry fruit, underpinned by a solid mineral core and kept fresh by bright acids; the lovely inner-mouth perfume is the clincher. This is Volnay!

Arnaud Ente describes 2006 as “one of those vintages where the maturities arrived late but very fast. Sugars were high, in fact, we had the best sugars since 1999. I started picking very early by the standard of the ban de vendange [officially mandated harvest date, which was declared on the 18th], which is to say on the 13th of September as I asked for, and received, a permit to begin early. I have relatively precocious terroirs and I didn’t want too much alcohol for no good reason. I did a rather soft vinification for the reds, which in this case meant that I did a relatively long cuvaison but with no punching down at all. There was also no chaptalization, which is the first time that this has ever happened to me.” A gentle touch of wood frames much more elegant red berry fruit aromas that are cool, pure and detailed and this sense of reserve continues onto the mineral-infused and serious flavors that possess integrated tannins.

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Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe Homage to International Grenache Day Friday Sept. 24th

grenache 
ALL HAIL GRENACHE
AT WOLFE’S WINE SHOPPE 
 Friday, September 24th  7-9pm
 

At a recent international symposium held in the south of France, the participants decided to designate one day to promote the greatness of Grenache — “G Day”– to occur around the world. Grenache is a red grape used widely in producing red wine throughout Spain and France, as well as in other parts of the world. It is somewhat sweet, and its primary use in wine is as a blending grape, rather than being used on its own. In Spain, Grenache is known as Garnacha, where it is the single-most planted grape in the country. There are two varieties, known as Garnacha Tinta and Garnacha Blanca, with the red variety Tinta being by far the more popular. We are doing our part in this global movement to put Grenache in its rightful place on the wine map and hope you will join us.

  $10 to all Wolfe Pack who go old school and call (305) 445-4567 or E-mail with an RSVP to jeffrey@wolfeswines.com or send us a tweet @wolfeswines, otherwise it’s $20 at the door.

 
Wines to be tasted:  
Les Brugueres, Scala Dei, Priorat 2008
Altovinum “Evodia” Old Vines Garnacha, Calatayud 2008
Artazuri Garnacha, Navara 2009
Le Pigeoulet en Provence, 2008
Maxime Francois Laurent “Pourpre” Cotes du Rhone 2008
Domaine Pallieres Gigondas 2006
Domaine le Sang de Cailloux Vacqueyras Cuvee Floureto 2007
Paisajes VII Rioja 2006
Capcanes Cabrida, Montsant 2008

 

 
 
 
     
 

Happy 5771 L’Shana Tova

The Kosher Wine Rub from Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe just in time for and for Rosh Hashana & Yom Kipper   

What is it exactly that makes a wine kosher? A kosher wine is one handled only by Sabbath-observant Jews-those individuals who observe kosher dietary laws. In addition, kosher winemakers are forbidden to use any products, such as unauthorized yeasts or animal-based fining agents, that might fall outside the parameters of kosher convention and thus compromise the ritual essence of the wine.

Yet aside from the individuals who are permitted to come in contact with the wine or grape juice, there is no difference between the techniques used to make a kosher wine and a non-kosher wine. That is unless the kosher wine is designated mevushal, perhaps the most misunderstood term in the kosher wine tradition.

Literally speaking, “mevushal” means “boiled.” However, mevushal wines are not boiled in the literal sense of the word. They are heated to a temperature that meets the requirements of an overseeing rabbi, which admittedly is pretty high. The modern technique of making wine Mevushal is to run the “must” quickly through a heat flash pasteurizing unit where the wine is quickly heated to at least 185 degrees Fahrenheit.                                              

For Sabbath-observant Jews, kosher wine is holy in nature. But after a kosher wine has been ritually heated to become mevushal, it is less sensitive to ritual exclusions. A mevushal wine can be handled (or poured) by a non-kosher Jew or even a non-Jew and still retain its kosher integrity. As a result, mevushal wines are far more practical to serve in kosher dining establishments where non-kosher staff may attend to kosher dinner guests.

By contrast, a non-mevushal-or non-heated-kosher wine remains highly sensitive to religious custom in both the production stage and after bottling. A bottle of non-mevushal wine may not be opened or served to Sabbath-observant Jews by anyone other than equally observant Jewish individuals.

The rub for me with mevushal wines, it’s that heating a wine to a high temperature does not usually improve its sensory qualities. Under such conditions, heated wines can take on a sweet, maderized taste or even a burned, rubbery edge.

So here are our selectionso of un-heated non mevushal wines for the holiday’s

Teperberg Family Estate Meritage, Judean Hills, 2007                                                                                                                                                      The Meritage from the Teperberg Reserve series is an exceptional wine, blended in the “noble” Bordeaux traditional style, using the Ella Valley grapes. This Meritage is a blend of the classic Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France and Petit Verdot. While most wines are named after a single varietal, Meritage wines represent the highest form of the winemaker’s art of blending. This Meritage has a rich fruity character of cherry and blackberry with overtones of oak and is full bodied with a well balanced structure.

Teperberg Family Estate Reserve Cabernet, Judean Hills 2006                                                                                                        Dark toward inky-garnet, full-bodied, reflecting its 15 months in oak with gentle spices and a hint of smoke, with once firm tannins now settling in and fine balance with wood and fruits. On the nose and palate an appealing array of spicy currant, blackberry, cedar and mineral notes, those light hints of anise and cigar tobacco on the long and generous finish.

Binyanina Yogev Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2007        The Yogev label (Yogev means “worker of the land”, farmer), which reflects the contribution of dedicated winegrowers, toilers of the soil, to the quality wine that is the outcome of a process that begins in the vineyards.  Cabernet Sauvignon (50%) from the vineyard of Eli Heyman in Karmei Yosef.   Merlot (50%) from the vineyard of Dror Eliraz in Moshav Lachish (both Samson Area). The wine reveals typical fruit aromas with hints of red fruit scents, is slightly jammy and seasoned with a pinch evergreen. A medium bodied, complex and richly flavored wine that is ready to drink now.

 

Barkan Altitude Series Cabernet Sauvignon 720 2007                                                                                                                                                      This regal purple and black Cabernet Sauvignon from the Altitude series is derived from the vineyard on Mt. Godrim on the Lebanese border (720 meters above sea level) to achieve its cool climate aroma of eucalyptus, mint, and coffee, with tastes of cherries, cassis, herbs, and a hint of tobacco. Aged for twelve months in French oak casks. Cabernet Sauvignon 720 displays a powerful and elegant finish.

YatirCabernet/Shiraz/Merlot 2006                                                                                                                                                                                                  A blend of 35% Merlot, 24% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 8% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Typically, this wine has three principal grapes, listed in order, and some supporting characters. The order tends to change from year to year. This year’s version is rather light in the mid-palate, but well focused and rather suave with ripe tannins providing some grip on the finish. It has a sunny demeanor and a sort of sweet ‘n’ herbal medley of flavors.

 

 

Capcanes Peraj Haabib Petita, Montsant 2007–                                                                                                                                                                    Medium ruby with flucks of violet; fresh, seductive aromas of red berries and cherry; loads of red fruits in taste; crispy and ripe, concentrated and well balanced but not over-powered; very Garnacha in character and mineral in taste. Medium finish with crispy but soft tannins Rich and powerful fruit of very old indigenous Garnacha bush vines coupled with the structure of black, muscular Carinena and deeply concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon makes this an amazingly full bodied and unique wine.

Capanes Peraj Haabib, Montsant 2008                                                                                                                                                                                          Our most amazing kosher wine, at least that’s what the Wolfepack feels.  The wine is incredibly dark in color with a fabulous black cherry, chocolate and floral nose. In the mouth, the Peraj Ha’abib showed medium fine tannins, fresh acidity and a round mouthfeel, ebbing to a long, lush dark spice and red fruit finish. Definitely a fun wine, and worthy of all the accolades.

7 requirements that must be followed in order to produce a Kosher wine.

  1. According to the practice known as orla, the grapes of new vines cannot be used for winemaking until the fourth year of planting.
  2. No other fruits or vegetables may be grown in between the rows of the vines (kalai hakerem)
  3. After the first harvest, the field must lie fallow every seventh year. Each of these sabbatical years is known as shnat shmita.
  4. From the onset of the harvest, only kosher tools and storage facilities may be used in the winemaking process, and all of the winemaking equipment must be cleaned [sometimes up to 7 times with hot water] to be certain that no foreign objects remain in the equipment or vats.
  5. From the moment the grapes reach the winery, only Sabbath observant [male] Jews are allowed to come in contact with the wine.
  6. All of the materials (e.g. yeasts) used in the production and clarification of the wines must be certified as kosher.
  7. A symbolic amount of wine, representing the tithe (truma vama’aser) once paid to the Temple in Jerusalem must be poured away from the tanks or barrels in which the wine is being made.