Kosher Tipples For Your Turkey (and everything else on your table)

contributed by Zachary Sussman.

Michel Murciano, wine maker at Hevron Heights Winery. photo: Bertrand Celce

Chances are that this isn’t the only “Thanksgiving Wine” post you’ll read this year.  The yearly roundup of turkey-friendly tipples has become an inevitable fixture of the holiday season, perhaps even a bit of a cliché. And yet, with its nearly schizophrenic hodgepodge of textures and tastes— from sweet to salty and everything in between— the traditional Thanksgiving meal poses a notorious challenge for even the best-intentioned wine pairing efforts.

To wash down your kosher bird with an equally sanctified wine only increases the difficulty— particularly since the familiar regiment of big, tannic Cabs and buttery, oak-driven Chards will all but drown out the wide spectrum of flavors that miraculously cohere at the Thanksgiving table. Continue reading

Israeli Terroir Reflected in this Elegant Red

Contributed by wine writer and consultant, Zachary Sussman

You might say that the tradition of winemaking in Israel extends as far back as the Old Testament, ever since Noah famously “planted a vineyard” and “drank of the wine” in Genesis. Given such ancient origins, it’s ironic that the modern Israeli wine industry has hardly outgrown its adolescence, at least compared to the legendary vineyards of Italy or France.

Sure, by now Israel has proven its ability to make high-quality wine: the most critically-acclaimed and “serious” examples, of course, are the rich and powerful expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon that currently dominate the country’s high-end market. But as Israeli viticulture enters the next stage in its development, the question inevitably emerges: what distinguishes an Israeli Cabernet, for example, from any other expression of that grape hailing from anywhere else on the globe?

What, if anything, makes an Israeli wine Israeli? Continue reading