15 April, 2009

Wine Blogging Wednesday #56 Kosher Wines - Review of 2007 Sion Creek White

When I was little, I quite enjoyed Manischewitz. My brother and I were bad, bad kids and when my Catholic godmother's Jewish husband brought delicious deli, tasty macaroons and of course Concord Grape, we stole it all. The grownups were swilling Bourbon and Tom Collins's anyway and it was not missed. So when people cap on the Concord grape, I think with some fondness of the Kool-Aid taste. But I also drank a lot of White Zin in the 80's, so am still making expiation to my palate. With this WBW, I again used my proven method and slunk into the Wine Mine to take advantage of David Sharp's very excellent palate for a solid recommendation. Dependable as always, his pick was great! This '07 Sion Creek White, Galilee is an intensely aromatic wine that release a puff of perfume at the first tug on the cork. A lovely pale yellow color, it was a mercurial wine, which changed in the glass substantially as the evening progressed. Right out of the bottle, I smelled flowers, peaches, apricots and honey. The flavors were smooth and the acid profile delightfully smooth. I had the worst pairing elements available and the wine stood up to my perverse combinations. A little cave aged gruyere? Okay. European artichoke with melted butter? Tasty. What I should have had was more of my mom's very excellent Matzoh Ball Soup. Yum!

The wine's medium mouthfeel surprised me. It looked like it would have a thinner texture in the mouth, but it was pleasantly substantial. An hour later the spices and sweetness in the aromas really came out. I smelled glazed donut, with a sweet, almost cinnamony scent and the same rolling mouth feel. More spice in the flavor as well. Even later, a flavor of dried pears and dried pineapple and slight sourness emerged Very interesting.

This wine was labelled "Kosher For Passover Lamehadrin" In the notes it said NOT Meshuval. Reading about the different levels of Kosher certification and the processes to make the wine acceptable to observant Jews in addition to the normal challenges of wine making was interesting. Mevushal wines have been heated to 87 degrees celcius for 22 seconds. The vineyards must maintain strict controls over who handles the vines, even including using GPS to manage the vineyards vine by vine. The growers must observe the "Shmita" or traditional laying fallow of the land every seven years and cancelling debts. All materials that touch the wine must be documented to follow regulations of kashrut. If all this is done, Mevushal wine is certified Kosher and can be touched, poured, handled by gentiles and still remain Kosher. Whew! Now I know all that it makes the Concord Grape seem more plausible. As difficult an art that winemaking is in the best climates, imagine all those restrictions and the political climate of the Golan Heights! Hats off to the plucky Kosher winemaker's who bring a great product to the market in compliance and respect to truly ancient ways.
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