Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WBW #56 -- Fine Kosher Wine


Our host for Wineblogging Wednesday this month is CorkDork, who picked "fine kosher wines" as the theme.

Glad that I finally found a theme that fit the blog again, I decided to participate, and ordered the 2005 Carmel Winery Appellation Petite Sirah Judean Hills (previous vintage pictured at left). I bought it at kosherwine.com for about $22, but they've since sold out (unspecified vintage currently available at their competitor for $22.69).

The wine was 14.5% ABV, and breathed in-bottle for about 3 hours. I drank it with leftover (cold) prime rib (seasoned with salt & pepper only) and sauteed spinach with black pepper, balsamic vinegar, and shiitake mushrooms. I consumed the wine from Spigelau Syrah glasses from this year's Dark and Delicious event (thanks again, Jo!). My friend Dan drank along with me.

Two things were immediately noticeable about this wine. First, there was not even a hint of heat (to which Dan is very sensitive -- he dislikes many CaliCabs for that reason), and this was much closer to medium-bodied than full-bodied. In the glass it was a dark, impenetrable purple at the center, shading to a translucent red-purple at the edge. There was no noticeable bricking.

On the first glass, the nose was still somewhat tight (suggesting I should have given a full decant or let breathe longer), but revealed an exceedingly PleaSant dominant scent of tart blackberry reduction, along with leather, flowers, and hints of smoked meat. The palate confirmed the tightness, and surPriSed with abundant, though well-balanced, acidity. This is definitely a food PS. The flavor profile was slightly different, featuring black currant and blackberry as well, and no flower PetalS. The wine had the signature long, charmingly austere, finish that I've come to expect from Israeli PS.

The second glass was much more open, and the finish was even longer. Even as it opened, it did not become more full-bodied. The one negative on this wine was that it was not as tannic as I would like -- this is a PS that PairS with more delicate meats, and not the biggest, gamiest cuts you can find.

On the third glass, the nose was absolutely incredible, to the point that I wished I could bottle it as cologne (or perhaPS PerfumeS for the ladies), and the wine had oxygenated enough that it was quite pleasant, further revealing hints of black pepper and spice on both the nose and palate.

In sum, I'd give the wine a 90, and recommend trying it if you come across it. It is very enjoyable, true to character but for the relative (and I say "relative" just because I expect more from PS) lack of tannin, and shows the traits common with other Judean Hills PS (the long, austere finish, high acidity, dark berries) with that I've had. I plan on keeping a bottle or two around.

At under $25, this is a delightful kosher wine that will pair with a wide variety of dishes due to it's just-fuller-than-medium body, soft tannins, and vibrant acidity. I would recommend, in particular, duck breast, Jewish (i.e., brisket) pot roast, filet mignon, and beef roasts, and would go nicely with dark chocolate. At that price, it's a welcome addition to many holiday meals without breaking the bank, and has enough bang for the buck to hold its own at other times. This is something I plan on buying again.

(compare Rogov's review here).

1 comment:

Erika said...

It's funny how many people found kosher Petite Sirah! Who knew? I drink kosher wine all the time now and I've yet to have a Petite Sirah. I'll have to try this one.