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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Fungus among us produces a distinctive dessert wine

By Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon

Three Colors Of Wine from Bigstock



JewishWorldReview.com | It has been said that the first person to eat a tomato was the bravest person in culinary history. We've heard similar comments about the first person to milk a cow and the first to consume raw fish.

While we will never know the veracity of such claims, in the world of wine there is a similar "first" hero myth: the first winemaker to use grapes infected by fungus to make wine. We don't really know when this started either, though the first clear mention of wine made from fungus infected grapes is from around 1576.

The fungus in question is Botrytis cinerea, a necrotrophic fungus that affects grapes (it affects other plant species too), and in the world of horticulture it is simply called gray mold.

In wine grapes, however, this fungus results typically in two types of infection — one malevolent, the other benevolent; gray rot from consistently-damp conditions, and noble rot, or pourriture noble in French, when damp conditions are followed by a dryness that partially dehydrates the grapes. The gray rot typically produces a loss of the grape bunches entirely, while the noble rot can result in some of the world's most exquisitely delicious and distinctive sweet dessert wines, such as French Sauternes or the Aszu of Tokaji. The name Botrytis cinerea comes from the Latin for "grapes like ashes" because of the grayish color of the fungal spores.

Noble rot partially dries the grapes, removing water from the flesh, leaving behind a higher percent of solids, such as sugars, minerals and fruit acids. This results in a more intense, concentrated grape. When turned into wine, the result can be a sweet, intensely flavored, complex, balanced and concentrated wine with the potential to develop in the bottle for decades.

Botrytized wines are made wherever the local conditions permit the fungus to develop beneficially. Harvest is usually done entirely by hand, sometimes berry by berry, with multiple passes through the vineyard. The fungus also complicates fermentation since it produces a compound that kills yeast. Also the overall yield at harvest per acre is much less than conventional wines because the grapes are partially dehydrated. All these factors contribute to the often high prices of botrytized wines, so it is very common to see them offered in relatively more affordable half bottles.

Occasionally a chateau in Sauternes, the appellation within Bordeaux where the most famous of these botrytized wines are produced, will be induced to create a kosher version. While not for every palate (nor wallet), the kosher Chateau Guiraud Sauternes 2001 ($150) is simply extraordinary. Creamy, honeyed and full-bodied, it expresses aromas of butterscotch, apples and vanilla that mingle within lush layers of apricots, peaches, baking spices and orange citrus. The intense sweetness, concentrated flavors and ideal balance last throughout the extended finish, easily making this one of the world's finest kosher dessert wines.



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MAKER'S MARK ON HIGH BEAM

Spirits-wise, with our sweet-tooth already engaged, we thought we'd revisit another American whiskey. A recent news item caught our eye: Beam Inc., the soon to be Suntory-owned drinks company, has announced plans for a $67 million distillery expansion for Maker's Mark, one of its many successful brands. The goal is to increase production by 50 percent. Over the next 18 months, a third still will be added to the current distillery along with additional fermenters, followed by new warehouses over the next seven years. This is all on top of the $50 million Beam has already poured into the Maker's Mark distillery over the last few years.

Readers may recall last year's stupidity in which Beam opted to increase the output of Maker's Mark to meet soaring demand by lowering the alcohol level from 45 percent abv (alcohol-by-volume) to 42 percent abv (or from 90 proof to 84 proof), effectively watering down each bottle without lowering the price. The consumer backlash was sharp and swift, and the company reversed itself lickety-split. Maker's Mark is matured, on average, between six and seven years before being bottled, so meeting current demand isn't as simple as it seems.

Within four months of the adding-water fiasco, Beam reportedly explored a "state of the art rinse process" designed to extract more gallons of bourbon from each barrel. The idea was to further develop the Beam technique used for its Devil's Cut bourbon of "sweating" freshly emptied bourbon barrels. This additional bourbon extract doesn't taste exactly the same as the bourbon that was more freely and traditionally emptied from the barrel, so was presumably abandoned in favor of good old-fashioned distillery expansion. In any event, Maker's Mark clearly remains one of the leading brands of the bourbon renaissance. Maker's sales increased 10.7 percent in 2013, shipping 1.4 million cases. It first surpassed 1 million cases in 2011 and already expects to ship 2 million cases later this decade.

The Beam expansion for Maker's Mark is par for the course of late. According to Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers' Association, Kentucky's bourbon makers, which produce about 95 percent of the world's bourbon, have invested more than $300 million in expansions in the last two years alone. According to the Distilled Spirits Council's figures, Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey revenues rose a projected 10.2 percent last year domestically, while exports surpassed $1 billion for the first time.

So why not join us in toasting American progress with some fine American whiskey:


Maker's Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky (45 percent abv; $26): This is a mild, sweet and very smooth bourbon with notes of vanilla, caramel, wheat grain, allspice, cedar wood and pipe tobacco followed by a nice, rounded, if slightly quick, clean and cool finish. It is incredibly drinkable, and remains our preferred bourbon for cocktails.

Maker's Mark #46 (47 percent abv; $37): This intriguing and enjoyable whisky is the regular Maker's Mark with a few additional months of maturation in barrels that contain heavily seared French oak staves, making for an inviting variation. This whisky is smoother and a little less sweet, offering a dollop more heat in the mouth with a little less vanilla and a bit more earthy allspice, caramel and a touch of something racy.

Both expressions of Maker's Mark are delicious, and dangerously easy to drink.

L'Chaim!

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Previously:

A classic curative cocktail --- Hot toddy: A remedy for a, or the, cold

The growing population -- and popularity -- of sweet reds + the World Whisky Of The Year

This year, give the gift of booze

What you should drink for Thanksgiving

Some atypical wine blends --- and a whisky-tourism trip

A wine bargain, and Johnnie Walker goes platinum!

And now they're kosher

To comment, please click here.

JWR contributor Joshua E. London is a wine and spirits columnist who regularly speaks and leads tutored tastings on kosher wines, whisk(e)y, tequila, and other unique spirits.

© 2013, Joshua E. London

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