4 New Wines To Try This Fall
With the latest round of Jewish holidays behind us, we can go back to tasting our way through some of the newest wine releases. As I’ve noted before, this time of year is an important retail period for the kosher wine market—so there are lots of new wines to taste.
Before I jump right in with the reviews, however, my inner wine-geek is chomping at the bit to tell you about one of the newest releases: a fabulous dry Sauterne from Château Guiraud (pronounced Ghee-ro), one of Sauternes highly regarded Premier Grand Cru Classé, and neighbor to the illustrious Château d`Yquem.
First, this is a solid return to the U.S. kosher market for this estate (it produced fabulous kosher editions of its sweet Sauterne in 1999, 2000, and 2001); made for and imported by the Herzog’s Bayonne, NJ-based Royal Wine Corp., this is just the start. More kosher production from this estate is on the way. Second, this is the first kosher dry Sauternes to hit the US market, possibly even the first ever produced. While Sauternes is most famous for its lusciously sweet dessert wines, for many years now—and especially of late—some of the best estates have also been producing small quantities of dry white wines. The logic is clear: Sauternes has some of the best terroir in the world for growing Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes; sweet sauternes are expensive to produce—and also to purchase; and in clear commercial terms, expensive dry wines nearly always sell in better volume than expensive sweet wine; so making dry Sauternes is a worthy endeavor. It is often very successful too.
For evidence, look no further than the kosher edition (nearly identical to the non-kosher edition) Château Guiraud, Le G de Guiraud, Bordeaux Blanc Sec, 2017 ($37): a 50/50 blend of organic certified Sémillon & Sauvignon Blanc, this is a medium-bodied, intense, bone dry, fabulously balanced with terrific tension from the vibrant acidity; a delicious class-act from start to finish! The robust, complex nose is full of cedar, ripe passion fruit, wax, orange blossom, honeysuckle, grapefruit, eucalyptus, stone fruit, lime, and even gooseberry. The comparatively restrained (but no less delicious!) palate offers lime, pear, citrus zest, lychee, stone fruit, gooseberry, and in the backdrop a lovely if subtle and restrained slightly sweet-ish honeyed note from the Sémillon. Stunning!
Here are four more wines to seek out and find:
Baron Herzog, Chenin Blanc, California, 2017 ($10; mevushal): This is mild, light, ripe, fruity, slightly sweet, and makes for very easy drinking. Since not every wine need take a starring role…
Golan Heights Winery, Hermon White, Galilee, 2016 ($12.99): This breezy and enjoyable everyday white blend is dry, tasty, fresh and fruity, with just a hint of sweetness; with notes of orange blossom, stone fruit, and apple (like Golden Delicious, but drier and with a bit of tartness); nice hit of citrusy acidity throughout.
Dalton, Estate, Petite Sirah, Shimshon, Israel, 2016 ($18-$19.99): As with past vintages, this is an aromatic, rich, and velvety beauty with sweet, raspberry, dark berry fruit, orange zest, and spice notes, some earthiness, and a lovely finish with additional notes of black pepper, sage, lavender, perhaps a touch of menthol, and vanilla. With pleasant—though very present—tannins, and a nice, satisfying, long finish offering additional notes of espresso.
Château Clarke, Listrac-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2016 ($50): Though this estate has been producing kosher wines since 1986 under the “Barons Edmond & Benjamin de Rothschild Haut-Médoc” label for the Herzog’s Royal wine Corp., this is their first kosher effort under their own brand. It is fabulous, with an appealing red and dark berry fruit nose with a whisper of smoke just a hint of green tobacco; the palate has additional notes of plum, graphite, and dark chocolate. Medium bodied, with medium acidity, fine tannins, and exceptional balance. This is elegant and refined; a superb wine. It’ll reward real ageing, but can be properly enjoyed starting in 2022 or so. L’Chaim!