Tag Archives: cabernet sauvignon

Psagot, a kosher cabernet

A noble grape is one capable of making high quality wine, is able to grow in a variety of climates outside its indigenous environment, ages well and shows a sense of place while retaining its unique characteristics. Recently, I tasted a perfect example of a successful noble grape: the M-series 2013 Psagot single vineyard cabernet sauvignon, with its grapes grown in the capital of Israel, in the Jerusalem Mountains, 900 meters above sea level.

A waxed coin was stuck on the bottle somewhere, but I couldn’t figure out where because during the bottle’s shipment it had fallen off. I wasn’t sure how this was related until I read the bottle.

“The coin depicted on the front comes from the period of the “Great Revolt” (66-73 CE). The coin was discovered while digging out a cave which would become the Winery’s barrel aging room.”

I quickly realized that I would be tasting tradition. And through the expression of tradition in the history, dusty and dry soil, and methods of viticulture to make this Psagot vineyard, I was ready to taste the kosher, single vineyard cabernet sauvignon aged for 13 months in French oak barrels.

Its dark claret offered an elegant nose of a wine steeped in culture. The deepest berries and a touch of green pepper led way to flavors of an assortment of local and global dark, blackberries. Elements of the French oak barrel were found in the butterscotch elements, and led to the smooth and subtly spicy tannins. According to the winemaker notes, there are flavors of orange peel and mint, with nice notes of citrus and branberry. Although my palate didn’t detect these – and I have never consumed a branberry – I will take his word for it.

To taste this Psagot cabernet sauvignon is about transporting your palate and imagining standing within the mountains of Jerusalem. Warning: You may be unable to resist booking a trip. But, if you’re planning to visit Jerusalem, you can head to the visitor center for a tour takes about an hour and includes wine tasting of Psagot Winery. Visit Psagotwines.com for more information.

A bottle sells for around $63, depending on where you look online.

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Channel your inner queen at The Palace

Life in Northern California offers endless opportunities for day trips and weekend visits to explore small coastal towns or big cities like San Francisco.

So, I spent a night in San Francisco following a short visit to a friend’s house in Sacramento. The first thing I did was relax with a glass of Magnolia Grove 2013 California Cabernet Sauvignon.

magnolia
Magnolia Grove 2013 California Sauvignon, priced at just under $10 a bottle.

This wine is an average, well-priced garnet-toned Cabernet made from grapes of Sonoma County. I wouldn’t complain about it – it was tasty! — but there really wasn’t anything complex about it.

For my palate, this is a drink-alone, medium bodied, great all-around table wine.  The Magnolia Grove of Chateau St. Jean would be the perfect spot to sip this berry and cherry-flavored wine.

Although I was not in Sonoma when I drank it, I was enjoying my first experience exploring San Francisco. This bottle of Magnolia Grove was left as a gift during my stay at the Palace Hotel, A Luxury Collection Hotel. This was the start of channeling my inner queen.

Cowgirl CreameryA round of Cowgirl Creamery cheese was left with an assortment of crackers. Yes…

My room at the Palace Hotel, which, by the way, was originally built in 1875, was so inviting, especially after a long evening enjoying the company of good friends and perhaps too much wine the previous night. I would have been perfectly happy to crawl under the crisp, clean sheets and watch the big screen TV and sip wine paired with Cowgirl cheese and crackers. But…I was in San Francisco for only one evening, so the plan was to explore the dining scene. I had already spent the afternoon in Fisherman’s Wharf, which was amazing if only to watch the seals compete for space to sun on the dock. I wasn’t hungry, but if I were, it would have been a great place to select any number of culinary delights — from seafood to burgers and chowder, and lest not forget See’s Candies or Ghirardelli Square, the latter a stone’s throw from the area.

I can now say that I rode the cable car in San Francisco, and I live to tell the tale. I had no idea it would be so thrilling, and quite similar to a roller coaster in that you creep uphill in a struggle; fortunately you do not coast downhill, but it is a steep slope and the struggle of the car to keep a slow speed conjured up thoughts of broken cables and a runaway car from movies and televisions shows I’ve seen. Now that I’ve done it, I don’t need to do it again.

My day was full, I was tired, and when I stepped into the Palace Hotel, I wanted to remain there for a few days…at least. Why wouldn’t I? The lobby entrance was palatial, keeping in line with the theme of ornate interior design. Inside my modest, but very comfortable room, a toilet with options! A warm spritz later, I was out on the town — to Telegraph Hill to enjoy an Italian dinner at Original Joe’s in North Beach, with the Rat Pack overhead. Before I knew it, my virtual crown was left behind and I was on the rode again. San Francisco, I’ll be back soon!

RatPack
At Original Joe’s.

 

 

Presenting The Countess of Grantham Collection

These New World bottlings take inspiration from Lady Cora Crawley, the thoroughly modern, American-born wife of British aristocrat Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham. The collection’s red wine is a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with scents of ripe red cherries that blend with spicy notes and soft vanilla on the palate. The white wine is a Chardonnay that offers the lovely aromas of tropical fruits and delicate oak giving way to citrus flavors on a soft, silky palate.

Combining the best old world winemaking practices with the newest winemaking techniques, the finished wines offer a distinct new taste option for Downton Abbey Wine fans seeking a uniquely modern twist.

Ask your local wine retailer for more information.

In the company of good friends on a chilly Sunday afternoon, the tables on my deck were filled with plates of cheeses, tomato drizzled with olive oil, mozzarella and basil leaves, and dip and chips to munch on, as well as three wine glasses filled with Mirassou 2011 California Merlot. The oaky flavors and smoky aroma felt right in keeping with the cool weather. One guest went so far as to rate it “85” points, which I can only assume referred to Parker points. Flavors from this merlot are red cherry, raspberry and vanilla.

Made with grapes from the Central and North Coast of California, it’s no surprise this young wine offered such deep, wonderful concentrated flavors. Two glasses were saved for dinner of charcuterie and red sauce over pappardelle pasta — it worked.

Next, I opened a bottle of Mirassou 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine, my deck friends stated, had “impressive legs” and a fruity, hearty bouquet. It was a smooth wine with a full-body and perfect finish. The grapes of this wine hail from California’s Central Coast, Lodi and several North Coast regions. The longer growing season results in the more expressive flavors.

Now for the Mirassou California 2011 Pinot Noir, made by David Mirassou, sixth-generation winemaker whose great-great-great grandparents, Pierre and Henrietta Pellier traveled from France to California to find gold — and in a way they did — but in the form of vineyard potential. From France, they preserved their pinot noir cuttings in potatoes they purchased on-board the ship, and due to this creative thinking, the first pinot noir grapes entered California. The process in growing and harvesting pinot noir grapes is delicate and intricate, so this is a wine to be appreciated if not for its fruit-driven flavor profile of cherries, strawberries and red currant, but by the process to create such a wonderful wine.

Follow Mirassou on Facebook: www.facebook.com/mirassouwinery or visit www.mirassou.com for more information.

Each of these three wines retails for approximately $12 a bottle.Image