Swirl. Sniff. Swish. Spit. – Repeat 242 times over three days, at about four hours an afternoon.
Welcome to the life of kosher wine taster.
In the offices of The Jewish Week, in late January and early February, eight wine connoisseurs made their way through 242 bottles of kosher wine. First aerating the wine with a gentle swirl, then swishing it around the palate, and ultimately spitting the liquid into buckets scattered across a table where they were gathered.
The eight men and women who gathered gave each a ranking between 1 and 100. All wines tasted were part of a blind tasting, meaning the bottles were wrapped to conceal the wine's identity from the panels of judges.
Wineries from around the world sent complimentary bottles to The Jewish Week to ultimately be tasted by this panel of judges.
Their results of the Top Israeli Wines is below.
TOP Israeli Wines
1 (tie) Alexander, Reserve, Syrah, 2009
1 (tie) Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Pinot Noir, 2007
2 Dalton, Shiraz, 2009
3 (tie) Carmel, Single Vineyard Sha'al, Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, 2007
3 (tie) Bazelet HaGolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009
4 Domaine du Castel, Blanc du Castel, Chardonnay, 2009
5 (tie) Shiloh, Secret Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009
5 (tie) Tura, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, 2009
6 Dalton, Reserve, Wild Yeast Viognier, 2009
7 (tie) Alexander, Sandro, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, 2007
7 (tie) Domaine Netofa, Red, 2010
7 (tie) Tishbi, Estate, Shiraz, 2007
7 (tie) Golan Heights Winery, Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009
8 Livni, Sdeh Kalev, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009
9 (tie) Barkan, Classic, Pinot Noir, 2010
9 (tie) Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008
9 (tie) Gush Etzion, Lone Oak, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009
10 (tie) Binyamina, Reserve, Shiraz, 2009
10 (tie) Dalton, Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009
Taste many great kosher wines, March 11, at The Jewish Week's Grand Wine Tasting at the City Winery,
155 Varick St. (at Vandam), New York, NY 10013. Tickets available here at $35
JEWISH WEEK'S TOP 18 KOSHER WINES COMPETITION
The judges used a 100-point scoring system; tallies were made after each of three rounds of tastings.
Michael Dorf, Chair, City Winery * Orr Reches, Sommelier, Veritas * Aron Ritter, Kosher Wine Society * Miriam Morgenstern, Wine Spectator
Yankie Drew, Kosher Wine Maker, City Winery * Alison Nathan, Abigael's * Yossie Horwitz, Kosher Wine List * Jacques Capsouto, Capsouto Freres
To see additional Top Kosher wine lists and great wine articles, just click here