July 4, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Pinot Noir: A Fabulous Red for the Fall Festivities

In the next three weeks we will have 10 days of Yom Tov and Shabbos, including 18 meals with a Kiddush, and that means a lot of wine. It can be difficult to select just the right wine to go with all of these meals. A heavy Cabernet can be a bit much should the weather turn warm again, while a light white or rosé may feel a bit out of place with a heavy meal on a cool autumn day. A safe bet, and versatile choice, at this time of year is that great red grape of Burgundy, Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir can be a tricky grape to grow and vinify. However, when well-made Pinot Noir can produce elegant, medium- to full-bodied wines with flavors and aromas of berries, plums, flowers and spices. In preparation for the fall chagim, we’ve selected four Pinot Noir wines that should make a lovely addition to your Yom Tov and Shabbos meals.

Prix Vineyards, Reserve, Pinot Noir, Napa Valley (Coombsville), Montington Vineyard, 2014: Made by Ernie Weir of Hagafen Cellars, this blockbuster of a wine has a bright ruby color, and an almost full body. The bouquet is dense and herbaceous, with elements of violets, lavender, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, mocha and smoky oak. Look for flavors of cherries, cranberries, currants, raspberries and cocoa at the front of the palate. Blueberries dominate the mid-palate, with a notes of plums, and just a jammy hint of blackberry liqueur. Imbued with a long, oaky finish, and nice amounts of both tannins and mineral extraction, this wine is ready to drink now, but should be able to age at least another six years. Score: A ($60.00. Available directly from the winery: www.hagafen.com, or 888-424-2336)

Covenant, Landsman, Pinot Noir, Napa valley, 2015: Made exclusively for Covenant Wines’ Landsman Wine Club, this ruby- to garnet-colored, medium- to full-bodied Pinot Noir has a lot to offer. The woodsy nose is redolent of cedar, smoky oak, pencil shavings, cassis, cranberries, cherries and fennel. Look for a complex and layered flavor, with elements of cherries, raspberries, endives, pipe tobacco, chocolate and cherry brandy. With a nice mineral content, satiny tannins and a supple mouthfeel, this luxurious wine is ready to drink now and for the next five years. Score: A ($40. Available through the Landsman Wine Club, https://covenantwines.com/wine-clubs/landsman)

Hagafen Napa Valley (Coombsville), Pinot Noir, 2016: Hagafen’s Proprietor/Winemaker, Ernie Weir, has been making consistently good Pinot Noirs for more than three decades. His 2016 Pinot is a dark ruby-colored, medium-bodied wine. The still-tight nose has elements of red currants, raspberry, fennel, lavender and wild flowers, with a green tinge. Look for flavors of cherries, boysenberries, field greens, cedar, oak and a hint of nutmeg. While enjoyable now, this wine will only start to show its best sometime next year, and should then cellar well until at least 2021. Score: A- ($27. Available at FillerUp Kosher Wines, 174 West Englewood Ave., Teaneck, 201-862-1700)

Goose Bay, Small Batch, Pinot Noir, South Island, New Zealand, 2014: Medium bodied and ruby colored, this very enjoyable example of New Zealand Pinot Noir has flavors and aromas of tart cherries, currants and raspberries, with whiffs of earth and cedar, a touch of pepper and hints of violets and tropical fruits. This food-friendly wine can be enjoyed either at room temperature or slightly chilled. Drink within the next year. Score: B+ ($21. Available at FillerUp Kosher Wines, 174 West Englewood Ave., Teaneck, 201-862-1700)

Please Note: Wines are scored on an “A-F” scale where “A” is excellent, “B” is good, “C” is flawed, “D” is very flawed and “F” is undrinkable. Prices listed reflect the price at the retailer mentioned.

By Gamliel Kronemer

 Gamliel Kronemer has written about wine, spirits and cocktails for numerous publications, including the LA Jewish Journal, the B’nai Brith Magazine and the World Jewish News. He is a regular contributor to the New York Jewish Week, where his “Fruit of the Vine” has appeared for more than a dozen years, and to The Jewish Link of New Jersey. Gamliel and his wife, Jessica, live in Silver Spring, Maryland.

 

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