Many of us see a French label and quietly put the bottle back on the store shelf, afraid to try what we don’t know.
Take risks! Try something new! Try a different varietal, wine from a new country, a compelling blend! Ask your friends what recent wine they’ve loved.
The world of wine, and of kosher wine, is rapidly expanding and becoming more interesting. Part of the growth of kosher wine has occurred via the ingenuity of entrepreneurs and wine aficionados who bring world-class wine to the discerning kosher palate. One such person is Andrew Breskin of Liquid Kosher.
Breskin and I had a recent chat about the new 2014 Marquisat de Binet Cuvée Abel ($39). We also discussed how he partners with winemakers to bring new kosher wine to the market.
“Bordeaux is a very special place to me,” said Breskin. “It’s the region that inspired my love of wine.”
Breskin founded Liquid Kosher Imports almost 10 years ago in southern California. Beginning by importing the previously unknown-to-the-kosher-world Domaine Roses Camille (a really exceptional, but pricey wine. Get your hands on some if you can, or — better yet — convince your friend to open one and share with you), Breskin sought to import a wine of superior quality at a more affordable price.
“After some searching, I set off to visit a lovely, family-owned estate, located on a hilltop in nearby Montagne Saint-Emilion. At a remarkably high elevation, the soil was swirled into a colorful montage of clay, earth and gravel, unlike anything I had seen before,” Breskin said. “With the understanding that unique earth creates fruit of distinction, the winery had opted to make their wine free of any oak influence.” The wine is aged in concrete tanks letting the earth upon which the grapes grow speak for itself.
Tasting Notes & Pairings
The 2014 Marquisat de Binet is 100% Merlot, which should come as no surprise, as Merlot is the most widely planted grape in Right Bank Bordeaux (with the Left Bank producing mostly Cabernet Sauvignon). Much Merlot is used for blending purposes to soften tannins while retaining lushness, but premium Merlot should take a backseat to no varietal, regardless of Miles Raymond’s outburst in “Sideways.”
I opened the Marquisat de Binet, gave it 30 minutes as instructed by Breskin (he is, in fact, a sommelier), and was summarily blown away by the nose on this glass. I don’t often find billowing floral aromas in red wines, but they were here in spades. Lilacs galore and red and blue fruits. (Is it possible to smell fruit tree pollen? Because that’s what I kept thinking.) The mouth displayed a medium body, medium tannins and very nice acid. Still, more lilac and some vanilla. A long pleasing finish.
I might pair the Cuvée Abel with poultry, particularly my favorite Hungarian roasted chicken leg quarters (substitute a little olive oil for the dairy butter), with enough savory fat to stand up to the Bordeaux without the heaviness of red meat.
I really enjoyed this wine, and I think you will, too.
Dr. Kenneth Friedman is a Baltimore-born kosher wine aficionado/connoisseur. He is known for his unsolicited wine advice and runs many local kosher wine tastings. You can follow him on Instagram @KennethFriedmanEvents.