By David Kerem
In what has become an annual pilgrimage for foodies and wine connoisseurs, Royal Wine Corporation presented its 7th Kosher Food and Wine Experience at Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers this past Monday night. Each year, event organizers manage to outdo the previous year in wine, food selection, and presentation.
Let me begin with the food. KFWE kicked it up a notch this year with the finest restaurants, caterers, and food markets in the New York Metro area, providing samplings of their most creative and tasty dishes. Crowd favorites included Abigael’s award-winning chili, Gemstone Catering’s Herzog Oak barrel smoked veal belly, Le Marais grilled hangar steak, Wolf & Lamb’s slow braised veal, The Prime Grill’s porcini kobe sliders, and Hakadosh BBQ’s 15-hour apple and hickory wood smoked beef brisket. Honorable mention included offerings from Carlos and Gabby’s, Basil, Seasons, and Pomegranate. Without a doubt, this was the greatest gathering of kosher high-end gourmet food ever. Chefs were proudly on hand to discuss their creations and gauge reaction to their gastronomic masterpieces.
The food, however, served merely as an entrée to the true stars of the evening, which were the vast selections of kosher wines from around the world. The more than 1,100 attendees served as evidence of the growing popularity and quality of kosher wine. Winery representatives and winemakers from around the world gathered to share their wines and enthusiasm about their products. This year’s experience boasted over 200 wines from regions around the world including dozens from Israel. While France, Spain, and California are staple wine regions, with a long history of producing excellent wines, Israel continues to emerge as one of the leading contenders in the fine wine industry.
One of the great things about a wine tasting is that it gives an individual the opportunity to try a dozen different wines that they would normally not buy off the shelf to try. It was with this in mind that I was determined to try different wines that I would generally not buy. There are wine snobs who often say ABC (anything but chardonnay), but for this event I was ABC (anything but cabernet). I decided to dispose of the typical focus on cabernets and merlots and look for the different and unique. Perhaps the breakout winery that personifies this is Domaine Netofa, whose Domaine Netofa Rose is one of the most approachable wines I have ever had. Covenant of California and Domaine du Castel from Israel both presented uniquely full-bodied chardonnays that will appeal to nearly every palate and Herzog’s late harvest Chenin Blanc and Shaal vineyards late harvest Gewürztraminer will round out any meal nicely. In the red-wine department, two standouts were Psagot Shiraz and Shiloh secret reserve Shiraz, both bursting with fruit and oak and providing a velvety smooth finish. Finally, Domaine Netofa’s Latour Netofa, a perfect blend of Syrah and Mouvedre grapes, and the unpublicized Carignan from Capcanes rounded out the atypical stars of KFWE VII.
My advice is not to miss out on next year’s KFWE and in the meantime, find the wines that speak to you. L’chayim. v