I’m going to go out on a whim here and assume that if you consider yourself to be a wine lover, you’re likely a socialite, food enthusiast or connector too.  You understand how the right bottle or the right pairing, can make or break a night.

This is something that I have learned as I’ve journeyed around the world and been blessed to eat and drink with some of my favorite people.  And with each tasting, I’ve had the opportunity to refine my palate.  Just a little.

You say “Gato Negro Kosher” and I think of my first years in Israel. That black cat followed my friends and I as we transitioned from ulpan to our first apartments, and first jobs.  That black cat would snuggle up on the couch with us, follow us to a shabbat meal, and man, he never missed a party.

As the years passed and our wine budget increased our taste and for wine improved.  We started to leave the cat at the door as we found more refined (some may say more palatable) wines.  When my buddy got his first video editing gig, we celebrated with Ella Valley EverRed 2003 and to this this day, that is one of my top five wines.

It was over a bottle of Tepperberg Meritage that I first noticed noticed aromas, notes and finish and in 2006, at the Jerusalem Wine Festival, I learned how much I appreciate port style wines.

When my wife and I got engaged we opened a Castel Grand Vin 2004, and I think of the way we laughed, smiled and celebrated every time I see that label.

Each of these bottles is tied to a memory and my goal for 2015 is to keep discovering new wines and creating new memories. This is what I’ve learned so far.

kosher wine order

I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying the new to market Herzog Variations selection.  Each of Cabernet Sauvignon blends pay tribute to California wines, and what an excellent tribute it really is.  So far I’ve been impressed with the aroma, flavor and finish of the Variations Four and Variations Five.  I’ll be sure to share once I have tasted the Three but I know that it will delight!

Spanish wines have caught my attention too.  Two in particular that sit at a great price-point.  Until now, I leaned toward the familiarity of a Cab or Merlot, but my eyes and palate have been opened to Spanish wines.

Ramon Cardova Rioja may, in my humble opinion, be the best kept secret of the sub-$20 kosher wine scene. If, like me, you always buy that Cab or Merlot, I encourage you to taste this wine!  It’s opened my eyes to the world of Spanish wines.  Ramon Cardova Rioja has a bright ruby color and a wonderful aroma of berries with balsamic notes.  You’ll enjoy it if you pair it with boneless chicken thighs, and you’ll love it with perfectly grilled beef.

Having learned not to shy away from the Tempranillo grape, I took my friend’s advice and ordered four bottles of Capcanes Peraj Petita 2012 too.  It also has a deep ruby color and it’s subtle flavors of berries and vanilla linger on the tongue leaving a delightfully dry finish.  I love the dry finish on this wine and I can see this becoming my go-to bottle in 2015.

I’m going to keep exploring wine this year.  I’m tweeting while I’m drinking and I’d love it if you can share your favorite find with me too.  Tell me which wines have surprised you, which you lean toward, or which you want to learn more about, and I promise you, I’ll do the same too.