Wine Time

December 1, 2017

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2012 Karmei Yosef Winery Bravdo Shiraz
Judean Hills, Israel

Dark chocolate has radicalized me. But, this is not about chocolate. As a highly untrained wine wonk, I am going to tell you about an Israeli wine I have been blessed with tasting.

Bravdo Shiraz 2012

This is a delicious, big, bold red, pretty dry wine. It reminds me of 85% chocolate, but it does not taste like chocolate. A fine chocolate needs to be savored in steps. You take a small nibble. You let it coat your tongue. Then you go for the big bite. Same with Bravdo Shiraz. While I do not believe in letting a wine breathe (wine doesn’t breathe, it oxidizes!), I do believe in the small slow first sip…and then the mouthful, just like eating serious chocolate.

This is a wine that gets better with each sip. Deep, full-bodied, complex, savory, and sophisticated, it can stand up to beef short ribs or brisket, and even pairs well with an earthy bowl of chili.

While I don’t have the lexicon of a trained sommelier, I can tell you that it is darkly fruity. Think plums, dates, and figs, but not the berries you might associate with a pinot noir or merlot. Nor is it syrupy. It is spicy and dry, but it’s not a bully about it like a zinfandel might be. The wine is aged 12 months in oak barrels, but the oak is subtle, earthy, neither buttery nor woody.

Bravdo Shiraz might be the perfect Hanukkah wine, engaging the richness of latkes with sides of brisket and tsimmes. And it’s Kosher for Passover! Who knew? While it is a little too dear to pour into your charoset, I look forward to the requisite four cups with my maror, Moroccan chicken and matzoh.

Back to Hanukkah—the holiday of cooking with the miraculous oil. Bravdo Shiraz can cut the fried doughnuts, the meats, the chopped liver, and the kasha varnishkes—and the latkes, with or without sour cream or apple sauce.

And then, just maybe, you’ll save some for washing down your chocolate gelt.

The wine is available online (www.jwines.com/bravdo-shiraz.htm) for about $27, plus shipping, or if you need another excuse to go to Israel, it is widely available.

—Steve Budman is a local commercial photographer.

- Steve Budman

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