In recent years, the word kosher has become synonymous with high quality products, rather than just relating to food and wine for the Jewish community. One of the best places to sample such amazing products is at the annual Kosher Food and Wine Experience event, which has been going on for a number of years now. The 2016 edition was held at the recently refurbished ballroom at the Sheraton Park Lane.
With over 200 wines on show from 30 top producers around the globe, it made for a truly educational yet entertaining experience. The exhibition doesn’t oversell tickets, so there is plenty of space to talk with to wine producers, sample their selections and even discuss issues like wine pairing with food, drinking and storage suggestions.
The highlights are almost too numerous to mention. Most will have heard of Château Lafite Rothschild wines, being one of the most renowned and prestigious wines in the Médoc region of Bordeaux; hence it was interesting to see the Rothschild family coming together to produce Rothschild Brut Champagne for the very first time. It has a beautifully balanced taste, which was assertive yet elegant, a clear sign of long ageing in traditional cellars.
We picked up with Phil Jones, the owner of Goose Bay wines in New Zealand, where we came to understand that there are other great wine regions apart from Marlborough, and heard his plans on making a wild yeast Pinot Noir in the not too distant future. In a similar vein, we chatted to wine makers from Domaine du Castel and discussed Israeli wines, coming to learn that not all the best wines come from the Golan Heights, but from other regions too, such as the Judean Hills.
There is also the juxtaposition of the old with the new. Whilst wine was produced in the Judean Hills during the biblical times, the modern-day Israeli wine industry is relatively new. Likewise, at Elvi wines in Spain, Professor Moises Cohen bought their land around 2003; but the site was a former winery in the 11th-12th century. They are also one of the first Jewish people to be allowed to own land in Spain.
Ultimately, this experience is about quality. We tasted beautiful wines like Russian River Chardonnay, which not too long ago was the choice of wine for first class passengers on planes. For those seeking rich intensity, look no further than Alexander the Great Amarolo; the winery uses an all natural process to extract the most flavours from their grapes.
On hand to try were also spirits and liqueurs including vodkas and fine Scotch whiskies, a free cocktail bar and the most incredible array of buffet food you can imagine catered by Arieh Wagner, making this exhibition a highlight of the 2016 social calendar so far – we strongly recommend keeping an eye out for the 2017 Kosher Food and Wine Experience next year.
Words by Baldwin Ho