Gan Eden 1996 California Cuvee "Les Trois Canards" ($18.00)
Wine maker Craig Winchell dropped this one off for me to try while he was visiting family in Louisville last winter. Originally priced at $40, it's now offered for $18 on the winery Website (link below). Winchell's Sonoma-based winery, Gan Eden ("Garden of Eden" in Hebrew) produces only kosher wine; this unusual blend of Zinfandel (60%), Grenache (30%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) - "Les Trois Canards" (The Three Ducks) - is the winery's first mevushal wine, made by a required-by-ritual purification technique that involves flash pasteurizing it at 185F. Clear reddish-purple in color, it shows distinct cherry-berry and stewed plum aromas, so jammy that it almost smells sweet. The aromas carry over intact on the palate, ripe and full. Zippy acidity imparts a structure more firm and muscular than the nose suggests: An unusual but enjoyable wine. US Importer: (Apr 18, 2003)

FOOD MATCH: Probably best with red meat, although Winchell says it goes well with curry; I went off in a different direction, trying it with a light dinner of creamy scrambled eggs scented with white truffle oil and topped with a bite of alder-smoked salmon, with a fresh spring asparagus toasted-orzo pilaf alongside.

WEB LINK: http://www.ganeden.com

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: Wine-Searcher.com

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