Medium purple color; plum, blackberry, cigar box on the nose; plum, blackberry, black cherry, peppercorn, chocolate, tobacco, oak spice on the palate.
Dry; light tannins and acidity. Full body. Smooth, develops with exposure to air. Somewhat muted malbec flavors, but can be byproduct of its making—this is mevushal and kosher for Passover, which involves flash heating of the wine. Same time, this is pleasant drinker. Peppercorn and black cherry tang on finish keeps the sip interesting. 14% ABV
Herzog has a fascinating story. In the early 19th century, in the town of Vrbové in the Trnava Region of Slovakia, Rabbi Menachem Herzog created a distillery, winery, and brewery. Herzog winemakers in Austria-Hungary supplied wine to the court of Kaiser Franz Joseph, who gave son Phillip Herzog the title of baron.
Then came fascism. Phillip’s grandson, Eugene Herzog survived the Nazis, but his parents did not, murdered in Auschwitz. With the rise of Communism after World War II, Eugene and his family immigrated to New York City. In 1948, Eugene began working for a local winery, the Royal Wine Company, as a winemaker, sales manager, and truck driver. By 1958, he owned the company.
With the help of four sons, Eugene opened Kedem Winery and developed opulent wines under that label using Concord grapes. That engendered the American kosher wine industry. Kadem grape juice remains the top-selling kosher product in the United States.
As the family experienced success over the next quarter century, under the leadership of David Herzog, the family realized a dream of owning a California winery. They created the nation’s first premium kosher wine under the Baron Herzog label, a tribute to the family’s patriarch. After making wine at several places, the company built a state-of-the-art winery in Ventura, California. The company also began importing kosher wines and spirits from most major companies in the world—today, from more than 15 countries and five continents.
Joseph Herzog is an eighth-generation member of the family and is a partner and vice president. He is in charge of on-site operations in California. Herzog Wine Cellars winemaker emeritus Joe Hurliman played a central role in the company’s move to California and construction of the winery; he remains involved today. Herzog Wine Cellars director of winemaking and operation David Galzignato has worked in wineries around the world, the past 17 years at Herzog.
Herzog Wine Cellars Lineage Malbec, Clarksburg Vineyard 2020 is a mevushal and kosher for Passover California malbec effort. The mevushal process, which includes flash boiling of the wine, and the location of the vineyard means this does not present in a classic Mendoza malbec fashion, but it is smooth and easy drinker that evolves nicely in the glass. From a major maker of domestic kosher wines and a major importer of kosher products from around the world. Pair with beef; roast lamb; stuffed bell peppers; poultry. Cheese—asiago, muenster, gouda, brie, gorgonzola, camembert, cheddar. $18-22