Tasting Alavida Malbec, a USDA-Certified Organic + Kosher Wine

Have you ever had a Kosher wine? That’s also orga­nic? And a Mal­bec from Argen­ti­na? I’ve had all of the­se – but not all in the same wine. So when I was offe­red this uni­que wine to try I jum­ped on it! I will sha­re my tas­ting notes at the end of this arti­cle, but first let me sha­re some of the details on this “dual sta­tus” wine with some sec­tions I’ve put in bold I found inter­es­ting and want you to take noti­ce of:

The debut 2021 vin­ta­ge of Ala­vi­da Mal­bec (SRP $19), new from Ori­gins Orga­nic Import, is Argentina’s first USDA-cer­ti­fied orga­nic and kosher wine. Ala­vi­da is one of few wines world­wi­de to achie­ve this unu­sual dual sta­tus. Ala­vi­da is also vegan, glu­ten-fee, and Ecocert-approved…

 The Ala­vi­da name is a riff on “A la vida!” Spa­nish for “To life!” itself a riff on the tra­di­tio­nal Hebrew toast “L’chaim!” Ori­gins Orga­nic is owned by hus­band-and-wife team Labid al Ame­ri and Anne Bous­quet. “Argen­ti­na is a nation rich in diver­sity, and our own mul­ti-cul­tu­ral family has been making cer­ti­fied orga­nic wines in Argen­ti­na sin­ce 1997,” al Ame­ri observes.

 Of neces­sity, fruit for Ala­vi­da must be of excep­tio­nal qua­lity, with good con­cen­tra­tion, and balan­ce of aci­dity (a natu­ral pre­ser­va­ti­ve). Why? Becau­se USDA regu­la­tions prohi­bit the addi­tion of sul­fi­tes (SO2) in wine­ma­king. Sul­fi­tes are com­monly used as a form of pre­ser­va­ti­ve or to help con­ceal natu­ral flaws. 

 The new wine hails from high-alti­tu­de vine­yards in the Uco Valley, an area iden­ti­fied with a gro­wing num­ber of the Men­do­za region’s finest qua­lity wines. Gra­pes grow at 4,000+ feet in the Andes foothills, whe­re daily tem­pe­ra­tu­re swings of up to 60° F deli­ver more sugar (hot days) and more acid (cold nights). By omit­ting SO2, cha­rac­te­ris­tics asso­cia­ted with the Uco Valley’s high-alti­tu­de, cool-cli­ma­te terroir are heigh­te­ned and enhan­ced. Purity of fruit, aro­ma, fla­vors, and fresh­ness beco­me even more apparent.

 The wine­ma­king pro­cess for Ala­vi­da is almost iden­ti­cal to that used in making a non-kosher wine, with two excep­tions. Ingre­dients such as yeast must be kosher, and the wine phy­si­cally made by a Sab­bath-obser­vant Jewish team under the super­vi­sion of a rab­bi. For Ala­vi­da that means dou­ble the num­ber of peo­ple invol­ved: a Jewish team mem­ber to hand­le gra­pes and wine, pai­red with a home team mem­ber stan­ding along­si­de and direc­ting. For Ala­vi­da, that entai­led five duos! Wine­ma­ker Rodri­go Serrano gave the work orders; his Jewish coun­ter­parts execu­ted them.

 Once the truck filled with gra­pes arri­ved at the winery, the Jewish team took the gra­pes from the truck, used the for­klift, pres­sed the on/off but­ton at the sor­ting table, and so on. Though the visi­ting team mem­bers were expe­rien­ced wine­ma­kers, they had never wor­ked at this qua­lity level. At the end of each day, everything was loc­ked by the rab­bi. If wine­ma­ker Serrano wan­ted to take a sam­ple, he could not do so. Indeed, if a non-Jewish per­son were to stum­ble and acci­den­tally touch a tank, the wine is no lon­ger kosher – repre­sen­ting a poten­tial loss of 4,700 liters of wine! At the end of the pro­cess, the rab­bi pro­noun­ced Ala­vi­da the best kosher wine he had ever tasted!

Ala­vi­da Kosher Mal­bec 2021 — Tech­ni­cal Data

100% Mal­bec

Alcohol: 14.5%

Acidity/pH: 5.77/3.68

Resi­dual Sugar: 1.52

Ala­vi­da Kosher Mal­bec from Ori­gins Orga­nic Imports / SRP $19

Now avai­la­ble DC, DE, CA, CT, FL, IL, MD, ME, NJ, VT, and WA

Plus NY and OR, effec­ti­ve April 1.

Eve’s Tas­ting Notes

Star­ting off with a deep bur­gundy to pur­ple in color, com­ple­tely opa­que, with just a slightly ligh­ter edge that spar­kles, invi­ting. On the nose I expe­rien­ced aro­mas of plum, rasp­berry, dark cho­co­la­te, gri­lled mush­room, green pep­per­corn, earth, ash and cof­fee. The tas­te remin­ded me of dried red fruit, as well as ripe straw­berry and red currant, bright and lively, with grip­ping tan­nins, no anno­ying aci­dity, a long finish and well balan­ced. Very inter­es­ting indeed. If I saw this in a shop I would buy it, a steal for $19.

 About Ori­gins Orga­nic Imports: Mia­mi-based Ori­gins Orga­nic Imports is owned and run by hus­band-and-wife team Labid Ame­ri and Anne Bous­quet, also the owners of Argentina’s lea­ding pro­du­cer and expor­ter of cer­ti­fied-orga­nic wines. With Ori­gins Orga­nic, Ame­ri and Bous­quet are dedi­ca­ted to intro­du­cing U.S. con­su­mers to a gro­wing ros­ter of well-pri­ced, high-qua­lity cer­ti­fied-orga­nic offe­rings from around the world, in addi­tion to tho­se from their own estate.

Eve Bush­man has a Level Two Inter­me­dia­te Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the Wine and Spi­rits Edu­ca­tion Trust (WSET), a “cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in first glo­bally-recog­ni­zed cour­se” as an Ame­ri­can Wine Spe­cia­list ® from the North Ame­ri­can Som­me­lier Asso­cia­tion (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the sub­ject of a 60-minu­te Wine Immer­sion video (over 16k views), autho­red “Wine Eti­quet­te for Ever­yo­ne” and has ser­ved as a jud­ge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Glo­bal Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a ques­tion about wine or spi­rits.

Sour­ce: http://evewine101.com/2022/03/25/tasting-alavida-malbec-a-usda-certified-organic-kosher-wine/

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