What’s up with rosé? and other spirited questions

What can you tell me about McClelland’s single malt? I believe they do not distill their own liquor but buy it from other distilleries. If I buy two bottles of Highland are they likely to be the same or are they likely to be as different as from two different distillers?

McClelland’s Single Malt is a brand that bottles a range of single malt Scotch whiskies representing the Highland, Islay, Lowland and Speyside Scotch whisky distilling regions. You are also correct that McClelland’s does not distill its own whiskies, it is merely a brand.

The McClelland’s single malt range was introduced in the United Kingdom in 1986 (Speyside was added to the range in 1999). These are all non-age specified (NAS) single malt whiskies. So each bottle has to be produced using only Scotch whisky (by law at least 3 years old, distilled and aged in oak casks in Scotland), and that whisky must be sourced from just one distillery to maintain the single malt designation (the name of that source need not be revealed, and is not done so in the McClelland’s range).

Being NAS, they are likely produced through blending a variety of young-ish constituent malt whiskies with, perhaps, some older malts included for added depth and character. If the McClelland’s whisky blender has done a good job, each time you buy a bottle should taste pretty much the same as the last time you bought that same whisky. The Lowland and the Highland expressions are certified kosher under the kashrut authority of the London Beth Din (KLBD).

I think the McClelland’s whiskies humdrum. But if you like them, by all means enjoy the fact that they are cheaper than most alternatives.

Is it just me, or are their many more kosher rosé wines available now than in the past? Are they cheaper to
produce or something?

You are right that there are many more kosher rosé wines on the market today, but this is essentially a function of market forces rather than relative costs of production. More folks are drinking pink wine then in the past. Even in the nonkosher wine market, rosé wines are big right now.

The Nielsen company reported in January that rosé wine as a category was worth $389 million annually. Wine overall is growing at a rate of about 2 percent, while rosé enjoyed a 57 percent uptick over the last 52 weeks.

This is just a trend, of course. The larger context is that red wine is worth about $5.8 billion in sales, and white wine is even bigger at $7.1 billion in annual sales.

In terms of kosher wine, precise numbers are harder to figure since the major players are all private companies. One industry insider has suggested to me that sales of kosher rosé have tripled in the last two years. Consider that the Herzog’s Royal Wine Corp, the clear market leader, had nine rosés in its portfolio in 2015, while today it has 25.

What’s good this week?

Cantina Giuliano, Costa Toscano i.g.t., Vermentino, 2016 ($19): The first-ever kosher Vermentino to hit the U.S. market, this is a crisp, refreshing and really lovely white with a nose of honeysuckle, white pepper, apricot, citrus, almonds and gooseberry, and flavors of white peach, under-ripe apricot, citrus, guava and perhaps a little under-ripe pineapple. With palate-tingling acidity and enticing minerality, it craves food. The finish is a tad clipped. L’chaim!

If you have a question about kosher wines and spirits, from the simple to the seriously technical, email Joshua E. London at lchaimQs@gmail.com.

 

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