I’m challenging myself this week to learn more about kosher wines and basically soak your holidays past New Years.
I’ve had the kosher Manischewitz wine at a couple of Bris ceremonies: Fruit juice that a newborn boy could happily suckle off of a soft cloth for anesthetic purposes. I only tolerated it as that was all they were serving and the Mohel let me get up close to watch. But, what if you want to give a nice Kosher wine as a Hanukkah present or serve for any Jewish holiday?
Hhere is a more comprehensive report:
The internet site for the Kosher Wine Guy has recommendations, Head to Head taste tests and a list of wines that recently won awards at Vinitaly.
The Wine Spectator magazine’s website had these few highly rated offerings:
Golan Heights Gewürztraminer Galilee Yarden Heights Wine 2005, released just this past October, was rated 90 points and only priced at $23. Thick and rich, showing luscious flavors of glazed apricot, pineapple, baked apple and spice, with a very long and honeyed finish. Kosher. Drink now through 2015.
(But you might have trouble finding it at only 967 cases made. Yarden of Israel also makes the same varietal; but with even less availability.)
Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte Pessac-Léognan Kosher 2000 & 2002 (A little pricy for $175 but sounds interesting.) Aromas of spice, earth and meat with just a hint of tobacco. Fruity. Full-bodied, with spicy, tar and earthy character. Very intense, almost funky. Long, velvety finish.
Château de Valandraud St.-Emilion Kosher 2001 – 2003: Subtle and multilayered on the nose with Indian spices, berries and raspberries. Full, silky and refined with lovely fruit and a medium finish. Very pretty. This has developed nicely. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. (Both I found available for purchase at bottleshop.com.)
Then I got an email from Martin Davidson, a wine distributor for Royal Wines, and hit the jackpot! With Kosher wines hailing from 10 different countries, and a local tasting room in nearby Oxnard, this may warrant a part 2 (Comments from readers will let me know if there is enough interest for me to travel to Oxnard)…but here’s what I have so far from Martin:
Our Californian wines are under the Herzog and Baron Herzog labels; Covenant has been made there too. On the East coast we do the local Kedem and import from France (Bordeaux and Burgundy) Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia, NZ, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Hungary and of course Israel.
Once you have visited the winery you will see and taste the quality level we have ascended to (hopefully) and according to leading critics.
Specifically for Hanukah I would recommend a Bartenura Moscato, Teal Lake Sparkling Muscat or an Israeli Cab-Petit Verdot. Traditionally we look to pair with Latkes, Donuts and Light fare for the festivities.