Affordable, Recommended, $15 & Under
By Guest Columnist Yossie Horwitz
The weeks leading up to Pessach are among the US kosher wine industry’s busiest, with more kosher wine sold during this period than the rest of the year combined. As the popularity of quality kosher wine continues to increase, the quality and variety of wines available to the kosher wine consumer are astounding. While truly a blessing, the tremendous choice can make for a somewhat stressful shopping experience. Additionally and most unfortunately, some stores and online purveyors are selling old, dead and tired wines that are so far past their optimum drinking windows. Remember – in general (and there are exceptions), white wines shouldn’t be sold more than two years past their vintage and red wines three years (unless we are talking about the better and more expensive wines). As with every industry, caveat emptor.
Given the current state of our economy, I have tried to find those “Hidden Gems” that combine affordability with enough sophistication and quality to properly honor one’s Seder and Chag. For a more comprehensive list of many wines in all price ranges, please see my website here.
While one of my favorite Jewish customs, the tradition of consuming four full cups of wine at the Seder brings with it a host of dilemmas requiring serious thought and planning. The main problem is that four cups of wine is a lot of wine to be consuming at one sitting (even an up-to 5 hour sitting such as a traditional Seder), especially given the fact that the first two cups are typically imbibed on an empty stomach. .
Given ones desire to honor the Seder, people tend to have the nicest wines possible, typically full-bodied Bordeaux-blends or robust Cabernet Sauvignon wines requiring time and appreciation. However, the empty stomach with which most people approach the first two cups, the requirement to consume nearly an entire cup of wine rather rapidly; all detract from our ability to fully enjoy these typically magnificent wines.
As a result, I suggest saving the more expensive wines for leisurely drinking during the actual Seder meal and selecting other wines to utilize for the four cups. Being a traditionalist, I tend to choose red wines for all four cups. It is the holiday of freedom, so top quality wine is still a requirement. Therefore, I look for top quality, medium bodied and relatively simple wines. Some perennial favorites of mine include Recanati’s Reserve Petit Sirah-Zinfandel, the Capcanes Peraj Petita or two new arrivals – the Yarden’s Odem Merlot and the Domaine Netofa 2009. To the extent you are looking for well-priced whites, Yarden’s Odem Chardonnay, Recanati’s Chardonnay or Yarden’s Viognier are all good and affordable bets.
KosherEye asked Yossie, our regular contributing wine expert, to recommend 12 wines under $15. We are delighted to present his picks:
Top Recommendations for Budget Wines
- Barkan, Classic, Pinot Noir, 2010
- Binyamina, Reserve, Chardonnay (Unoaked), 2010
- Binyamina, Yogev, Cabernet Sauvignon-Petit Verdot, 2010
- Carmel, Private Collection, Chardonnay, 2010
- Dalton, Canaan, Red, 2009
- Dalton, Fume Blanc, 2011
- Galil Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010
- Golan Heights Winery, Golan, Moscato, 2011
- Recanati, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010
- Recanati, Rose, 2011
- Teperberg, Silver, Syrah, 2009
- Weinstock, Cellar Select, Petite Sirah, 2010
About the Author
Yossie Horwitz, a card-carrying oenophile for more than 20 years, has been writing a weekly newsletter – Yossie’s Wine Recommendations – on kosher wines, wineries and other wine-related topics for five years. Sign up for his free weekly newsletter at www.yossiescorkboard.com and follow Yossie on Twitter @yossieuncorked, where he dispenses daily wine recommendations and tips as well as other oenophilic tidbits.
April 3, 2012