It's time for selecting wine for Passover! We believe that a lovely glass of wine complements a meal. In the past 20 years, the kosher consumer has been given a gift. Because of the vision and acumen of David Herzog and his family, the Royal Wine Company has expanded the availability of kosher wine choices beyond anything we could have imagined. Vineyards providing fine kosher wines are flourishing worldwide, and especially in Israel. Kosher wines have been elevated to a new level, and they are on par with mainstream vintages.
Due to the vast array of choices, selecting kosher wine now takes some expertise based on taste, budget and preference. We are sharing excerpts from an article written by Kedem wine expert Gabriel Geller.
PASSOVER 2019 Wine Picks · ·and · · What Makes Wine Kosher
Wine is essential to Passover, when Jewish people around the world gather with family and friends to recount the story of the Exodus from Egypt and share a festive meal. It is customary for all (adults) to drink four cups of wine at the Seder. That’s a lot of wine for one meal!
This year Passover begins on the night of April 19. These new suggestions pair well at the Seder table or any other special occasion, and run the gamut of varieties and price points.
Some outstanding new 2018 rosé wines were released in time for Passover 2019, and the new vintage is promising. "I enjoy starting the Seder with a glass of cold, fresh rosé, so the timing is perfect.”Smooth and easy to drink, rosés are best consumed young and fresh. He cites the Herzog Lineage Rosé from Clarksburg, CA (SRP $19.99) as a delicious, fruity, and herbal complement to light starters. Other good bets include Gush Etzion and Flam (SRP $24.99 and 34.99 respectively). These wineries, both located in Israel’s Judean Hills, were among the first out of the gate with their new rosés this year.
“As soon as the main course is served,” , “I will typically move on to a more multi-layered wine such as the Carmel Limited Edition 2014 (SRP $79.99), a Bordeaux-style blend from Israel." Also of note is Domaines Rollan de By, owned by Jean Guyon. The extravagant designer just released the first-ever new kosher run from his estates: Chateau de By Medoc 2016 (SRP $27.99). “Well-balanced and medium-bodied, this Bordeaux from an exceptional vintage is silky in the mouth and pairs well with many types of dishes,” claims Geller. “It would be a good choice for the Passover Seder.”
Lineage Choreograph a field blend of more than a dozen different grapes comes from an experimental plot on the Herzog estate vineyard -- the wine is soft and inviting while at the same time complex and flavorful, and very reasonably priced (SRP$20.00)
Herzog Wine Cellars also recently released Herzog Special Reserve Quartet 2015, a blend of varieties grown in prime regions of California. The wine, as its name indicates, comprises 4 grape varieties: Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Full-bodied, rich, complex, and spicy, it impresses with its remarkable balance, while showcasing the unique characteristics of each variety (SPR: $39.99).
Italian wines have been gaining in popularity among kosher consumers. Wine Spectator recently awarded the Terra di Seta Chianti Classico Riserva (SRP $34.99) an impressive 93 points. Now that the 2013 has made its way to the shelves, Geller predicted that this superior vintage will outperform its predecessor.
Sweet Endings Dessert Wines
A long meal such as the Passover Seder also requires some fine dessert wine to end the night on a sweet note. Chateau Guiraud, which was absent from the kosher scene since 2001, recently made a comeback with two new wines available for the first time in a kosher version.G de Guiraud 2017 (SRP $39.99) is a satisfying, dry blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, while the chateau’s second Sauternes, Petit Guiraud 2017, is a luscious, wonderful dessert wine (SRP $74.99). Herzog Late harvest Orange Muscat 2018 - don’t be fooled by this wine’s orange tinge and floral near orange aromas. Its 100% Orange Muscat Grape has great lively acidity and sweetness, all rolled into this floral, long-lasting luscious wine (MSRP $22.99).
What Makes Kosher Wine Kosher?? There’s a common ‘urban legend’ that wine is rendered kosher after being blessed by a Rabbi – that is incorrect. Actually, for a wine to be made kosher there are strictly supervised purity guidelines that need to be followed from the moment the grapes enter the winery to when the wine is bottled.To be considered kosher, Sabbath-observant Jews must supervise and sometimes handle the entire winemaking process, from the time the grapes are crushed until the wine is bottled. Any ingredients used, including yeasts and fining agents must be kosher.Some Kosher wines are processed as Mevushal, which means ‘cooked’ in Hebrew. Some wineries produce their Mevushal wines by heating the must (grape juice) prior to fermentation, while others apply that procedure on the final product, prior to bottling.When kosher wine is produced, marketed and sold commercially, it will bear kosher certification granted by a specially-trained rabbi who is responsible for supervision from start to finish.
From KosherEye: And then, the most popular kosher wine in America – is actually from Italy. Bartenura Moscato, or as thousands have nicknamed it “@Bartenura Blue” and “Out of the Blue”. We at KosherEye prefer our dry reds and whites, but so many friends and family love their semi-sweet Blue. The pleasing taste of pear, tangerine, nectar and melon goes well with appetizers, poultry and dessert. However, according to its devoted fans, which is most everyone we know, and many in the hip hop world, Blue is perfect anytime with anything. $12 -$15. (mevushal)