Tag Archives: Kosher for Passover Wines

Kosher for Passover Wines, 2017

6 Apr

This year’s Kosher Food & Wine Experience had some tremendous offerings. For this segment, I focused on wines that I thought would be heartily appreciated by any who tasted them, as this holiday brings together extended family, friends, and strangers at our tables. Here are wines I can heartily suggest for Passover 2016 from the Kosher Food & Wine Experience:

The Kosher Food & Wine Experience, 2017. 

2012 Chateau de Valmer Vouvray Moelleux

Pale yellow in color, light nose of floral and fruit blend. Medium bodied white wine, rounded white stone fruit, quince and fig with a hint of almond; a mature, elegant, creamy and savory overall impression. This Loire Valley Vouvray is consistently a solid performer. I should point out the same winemaker makes a younger-vintage, demi-sec Vouvray that is also popular with non-wine drinkers, it’s more direct, less complex, just a hint of sweetness. Either is a solid choice! Around $22/bottle for the aged Moelleux, @ $13/bottle for the currant vintage demi-sec.

Baron Edmund de Rothschild Les Lauriers Rosé 2015

As a fan of Baron Rothschild’s traditional red wines, I’m raving about this rosé. Pale pink in color with a fruity nose, this non-mevushal rosé is incredibly dry on the palate, showing strawberry and cherry with balanced acidity and tannins. Well made, this is a perfect all-meal wine that sings for baked chicken but can handle the whole meal from bitter herbs to red meat to dessert! @ $19/bottle, 13.5%ABV.

 

Château Soutard, 2014

A grand Cru Classé red blend from Saint Emilion, consistently capturing 90+ points from the major reviewers, in the low $40 range. If you can find the 2015, I prefer it (more expressive and longer finish), but both vintages offer beautiful dark red fruit, black plum, plus dark forest, bramble, and leather notes. A full-bodied red, perfect for the Passover Seder and the traditional brisket or roast.

 

Château Giscours, Margaux  2014

You want elegance and luxury? You found it here: a Margaux that is Kosher for Passover, in the $40-$50 range.  Maroon in color with an exotic floral nose with eucalyptus and forest floor, the palate shows medium body of dark red berries, burnt caramel, notes of spice, earth, and stone. Excellent balance, finishes with solid tannins and leaves you wanting more. 13.5%ABV. Pour me another!

 

Grand Puy Ducasse Pauillac 2013

If you love Pauillac, this is your wine: a classic & historic Grand Cru Classé. Color is pale ruby into magenta. A full, expressive nose of black and red fruit with cut greens. On the palate, black plum and cassis are first on arrival, along with green pepper, clove and spice box in quick succession, followed by notes of saddle leather, gun oil, clay, and gravel. Ducasse’s blend is usually 60/40 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, this is consistent with previous experience. Known for tremendous aromatics and intense flavors, the balance is just off-center with more fruit and acidity than tannin at this young age. I promise, you won’t care, unless you purchase by the case and compare it to a vintage that is ten years old. With SRP in the low $70’s, I found this online in the low $30 per bottle with 13%ABV.

 

Château Fourcas-Dupré Listrac-Medoc 2012

Color is bright red with white edging. Delightfully bright cherries on the nose; on the palate this is a medium-bodied red blend.  Dark berries, cassis, black plum, bramble, with pepper and clove. This wine shows well for this young age. Body is rich and this tastes more expensive than its street price @ $28/bottle. 13%ABV. A tremendous value in a classic Bordeaux blend.

 

Château Leoville Poyferre Saint Julien,  2014

A classic St Julien, Léoville-Poyferre is a wine I love any time of year. I simply had no idea it was available in Kosher for Passover! Non-mevushal, it features a deep garnet color, and nose of eucalyptus & leather. On the palate: cassis, black fruit, dry, full bodied. So approachable at this young age, I promise, you will have no regrets. Predominantly cab with merlot in this blend, it is a glorious, full-bodied red with massive tannins and is a total pleasure to drink. Priced in the mid-$60/bottle but found online as low as $50 and worth every penny. 12.5%ABV

 

From Spain: Elvi Clos Mesorah 2014

What, a Spanish Kosher for Passover wine? Yes, and great one! This blend of 40% Carinena, 30% Garnacha, and 30% Syrah is a deep purple in color, with a nose of black plum and forest floor. On the palate, bright fruit is delightful: cherry, plum, and blackberry jam on the front palate while delightful acidity and tannin support excellent balance on this slightly chewy, very intense wine that made me want to buy a bottle immediately.  If you make lamb for Passover, this is the wine you want, found online in the high $60/bottle range.  13.5% ABV on this non-Mevushal wine. If you want to change things up, this might be the way to go- it’s a stunning wine that won’t disappoint.

 

After-dinner/Dessert Wine:
Rayne-Vigneau 2014 Sauternes

Deep yellow in color, the nose is full of sweet fruit, honey and wildflowers. On the palate, apricot, mandarin orange, and honey attack the tongue while racy acidity crosses the top palate. Zesty and alive, a lovely expression and a perfect dessert wine after you’ve enjoyed your four cups. @$25/bottle, 14%ABV.

 

Last but not least:

In 2016 I reviewed a bevy of tremendous wines by Israeli winemaker Lenny Recanati, all of which were Kosher for Passover. Recanati is a winemaker who blew my mind with blind tastings that can compare with some of the finest kosher wines I’ve listed here. Below are three links to three separate posts where I wrote and reviewed Recanti wines, which should be on your wine shopping list whether you are looking for wines in the $11 or $50 range. Recanati wines are simply stunning, and should not be missed, be it Passover or any day, his wines compare beautifully to old and new world wines from around the world. 

Recanati Worlds Collide Part 1:

Recanati Worlds Collide Part 2:

My Kosher for Passover wines of 2016:

à votre santé

Passover Wines, 2016

28 Apr

And the kosher wines I served for this years Passover are:

 

Passsover2016

As pictured above, from right to left. 

Teal Lake 2011 Moscato, South Eastern Australia, 7% ABV, $8/bottle. An easy-going glass that tastes sweet apples and honey. It pairs perfectly with charoset, and is a great first wine for the evening that I brought for the entry-level wine drinkers. This bottle from down under is fun and enjoyable, very low in alcohol, and so easy to drink! I love it before or after a meal, and did I mention, it’s only $8? BOOM!

Teal Lake

 

Shirah Wine 2013 Vintage Whites, Santa Barbara County, CA. 14.5% ABV, $23/bottle(street).

This wine is California’s answer to “why can’t we have a great white wine on this night?” This Rhone-styled white, 70% viognier, 30% grenache blanc is a lovely, well-made wine for the passover meal. Dry with muted fruit, gentle acidity and a medium finish that shows a bitter hint of almond followed by notes of oak and loamy soil. Perfect for the fish and chicken courses or for those who prefer a full-bodied and savory white with their brisket. Thank you to the Weiss brothers for making this wine special, like the holiday!

Shirah Vintage

 

Recanati Rosé, Galilee, Israel. 13% ABV; $13/bottle (street). Made of 70% barbera and 30% merlot grapes, this is a total crowd pleaser: 1) I pour an ounce into a glass, 2) people first tell me how good it is, 3) then they ask for more.
I reviewed this in February, and stand by these notes: Color is a medium-clear and very ruddy pink: an amaranth/magenta center blending out to a clear edge. The aroma shows fresh strawberries with a hint of gardenias. In the mouth, tart raspberry and dried cranberry notes dominate with a spice balance. Good acidity and strong tannins emanate from the side palate for a satisfying, clean finish.

recanati rose

 

Recanati 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, “David” Vineyard, Galilee, Israel. 14% ABV, $23/bottle. This is a carefully-crafted wine I’ve enjoyed before- first with the winemaker at a tasting earlier in the year, then again at home when I picked up a bunch of Recanati wines from a local vendor. It has been consistent and delicious each time! Black cherry, blackberry, and red plum fruit blend with nice acid, strong tannins.; followed up with a long lasting finish with hints of oak, chalk, slate, and stone. I served this and the red wine drinkers at the table immediately said “Wow, where did THIS come from?”- they were sure I’d snuck in a preferred, high-end & pricey red. They were right about everything but the pricey part! Recanati has changed the way I feel about Israeli wine production, and they are in my cellar, period.

 

recanati reserve Cab

 

Psagot 2012 Cabernet Franc, Judean Hills 14.5% ABV, $27/bottle. The store owner said “you should try this”, poured me sample, and I decided he was right. The antithesis of what I think Passover wines taste like- this cab franc features dark black fruit, powerful tannin, spice, earth, and oak. A massive wine, high in alcohol, to make your main course (and Elijah) sing. It’s bold, and I paired it well for several days with the rich red meats I was served over the holiday, until there was no more left to enjoy.

Cabernet_Franc_2011

What wines graced your table this year?

à votre santé!

Recanati: Worlds Collide, Part 2

22 Feb

This is the promised follow-up to a tasting I did with Recanati Winery. If you missed  that post, you can read it here

After meeting Lenny and Gil from Recanati Winery, I was determined to find their wines locally in NY. It did not take me long. While running errands, I made a stop at Mayfair Wine & Liquor on Union Turnpike in Queens, NY, and hit on my first try.

Wandering the aisles, I picked up a bottle of Recanati Rosé and took it over to chat with John, the store owner. John is used to me trying his new wines, inquiring everything about his products as well as his sales trends.

He looked at the bottle of rosé in my hand. “Ah, that’s very good,” he told me, “An excellent value and compares well to Loire Valley rosé. I also have others from this winemaker.” He waved me over to another area of the store, showing me Recanati reserves, blends, and single grape wines.  “They sell very well, from the basic blends I sell at $11/bottle to the special reserves. They make some excellent wines across the board, and people come back for more.” I picked up the Yasmin Red. “That is tremendous value, I sell it for $11/bottle; it drinks like wine that sells for $25-30. And their reserve wines, which goes in the low $20’s, are just excellent wines. Forget that they are kosher,” he says with his hands gesturing me to pick one up, “they are excellent wines, whatever you compare them to.” I smiled & nodded, but didn’t want to let him know I had tasted Lenny and Gil’s line just a few days prior. I picked up the rosé, the Yasmin red, a syrah, and the reserve cabernet, the latter two I had tasted previously and just wanted to enjoy again. (Now, come on, every bottle I drink can’t be a wine review. Sue me, I’m paying for them.)

 

2014 Recanati Rosé, Galilee, Israel. 13% ABV, $14/bottle at Mayfair Wine & Liquor. 

Color is a medium-clear and very ruddy pink: an amaranth/magenta center blending out to a clear edge. The aroma shows fresh strawberries with a hint of gardenias. In the mouth, tart raspberry and dried cranberry notes dominate with a spice balance. Good acidity and strong tannins emanate from the side palate for a satisfying, clean finish. This wine is a blend of 70% barbera and 30% merlot grapes, which gives more body and pairing opportunities while still being a nice wine to enjoy on its own. Mental note: I should try this with turkey & cranberry sauce for a possible Thanksgiving wine. Very nice!

rose

 

2014 Yasmin Red Blend by Recanati Winery, Galilee, Israel. 14% ABV, $11/bottle. 

Color is deep garnet at center shifting to ruby with medium opacity. Red currants, jasmine, and hint of almond on the nose. On the palate, red plum, cassis, black pepper and baking spices are followed by a hint of cherry pie and a note of chalky limestone. This blend would be a perfect house red, as it has the flexibility to pair with most styles of food from white meats to game to a roast, and just the hint of sugar that would allow it to pair with a vegan roast vegetable platter.

Yasmin

 

I am constantly reminded while enjoying these bottles (as well as the middle and high end wines from Recanati) that these wines compare better to European and New World wines more than they do to other Mediterranean wines I’ve previously enjoyed. I had several bottles open at a time and they maintained quality and freshness over several days when stored in the refrigerator after opening. The fact that they are kosher wines from Israel are a secondary bonus to those who want kosher wines, when ultimately they simply stand on their own, and compare beautifully to well-made wines from across the world.

 

reserve

shiraz

à vôtre santé!

 

Kosher for Passover

1 Apr

I’ve been stopped on the street and asked about this more than twice, so here they are, my approved suggestions for Kosher for Passover wine. You can stay away from the Kedem and Manischewitz and feel comfortable with these, whether you are a seder guest or host. Last year I was introduced to the high end of New Zealand wines, and you’ll see that result below. These are tried and true, and solid choices for your celebration. -Cheers!

Sparkling:

Bartenura Prosecco ($16),  creamy and dry, this is ideal for starters, fish, and celebration. And what is this meal but a huge celebration?

Borgo Reale Prosecco ($18) Easy to drink, a crowd pleaser that gets the meal started.
Drappier Carte d’Or Brut ($45) Classic French Champagne for the holiday, a recent kosher for passover cuvée.

 

Light/Semi-Sweet:

Bartenura Moscato ($13) from Veneto Italy, an inexpensive, easy going wine that everyone will enjoy.

Rashi Moscato d’Asti ($13) another Italian delight, but this from Piedmont, and frizzante!

Dry White:

Domaine du Castel, Blanc du Castel (Haute Judee), 2013 ($50)- 100% chardonnay aged 12 months in oak. Taste the terroir!

Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc ($19) or Oak Aged Sauvignon Blanc ($24), New Zealand’s answer to your prayers. The oaked sauv blanc has depth that will make the chardonnay lovers at the table happy.

Goose Bay Chardonnay ($20) Creamy with crisp fruit, from Marlborough.

Medium Bodied Red:

Borgo Reale Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2011 ($13) Great value on a classic grape that will give you comfort and satisfaction just knowing it’s Montepulciano. 

Goose Bay Pinot Noir ($22) I know, a fourth wine from the same manufacturer. Truth be told, killer value from New Zealand. You’d swear it was a small parcel burgundy, its’ that good.

Pacifica Pinot Noir from Oregon ($25) The best value in American wine right now is from Northwestern Pinot. A perfect example right here, the Willamette valley providing bright fruit and delicate minerality.

Full-bodied Red:

Barons de Rothschild, Haut-Médoc ($34) My annual default red. I buy a bottle every year for the first seder, if only to insure there will be something I want to drink.

Chateau Malartic Lagraviere Pessac Leognan 2005. ($84) Classic left bank Bordeaux, complex flavor profile, with perfect drinking age and good depth.  

Giscours, (Margaux) Kosher ($100) It’s Margaux. Do I need to say more? 

 à votre santé!

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