July 20, 2024
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Celebrate Rosh Hashanah with celebratory wines

5776 is coming to its end, as is the harvesting seasons for many wineries. The growth of the kosher wine world in terms of diversity and availability was simply outstanding this year! We are expecting many interesting and high-quality wines in 5777 hailing from some of the world’s most prestigious growing regions.

Rosh Hashana is a very special time of the year. It is a time during which we reflect on what we have learned over the years in general and over the past year in particular. It is also the time of the year to reflect on what the future may hold. We also contemplate our decisions for the new year based on the lessons we have learned from the past.

This mantra holds true for wine as well. The Holidays should be celebrated with wines that reflect this spirit, special bottles that bring up smiles around the table. Wines that make those who are lucky to sip them pause, think, and value time and its potential for great accomplishments.

The best way to start the new year is with a Champagne. Bubbly wines encourage a positive mind, and it is the most well suited beverage for festive meals. It is refreshing, exciting, and a wonderful accompaniment to many dishes. There are a handful of kosher Champagnes currently available, and while the selection keeps growing every year, some bottles reputations make them tower over their peers. Two Champagnes in particular are the Drappier Carte Blanche and Champagne des Barons de Rothschild. These wines carry luxurious labels and hail from historic big name houses of Champagne.

For well over a century, several branches of the Rothschild dynasty have owned some of the world’s most famous wineries. Only the mention of the names Château Lafite-Rothschild and Château Mouton-Rothschild make the eyes of wine collectors shine in excitement. The Rothschild’s have gathered their common knowledge and experience to craft a kosher version of a beautiful Champagne! It is crisp, dry with a sharp mousse, and sings with mineral notes that immediately upgrade any meal to first class.

Drappier is a Champagne House with a glorious history. When General Charles de Gaulle became the President of the French Republic, he chose Drappier as the official Champagne of the Elysée Palace. De Gaulle and his wife Yvonne were quite fond of the elegant and refined expressions that are common to all the wines produced by the renowned winery. Drappier Carte Blanche is not spoke about as often as the Carte d’Or. In contrast to the yeasty profile of the latter, the Carte Blanche showcases French class at its best, with delightful fresh fruit aromas, remarkable balance, and complexity.

One personality trait we should learn to embrace this year is to have patience. Being patient with wine can be very rewarding. Think of these wines that, when properly stored, can age and improve of the bottles for years following their release. With time, they get smoother and gain in complexity, adding layers of delicious flavors and aromas.

The key to storing and aging wines properly, is to buy a few bottles (or even better, a few cases!) of each of those wines. Start off tasting one on release to appreciate and evaluate what is called the cellaring potential. Then, it is possible to decide for how long they should sit in a wine cooler or a cellar. Every few years, at special occasions such as Yom Tov or a family Simcha, open a bottle and reassess its growth and appreciate its evolution.

The Yatir Forest and the Carmel Limited Edition, both from Israel, are among those wines that can age and improve for a decade past the harvest year, sometimes longer. While the Forest will typically develop a more spicy and juicy character, the Limited Edition will offer more restrained, earthy notes that call to mind the finest wines from Bordeaux.

Speaking of Bordeaux, the kosher cuvee Les Roches de Yon-Figeac 2014 should be hitting your local wine stores shelves shortly. This is a second wine in name only to the well-known Château Yon-Figeac, a Grand Cru from the Saint-Emilion appellation, this wine shows in its youth notes of red berries and stone fruits with a distinctive austerity. That austerity evolves with time into mouth-watering, smooth and intoxicating scents of forest floor and chocolate.

Spain gratifies wine lovers with some of the most intriguing and age-worthy wines. The great wines from the Rioja region can be stored sometimes for several decades, changing and improving constantly, gratifying those in the know with a special experience every time they open a bottle. The Elvi winery is a world-class and only fully kosher winery in Spain. The Herenza Reserva from Elvi is no exception to this rule. Each time you taste this wine, you will unearth different flavors and characteristics, which shows how complex this wine is. This wine can boast flavors of blackberries, earth, spices and coffee, and other times with aromas of herbs, roasted meat and chocolate. This wine is a winner with a captivating unique velvety texture.

Celebrating Yom Tov by popping the cork on an aged bottle such as one of the aforementioned wines will make any meal special. It is certainly appropriate and encouraged to indulge in an appropriately aged bottle on the right occasion. Sipping such wines helps us reflect on the benefits of patience and how time can have such an impact on the intricacies of maturing a wine to its potential. It reminds us that we mature and develop by making the right choices and decisions, it just takes a bit of time and patience like the wine in our glass. Shana Tova!

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