Saturday, March 25, 2023

While Shavuot may be the shortest of the three pilgrimage festivals, like Pesach and Suc­coth, it has a large number of venerable cus­toms, such as staying awake until dawn to study Torah, serving dairy foods at the Yom Tov meals, and decorating homes and syn­agogues with lots and lots of flowers. This Shavuot, why not enhance your holiday ta­ble with a type of wine that will complement some of these customs; it’s a wine that has a floral color, and goes great with dairy cuisine. That wine would be a rosé.

Rosé (pronounced roe-ZAY) is a term used to describe wines in the color spectrum be­tween red and white, from faint pink to dark rose. While occasionally made from a blend of red and white grapes, rosé is usually made only from the juice of red grapes, which was allowed only limited contact with the grape skins after the grapes were crushed. Grape juice is always clear, even when it comes from red grapes. The color of a wine comes from the grape skins, and the less time a juice spends in contact with the skins, the lighter in color will be the wine it produces.

In recent years a handful of crisp, refresh­ing kosher rosés have come to market, but unfortunately these wines have not tend­ed to sell well. According Jeff Morgan, noted winemaker, and author of multiple books on food and wine, including Rosé: A Guide to the World’s Most Versatile Wine (Chronicle Books, 2005) and whose first kosher cookbook is scheduled to be released next year, this is be­cause “semi-sweet blush wines have been the norm in America for rosés since World War II, and for this reason many serious wine drink­ers disdain all rosés. In the same manner, many serious wine drinkers disdain all kosher wines because of the ‘traditional’ syrupy, Con­cord-grape wines that had at one time been the norm for kosher wines.”

Regardless of its lack of popularity, rosé remains a great springtime and sum­mertime wine, and in preparation for Sha­vuot we tasted seven kosher rosés. The re­sults of the tasting were varied; while a few wines were barely potable, the ma­jority were truly enjoyable. Most of these wines were produced in small quantities, are not well distributed, and can be hard to find. The only wine store in Bergen County we found that currently has any kosher rosés in stock is FillerUp Kosher Wine (174 West Englewood Ave, Teaneck, [201] 862-1700).

Capcanes, Peraj Petita Rosat, 2013: One of the best wines in the tasting, this rosé was made of a blend of 60% Garnacha (Grenache), 15% Tempranillo, 15% Merlot, and 10% Syrah grapes grown in the Mont­sant region of Spain. It is a dry, dark-rose colored, light-to-medium bodied wine that has a fruity bouquet of cherries, peaches, and strawberries with a nice floral over­tone. Look for flavors of cherries, orang­es, strawberries, and nectarines. Crisp and well balanced, this rosé would be a great choice to serve with savory cheese dish­es or pasta in cream-based sauces. Drink within the next year. Score B+ $19.00.

Domaine Netofa, Basse Galilee Rosé, 2013: France’s Rhône valley has historical­ly produced some of the world’s best rosé wines (they were a favorite of Louis XIV) and Domaine Netofa—which since opening in 2009 has become known for producing good Rhône-style wines in Israel’s lower-Galilee— has created a lovely Rhône-like rosé. This light bodied, pale-rose colored blend of Syrah and Mourvèdre, has flavors and aromas of pears, strawberries, watermelons, Bing cherries, and Meyer lemons. Well structured, with a bracing acidity, this wine would go well with smoked fish and smoked meats. Drink within the next eighteen months. Score B+ $18.00.

Recanati Rosé, 2013: Also very good, this crisp, dry, light-bodied, dark-rose-color­ed wine was made from a blend of 70% Barbara and 30% Merlot grapes that were grown in the upper-Galilee. Look for fla­vors and aromas of cherries, watermelons, and raspberries, with a nice level of acid. This rosé would be a great choice to serve with grilled or poached salmon, as well as with grilled chicken breasts. Best within the next nine months. Score B+ $15.60.

Tulip, White Franc, 2012: Perhaps the most unique wine in the tasting, this bronzy-peach colored, light-to-medium bodied, off-dry wine was made from a blend of 65% Cabernet Franc and 35% Sauvignon Blanc. The wine has a full bouquet, redolent of strawberries, apples, or­anges, and lychees, while the flavor is grapy, with elements of strawberries, apples, and ba­nanas. Look for a hint of allspice on the finish. A good choice to serve with cheese blintzes, this wine should be consumed within the next year. Score B/B+ $19.00.

Most rosés are made to be drunk young, so avoid wines that are more than one or two years old. Always serve rosé well chilled. As you start to plan your yom tov meals, think about including a bottle or two of rosé. You won’t re­gret it.

Please note: Wines are scored on an “A”– ”F” scale where “A” is excellent, “B” is good, “C” is flawed, “D” is very flawed, and “F” is undrinkable. Prices listed are the prices at the retailer mentioned.

By Gamliel Kronemer

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