Kosher wine’s biggest nights of the year are fast approaching. Yes, Pesach seders are the nights to open really good, really big, really easy-drinking, or really special kosher wines. While many might choose simpler wines that go down easy; for me, selecting a different wine for each kos is always a joy. Plus, I always buy my Pesach wines with my summer selections in mind: Don’t forget that prices are always best in April and many limited editions or new releases are mostly gone by Shavuot. Here, I share some of the nicest bottles at every price point I’ve tried during our tasting process, that I personally will be sourcing for my Pesach table and beyond.
Sentieri Ebraici Greco di Tufo DOCG by Claudio Quarta 2018
This is the only kosher Greco di Tufo currently on the market, and at $29, it’s a good price for a unique and extremely pleasing wine. One caveat: This wine should not be served right out of the fridge. It must be brought closer to room temperature, to at least 50 degrees, for the flavors to fully shine. The wine is full-bodied, complex and rich, with strong notes of nectarine and lemon, with a distinctive mineral character at the finish. This straw-colored white wine is so lovely, fresh and vital. Enjoy this wine for the Pesach meal first course of salads or fish.
Ramon Cardova Garnacha 2015
In the space of a year, I went from being “not that excited” about Ramon Cardova’s Spanish wines, to panic-buying the Old Vines Reserva 2016, with everyone else I know, at Rosh Hashanah. Not only do I love the newly released 2015 Garnacha, but I also raved about their 2018 Albarino, a wonderful, snappy and fun white wine. The 2015 Garnacha is a vibrant, rich, fruit-forward, berried wine that has an astonishing brightness and easy drinkability. At $20, the price simply can’t be beat for the quality. Enjoy as a first or second kos.
Tabor Tannat Single Vineyard 2016 (vegan)
I am a fan of Tabor wines, generally. They don’t compromise quality or flavor with their vision for creating ecologically sustainable and vegan wines. The Malkiya Cabernet Sauvignon is one of my favorites. The Tabor Single Vineyard Tannat ($36), however, is a horse of a different color. Their tannat vineyard site, planted in 2009, is the first tannat ever planted in Israel. The vineyard has a rich basalt soil, and the vines are planted on a southern slope where they receive sunlight most of the day. These conditions are particularly well-suited for a bold, rich and fruity wine. The 2016 Tabor is full-bodied, with a beautiful balance of red fruits like strawberries, and oak, plus extremely pleasing notes of thyme and mint throughout. Serve this wine with a rich Pesach meal.
Shiloh Mosaic 2017
Shioh’s flagship wine is a magnificent Israeli blend that is truly worth the higher-end price of $70. Buy it as a gift or just open it on seder night. This blend of 45% merlot, 21% cabernet franc, 20% petit verdot and 14% cabernet sauvignon, was aged for 18 months in French oak. It is a tour de force that celebrates all that is great about Israeli wine. The rich notes of black fruit are immediate, with deep dark chocolate or coffee on the nose. It is a multilayered wine that provides a full experience from nose to its rich, sustained finish. Dig into this complex, chewy wine with the Pesach meal.
Dalton Galilo 2017
This is the second time I’ve tried the 2017 Dalton Galilo, and I generally think this is a wine that will impress others. At $65, it can be a special Pesach gift for someone who loves wine. Galilo is Dalton’s flagship wine, and this year it is a blend of 50% cabernet sauvignon from the Elkosh vineyard, 40% shiraz also from Elkosh, and 10% grenache noir from the Even Menachem vineyard. These varieties were fermented separately in individual barrels, and then blended together before resting for 20 months in oak barrels. On the nose, it veritably bursts with black fruit, cherry jam and cocoa. At the mid-palate, one feels the warming effects of the oak on the grapes, with an essence of vanilla, followed by a sustained, silky finish. Open this wine a few hours ahead of time, and enjoy it with the Pesach meal.
By Elizabeth Kratz