With Pesach only a week or so away, you might have come across quite a few ads and articles promoting wines for Pesach. I typically write a rather long Megilla with detailed comments and tasting notes on a handful of wines. However, this year, I have decided instead to keep it a little shorter and to the point.
I have repeated and highlighted multiple times in previous write-ups the prominent place wine occupies in many areas of Yiddishkeit: weddings, britot, kiddush, Sheva brachot etc. With that said, I am guilty of never having discussed the reasons for wine’s importance in our tradition. Wine is a beverage like no other. I have traveled to wineries and met with winemakers all over the world. There is one thing that they all have in common: passion. A genuine, deep passion for their craft, for working the land, cultivating the grape varieties that best suit the region and climate at which their wineries are located.
Shiloh winery’s winemaker, Amichai Lurie, demonstrates better than anyone his love for Eretz Yisrael and attributes the quality of the wines he produces to the land, which many centuries ago already produced the grapes that made the wine used in the Beit Hamikdash. Even the non-Jewish owners and managers of great Bordeaux chateaux such as Meyney and Grand-Puy Ducasse proudly claim that their wines’ high quality and unique characteristics come from nature, from the terroir, the piece of land on which their vineyards grow.
Perhaps wine is so important in our tradition because there is so much of a commitment to cultivate the best grapes and extract their complex flavors and aromas. Yet, it always depends on Hashem’s will, as the slightest differences in meteorological conditions from one year to the next deeply affect the resulting wines. These are some reasons I believe wine has its special status. It allows us to create a tangible, physical connection between Hashem and us, as only Hashem ultimately decides whether or not the grapes will be good. It is an excellent reason to choose which wines we drink at the Seder carefully, and at every other meal, as well.
I would like to share my personal recommendations of wines with you here that I believe and hope will not only enhance your four cups at the Sedarim, but will also accompany you throughout all of the Yom Tov and chol hamoed meals. I wish you all Chag Pesach kosher v’sameach!
Psagot, Rosé, 2020 (dry)
Tabor, Adama, Rosé, 2020 (dry)
Château Roubine, Cru Classé, 2020 (mevushal)
Baron Herzog, Rosé, 2020 (semi-dry) (mevushal)
Sainte-Béatrice, Cuvée B, 2020 (dry) (mevushal)
Drappier, Brut Nature, Champagne, NV (dry) (mevushal)
Bartenura, Prosecco Rosé, 2020 (dry) (mevushal)
Herzog, Lineage, Momentus, NV (semi-dry) (mevushal)
Laurent-Perrier, Brut, Champagne, NV (dry)
Koenig, Crémant Brut, Alsace, NV (dry)
Matar, Sauvignon Blanc—Sémillon, 2020 (dry)
Ramon Cardova, Albarino, 2019 (dry)
Pacifica, Riesling, 2018 (semi-dry) (mevushal)
Herzog, Special Reserve, Chardonnay, Russian River, 2018 (dry) (mevushal)
Château de Rayne-Vigneau, Sauternes, 2018 (sweet)
Herzog, Lineage, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2018 (dry) (mevushal)
Château Meyney, Saint-Estèphe, 2018 (dry)
Vitkin, Pinot Noir, 2019 (dry)
Netofa, Latour Red, 2018 (dry)
Terra di Seta, Riserva, Chianti Classico, 2016
Gabriel Geller is director of media relations and wine education for Royal Wines.