It’s a bird … it’s a plane … no, it’s a kosher Super Tuscan!
Just as rare as Superman, in time for the Sukkot season is The River Wine’s first “Super Tuscan” wine, the Aura di Valerie Zaffiro 2019 Toscana IGT. This bold, bright, plummy red wine is soft, fruity and approachable, and at approximately $45, is a pretty good deal for a unique kosher wine. This Super Tuscan tempers and rounds out the native sangiovese grape with black fruit notes and a touch of sweetness provided by merlot and cabernet sauvignon. This is a drink-now wine that can also be cellared for three to six years.
The River Wine’s importing team of Larissa and Ami Nahari have previously imported a rare Amarone wine from Valpolicella (the first-ever kosher Amarone, a 2017 dry wine made with partially dried corvina grapes), among other Italian and Israeli wines. The River also distributes wines from California, including from their own winery project Twin Suns, with Shirah Wine’s Shimon and Gabriel Weiss as winemakers. The Naharis next plan to release a kosher Aglianico, another classic Italian wine that is very difficult, if not impossible, to find in kosher stores.
“Super Tuscan is the exceptional result of rogue winemakers in the 1970s who used non-native grapes—namely cabernet and merlot—to blend with sangiovese and other indigenous varietals,” Larissa Nahari told The Jewish Link. “Because this went against the Italian wine ‘rules,’ it does not have an official designation, though you will find very expensive Super Tuscan on non-kosher wine lists.” This Super Tuscan is a kosher run done under the supervision of KLBD (London Beis Din).
“Sangiovese is very tannic and not for everyone—the blend softens it and has greater appeal. There are very limited other kosher Super Tuscan options, and not at this level,” Nahari added.
The Aura di Valerie concept, as envisioned by the Naharis, is to bring novel, high-end Italian wines to the kosher wine drinker. “It is The River’s brand and we partner with wineries in the corresponding regions for the particular wine, for example Amarone is in Valpolicella.” The name is also very personal. “Ora or ‘Aura’ is Ami’s mother, and ‘Valerie’ is mine. There are also symbols for each of our fathers in the logo,” she said.
“Our other Italian wines are under the Contessa Annalisa and Contessa Collection labels, including the only kosher Gavi di Gavi, and soon we will have one of the only other Asti Spumantes,” Nahari added.
By Elizabeth Kratz