How do I suggest this night be different from all other nights? I suggest it not be, as far as wine is concerned. Let us free ourselves of the banality of a stale wine cellar, beginning this night. Starting with the first glass.
For either seder, first or second, your cups could include, for instance, an easy drinking, well balanced, fruit-forward wine such as Viña Memoras' Classic Red or La Forêt Blanche's Talpiot Red, both great starter sips for the tongue. And, we're drinking this glass right before the karpas—so, think flavor, think appetizer. Besides floral notes and hints of fresh blackberry, licorice and pomegranate.
Vina Memorias Classic Red | Bobal | $25
La Fôret Blanche Talpiot Red | Cabernet Sauvignon -Merlot-Syrah-Petit Verdot | $28
Why not, humor me here, on your second pour, give a nod to all things Old World with a worthy French vintage: Le Pletzl? With its mid-bodied style, this vin rouge pays homage to a bygone era, both by its complex, self-assured layering and its namesake. It’s fresh and steady all the same.
For the next day, at the same time, we might also seek a sure thing like an Adir Winemaker’s Edition, whose special mid-bodied Marselan might add that extra spice without withholding the tradition you’ve come to expect.
Le Pletzl | Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot | $10
Adir Winemaker’s Edition | Marselan | $50
We might want this third glass filled with a full-bodied expression to measure up to the first bit of heft we will be encountering since our last encounter with chametz (or our last seder if this is the second night). It’s also the first time you’ll probably have enough food to prepare yourself for a full-bodied mouthful. And that’s why the Cabernet Sauvignon will be king here. Padre Bendicho’s or Lueria’s, either one will do.
Padre Bendicho | Cabernet Sauvignon-Mourvedre | $18
Lueria | Cabernet Sauvignon | $38
We make a bevy of choices leading up to Pesach. Whether or not they’re ingrained in us by tradition, we do make further choices the night of. We choose our menu. We choose in what language to relive our national birth – I vote for Ladino. We choose to recline as kings, acknowledging with one left lean our throwing off of servitude and any accompanying servility: we bow now because we can and choose to do so, thank you very much. On Pesach, we might choose who our neighbor to our left will be, but we certainly choose to serve him or her a glass of our finest, an act, more, I dare say, imbued with majesty and honor than reclining of free will. You know what else is so worthy of good choosing? You’ve got it—the liquid flowing in that fourth and final (excluding Eliyahu’s, mind you) pour. And what, pray tell, might that be?
A rosé, of course. Nothing says tradition like wine in this French style. And nothing says refreshing quite like a rosé. So, after a night of heavy pouring and deep remembering, we say, simply, Château Josephine Pink or Lueria Le Fleur Rosé.
Château Josephine Pink, semi-sweet | Mourvedre | $10
Lueria La Fleur Rosé, semi-dry| Cabernet Franc | $30
I hope this year you choose freedom to choose better. Freedom to demand better. Freedom to expect better. Freedom to enjoy your every sip at seder. From our seder-glass to yours, L’Chaim and Chag Kasher v’Sameach!
E.Y. De Souza is a writer of all things liquid and solidly Jewish, earning wine cred strolling through Red Garden’s portfolio.