Sukkot and Simchat Torah are fast approaching, and once again, it is time to stock up on the best and most delicious wines to rejoice over the Yomim Tovim properly. Let’s get ready to celebrate about 20 meals, most of which in the sukkah with our honored guests.
Follow, dare I say, some wise advice, and try making kiddush on sparkling wine. Rosé wine is always a refreshing way to start a special meal. Unless you live in Alaska, this past summer was scorching hot. A lot of rosé wines are gone from the stores’ shelves, yet some are still available, including the Château Roubine Lion & Dragon 2020, a classed growth from the world-renowned Côtes de Provence region in France. You read the vintage right—2020. Many rosé wines are better enjoyed as young as possible, but exceptions exist. This wine is one of them. Fermented and aged in French oak barrels to add structure and complexity, this supremely elegant wine boasts fragrant aromas and flavors of summer fruits such as peaches and apricots, as well as notes of red cherries and strawberries. Its well-integrated acidity makes it a refined match to some starters such as lox or fried eggplant with tahini.
Succos is often a challenging time since the weather is somewhat unpredictable. This year, at least on the East Coast of the USA, it is reasonable to predict that most nights will be somewhat chilly. Not everyone lives on the East Coast, and those celebrating Yom Tov in Florida, Eretz Yisroel, or even Dubai would probably prefer to stick with refreshing white or rosé wines. However, my advice here is to choose wines that will be both tasty and easy to enjoy with the food, regardless of the weather.
A fine example of white wine to enjoy this year is the Psâgot Chardonnay 2021, a refined Israeli white wine made from grapes grown in the Jerusalem Mountains. A wine with many surprises, combining delicate flavors of golden apples and lemon with refreshing acidity and a creamy, nutty finish. It will considerably enhance the meal if served cold, with some baked salmon, or just slightly chilled if sipped alongside a veal neck roast.
The wines of Bordeaux are well-known and recognized for their understated elegance. The wines hailing from the Saint Julien appellation on the left bank of the Gironde River are no exception. The sommeliers and Masters of Wine characterize them as fragrant, firm and sophisticated. Pavillon de Léoville Poyferré 2020 is the second wine of the famous Château Léoville Poyferré. Unlike its “big brother,” which requires lots of patience to reach its optimal drinking maturity, the Pavillon is supple while approachable relatively young, drinking well in the first years following its release. However, it is certainly capable of aging for about a decade. This wine has a medium- to full-bodied mouthfeel with a silky texture; its black and blueberry aromas and earthy undertones will make it the star of the evening.
Mediterranean wines can pair with a large array of dishes and can be served in any weather. Please welcome and discover a prestigious estate from Tuscany to the kosher wine scene, which just released its first kosher wine, a Super Tuscan, which is quite adequate for a meal in the Sukkah or on Simchat Torah. The Villa Mangiacane Magnificus 2017 is an Italian blend made with estate-grown Sangiovese and Merlot grapes and was aged 12 months in oak barrels. The winery wanted to wait until the wine would be ready to drink. Therefore, the winery aged it in its cellars before releasing it just in time for Yom Tov. Sipped throughout a chilly evening with an osso bucco or with lunch on a mild afternoon with a charcuterie platter, this is a wine that keeps opening up, revealing layers of eye-opening, delicately fruity and savory flavors and aromas.
Northern California is not a Mediterranean country, although it is true that some of its subregions have a similar climate to parts of Italy, Spain and Israel. The Paso Robles AVA (American Viticultural Area) is where Herzog Wine Cellars sources their outstanding ripe and lush Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Winemaker Alicia Wilbur ferments the must of those grapes to craft the juicy, flavor-packed Herzog Variations Be-leaf Cabernet Sauvignon 2020, a CCOF-certified organic wine with no added sulfites. Serve it very slightly chilled if it’s a bit warm out. If the weather is cooler, serve it at standard red wine drinking temperature (60-65F). Let the celebrations begin.
Chag Sameach! L’chaim!
Gabriel Geller is director of public relations and wine education for Royal Wines.