September 26, 2023
September 26, 2023

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

‘Upping Our Wine Game’ for Rosh Hashanah

It’s a fun task to help select wines to pair with the many Yom Tov meals of the season. It’s an opportunity to elevate the holiday table with the best and most exciting wines that kosher has to offer, and in the spirit of the new season, to try new fruits, of course! With a mind to match wines with accompanying foods and/or the high energy at the Yom Tov table, here are a few of my most recent exciting tastes, which I hope will inspire you to pick up something new and different at the wine store or online.

The Claudio Quarta Vignaiolo Jacarando Brut Blanc de Blanc is a non-vintage sparkling white wine that costs $34.99. This is a lovely and light Italian bubbly, aromatic and pleasant, and a great accompaniment to simanim, salads and even sweet main courses. It is fruit forward, with a nose of pear and grapefruit, a bit floral and not too dry. I was happy to see this new wine coming to the kosher market from Claudio Quarta, which has wowed us in recent years with its unique-in-kosher Greco di Tufo wine, a fantastic aromatic white wine with wonderful aromas of apricot and other stone fruits.

For a sweet new year, I am going to continue making recommendations for those sweet wine enthusiasts among us with evangelism for the Herzog Late Harvest Orange Muscat 2022 ($24.99). This is a lushly fragrant dessert wine that I am finding many people enjoy as they are attempting to move on from the Bartenura blue bottle. It is a heavier wine in terms of viscosity, but it has a lot of beautiful flavor aromas from the muscat grape, and served cold it’s refreshing and zesty. If you are a committed blue bottle/sweet wine drinker, this is an excellent bottle to graduate to, and then after a few weeks of this intense sweetness you might be ready to try a very fruity new world sauvignon blanc.

… Speaking of great new world sauvignon blancs, probably one of the most exciting things to come out of California winemaking in a decade is that the non-kosher Mayacamas Vineyards in Napa Valley has started to create kosher runs of many more of their varieties, and négociant David Edelman, a former assistant winemaker for Hajdu Wines, even helped Mayacamas make their entire run of sauvignon blanc kosher in 2022. This fantastic white is on the more expensive side at $65, but it’s not just the bottle you’re paying for: this is a great opportunity to try a true great of California winemaking.

Mayacamas wines come from grapes grown on and around Mount Veeder, a very high-end American Viticulture Area (AVA), and a wine from Mayacamas was even part of the famed Judgment of Paris tasting in 1976 that is widely characterized as the moment that California winemaking “arrived” on the global winemaking map. (For a great book on this topic—non-fiction but reads like a novel—check out “The Judgment of Paris” by George Taber). This new chapter at Mayacamas in creating entire runs of Mayacamas varieties being made kosher is a good thing for the kosher wine world in general because it shows that as kosher keepers get more educated, they are more likely to buy interesting wines from historic makers. It’s likely no surprise that the winery was bought in 2017 by Jay Schottenstein, the Jewish owner of American Eagle Outfitters who is well known in Jewish philanthropic circles. These wines are primarily available online at The sauvignon blanc is a great lunch choice for salads and grilled chicken but for me, as a sauvignon blanc enthusiast, this is really a wine that goes with anything and everything, except food that is very spicy or heavy.

For those red wine drinkers among us, I have two great special occasion recommendations.

I really enjoyed the Twin Suns Horizon Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2021 ($69.99), which was just released. It is a velvety, rich, blue-fruit nosed and delicious red wine that is probably one of the best and most balanced and most concentrated American reds I have ever enjoyed. It was aged for 15 months in 75% new oak and 25% neutral oak barrels. For literally $100 less that the greatest kosher Napa Valley reds, this special wine region of Willamette Valley in Oregon proves the point that it is creating wines on par with the greatest standard of all—French burgundy. As I plan to write more on the great pinot noirs available globally in kosher in our upcoming Fall Food & Drink magazine, I won’t say too much more, but I am really happy that the kosher world now has access to wines from this incredible winemaking region, and grateful that the River and Twin Suns continues to distribute wines from these cool (literally and figuratively!) places.

Finally, for those who enjoy cabernet and only cabernet, this one’s for you: the Dalton Elkosh Cabernet Sauvignon 2021, at a very reasonable $44.99, packs a wonderful Israeli-red style punch without being a fruit bomb. This wine has a restrained nose of black fruit and a bit of oak, and is a great choice to go along with more savory fare on Rosh Hashanah, like brisket and non-sweet roasted chicken dishes. As Dalton is one of Israel’s most competent wineries, I find that the wines here are generally all very well made; any wine with the name Dalton on it is a good purchase. And what’s interesting about Dalton is that you could pay more for an Israeli cabernet, sure. But with a wine as solid as this, there’s really no need.

Whatever wines you choose to make Kiddush on this Yom Tov, I hope it will bring you joy and simcha!

Elizabeth Krantz is associate publisher/editor at The Jewish Link.

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