June 6, 2024
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Wines of the World for Shavuos

First, a note about the title. Shavuos is the celebration of Matan Torah. The Torah is eternal, and the Jewish people have maintained their attachment and observance of Torah for thousands of years, wherever in the world they found themselves. B”H, nowadays we have kosher wines from most of the world’s prime wine regions. Kosher wines from Italy, France, California and, of course, Israel, are a testimony that wherever Jewish people go, they bring and remain faithful to the Torah and its laws. While we all aspire for our redemption in our homeland, it is also fitting to rejoice for Shavuos with kosher wines from different regions throughout the world.

While its wine industry is a modern iteration, Eretz Yisrael is considered one of the most ancient wine-producing countries. Fueled by a respect for tradition and passion for innovation, Israeli wineries such as Shiloh make some of the most intriguing wines. Shiloh’s brand new Chenin Blanc is a great example, with a great balance between the grape’s typical pear and stone fruit aroma, with the complexity and viscosity resulting from the aging in oak barrels.

One of the oldest and most wine-making countries is Italy. A growing number of high quality kosher wines are made in all of the traditional regions, including Tuscany, Piedmont, and Sicilia, to name only a few. In Tuscany’s Chianti appellation, there are two fully kosher, Jewish-owned wineries: Terra di Seta, and Cantina Giuliano. Terra di Seta makes Chianti Classico wines that have won worldwide critical acclaim every year. More recently, they have added a flagship wine named Guiduccio, which is a super Tuscan, a blend of both local Tuscan varieties such as sangiovese and international varieties such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Superbly complex and laden with Italian character, it is a wine well befitting a Yom Tov table.

Different in style but quite delicious too, the Magnificus is another super Tuscan to put on your radar. It is made by Villa Mangiacane, a landmark Italian estate that is Jewish-owned, as well. Cantina Giuliano, the realization of a dream combining family legacy and Jewish tradition, makes a terrific Vermentino. It is a refreshing white wine loaded with citrus and herbaceous notes that will accompany Shavuos dairy and fish dishes beautifully.

From Spain, there is the Cohen-Aleta family of Elvi wines, who have revived Jewish wine making more than 500 years after the expulsion of the Jews. Famous for their great Rioja and their estate-produced and grown wines Clos Mesorah and EL26, Elvi also makes the Herenza White, a great value under $20 for a delightful and unique white wine with lime, white peach and straw notes with pleasant bitter lemon peel characteristics on the finish. A must-try with baked salmon.

We could go on and on, but our last stop will be in the New World, specifically in South Africa. There, the talented husband-and-wife duo Josh and Chana Rynderman of ESSA Wine Co. have raised the quality bar to new heights. Their Petit Verdot is perfect to experience this lesser-known variety with your fleishig Yom Tov meals. Bold yet round and velvety, the ESSA Petit Verdot showcases notes of ripe blueberries, purple plums, and tobacco leaves with big tannins to match a juicy roast.

Chag Sameach, l’chaim!


Gabriel Geller is director of public relations and wine education for Royal Wines.

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