8 Kosher Wine Ideas for Your Passover Seder

The world of kosher wines has changed dramatically over the last several years, which means that whether you’re hosting Passover or you’re a guest at someone else’s seder, picking out wine can be daunting. Here are 8 wines—one sparkling, three white, and four red—that you should feel comfortable opening for the holiday. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

8 Kosher Wines For Passover

As I discussed with The Swirl Suite a couple of weeks ago, the world of kosher wines has changed dramatically over the last several years, which means that whether you’re hosting Passover or you’re a guest at someone else’s seder, picking out wine can be daunting. Here are 8 wines—one sparkling, three white, and four red—that you should feel comfortable opening for the holiday.

SPARKLING

Deccolio Prosecco – At $14, this kosher sparkling wine from Italy is simple, food-friendly, and refreshing. It’s worth checking out, even if you’re not looking for a kosher wine. Rating 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Deccolio Prosecco

The Deccolio Prosecco (winery) was a kosher sparkling wine from Italy that is perfect for both the kosher and non-kosher bubbly fan. It was light golden yellow with a lot of good bubbles. Both on the noise and in the mouth, this sparkler had a lot of Granny Smith apples, oranges, and hints of white flowers and honey. It’s simple, food-friendly, and refreshing, and won’t break the bank. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $14.

WHITES

Ben Ami Chardonnay -- At $10, this kosher Chardonnay from Israel is a nice white wine that would be nice both as an every day wine and as one to open on the holiday. It pairs well with roasted chicken or is enjoyable on its own. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Ben Ami Chardonnay

The Ben Ami Chardonnay (snooth) was from Israel and made with 100% Chardonnay grapes. It has a medium lemon-yellow color. This wine is all about tropical fruits—pineapple, guava, and hints of nectarine and lime on the nose with pineapple, honeydew and hints of lime, guava, and mango in the mouth. The wine had a medium body and bright acidity that made for a nice pairing with roasted chicken and mashed potatoes. I gave this wine 4 stars on Vivino and purchased it for $10.

Flam Blanc – At $28, this white wine blend from Israel is full of flavor. Whether you’re looking for a wine to pair with a turkey dinner or to enjoy over a steaming bowl of mazto ball soup, this wine is a fantastic option. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Flam Blanc

The Flam Blanc (winery, snooth) was an Israeli white wine blend that tasted full of limes, pineapples, and Granny Smith apples with hints of wet stone.  The wine had a light body and high acidity. It’s a fantastic food wine, just begging to be paired with a turkey dinner, but would also be nice with matzo balls or kugel. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased if for $28.

Makom Grenache Blanc – At $30, this kosher white wine from California would please any crowd, kosher or not. It’s light-to-medium bodied with an acidity that makes it perfect for opening for a holiday dinner. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Makom Grenache Blanc

The Makom Grenache Blanc (winery) was made by Hajdu Wines. It was a beautiful lemon color with bright citrus, green apple, and something floral on the nose. In the mouth, the lemons were more like lemon curd mixed with apples, wet stone, and a hint of salinity. The wine had a light-to-medium body with good acid. It was a very fresh tasting that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. I gave this wine 4.5 stars on Vivino and purchased it for $30.

REDS

Casa De Cielo Reserve Malbec/Syrah – At $10, this kosher red wine is from Chile and has a quality/price ratio that would be difficult to match. It is a beautiful medium-bodied, well-balanced that is enjoyable on its own or perfect with a grilled London broil and polenta fries. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Casa De Cielo Reserve Malbec/Syrah

The Casa De Cielo Reserve Malbec/Syrah was Kosherwine.com’s private label, so it can only be purchased from their website. The wine was a blend from the Maule Valley in Chile. It was a beautiful medium-bodied, well-balanced red with blackberries and hints of cocoa dust and roses on the nose and blackberries, dark plums, tobacco and hints of cocoa and smoke in the mouth. While I enjoyed the wine on its own, it was absolutely gorgeous with a grilled London broil and polenta fries. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $10.

2011 LaTour Netofa Red – At $35 a bottle, this red wine from Israel is versatile kosher wine that offers a lot in a single glass. It can be used to accompany a holiday meal or just enjoyed on its own while talking the night away. Give it time to breath, and you won’t be disappointed. Rating 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2011 LaTour Netofa Red

The LaTour Netofa Red was is a full-bodied wine made from a blend of Mourvèdre and Syrah grapes. Both the nose and mouth were full of blueberries, blackberries, nutmeg, as well as hints of tea leaves, black pepper, dark chocolate, and dried roses. This was a wine that tasted like it was made to enjoy over a holiday meal with family and friends. I gave it 4.5 corks and purchased it for $35.

2014 Hajdu Wines Brobdinagian Petite Sirah – At $50, this kosher red wine from California is big, beautiful, and defies all the stereotypes about kosher wines. It’s still a touch young, but had nice fruit flavors and was delicious when paired with food. Definitely a wine worthy of a holiday occasion. Ratings 4.5 out 5 stars | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Hajdu Wines Brobdingnagian Petit Sirah

The Hajdu Wines Brobdingnagian Petite Sirah (winery) was a big and beautiful. It has nice fruit flavors and was delicious when paired with both a Florentine bistecca and chocolate chip meringue cookies. I actually brought this wine to a BYOB wine lunch with some diverse wine lovers, and not only did no one guess that it was a kosher wine, but also everyone loved it and went back for me. I gave this wine 5 stars on Vivino and purchased it for $50.

2012 Gva'ot Masada – At $80, this kosher red wine from Israel is a special occasion wine worth putting on your holiday table regardless of whether or not you keep kosher. It’s a big, bold, seductive wine that lingers in the mouth, calling for great food, conversation, and another sip. Rating 5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Gva’ot Masada

The Gva’ot Masada was the epitome of a special occasion wine, and I’m in love it. This wine as all about blackberries, black currants, and dark plums mixed with a smokey earthiness, and the slightest touches of dark chocolate, thyme, and blueberries. It was full-bodied with grippy tannins. with a medium-to-full body and nice tannins. This is a seductive wine that lingers in the mouth, calling for great food, conversation, and another sip. I gave it 5 corks and purchased it for $80.

Question of the Day: If you celebrate Passover, have you picked out your wines?  What are you planning on serving? And, where do you tend to buy your kosher wines?

Levo Mint – A Sexy California Red

Monday, February 13 was one of those days that got a late start, so it fooled me. I had some emails to answer before my 10:30am staff meeting, but all seemed quiet…until it wasn’t. Halfway through the staff meeting, my email started to blow up. From there, I spent much of my day running from congressional office to congressional office, meeting with staff on a vote that was announced for that week. I enjoy the busy days, but this one shifted from busy to chaotic, which isn’t quite as fun. The benefit of having email on my phone, though, is that once things moved back from chaotic to busy, I was able to make it to my spin class before heading home to open a bottle of wine and pack for my work trip to Nashville.

2013 Levo Mint – At $36, this red wine from California is an incredibly sexy wine that is worth every penny. It’s big and bold enough to enjoy on its own, while turning sultry when paired with food. It’s a luscious wine that will call into question your self-restraint, but leave you with no regrets. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Levo Mint

The 2013 Levo Mint (winery) is a red wine blend from California. On the nose, there were blackberries and cigars mixed with hints of black cherry and vanilla. In the mouth, there were blackberries and black cherries with a cigar box and hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. The wine was medium-to-ful bodied with medium tannins and high acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $36, this is an incredibly sexy wine that is worth every penny. I sipped away at my first glass while packing for my trip. And, while it was delicious, the wine only got better from there. I paired the second glass with Hubby’s slow cooker BBQ pork and grits. There was something about the BBQ that enhanced the depth and smokiness of the wine, making the meal sultry and delicious. I couldn’t get enough. Admittedly, the third glass was just gluttonous, but I was enjoying it too much to have self restraint. All in all, it was a wine worth the indulgence.

November 2016's Wine Bloggers' Conference Scholarship Fund Wine Club shipment | AGlassAfterWork.com

November 2016’s Wine Bloggers’ Conference Scholarship Fund Wine Club shipment

As a side note, the Levo Mint was one of three wines I received as part of “The Wine Bloggers’ Conference Scholarship Fund Wine Club.” This wine club is just $99, and 50% of the profits are donated back to the WBC Scholarship Fund. The scholarship helps wine bloggers attend the annual Wine Bloggers’ Conference, which long-time readers know I think is an invaluable experience for every wine blogger.  The wine club also has a private Facebook group and, since several participants are also wine bloggers there are a number of people blogging about, tweeting about, and holding live tastings of these wines.  So, if you wanted to add a social component to your membership, there are many ways to do that.

So far, I’ve been in love with every wine I’ve received through the club. There are four shipments of three wines from boutique California wineries (we’ve received two shipments/six wines). If you’re looking for an inexpensive, charitable wine club that is going to give you some truly fantastic wines that you probably wouldn’t know about on your own…this is the wine club for you.  Check it out!

Question of the Day: Do you drink wines or belong to wine clubs that donate some of the profits to charity? Do those donations make you more likely to buy the wine or join the club?

Price: $36
Purchased at The Wine Bloggers’ Conference Scholarship Fund Wine Club
Overall: 5 Corks

WBC16 Pre-Conference (Part 3): Murrieta’s Well Estate Vineyard

Murrieta’s Well Estate Vineyards – Ranging from $24-$30, these 3 wines from the Livermore Valley in California are all small production and absolutely delicious. There was one rosé wine, one white wine, and one red wines, and none of them should missed. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Murrieta’s Well Estate Vineyards – Ranging from $24-$30, these 3 wines from the Livermore Valley in California are all small production and absolutely delicious. There was one rosé wine, one white wine, and one red wines, and none of them should missed. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

The view of Murrieta's Well and the picnic area fro the tasting room balcony

The view of Murrieta’s Well and the picnic area fro the tasting room balcony

The second day of the pre-conference excursion in Livermore Valley Wine Country started off at the Murrieta’s Well Estate Vineyard. We were greeted by Carolyn Wente, fourth generation winegrower and CEO of the Wente Family Estates, as the vineyard is owned by the family even though it is a separate vineyard and has it’s own winemaker.

Murrieta's Well

Murrieta’s Well

As we stood outside, Ms. Wente explained that the property was pays homage to Joaquin Murrieta (also know as the Robin Hood of El Dorado) who discovered it in the 1800s while he was in California looking for his fortune during the California Gold Rush. Murrieta used to water his horses from a well in the area.  On the current estate, “Murrieta’s Well” taps into a fresh underground spring.

Our breakfast and tasting table setup

Our breakfast and tasting table setup

After learning about the history of the property, we saw the newly renovated wine-club-members-only patio, which is gorgeous with its backdrop of the vineyard and mountains, and the new tasting room, which is sleek and modern while still being warm and inviting. The tasting room also has a balcony overlooking the picnic area and Murrieta’s Well.  Then, we headed to the event space for breakfast and a brief wine tasting. The room was lined with barrels and had sparkling chandeliers. From the moment I walked in, I couldn’t help but think that it would be the perfect site for a wedding reception.

Wine Blogger Breakfast of Champions

Wine Blogger Breakfast of Champions

Then it was time to eat!  Normally, when I think of breakfast and wine, I automatically think sparkling (as I’m sure is the case with most people). So, I have to admit that I was very skeptical about the morning pairings because there wasn’t a sparkling wine to be seen. Instead, we had the 2015 Murrieta’s Well Dry Rosé, 2014 The Whip, and 2013 The Whip…and wow, did I learn that regular wine can be as good (if not better) with breakfast food.

2015 Murrieta's Well Dry Rosé - At $30, this rosé wine from California is a little pricey, but worth the splurge. It’s the type of wine you’ll want to open for night relaxing on the porch or an intimate gather with friends. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Murrieta’s Well Dry Rosé

2015 Murrieta’s Well Dry Rosé
Price: $30
Grapes: 55% Grenache & 45% Counoise
Cases produced: 400
Medium-to-dark pink
Strawberries and stone fruits on the nose
Strawberries, grapefruits, and roses in the mouth
Light-to-medium body with nice acidity
Pairing: Absolutely amazing with the scrambled eggs with chives
Overall, loved this wine, but do think it’s a little pricey for a rosé
4.5 Corks

2014 The Whip– At $24, this white wine blend from California will blow you away. It’s nicely balanced, easy to drink, and is a perfect pairing option for appetizers, dinner, or just talking with friends and family. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com 2014 The Whip

2014 The Whip

2014 The Whip
Price: $24
Grapes: 29% Semillon, 27% Chardonnay, 18% Sauvignon Blanc, 12% Orange Muscat, 8% Muscat Canelli, and 6% Viognier
Cases produced: 260
Medium straw yellow
Whoa flower blossoms! They mix with limes, stone fruits, and honeydew melon on the nose
Flowers, tropical fruits, and melon mix with tart citrus in the mouth
Medium body with nice acidity and hint of creamy sweetness
Pairing: Delicious with my strawberries and pineapple
Overall, I tend to be skeptical of white blends with this many grapes, but I was completely blown away by this wine. It’s nicely balanced, easy to drink, and definitely a wine I would pick on my own.
4 Corks

2013 The Spur– At $30, this red wine blend from California is worth every penny. Every sip will make you want to sigh and go back for more. Plus, it pairs beautiful with food; think meats of all kinds. Rating: 5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 The Spur

2013 The Spur
Price: $30
Grapes: 40% Petite Sirah, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 8% Malbec
Cases produced: 345
Medium-to-deep ruby with flecks of purple
Juicy dark cherries, blueberries, and nutmeg mixed with chocolate dust, pepper, and damp earth both on the nose and in the mouth
Medium-to-full body with good acidy and strong tannins
Pairing: This wine was made to be paired with bacon and sausage. I couldn’t get enough of the pairing…taking a bite of one then sipping my wine and sighing before going back for more.
Overall, this is a not-to-be-missed wine. I wish I had more time to luxuriate over this wine.
5 Corks

murrietas-well-estate-vineyard-instagramMy final thought is that Murrieta’s Well Estate Vineyard is intimate, beautiful, and welcoming, and the wines were absolutely wonderful. I enjoyed everything so much that I’m actually contemplating joining the 4-bottle wine club. If Hubby and I lived closer, joining wouldn’t even be a question because there would be few things as enjoyable spending our weekends on the patio while noshing and sipping their outstanding wine.

**It seems like Murrieta’s Well wines have been a big hit with other bloggers too. To read some other thoughts, check out:

Question of the Day: What are your thoughts about wine and breakfast/brunch? Do you tend to gravitate towards sparkling or do you order still wines?

Snowzilla Day 1: A Few Inches and a Bouchaine Cabernet

Snowzilla 2016: Day 1 -- Our backyard as the snow started and then again around 7:30pm, along with our last measure of the night.

Snowzilla 2016: Day 1 — Our backyard as the snow started and then again around 7:30pm, along with our last measure of the night.

**Here is my blog post about Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 1), Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 2)Snowzilla Day 3and Snowzilla Day 4**

As Monday January 18 started, so did the rumblings that DC might get a really big snowstorm at the end of the week. In fact, everyone was so focused on Friday’s impending storm that very little attention was paid to the 1-3 inches that were predicted for mid-week. Thankfully, I walk to work, so I wasn’t one of the unfortunate Washingtonians who had more than a 7-hour drive home on icy, untreated roads, but I definitely heard the stories. The debacle of Wednesday started panic about what was in store for the more than 2 feet of snow that was expected later in the week. By the time Friday rolled around, my office decided we could all work from home in the morning and then we would close in the afternoon when the federal government closed.

The snow started around 1:30pm, and by the time we did our last shoveling of the night, there were still only a few inches on the ground. However, like most Washingtonians, we were prepared for Snowzilla. We made sure there was enough “snow day” type food, but also some well-planned out wine options. On that first night, Hubby made homemade tomato sauce with brown rice pasta, and I opened up a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from one of my wine clubs that I’d been saving.

2012 Bouchaine Landucci Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – At $70, this small production red wine from is a great option for special occasions. It’s easy to drink, very food friendly, and incredibly delicious. Cheers! Ratings 5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.comThe 2012 Bouchaine Landucci Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (winery) is from the Combsville area of Napa, California. The wine was a deep purple color. On the nose, there were a lot of dark fruits–black plums, blackberries, and black cherries–mixed with a hint of baking spices. In the mouth, there were black plums and cherries mixed with cinnamon and hints of nutmeg and smoke. The wine was full bodied with good acid and tannins.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $70, there is no doubt that this wine is expensive, but it’s also absolutely delicious. Only 505 cases were produced, so it’s small production, and it’s a wine that is very enjoyable now, but also has enough structure and flavor that it could be cellared for at least another 5 years. Unfortunately, when I went to go buy another couple of bottles to hold onto for a while, it looks like the winery is already sold out.

Spaghetti and sauce for Snowzilla night 1The wine was one I drank leisurely through the first night of the blizzard. It was a nice accompaniment to Hubby’s homemade sauce, and it was the perfect for cuddling up on the couch in front of a fire after our last round of shoveling for the night.

Overall, at this price range, this is a special occasion type of wine. And, if you’re looking for that special bottle, particularly one to go with a hearty meal or vibrant conversation, this is a wine you should consider.

Question of the Day:  Do you live in an area that gets a lot of snow?  Is alcohol something that you stock up on in your snowstorm preparations?  What’s your go-to snow day choice?

Price: $70
Purchased at Bouchaine Vineyards Wine Club
Overall: 5 Corks

What are you waiting for…it’s Open That Bottle Night!

Most of the wines I open for an everyday drinking are $20 or less.  However, since the move, I’ve found myself opening wines that I’ve been holding onto for unknown reasons.  I think packing everything up and seeing some of the great wines that I was holding onto for an unknown reasons left me wanting to just open and enjoy them all just for the sheer joy of enjoying fantastic wine.  Four out of the five wines I’ve reviewed since the big move have cost more than $30.  The most expensive one was an $80 bottle that I had been saving for almost five years.

Let’s be honest with each other, though…not only do I not normally open an $80 Malbec on a random Sunday night while I was baking cookies…neither do you.  But, there is something liberating and fun about throwing caution to the wind and opening that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a yet-to-be-determined “special event.”  And, that is why Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher started Open That Bottle Night.

Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) takes place on the last Saturday in February, and it’s all about opening a bottle of wine that is special.  It could be a bottle that you bought on a  special vacation or it may be the most expensive bottle you’ve ever purchased.  Regardless, it’s that wine that stares at you every time you look at your wine rack and leaves you thinking “is today the perfect day?”

For me, I’m ending my crazy run of opening expensive, non-everyday wines on OTBN (and before I drink all of the special bottles I own).  I’m also participating in a blog hop with several other fantastic wine bloggers that I met last summer at the Wine Bloggers Conference (special thanks to Anne at Odd Ball Grape for organizing!).  With that in mind, it seemed only appropriate to open a wonderful wine that I bought in Santa Ynez, California at Bridlewood Estate Winery on the last day of the conference.

2009 Bridlewood Estate Winery Syrah

2009 Bridlewood Estate Winery Reserve Syrah

The 2009 Bridlewood Estate Winery Reserve Syrah (winery, snooth) is from Santa Ynez, California and is made with 100% Syrah grapes.  The wine was a deep clear purple with a bright ruby rim.  On the nose, there were black cherries, black licorice, and nutmeg mixed with the slightest hint of violets, black pepper, and earthiness.  In the mouth, there were black cherries, black licorice, dark chocolate, and hints of espresso, leather, and violets.  The wine had a full-body, good acidity, and strong tannins.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $50 a bottle, this wine is not cheap, but it’s worth the extra price if you’re looking for a wine that is a little extra special.  It’s what I look for in a big, bold red wine.  It has a nice complexity that makes it enjoyable to drink on its own, but also is wine that pairs nicely food, particularly with Hubby’s pork chops.

Question of the Day:  Did you participate in Open That Bottle Night?  If so, what did you indulge in?

Price: $50
Purchased at Bridlewood Estate Winery
Overall: 5 Corks