Passover starts tomorrow night, which means I have a week of kosher wine drinking to look forward to. Admittedly, the thought of kosher wine used to make my stomach turn, but over the last few years I’ve started discovering that there are a few gems out there. This year, I have a few new ones to try. I’m particularly excited about the Ella Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the Covenant Chardonnay “Lavan.”
Before I get to those, though, I thought it would be fun to look back at my reviews of kosher wines from the last few years. One thing I realized is I need to find some good sparkling and white kosher wines because most of the ones I reviewed leave much to be desired. The red wines, on the other hand, regularly surprise me with their quality. The 5 kosher red wines that earned 3 or more corks are:
The 2006 Petit Castel (winery, snooth) was a blend of was Bordeaux blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot grapes. The wine had some complexity that made it particularly enjoyable. It was a bit pricey for not being outstanding, but it was a solid choice and one that could definitely go over well at a Passover Seder. I gave the wine 3 corks and purchased it $40.
The 2003 Carmel Kayoumi Shiraz (winery, snooth) was 100% Shiraz grapes and was a wonderful addition to last year’s Seder. The wine had a nice, big body. Not only were there black fruits and smoke, but also a touch of meatiness, followed by coffee grounds and a hint of leather. It was a wonderful food wine and worked perfectly in the charoset (chopped apples, ground walnuts, cinnamon, and wine) I made for the holiday. I gave the wine 3 corks and purchased it for $33.
The 2006 Bazelet HaGolan Cabernet Sauvignon (winery, snooth) was 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The wine had a nice black fruits, followed by hints of vanilla and olives. It had a good body, nice acidity, and was very food friendly. I actually reviewed the wine as part of Wine Blogging Wednesday #56, which was all about kosher wines. I posted about 4 wines, and the 2006 Bazelet HaGolan was by far the best. I gave the wine 4 corks and purchased it for $27.
The 2006 Galil Mountain Yiron (winery, snooth) was 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% merlot, and 5% Syrah grapes. The wine had a nice mix of black fruits, cloves, thyme, and cedar. It was a big wine, with medium-to-high acidity and tannins that definitely benefited from time to breathe. Once decanted, the wine’s harshness was really toned down, transferring it from one that needed to be paired with food, to one that was food-friendly, but also enjoyable on its own. I gave the wine 4 corks and purchased it for $20.
The 2008 Golan Heights Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (winery, snooth) was by far the best kosher wine I’ve reviewed over the last couple of years. It’s made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, and it dispels all of the stereotypes about kosher wines. It’s still a little young, so black fruits dominate the wine, but it has a surprising smoothness and promises to develop into a beautifully complex wine. Even if you’re not looking for something kosher to drink, this is worth picking up. It will definitely surprise you. I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $16.