Last year, while putting together my Passover 2011 Top 5 Kosher wine list, I realized I was sorely lacking in white and sparkling wine recommendations. In fact, not only were all of my recommendations red wines, they were all Israeli red wines. What was most unfortunate about this was that it wasn’t from a lack of trying non-Israeli, non-red wines. It was just that none of them were any good. On some level, it makes sense that Israeli winemakers are rocking the kosher wine market, but that didn’t change my desire to branch out a little. So, I spent the last year on a mission to find good kosher wines from elsewhere in the world, particularly ones that were sparkling or white and help round out my kosher wine options.
My quest paid off. While I still prefer kosher reds to kosher bubbly and kosher whites, I found a few California and Italian options to add to my recommendations. That said, I still feel I have a dearth of kosher white-and-sparkling wine recommendations, which means my search continues. If you have any ideas, please share them by leaving a comment or sending me an email.
The first night of Passover is two weeks away, so as you start thinking about your menu and your wine options, here are my Passover 2012 Top 5 kosher wine recommendations:
The Borgo Reale Prosecco is a mevushal sparkling wine from Italy. It had light citrus and yeast aromas that were mixed with a hint of apple. The sparkler paired nicely with fish, but was particularly enjoyable when mixed with some orange juice. That makes this sparkler a fun addition to the Passover Seder, as well as a good way to celebrate the guests leaving on Sunday morning. I gave this bubbly 3 corks and purchased it for $18.
The 2008 Bartenura Nebbiolo was made with 100% certified organic Nebbiolo grapes. It had a nice mix of red fruits and violets, along with a hint of tobacco that gave the wine a slightly different character. It’s very food-friendly and will go particularly with Italian dishes like my spinach matzo lasagna. I have this wine 3.5 corks and, while it was a sample, it retails for about $17.
The 2009 Covenant Lavan Chardonnay had nice complexity, good balance, and the slightest hint of oak. There were good citrus fruits mixed with pears, apricots, and vanilla, as well as a hint of ginger and cloves that gave the wine a nice complexity. It was food-friendly and would be a nice way to start of a Passover dinner, but it also drinks well on its own if you just want to enjoy it with guests before sitting down to start the Sedar. I gave this wine 4 Corks and purchased it for $37.
The 2008 Golan Heights Winery Cabernet Sauvignon was made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Black fruits dominated the wine, and it had a nice smoothness and balance to it. The wine promised to age nicely and is one that I can’t wait to pair with my Nana’s brisket. I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $16.
The 2007 Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon is a California Cabernet that will knock your socks off, whether you’re looking for a kosher wine or not. It was full of cedar, smoke, and black fruits, but also had hints of spices that gave it a complexity that was particularly enjoyable. The wine was food-friendly, so it would be perfect for a Seder or holiday dinner, but it’s so luscious and tantalizing, that it’s also quite enjoyable on its own. While the fruit characteristics dominate right now, I think this is a wine that will age nicely over the next 10 years, so be sure to buy a bottle to enjoy now and one to open in the future. I think it will be worth the wait. I gave this wine 5 corks and purchased it for $70.
Question of the Day: Have you started thinking about your Passover or Easter wines yet?