10 years ago, Hubby agreed to spend our third date at my Passover seder with 20 of my closest friends in DC, only two of whom he’d met a few weeks earlier. Most of my friends weren’t Jewish, so I’d hoped that would help put him at ease, since he also isn’t Jewish. Still, it was an intimidating scene for him to walk in on. Those seders had been a long-standing tradition before we met, and continued even after we were together. He always helped me host, even though it wasn’t a holiday that had religious meaning to him, because it served as a Spring Thanksgiving for my DC family and was important to me. I would invite everyone over, regardless of religion. We would read the Haggadah, eat my Passover food, and drink a lot more than the 4 glasses of wine called for in the Haggadah.
For a variety of reasons, Hubby and I haven’t done the big Passover meal for awhile, but we’ve continued to have wonderful Passovers. This year, when we realized it was the first time in awhile that we didn’t have plans, he offered to make a special dinner so we could celebrate. We bought a turkey breast, since he’s not a fan of brisket. I made some knaidels (a modified version of what my Nana used to make), and Hubby made a “modern” potato kugel. And, of course, ever seder has to have wine…and I happened to have both a bottle of white and a bottle of red.
The 2013 Flam Blanc (winery, snooth) is from the Judean Hills in Israel and is made from 55% Sauvignon Blanc and 45% Chardonnay grapes. The wine was a light lemon yellow with a few small bubbles lingering on the bottom of the glass. On the nose, there were limes, pineapples, and Granny Smith apples. In the mouth, there were limes and Granny Smith apples with hints of pineapple and wet stone. The wine had a light body and high acidity.
Purchased at: Kosherwine.com
Overall: 4 Corks
The 2010 Shiloh Secret Reserve Merlot (winery, snooth) is from the Judean Hills in Israel and had a deep ruby color. On the nose, there were blackberries, cocoa dust, and instant espresso with hints of earth, cedar, and dark plums. In the mouth, there were blackberries, cocoa dust, and dark plums with hints of cedar and nutmeg. The wine had a medium-to-full body, medium-to-high acidity, and medium-to-full tannins.
Purchased at: Kosherwine.com
Overall: 4.5 Corks
Final Thoughts: The Flam Blanc was fantastic with the meal. The high acidity cut right through the fat in the matzo balls and the heaviness of the kugel, as well as served as the perfect compliment to the turkey. It kept my mouth refreshed, so that each bite after a sip emphasized the flavors of the food all over again. If I didn’t know better, I would think this wine was made with a turkey dinner in mind (and yes, you should think about putting this on your Thanksgiving wine list).
The Shiloh Secret Reserve Merlot, on the other hand, was a brooding wine that also paired well with the turkey and potatoes. Unlike the Flam, which kept the food tasting fresh, the Shiloh enhanced the spices of the meal, giving it a deeper flavor. It made for slower eating and savoring. This is a wine that that was gorgeous with dinner in 2014, but is also a wine that I would love to open again in 2018 or 2019. It has characteristics that I think will age nicely, and at this price range, it wouldn’t cost too much extra to cellar a bottle or two.
That all said, the reality is both of these wines are out of the “everyday” price range for most of us, but the unfortunate reality is that kosher wines are often $10-$15 more expensive than their non-kosher equivalents. If you keep kosher or are just willing to pay the a little more for a good wine, these are two wines that are worth it. The Flam Blanc made for a better pairing with the meal, while the Shiloh Secret Reserve Merlot was the slightly better all-around wine. Overall, though, they were both fantastic.
Question of the Day: What did you open for your seder on the first night of Passover?