Move Over, Manischewitz! Kosher Wine For Grown-Ups

Chai, everyone!

Chai, everyone!

For years, kosher wine has been synonymous with syrupy sweet – almost grape jam-like – wine. Some people love it and some people force the stuff down their gullet for the sake of tradition, religion or making grandma’s dry potato kugel palatable.

But wine lovers no longer have to hope Elijah downs their glasses before they get to the gefilte fish. Vintners the world over are producing stand-alone kosher wines that any wine aficionado will really want to drink – any time of year.

I’ve highlighted a few of them below, but this post is – by no means – exhaustive. Perhaps all of these great kosher wines give us reason to be thankful that Passover lasts eight nights. Kosher wine tasting, anyone?

– Departing from our regular focus, this piece does not concentrate specifically on value wines, although some are included in this list –

* Bartenura: Italy ($10-$25). Admittedly, I am the last person who would ever expect to see an Italian kosher wine. But I’m certainly not complaining! From the land of the Blackshirts, we have Bartenura – makers of mostly whites, astis and spumantis. So bring some bubbly to Bubbe! She’ll positively plotz.

* Abarbanel: France ($10-$30). Produced by one the world’s oldest Jewish families, the Abarbanel clan can trace its lineage all the way back to ancient Israel. I guess you could call them the OGs of Oenology. They offer a wide variety of wines (including Cremant) at an assortment of price points. Doesn’t that get you ready to take a tikn?

Backsberg wines

 

* Backsberg: S. Africa ($10-$30). No badkhan! Although it might be surprising to some folks, South Africa has been making wine for centuries and has developed a reputation as one of the impresarios of the New World regions. Backsberg, specifically, has been named one of Wine & Spirits’ Top 100 Wineries of the Year, they have won awards for their mentsh-tastic sustainable business practices and strive to produce highly “drinkable” wines.

* Five Stones: Australia ($15-$25). From the Beckett’s Flat folks in the Margaret River region of Australia, we have Five Stones wines. Offering a wide selection – certified by Kosher Australia, Kashrut Authority of Western Australia and the Orthodox Union USA, these wines are kosher, Mevushal – and guaranteed geshmak!

Baron Herzog: California ($10-$50). Good ol’ Baron Herzog. When Kadem was the only alternative to Manischewitz – and just as sugary – Herzog came on the scene and gave us grown-ups something different to wash down dry brisket. This is a solid, reliable and tasty choice,with a nicely varied selection of varietals and prices. If given as a gift, your hostess will think you’re haimesh.

Dalton: Israel ($12-$50). From the site: “The Dalton Winery is set in the beautiful green, mountainous country of the Upper Galilee, five kilometres from the Lebanese border, overlooking the Hermon Mountain.” These wines have been heavily influenced by Australian winemakers, although they are beginning to dabble in Old World styles for their premium selections. This is a relatively new winery, but they are already renowned for an excellent product.

Yarden wines

Yarden wines

Yarden: Israel ($10-$75+). For the sustainability-conscious seder we have Yarden Wines, from Golan Heights. Both kosher and organic, these wines offer something to please the most rabid rebbe to your shtetle’s strictest shicker. They’ll please your eco-fanatical friends, too!

Golan Heights: Israel ($15-$70). Bordeaux-inspired and gold-medal winning, these are weighty wines for real wine drinkers. No shlock here. Looking for a truly yummy way to celebrate your yontef? Get a few bottles for the whole mishpocha. You’ll come across like a macher, but everyone will be so busy drinking, they really won’t care.

Hagafen Cellars: Napa Valley, CA ($15-$150). Napa Valley and Jew-friendly, too? Oy! I could kvell. With bottles up to $150 or so, this is serious stuff; Manischewitz is to Hagafen what spoons are to the iPod. This ain’t your daddy’s syrupy shmaltz. Established in 1979, this is a gold-medal winning, family-run winery – and highly recommended.

Covenant wines

Covenant wines

Covenant: Napa Valley, CA ($25-$100+). According to Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate, Covenant makes the “finest kosher wines money can buy.” They employ both Old and New World techniques to create wines that consistently win awards and acclaim. The vintners, Jeff Morgan and Leslie Rudd, are bacchanalian balmalochas, for sure. And while their wines may cost a lot of gelt – gloib mir – they will be a delicious part of your celebration.

Zei gesund, dear drinkers! Hope your holidays – all of them, no matter what you’re celebrating – are joyous and delicious. L’Chaim!

* good wines at great value

Chai, everyone!For years, kosher wine has been synonymous with syrupy sweet – almost grape jam-like – wine. Some people love it and some people force the stuff down their gullet for the sake of tradition, religion or making grandma’s dry potato kugel palatable.
But wine lovers no longer have to hope Elijah downs their glasses before they get to the gefilte fish. Vintners the world over are producing stand-alone kosher wines that any wine aficionado will really want to drink – any time of year.
I’ve highlighted a few of them below, but this post is – by no means – exhaustive. Perhaps all of these great kosher wines give us reason to be thankful that Passover lasts eight nights. Kosher wine tasting, anyone?
– Departing from our regular focus, this piece does not concentrate specifically on value wines, although some are included in this list –
* Bartenura: Italy ($10-$25). Admittedly, I am the last person who would ever expect to see an Italian kosher wine. But I’m certainly not complaining! From the land of the Blackshirts, we have Bartenura – makers of mostly whites, astis and spumantis. So bring some bubbly to Bubbe! She’ll positively plotz.
* Abarbanel: France ($10-$30). Produced by one the world’s oldest Jewish families, the Abarbanel clan can trace its lineage all the way back to ancient Israel. I guess you could call them the OGs of Oenology. They offer a wide variety of wines (including Cremant) at an assortment of price points. Doesn’t that get you ready to take a tikn?

* Backsberg: S. Africa ($10-$30). No badkhan! Although it might be surprising to some folks, South Africa has been making wine for centuries and has developed a reputation as one of the impresarios of the New World regions. Backsberg, specifically, has been named one of Wine & Spirits’ Top 100 Wineries of the Year, they have won awards for their mentsh-tastic sustainable business practices and strive to produce highly “drinkable” wines.
* Five Stones: Australia ($15-$25). From the Beckett’s Flat folks in the Margaret River region of Australia, we have Five Stones wines. Offering a wide selection – certified by Kosher Australia, Kashrut Authority of Western Australia and the Orthodox Union USA, these wines are kosher, Mevushal – and guaranteed geshmak!
Baron Herzog: California ($10-$50). Good ol’ Baron Herzog. When Kadem was the only alternative to Manischewitz – and just as sugary – Herzog came on the scene and gave us grown-ups something different to wash down dry brisket. This is a solid, reliable and tasty choice,with a nicely varied selection of varietals and prices. If given as a gift, your hostess will think you’re haimesh.
Dalton: Israel ($12-$50). From the site: “The Dalton Winery is set in the beautiful green, mountainous country of the Upper Galilee, five kilometres from the Lebanese border, overlooking the Hermon Mountain.” These wines have been heavily influenced by Australian winemakers, although they are beginning to dabble in Old World styles for their premium selections. This is a relatively new winery, but they are already renowned for an excellent product.

Yarden winesYarden: Israel ($10-$75+). For the sustainability-conscious seder we have Yarden Wines, from Golan Heights. Both kosher and organic, these wines offer something to please the most rabid rebbe to your shtetle’s strictest shicker. They’ll please your eco-fanatical friends, too!
Golan Heights: Israel ($15-$70). Bordeaux-inspired and gold-medal winning, these are weighty wines for real wine drinkers. No shlock here. Looking for a truly yummy way to celebrate your yontef? Get a few bottles for the whole mishpocha. You’ll come across like a macher, but everyone will be so busy drinking, they really won’t care.
Hagafen Cellars: Napa Valley, CA ($15-$150). Napa Valley and Jew-friendly, too? Oy! I could kvell. With bottles up to $150 or so, this is serious stuff; Manischewitz is to Hagafen what spoons are to the iPod. This ain’t your daddy’s syrupy shmaltz. Established in 1979, this is a gold-medal winning, family-run winery – and highly recommended.

Covenant winesCovenant: Napa Valley, CA ($25-$100+). According to Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate, Covenant makes the “finest kosher wines money can buy.” They employ both Old and New World techniques to create wines that consistently win awards and acclaim. The vintners, Jeff Morgan and Leslie Rudd, are bacchanalian balmalochas, for sure. And while their wines may cost a lot of gelt – gloib mir – they will be a delicious part of your celebration.
Zei gesund, dear drinkers! Hope your holidays – all of them, no matter what you’re celebrating – are joyous and delicious. L’Chaim!
* good wines at great value

Posted on by Arianna Armstrong in Arianna's Wine Tasting Notes

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