Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wines for the Holiday: Passover

When most of us think about Passover wines, we think about the standard Manishewitz (Extra Heavy Malaga or Concord Grape) or Kedem wines that traditionally accompanied the Passover Seder. While some people still prefer those time-honored favorites, today’s wine lovers may want something more at their Passover tables.
Kosher wines have come a long way over the past few decades – literally. While Manishewitz and Kedem are both from the East Coast of the United States (Manishewitz is from New York), excellent kosher wines are now available from places as diverse as Israel, Argentina, France, Germany, Italy and Australia. And, while once the only choice for a reasonably good kosher wine was Baron Hertzog, now excellent kosher wines are quite common, even with names that sound decidedly un-kosher, such as “Don Guillermo de Mendoza.”

Port Washington’s many excellent wine stores, including Bottles, Black Tie, and Main Street Wines are offering an array of kosher for Passover wines, which will pair with anything you plan to serve.
Black Tie offered some tips on what to choose. As a general rule, choices of wine will be the same whether the wine is kosher or not, so generally red wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Merlot) pair best with meat, whites (Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc) pair best with poultry and fish.
Recommended Choices:
If you are serving brisket or meat – try Don Guillermo de Mendoza (from Argentina) Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec, priced at a reasonable $9 to $11 per bottle. Both wines are dry, with the Malbec possessing a bouquet of cherries, berries and mature figs. The Cabernet has been described as having a voluptuous and full-bodied bouquet with hints of cherry and mint. Either would be suitable with a brisket or beef dinner.
If you are serving chicken – try Recanti (from Israel's Upper Galilee region) Chardonnay. At $15, it is a perfect mid-priced kosher table wine. Described as pale straw gold colored, this wine is full bodied with a long smooth finish that will complement a poultry dish. Serve this wine chilled.
If you are a guest and want to bring a bottle: Splurge on Shoresh 2008, a blend of 90-percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 10-percent Syrah, with flavors of dark fruit and spices. This wine from the Judean Hills of Israel was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels. The poor and rocky soil of the area forces the grape vines to fight to live, which results in concentrated grapes with an intense flavor. At $33 a bottle, it’s not inexpensive, but it is a great way to show your appreciation for a Seder invitation.
And of course, Manishewitz and Kedem are also available for those who want to stick with tradition.


Anonymous Wine Refrigerator said...

At a recent gathering with "foodie friends," we brought both a Riesling and Prosecco to try with the two recipes in this column. The group was split. The majority liked the Riesling with the smoked trout pâté and liked the Italian sparkler with the shrimp canapé. These wines give you the flexibility of offering your guests either a sparkler and a still wine (or both!) at your holiday gathering. These wines are both versatile and go with a broad variety of food, making them a good choice for the holidays.

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