Religion & Beliefs

Raise a glass! L’Chaim! (No, really.)

At a bris not long ago, a guest of a guest suspiciously eyed a bottle of kosher wine and asked me if it was "good". If you think grape jelly with the kickback of supermarket-brand vodka is "good" then, yeah, … Read More

By / October 3, 2007

At a bris not long ago, a guest of a guest suspiciously eyed a bottle of kosher wine and asked me if it was "good". If you think grape jelly with the kickback of supermarket-brand vodka is "good" then, yeah, totally. (That said, there is something familiar and comforting about a sippy of Manischewitz on Shabbes.) She sipped, made a noise of approval and then declared it made her jones a bit for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have a bad taste in their mouths about kosher wine (sorry, that was a lame joke), but, really, there are some great kosher wines out there. Here are a few to try.

Hagafen Cabernet Sauvignon, 2002, from Napa is a good, heavy red, which usually retails for around $40. I buy a lot of Yarden Merlot, 2002, from Israel, for about $25-$30 a bottle, which goes well with a wide variety of pastas and spicy foods (which I love). Arbanel Brut Cremant D'Alsace is a great light kosher sparkling white wine, which you can usually pick up for around twenty bucks. In fact, most of the Arbanel family of wines are pretty good. Try the pinot blanc, the reisling for a bit sweeter wine, or the pinot noir. Baron Herzog's Special Reserve Chardonnay, 2003, is another good one, that I usually serve with hummous, pita, babaganouj and the like. Recanti wines are pretty solid and reliably good, too. Try the Merlot or the Cabernet Sauvignon, my personal favorite of the two. New Zeland's Goose Bay Pinot Noir is not a bad choice, either, and it's usually only about $20 a bottle. For a real treat (and about $50 a bottle) give the Chateau Rollan de By Bourgeois a try. It's heavy and spicy and really quite good.

To stay in-the-know about what's what in kosher wines, check out The Kosher Wine Review, The Kosher Wine Guy, and Wine.com's Kosher wine section, including their informational section on meshuval and what makes a wine kosher. Some good reading on the subject can be found in Maurie Rosenberg's L'Chaim: Users Guide to Kosher Wine 1.0, and though it doesn't deal exclusively with kosher wines, Rogov's 2007 Guide to Israeli Wine is an interesting read. And, with all that information under your belt, you can even join the Kosher Wine Society. Mmm, and here are a few kosher goodies to pair with your new wine collection.

* Also in Jewcy: Sure, the Holy Land's got terror. But does it have terroir? Max Gross samples Israel's best wines.