Kosher Wine Tasting for Passover, 2022
About Kosher Wine: There is nothing about the laws of creating a kosher bottle of wine that would differentiate the quality of the final product from a non-kosher one. Many fallacies abound regarding kosher wine but the simple fact is that kosher wine can be every bit as good — or bad — as a non-kosher wine. Kosher indicates nothing about the quality or lack thereof in a wine. It is simply a certification that the wine within the bottle has been supervised as a kosher production. We are blessed to live in an era where we are easily able to taste world-class kosher wines from many of the globe’s top wine regions.
So, What Makes it Kosher? You’ve likely heard the urban legend that a Rabbi must bless wine to confer a kosher status upon it. Well, you’ve heard wrong. In short, for wine to be considered kosher, the entire winemaking process from crushing to bottling must be handled by Sabbath-observant Jews and no non-kosher finings or additives may be included.
But nothing in Jewish law is ever so simple, so let’s go into greater detail.
Traditionally, wine holds a position of great importance in Jewish law and history and the accompanying Jewish law is significant. Intrinsically, wine needs to be made with only kosher ingredients. Grapes, of course, are always kosher in their natural state, but as with all kosher law, production is complicated and any finings or additives must be kosher, and in almost all cases, kosher for Passover.
Golan Heights Winery Yarden Gewurztraminer 2019 Galilee, Israel
THE WINE: The 2019 Yarden Gewurztraminer presents alluring lychee, passion fruit, melon, spice and honeysuckle notes. This complex medium-bodied wine is just off-dry and full of flavor.
Ready to enjoy now, Yarden Gewurztraminer improves in the bottle for some 18 months from harvest, and remains in good drinking condition for some three years from harvest. We like serving the wine as an aperitif, or pairing it with spicy Korean lamb ribs, red lentil Indian curry or sweet potato gnocchi.
THE VINTAGE: 2019 was yet another outstanding vintage in the Golan Heights. The season followed Israel’s wettest winter in years, ending five years of drought. An unusually cool spring ended abruptly with a warm May, followed by nicely average temperatures from June to mid-September. The harvest started slowly, with first fruits coming in on August 6. A heat wave on September 18-20 catapulted the vineyards’ ripening, followed by our second biggest harvest week ever. An unusually warm October kept the harvest in high gear until ending on October 23. Overall, another beautiful season in the Golan gave us another year of exceptional wines. The 2019 Yarden Gewurztraminer is produced solely from fruit grown in vineyards on the cool northern Golan Heights, an area acclaimed for its high-quality Gewurztraminer.
THE APPELLATION: The Galilee (or Galil) is the most northern, and generally considered the best, appellation in Israel. The highest quality area within the appellation is the Golan Heights (or simply the Golan), the coldest region in Israel. The vineyards on this volcanic plateau rise from 400 meters (1,300 feet) above sea level to 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) and receive snowfall in the winter. Golan Heights Winery is located in the town of Katzrin in the central Golan.
Golan Heights Winery Gilgal Cab. Sauv.-Merlot Blend Galilee, Israel
Description Aged in French and American oak for 12 months, Gilgal Cabernet-Merlot is a distinctive blend that carries robust character from its classic varietals. This wine benefits from the Golan’s temperate climate and high-altitude topography.
About the Golan Heights Winery: Golan Heights Winery, Israel’s leading producer of quality wines, was established in 1983 by four kibbutzim and four moshavim (cooperative communities). From its founding until today, the Winery has made its mark and expanded its influence on the Israeli wine world. Its establishment changed the local wine map and shaped the perception of wine quality in the mind of the Israeli consumer.
The Winery produces four labels with a range of varieties and styles: Yarden, Gamla, Hermon and Golan.
Galil Mountain Winery ELA Red Blend Upper Galilee, Israel
A blend of 61% Barbera, 30% Syrah, 5% Petit Verdot & 4% Grenache, this wine shows deep purple in color with delicate and balanced acidity, the full-bodied wine has a long-lasting finish with a velvety texture. The wine presents fruit aromas of black cherry, fresh blueberry, and plum jam, with background characters of clove, coffee and browned butter.
SUSTAINABLE WINERY: Our future and the future of upcoming generations is in our hands, and that’s not a cliché. We find ourselves at a time and place in which we can make an impact and improve the quality of life for ourselves and our children.
We at Galil Mountain Winery have taken upon ourselves countless projects for making sustainability a way of life in our Winery, our vineyards, and our social surroundings. There’s no doubt that for an organization that lives and prospers from nature’s treasures as a source of essential raw materials, it’s only natural to try and do the utmost to keep nature healthy and essential over time.
Since beginning the process of introducing our sustainability vision at Galil Mountain Winery, we haven’t remained stagnant. Rather, we’ve continued to innovate and act for the good of our environment and society. Our activities include a solar-powered electricity generating system on the Winery’s rooftop, a wastewater treatment system, a solar energy system in place of diesel, and more…
Covenant Wines Mensch Zinfandel 2021 Lodi, California
ABOUT THE WINE: Covenant continues to source this wine from Larry Mettler’s vineyard in Lodi, a region famous for its old vine Zinfandel. This year, they picked the Zinfandel with a small amount of Petit Sirah—also from Mettler. As a result, the wine was co-fermented with about 20% Petite Sirah, which gives Mensch improved structure. The wine was barrel-fermented in French oak using native yeast; then bottled after a relatively short barrel aging (9 months), which maintains purity of fruit.
TASTING NOTES FROM THE WINERY: The wine is fruit forward, soft textured, and graced with an array of raspberry and spice flavors. Tannins are firm, however, and give the wine additional muscle.
COVENANT’S STORY: In 2003, Covenant founders Jeff Morgan and Leslie Rudd tasted an Israeli wine that inspired them to bring a new California perspective a 3500-year-old winemaking tradition. What started as a 500-case Napa Cabernet project has now grown more than ten-fold. Today, Covenant’s 7,000-square-foot urban winery is situated in Berkeley, California, also home to other urban wineries. Covenant’s sister winery, Covenant Israel, was founded in 2013. Since 2013, Covenant Israel wines have been made in the northern Galilee.
Covenant Mensch Zinfandel Kosher for Passover California Red Wine 750 mL$21.99 Add to cart
Galil Mountain Winery Upper Galilee ELA Kosher for Passover Israeli Red Wine 750 mL$17.99 Add to cart
Golan Heights Gilgal Cabernet Merlot Kosher for Passover Israeli Red Wine 750 mL$18.99 Add to cart
Yarden Pinot Noir Kosher for Passover Golan Heights Israel Red Wine 750 mL$39.99 Add to cart