By Gabriel Geller – Royal Wine/Kedem
As most of our readers know, drinking four cups of wine is a fundamental requirement at the Pesach Seder. Outside of Israel, we celebrate the Seder twice, so that is eight cups of wine! The holiday of Pesach is celebrated for eight days, and so beyond the Seder, there are many more meals at which we can enjoy some great wines. Therefore, I will recommend here not only four but six wines for the upcoming holiday.
If you regularly read this column, perhaps you know that I usually drink rosé for the four cups at the Seder. Why? Because rosé wines are generally lighter in body, fruit-forward, and lighter in alcohol than red wines. Therefore, rosé is easier to drink quickly. Like many other Jews, I also have the minhag (custom) of using only red wine or the 4 cups and rosé is considered red from a “Jewish legal” perspective, at least according to most opinions.
The Tura Mountain Vista Rosé 2021 is lovely, fun, and fruity. It is made from grapes grown in Tura Winery’s estate vineyards in the Shomron. It features a vast array of tropical and berry fruit flavors, all well balanced by mouthwatering acidity.
While I use rosé for most cups at the Seder, I typically open a bottle of special, properly aged wine from my collection to enjoy with the meal. Suppose you are lucky enough to own a bottle of Domaine du Castel Grand Vin 2013 vintage or older. In that case, I highly recommend you open and enjoy it with your loved ones at the Seder! If you do not own an aged wine or prefer younger wines, the Razi’el 2018 is already delicious now and should be considered. Razi’el is the trendiest, newly established winery by the same family that owns and operates Castel. It is, in a way, the playground of Castel’s founding winemaker and proprietor Eli Ben Zaken, so this wine is quite appropriate to fill the cup of Eliyahu Hanavi! Inspired by the great wines of France’s Rhône Valley and Languedoc regions, Razi’el is a blend of Syrah and Carignan. This rich, full-bodied wine features a silky texture, medium acidity, and firm tannins, with notes of black and red berry fruits, spicy notes of black pepper and roasted herbs, as well as savory undertones of dried mushrooms and cured meats on the plush and luxurious finish.
For those among you who have the minhag to use white wine at the Seder, the Château Lacaussade 2019 is a wonderful and affordable option. It is dry, with excellent acidity, with aromas and flavors of honeysuckle, lime, pear, and hints of cantaloupe and green apple.
Most people drink exclusively red wine at the Seder, as I explained above. Here is a certified (CCOF) organic wine with reasonable alcohol content. It is easy to drink, medium in body, neither too oaky nor too fruity. Masterfully made by Herzog Wine Cellars’s associate winemaker Alicia Wilbur, perhaps the only Orthodox Jewish female winemaker, the Herzog Variations Be-Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 is a delightful, well balanced, and reasonably priced California Cabernet.
Year after year, Terra di Seta makes some of the best value kosher wines out of Europe in general and from Italy in particular. Their entry-level Terra di Seta Chianti Classico is always a winner, and the 2019 is no exception. Medium-bodied with red berry and cherry fruit notes, savory with high acidity, this wine respects Italian tradition by being a great food wine.
I could copy-paste what I wrote about Terra di Seta and switch the words “Terra di Seta,” “Italy,” and “Italian” with “Elvi,” “Spain,” and “Spanish,” respectively. That would undoubtedly work regarding the superstar value Elvi Herenza Crianza Rioja 2018, which has all the elements of quality Tempranillo: red fruit, smoke, spiciness, coffee, herbs, and toffee, balanced acidity, coupled with ripe tannins and a velvety texture. Now is the time to brainstorm ideas for kosher l’Pesach tapas and paella! L’chaim, Chag Pesach Kosher V’sameyach!