Gabe, you’re the go-to person I want to speak to when it comes to choosing a wine. Now let’s talk simcha. How do I go about choosing which wines to serve?
The first thing to do is come up with a budget. Of course, there are some lucky people for whom budget is not an issue, but for most, the best advice is to choose high-quality affordable wines for the tables, and then maybe have some special wines that are more complex and sophisticated to bring out for the guests who really appreciate it.
That makes sense. How much selection should there be?
For the tables, I would recommend serving two different types of red and two different types of white. If you’re serving veal or poultry, white wine will go better. If you are only serving beef, I would stick to mostly red, but there will always be people asking for white, and vice versa. Not everyone cares about the pairing. So, it’s important to always have both.
Which would your specific recommendations be? Which ones give the most bang for the buck?
Let’s start with the white. I would recommend Baron Herzog Chardonnay for the white, as that’s more fruity. And then I’d go with something that is more sophisticated and less fruity, such as the Chablis from Domaine des Marronniers.
Now for the red.
I would go for the Herzog Lineage Choreograph. It’s a dry red blend from California. It’s an interesting, affordable, fun wine. For the second wine, I’d choose something more austere and restrained, such as the French Chateau les Riganes.
What about those special picks?
First of all, for the reception, especially at a wedding, it’s nice to have a sparkling, festive, celebratory wine. Bartenura Sparkling Rose is a fun one that’s not expensive. For a more sophisticated pick, I would choose the Drappier Carte d’Or Champagne which is more expensive.
What about that higher quality red?
If you want one more wine that is special and expensive in red for all the people who are really into wine, I’d recommend a French wine: Chateau Tour Seran. It’s a mevushal French wine that’s very reliable and high quality, making it perfect for simchas.
It seems that there’s more and more of a selection of better mevushal wines today.
Yes, there is a growing demand for mevushal wines at all price points, as they’re more practical for simchas, and people want more special wines at those times. There’s a big selection and it keeps growing.
This article originally appeared in Ami Magazine.
Since 2008, Gabriel has been a wine writer and critic for a variety of media outlets as well as a consultant to wineries, hotels, importers, distributors and wine shops in Israel, France, Switzerland, Australia, America, England, Italy and Belgium. Before coming to America, Gabriel owned and managed a specialty wine shop in Jerusalem and in 2014 started the very popular “Kosher Wine: Sharing and Experiences”, a facebook group that features his advice and reviews of thousands of kosher wines which has quickly become the largest online forums focusing on the world of kosher wine. For more Gabe, watch Swirl.