Holiday Cheer

Who better to ask about great wines for Passover than people who buy wine for a living? At the Israwinexpo 2008 in Tel Aviv, I tasted kosher wine with a diverse group of buyers for American-based retailers, including HEB Kosher Store, Best Cellars, A&P Liquor, BevMax and Skyview.

FINE VINES: Israel?s Tabor vineyard grows Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes on a volcanic slope. Olive trees, almond trees and wheat are planted on the opposing slope.

FINE VINES: Israel?s Tabor vineyard grows Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes on a volcanic slope. Olive trees, almond trees and wheat are planted on the opposing slope.

TRADITION: An ancient winepress at Kibbutz Tzuba in the Judean Hills.

TRADITION: An ancient winepress at Kibbutz Tzuba in the Judean Hills.

Israel is emerging as a high-quality wine producer. The volcanic terrain of the Golan Heights lends a spiciness to its wines. The Judean Hills near Jerusalem bring a distinct herbaceous quality, as if thousands of years of bay, sage and desert plants seeped into the vines. The Upper Galilee — a rugged, rocky region along the Lebanese border — is considered the best wine-producing area.

The following list features some new Israeli standouts available in the United States. These reds and whites represent every price point. And fear not: Virtually every wine produced in Israel is kosher, and kosher for Passover.

Wine list

Wonderful Whites

Recommended Reds

Garrett Peck is a freelance writer for the alcoholic beverage industry. He’s the author of the forthcoming book “The Prohibition Hangover.”

Retail Locations

A&P Liquor has retail locations in Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey.

Best Cellars has retail locations in the Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas.

BevMax is a wine and liquor superstore in Stamford, Conn. www.bevmax.com

HEB has three main kosher stores in Austin, Houston and San Antonio, Texas, and more than 30 stores with expanded kosher sections. www.heb.com

Skyview Wine & Spirits is metro New York’s leading kosher wine and spirits retailer. www.skyviewwines.com

Written by

Garrett Peck

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