Wine for Passover, Elegant Enough For All Year

Fill the Four Cups With Any Of These Crisp Whites and Rich Reds, All Under $30. Image: Thinkstock

I have a soft spot in my heart for Manischewitz, the Kosher wine served at so many Sabbath dinners and Seders, because it was the first wine I ever tasted. Being allowed this wine at Passover when I was a little girl made me feel very grownup, sweet as it was (and probably diluted).

So it is with love that I say that kosher-for-Passover wine doesn’t have to be Manischewitz.

There are so many great kosher wines these days — below are a few of my favorites. I had a chance to taste a bunch of them at the Kosher Food & Wine Experience back in February, and others were recommended by kosher-wine afficianado Sadie Flateman of 67 Wines in Manhattan.

Tabor Winery Adama Sauvignon Blanc 2013 $20

A lean, classic style of sauvignon blanc, the flavor of this dry white wine is somewhat grassy, with a flinty mineral quality that comes from the chalk soil the grapes are grown in. There’s passionfruit and citrus on the palate. A good match for light fish dishes.

Tabor Winery Mt. Tabor Chardonnay 2012 $15

Made in the Lower Galilee on vineyards first planted in 1901 by the Rothschild’s, this crisp unoaked chardonnay has lovely acidity that offsets its light fruit notes. A versatile white wine that would be lovely with roasted chicken.

Photograph by Martyna Starosta

Flam Classico 2012 $30

An elegant, balanced blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot with just a touch of syrah, this soft, dry, fruity red with a bit of spice is made in the Judean Hills.

Photograph by Martyna Starosta

Livny Winery Reed Pipe Judean Hills 2012 $22

This red wine has good acidity, and is starting to show some character. It’s 90 percent cabernet sauvignon and 20 percent pinot noir, a rare combo. “Those grapes are usually not put together,” says Sadie Flateman of 67 Wines. “But it worked. It’s a happy little wine.”

Photograph by Martyna Starosta

Ramot Naftaly Special Edition Shiraz 2012 $27

From a boutique winery in the Upper Galilee, this red is full-bodied, dark and chewy, with a touch of cabernet sauvignon and mouvedre. “I think it’s what a lot of people are looking for: easygoing fruit, but still with nice spice and backbone and structure,” Flateman said. Great with brisket.

Liza Schoenfein is food editor of the Forward. Contact her at schoenfein@forward.com and follow her on Twitter @LifeDeathDinner. Her personal blog is Life, Death & Dinner.

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