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any good kosher wine discoveries of late?

  • b

It's passover time, i.e. time to find some good kosher wines. Help wanted. All I know is Herzog and that M word which I won't mention.

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  1. I just read about a kosher Australian Shiraz called Teal Lake in the newest issue of Bon Appetit. They gave it a good write up.

    I live in Albuquerque and called all the local wine shops to no avail. Nobody here has ever heard of it. I don't know where you live, but if you find it, please report back!

    6 Replies
    1. re: Deb E.

      The following link is to an article re Passover wines from today's Boston Globe:

      Link: http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/079...

      1. re: Deb E.

        I've had the Teal Lake Shiraz and found it to be disconcertingly pruney. I wouldn't seek it out.

        1. re: Marty L.

          Thanks for the tip about the Teal lake. Apparently it isn't available here anyway. Have you tried the Fortant merlot? I can get that one here in the land of gentiles!

          Deb..... in Albuquerque

          1. re: Deb E.

            I've tried the Fortant de France Merlot. This wine is clean, somewhat fruit-forward, mellow and inoffensive, but it is boring in that way that supermarket Merlot can often be. I wouldn't highly recommend it, but it is drinkable. For the same price in Kosher Merlot, I prefer the Alfasi Reserve from Chile.

            If you are looking for more options, try the following link:


            This is a page on the website of Royal Wines Corp., which is the largest kosher wine distributor in the U.S. If you enter your zip code, the site will tell you the nearest shop that sells wines distributed by Royal. Good luck!

            1. re: Marty L.

              It has gotten to the point that I just try and find a palatable kosher for wine for the seder...since most of the participants don't care that much and any really good stuff is more money than I care to spend for the seders.

              The Fortant du France is adequate--as Marty L. said. I had some sitting for a year in my basement and it was significantly better a year later. Another decent choice is from the Italian producer, Citra.

              I usually can find them at Magruder's at Chevy Chase Circle--for $7 to $8 a bottle. (I am going wine shopping tomorrow...so I will send a report.)

              If you are interested in the widest selection that I know of in the DC area, you should go to Georgetown; Potomac Wine and Spirits on M Street has a nice selection from many nations--including kosher Chianti and Barbera.

              Jim Zurer
              Washington DC

              1. re: Jim Zurer

                try queen anne liquors in teaneck-they also have website

        1. While I haven't tried the current vintage, the kosher cuvee from Bunyan in Bandol (predominantly Mourvedre from Provence) has been very good in the past.

          1. n
            Neil Leibowitz

            Nebbiolo from Bartenura -
            Amazing, delicious,
            NOT mevushal, but that shouldn't matter to most people, because on Pesach, your eating at home, and serving yourself.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Neil Leibowitz

              great. i love all things nebbiolo. is it a hard one to find? I'm in NYC. also, what price range are we talking about? i know that region is way inflated...or can be anyway.


            2. There was an interesting article in Wednesday's Newark Star-Ledger re Passover wines. Here's the link:

              Link: http://www.nj.com/living/ledger/index...

              1. m
                Moshe Horowitz

                Carmel Mizrachi is coming out with newer and better tasting wines every few months. FYI: All Carmel Mizrachi wines are under the strict supervision of Rabbi Avraham Rubin - B'Datz Mehadrin located in Rechovot, Israel. It is about the best hashgacha that Israel or for that matter what the world has to offer. The O.U. without any effort on their part, simply puts their symbol on the bottle and they have no independent person as Rav Rubin has dis-associated himself from the O.U. as they are not adherent to the strictest standards that should be followed. That goes for any Israeli product having the O.U. on it.

                1. FWIW, there is a small, one man op who lives in the Santa Cruz region who grows "organic" grapes and produces non-mevushal kosher wines, and does this le'shem the mitzvah of sanctifying the sabbath via kiddush.

                  See his website: http://www.fourgateswine.com/

                  You call the number listed there, leave him a message stating what you would like to order, and he will call you back. Amazingly, he will ship you the wines first, and then send you a bill later.

                  1. Yossie Horowitz writes a kosher wine newsletter called Wine Recommendations, every few weeks or so. He covers the gamut from new issues to old favorites, usually with a theme to each newsletter. His reviews discuss specific flavors, tasting notes and production issues. I find his recommendations right on target. Send him an email to subscribe yossieh@gmail.com

                    1. Hagafen Pinot Noir 2002 - about $30, Weinstock Napa County Cabernet 2002 - about $20, Segal's Unfiltered Cabernet either 2002 or 2005 - about $55

                      1. Becky - Saw your request while searching for online site for passover wine gift. IMHO, Yarden and Gamla (Israel) are consistently good and pricey. In moderate pricing: Teal Lake (Australia) - pace others & Baron Herzog (California) offer good bottles. Fortant (France) and Carmel (Israel) wines have often been thin, simple (not in the good sense), unpleasing. As usual, see what's available locally, experiment and enjoy...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: monticello

                          Of course, Becky wrote the request 6 years ago. I wonder about resurrecting very old threads. Nothing wrong with it, I suppose, but it doesn't seem timely.

                        2. In terms of Israeli wines there are (in no particular order):

                          Petit Castel


                          Galil Mountain




                          Carmel (the regional series, and if you want an excellent dessert wine try the Sha'al "late harvest" Gewürztraminer it is excellent!

                          1. Too late to order for Pesach, but I recently received a shipment of a couple of cases from Gan Eden wines (http://www.ganeden.com/). Although they have ceased production, Craig Winchell, the winemaker, is still selling off his stock. I've seen some of his posts on the kosher chowhound boards. I opened and decanted a bottle of their 1997 cab for friday night dinner last shabbos. My guests and I really enjoyed it. Other recent faves: Gabrielle Montpulciano d'Abruzzo and the Yatir Cab-Merlot-Shiraz.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: aivri


                              Glad you enjoyed it. Yup, it and the Syrah are all I seem to drink these days. Year after year, I continue to be amazed by the longevity of the '97 Reserve. And while you can't beat the price, to me it's even better 'cause it's free (grin). Everyone should know I had absolutely nothing to do with aivri's post, by the way. I've tried to be very careful to not promote here.

                            2. Carmel makes some really good ones. I recently bought a dessert wine that has peach and apricot undertones. Look into their wines!

                              1. Comments on the wines in this thread that I'm familiar with, followed by a few of my own recommendations:

                                Teal Lake Shiraz: Not so great. Actually, not bad for its price range, and it makes a nice sangria (a little spice and not too expensive), but compared to some of the other kosher ones, it's pretty lousy. If you're a big shiraz/syrah fan, go with the 2003 Hagafen Syrah (the 2001 vintage is past its prime and is not drinking so well anymore). As far as Teal Lake goes, I sampled some of their Reserve Cab. Sauvignon, which was surprisingly good and rather old world in style (balanced, fruity, light on the tannins).

                                There are a number of higher end Carmels out there that are pretty good. Check out the appelation series or the Kayoumi vinyard; most of their single vinyard stuffy is pretty good.

                                I agree with Faune that the Petite Castel and the Yatir are quite nice as well. So are the Tabors, but I wasn't too impressed with their volcanic soil stuff.

                                Someone in here mentioned organics- the Yarden Organic Chardonnay is pretty good, very fruity, lots of pear and vanilla. Their Katzrin Chardonnay is a big, buttery chardonnay, which I don't like as much but might be your thing.

                                As far as Gewürztraminer goes, I'm a big fan of the Yarden one, but that may not be everyone's cup of tea. It's an old world Gewürztraminer, so it's not nearly as sweet as many others. The Tabor one is pretty sweet, but not overpowering.

                                I tried the Barkan 720 in their altitude series yesterday, and that was nice as well. Very fruity, great mouth feel to it, and not exceptionally tannic either.

                                Surprisingly, I found that I was a fan of the Goose Bay Pinot Gris and, to a lesser extent, their Viognier. I really don't like their Sauvignon Blanc, which is what most people know them for. I found the Pinot Gris to be relatively fruity and a lighter alternative to a good chardonnay. The viognier was similar, but a bit more towards the semi-dry state.

                                I generally avoid all things Herzog, which tend to be pretty simple and which tends to have red wines on the "thwack you over the head" side of tannic (even their reserve stuff, which is the same price as a lot of what I've mentioned above but significantly lower in quality). But their late harvest stuff can be nice, especially the chenin blanc. Great wine for a seder.

                                I should note that of the mixed case I picked up two days ago (12 bottles), the only ones not mentioned above at some point are the Casa da Corca Douro and the Recanti Cabernet Franc, neither of which I've sampled for (I also haven't sampled the Petite Castel- yet, it's in the case- but it's supposed to be quite nice).

                                Happy passover!

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: masteraleph

                                  Thank you for your feedback masteraleph.

                                  I would like to know how the Recanati Cabernet Frank was when you get around to tasting it.

                                  I had the Petit Castel 2005 as well as the Yatir Cabernet-Merlot-Shiraz 2003 which were excellent. Enjoy!

                                  1. re: masteraleph


                                    Masteraleph, I tend to agree with you on Herzog's value-priced offerings, but at the high end it's clear to me that while stylistically they're going for a very commercial audience, the quality is quite high, and the complexity level is in line with other wines of their styles at those prices. I tend not to avoid all theings Herzog, because I know that they are, at the lower end, quite dependable wines, even if not necessarily exciting.

                                    1. re: ganeden

                                      Have you tried any Gabriel wines? What do you think of them? (I like them, which probably means the people with the expert palates think they're boring :-) )

                                    1. Any opinions on Tishbi Vineyards? I got a bottle for my birthday, but since I don't like Cabs I only had a taste at seder. Turns out my father used to work at the vineyards in the early 1950s as a high school boy (a cousin married into the Tishbi family) and he used to crawl under the vines and harvest the remaining grapes after all the real workers had done their initial pass (this was before Tishbi made wine, at that time all their grapes went to Rishon L'Tzion). What a great story to hear from my Abba-- a second birthday gift!

                                      1. This peseach, we drank a really nice Spanish blend named Ness from Elviwines. Mellow right out of the bottle.