Your favorite kosher wine, and why?
Looking to explore some new red wines. What do you suggest?
That is definitely a broad range. I'll also try to give you my best estimate on prices based on the NY/NJ area.
I would try the following:
Any of the Psagot - Cab, Merlot, Edom. The merlot is the cheapest at $20-24, the Cab at $25 - 32, the Edom $28 - 34.
Herzog Cabernet - Either Napa or Alexander Valley, both in the $30 range
Segal - Fusion $12 to 14, Cab reserve around $16
Galil Yiron - Used to be able to get for $20, but they took a major hike, so probably $24 to $30
Peraj Petita - Spanish wine that is very nice $14 to $18
Any of the Binyamina Reserve Reds all around $20 to $23 are very nice.
If you want to go even higher end, go for a Petit Castel ($40+) or Castel Grand Vin ($60+), Yatir Forest ($65+)
At the bottom end, and better than the Altoonah Hills is a Chilean Don Alfonso for $5
There are so many others but this is a start. If you're in the NY/NJ there are some great stores, as well as tastings around Pesach time that you might want to think about trying.
I suggest trying to identify what you like about each of these and then you can look for other bottles with similar attributes.
More practically, trying other bottles by producers that you like is often a good idea. I'd specifically recommend other Psagots and Ella Valleys. Other wineries to try are Galil Mountain (they make other good wines besides the Yiron that njkosher mentioned) and Recanati. For higher end options I'd suggest Shirah or Flam. At the low end I like the Terrenal Tempranillo (from Trader Joe's, their Sara Bee Moscoto is better than the blue bottle and half the price as well) and Recanati Yasmin.
You asked for a favorite and why, I don't have any one favorite but overall I like wines that are complex and balanced with no harshness from non-integrated tannins or the like. (I think most people prefer wines like that.) Personally I like wines that are a bit different from "the standard", wines with spice or herbal notes to accompany the fruit. To that end I generally prefer Syrah to Cab.
Some bottles that come to mind:
(Limited to what I've drank, not just tasted.)
Carmel Appelation Cab Franc - a nice inexpensive way to try the varietal
Flam Syrah 2010 - full and complex, but restrained, with nice mineral notes not often found in Israeli wines (waiting a while to open the Cab which I hear is amazing)
Galil Mountain Yiron 2009 - well made (Israeli/)Bordeaux blend, a little on the sweet side (the Ela is good too)
Psagot Edom 2010 - a very good, and reasonably priced, Israeli Bordeaux blend—fruit, herbs, spice and tannins, this wine has it all
Recanati Petite Sirah 2012 - one of the best—if not the best—vintages of a perennial favorite
Recanti Special Reserve 2009 - basically all the Recanati's are good, this is one of the best
Shiloh Shor Barbera 2010 - a less planted varietal this wine had great mocha and red berry flavors
Shiloh Merlot 2009 (non-mevushal) - one of the few merlots that I like (along with Four Gates and Recanati)
Shirah Coalition, all vintages - they are unique and interesting blends that work very manage
Vignobles David Le Mourre de l'Isle and Reserve - GREAT wines, nice spicy berry flavors dominate these Rhone wines, and often available for a relative bargain (the Reserve is a few dollars more but a noticeably better wine, with potential to age for quite a few years)
Hope this was helpful. Cheers!
Oops, I misspelt that. It's Cantina Gabriele, in Italy. These are pretty much my favourite wines. I first came across them at Mikes Bistro, when I had the tasting menu paired with wines, so I didn't know what I was getting, but one of the wines was so good that I asked the waiter for its name. It was the Gabriele Pinot Grigio, but I've since tried several reds from the same house and they're also excellent (in my untutored opinion).
One of my favorites too - I'm no wine expert but I find it goes really well with spiced foods and Middle Eastern flavors like cumin, turmeric, etc. Another great wine that goes well with food is Barkan Merlot (again, I'm not an expert! I don't know if it is considered "good" by professional standards, just that it tastes good to me!)
How about recommendations for really bad wines to stay far away from. My #1 nomnation is Zmora. I don't mind a sweet wine, but this is not a sweet or even a semi-sweet; instead it tastes like someone took a perfectly good dry wine, and dumped a lot of sugar into it! It tastes worse than when I tried to make "wine" by mixing grape juice and vodka! It's vile.