Kosher wines reach across holiday lines
Those looking for an under-$12, low-alcohol (5.5%) sparkler which enhances desserts may wish to search for Mondo del Vino’s Mosketto Frizzante (semi-sparkling) from Piedmont, Italy. It is produced in white, red and rosé. The Rosso uses Brachetto juice and is ruby colored with pink bubbles. Look for cherry nose and medium body that carries more cherry and strawberry flavors. The Bianco employs Moscato. It shows honeysuckle, spiced apple and peach aromas with pear and melon palate. The Rosado, blended of Brachetto and Moscato, is an effervescent light salmon color with strawberry and grapefruit nose. Semisweet with supporting bright acidity and watermelon palate. These are fun wines that rate 87 McD with 2 price points. You can go extra cheap with Cupcake or Barefoot, but these are two cuts above and worth their price. I have seen offers under $10.
Here are three selections that can be enjoyed over the rapidly approaching holidays. They are Kosher and available in Delaware. One thing that comes to mind for me is that Israeli wines have come a long way in 50 years. As a matter of fact, so have most of the domestic Kosher producers. This is especially true of the efforts in California and the move from cloyingly sweet Concord grape juice wines from the past. Here is a link to an interesting Epicurious article from January 2017 with several wines and excellent recipes included. My other-than-Jewish friends should read it because the recipes and wines reach across most demographics: www.epicurious.com/holidays-events/the-best-kosher-wines-article.
Hayotzer Winery in Galilee, Israel, is a quality producer of a wide range of wines. In fact, WE rated seven reds from its 2014 vintage 90 points or better in a 2018 tasting. The Lyrica GSM (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre) took a 94 and the Virtuoso Cab a 93. I’m a bit stingier and gave the GSM 93, but around $44 it’s a lovely QPR wine. The 2016, 91 McD, is approachable but a couple more years won’t hurt. The Lyrica Syrah 2016, 89 McD, is around the same price. Nice bottle but go with the GSM. Those looking under $30 can find a blend of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah under the Jezreel Nahalal label. Nahalal was the first moshav founded in Jezreel Valley in 1920. Many of Nahalal's founders were members of one of the first kibbutzim (an agricultural collective), of which one prominent family was that of Moshe Dayan, the Israeli defense minister during the Six-Day War in 1967. Dissatisfied with the collective rules for childcare, education and family dispersion, some Kibbutzniks chose to preserve the construct of the nuclear family within a cooperative business community. The book “Moshava, Kibbutz, and Moshav: Patterns of Jewish Rural Settlement and Development in Palestine” is an informative read from Cornell University Press, 1969.
Go upscale and look for Tel Fares Vineyard Covenant Syrah 2014 or ‘15; both are 90 points. Avoid the 2016. The ‘17 got major good press, but this spends 18 months on oak so I’m guessing it isn’t ready. I have not sampled the 2017 yet. Covenant also produces in both Napa and Sonoma. As one would expect, the Napa Cab at $80-$110 runs about double the Sonoma, $40-$50. Smart shoppers can find the 93-point Napa 2015 under $75. The 2015 Sonoma Red C, 90 McD, can be had around $50. In this case the Napa is the better value. Covenant also sells a fine cookbook named “The Covenant Kitchen: Food and Wine for the New Jewish Table.” Barkan Vineyards Reserve Cab 2016 from Upper Galilee, 90McD around $20, is 100 percent Cab, 18 months on oak, 30 percent new. Dark ruby colored with legs. Opens to earthy black plum and barrel spice aromas. On the palate cassis, blackberry, anise and smoked meat. This is a bit tannic but the color says it will improve with time. Clean finish showed some mocha. Regarding Covenant Solomon Lot 70 Napa Cab, fairly consistent 90 McD since 2009, but like many Napa Cabs, not a great relative value. It normally comes in around $150-$175. Try the Barkan and Lot 70 side by side then decide if one is eight times better. I don’t like to pan Napa. Sadly for consumers, land prices, parceling and consolidation efforts have Burgundized prices in too many cases.