Recently tasted, affordable wine finds take the spotlight
Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year, starts at sundown, Friday, Sept. 15, and ends at sunset Sunday, Sept.17. A proper greeting may be Shanah Tovah (have a good year). This holiday is complicated because it is also a time of contemplation, remorse, compensation and redemption. I do not pretend to comprehend all its ramifications. Those who wish to learn more can go to jewishunpacked.com for a comprehensive explanation by Sara Himeles, titled How to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. I found this article while refreshing earlier research on the food and wine connection, and decided to post the link after learning my previous explanations, although accurate, were a bit shallow.
Some of the best advice I have read concerning wine choices for those new to the traditional meal served over Rosh Hashanah was simply, don’t sweat it. There are so many flavors presented that one’s best effort might be to select several varietal wines and allow the family and guests to choose. Another writer suggests that to satisfy the mandate for “something not tried since the previous year,” the host could determine the varietal wine most attendees enjoy. then select one from a different country to explore. Two good research pages are the Kedem/Royal site and Gabriel Gellers’ top picks for 5783.
The following are recent, affordable wines I have sampled that are findable. Acquesi Asti Spumante DOCG NV, $14, 90 McD plus 1 price point under $17. Pale straw color with vibrant, persistent small bead. Aromas include lemon zest, a touch of smoke, floral and muscatel back notes. A nicely balanced, crisp palate with a hint of honey sweetness. Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay 2020 is for those who enjoy big, old-style, Cali Chardonnay. 2020 was a difficult year in Sonoma, but Chalk Hill is a 50-year-old producer and pulled off a 92 McD. You can find it under $34. A pear, peach, vanilla and barrel spice nose segues into ripe pear, crisp apple and orange zest flavors supported by balancing mineral acidity. Cantina Terlano-Kellerei Terlan Tradition Pinot Grigio 2021 from Alto Adige, Italy, shows green apple, tart pear, alpine flower and herb aromas, stony mineral frame with a rich, creamy finish that repeats apple and citrus as flavors $25, 90 McD. Founded in 1893, this bellwether producer has kept its prices well moderated. Except for a few awful weather years, I have found it a reliable, well-rated producer across its many varietal offerings. The 2021 Pinot Bianco is a great buy under $20, 91 McD plus 2 price points. Their top-of-line labels go for $500-$700. These are aged sur lie, in pressurized steel tanks, for at least 10 years before bottling. Sadly, I’ve never had the pleasure.
Dalton Asufa Majestic 2019 from Galilee won gold and a 96 rating at 2021 Decanter World Wine Awards. It rates 94 McD under $60. It can be shipped from Kosherwines.com prior to Wednesday, Sept. 13 and is kosher and vegan, 100% carignan. Carbonic maceration has delivered a medium-dry wine with primary fruit aromas of cherry, raspberry and strawberry with hints at the back of cloves and paprika. Bright acidity and moderate tannins support fruit, providing a pleasing, long finish with a touch of clove and paprika repeating. The 2018 is 92McD.
Those who love artichokes are frequently advised that they’re a tough wine match. Look for a wine-roasted artichoke recipe. My fave employs lots of garlic, clarified butter, dry white wine and some XVOO that I incorporate at the finish. Otherwise, use pomace olive oil, as XVOO may burn. Tulip Winery White Tulip 2020 from Galilee, 91 McD under $25, is a fine choice. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer, it offers some rose aromas and mostly varietal fruit flavors. Suckling named it a weird combination but awarded 90 points. The previously recommended Terlano Pinot Blanco goes well, also. The Pinot Grigio, not so much. Although I rarely recommend a range of a company's products, Tulip’s line was each rated at least 87 or better with value prices, except their Stoudemire Grand Reserve Capernaum Cab/Petit Verdot blend, 89 McD. Its $90+ price tag diminished its QPR.
Best to all for a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Today’s weather shows Hurricane Idalia may be offshore; let’s hope it is less dangerous than the weather peeps are projecting for our Southern neighbors.