Thinking ahead about wines for Passover, Easter dinners
2020-21 is now officially the coldest winter in 26 years. The polar vortex, formerly known as the Yankee Clipper, has blasted the entire Northern Hemisphere and this brief episode has lowered average annual temperatures by roughly 7 degrees. The weather folks’ narrative has dramatically changed. They now claim we’re influenced by La Nina and will enjoy a very cool summer. Townhall.com, generally considered progressive, has a Jan. 17 article that stated: “These cold events must be analyzed with due consideration to the multiple climatic factors that may be influencing them. The sun’s activity, earth’s rotation, changes in the magnetic poles, Arctic cold blasts, and many other factors all help determine regional and global weather patterns.” What? No mention of fossil fuels and cow flatulence. Spain, China, Siberia and India have recorded the lowest temperatures since the 1960s. Perhaps the scientists and quants need to work on their modeling.
We published a link last year to an informative read from Royal Wine Corp. titled 10 Things to Know About Kosher Wine. They own Kedem Winery in New York and Herzog in California. In addition, they represent wines from around the world, such as Chateau Meyney Saint-Estephe (P), consistently 90 points. You can buy a case of 91-point 2014 around $460, and it has at least 15 years hang time but is excellent now. Buy a bottle under $50 and then move forward. Clever shoppers may get in under $400/case. With Passover coming March 27, it’s worth following the link for a refresher or for new readers.
Since it is red meat, beef stew and wild game weather, let’s look at some reds. Keep in mind, Passover and Easter are approaching. Those wines marked (P) are appropriate for Passover. Flechas de Los Andes Gran Malbec (P) is a good choice because it has rated 89 or better since 2012. Best are 2013 or 2017; most vintages are findable well below $20, but the 2017 is $26. Due to frost in Uco Valley, Argentina, 2017 was low yield but provided excellent concentration. Pretty nose of ripe fruit, with herbal and floral notes riding a proper acidity and soft, smooth tannins. Spent 1.5 years aging in oak 30 percent new, 30 percent stainless and second-year barrels. Ready now but will cellar a few more years. Before I forget, Lvov Beet Vodka (P) around $20, is actually made from beets. Experiences in the past taught, don’t drink “loudmouth soup,” so no notes.
Another lovely Bordeaux that won’t break the bank is Chateau Lascombes Margaux 2nd Cru. As with all great wines, there are vintage variations. Lascombes has been consistently 90-plus since 2014. Neither the Meyney nor the Lascombes are to be cellared for large upside price appreciation, but for the joy of drinking great wine. As an example, the 2015 came in at $68 and is selling around $74. The highly touted 2010 came in at $87, now $139. Doesn’t compare to S&P but beats the pants off PNC. If your local wine guy will help, you will have little problem locating a case of six 2010s for $850. These are in the heart of their window. Still dark garnet with ruby tint. Dark berry primary with biscuit, cherry, barrel spice and tobacco hints. A juicy wine with blackberry and nougat flavors on mid-palate; a lovely frame of acidity and integrated tannins cleans the palate. Enjoyable long finish shows some minerality and bitter chocolate. Original notes said 92, but this definitely improved to a 95 McD.