As April nears every year, it is not only accountants who find themselves in an annual crunch. The month between Purim and Passover is the busiest period of the year for those who work in the ever-growing kosher wine industry. Wine producers and importers rush to get their new wines to market, and many wine merchants will sell more kosher wine during this four-week period than they sell in the other 48 weeks of the year combined.
This Pesach season, in spite of a continuing bad economy and a weak dollar, the kosher wine industry seems to be bouncing back. Indeed, there are an impressive number of new, quality kosher wines that have hit the shelves in recent weeks. So for this month’s Fruit of the Vine, we bring you 10 new wines, any of which would be a lovely addition to your holiday table.
Yarden, Merlot, Tel Phares Vineyard, Galilee, 2005:
Full-bodied and a dark, inky garnet in color, this rich Merlot has a nose of cassis, plums, and toasty oak, with notes of cardamom and espresso. Look for flavors of cassis, cherries, plums and crème de cassis, with hints of salad greens, oak, and spice. Well balanced, with smooth and supple tannins, this wine is ready to drink now, but should be able to cellar for another four or five years. Score A- ($39.95, Available at Skyview Wine & Spirits, 5681 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale, 718-548-3230)
Domaine Netofa (red table wine) Galilee, 2009:
This medium-to-full-bodied, dark ruby-colored, rustic, Rhone-style blend of Syrah and Mourvedre has flavors and aromas of cherries, strawberries and cassis, with notes of allspice, mocha, and black pepper. Drink within the next 18 months. Score B+ ($21.99, Astor Wines & Spirits, 399 Lafayette St., Manhattan, 212-674-7500)
Dalton, Zinfandel, Galilee, 2009:
Full-bodied and garnet colored, this Israeli Zinfandel has a rich nose of cherries, cranberries, pipe tobacco, oak, and allspice. Look for flavors of black cherries, blackberries, cranberries and cassis, with a lovely note of spice. Drink within the next three years. Score B+ ($22.99, Heights Chateau, 123 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, 718-330-0963)
Gamla, Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, Galilee, 2009:
Made by Peter Stern, the former executive winemaker for California’s Herzog Wine Cellars, this light garnet-colored, medium-to-full-bodied wine has flavors and aromas of cherries, cassis, red currents and lavender, with notes of oak and spice. Drink within the next year or two. Score B+ ($19.99, New York Wine Exchange, 9 Broadway, Manhattan, 212-422-2222)
Teperberg, Terra, Sauvignon Blanc, Shomron, 2010:
This crisp, smooth, pale straw-colored, medium-bodied wine has flavors and aromas of citrus, freshly cut hay and apples, with a hint of butter. Drink within the next year. Score B+ ($16.95, Skyview Wine & Spirits, 5681 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale, 718-548-3230)
Alexander, Sandro, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Galilee, 2007:
Made from a blend of 70 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 26 percent Merlot, and 4 percent Sauvignon Blanc, all grown in the upper-Galilee, this full-bodied, dark garnet-colored wine has flavors and aromas of cassis, blackberries, cherries, and oak. Look for a hint of Herbs de Provence on the palate, and a pleasant note of earthiness running throughout the wine. Score B+ ($21.99. Garnet Wines & Liquors, 929 Lexington Ave., Manhattan, 212-772-3212)
Dalton, Petite Sirah, Galilee, 2009:
This dark-garnet colored, medium-to-full-bodied, fruit-forward wine has flavors and aromas of cherries, blackberries, boysenberries, and, cranberries, with notes of fennel, allspice, vanilla and toasty oak. Although enjoyable now this wine will probably only be at it best starting in 2013, and should then cellar well until 2015 or 2016. Score B+ ($19.95, Skyview Wine & Spirits, 5681 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale, 718-548-3230)
Teperberg, Terra, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Shomron, 2009:
With a full body, and a dark garnet color, this supple blend has an earthy nose of cherries, tobacco and oak, with a just a whiff of liquorice. Look for flavors of currents — both red and black — plums and cherries, with hints of liquorice and oak. Drink within the next year. Score B+ ($24.95, Skyview Wine & Spirits, 5681 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale, 718-548-3230)
Binyamina, Yorgev, Cabernet Sauvignon, Galilee, 2009:
This bright garnet-colored, medium- to full-bodied wine has a flavor and aroma dominated by cassis and blackberries, with notes of cherries, oak and spice. Drink within the next year. Score B/B+ ($11.95, Skyview Wine & Spirits, 5681 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale, 718-548-3230).
And not quite in time for Passover…
Shirah Wine Company, Power to the People, Syrah, Santa Barbara County, 2009:
This inaugural commercial release from the Shirah Wine Company is an impressive wine, and bodes well for the future of its new garagiste producer. Made from Syrah grapes from the Thompson and McGinley vineyards, and fermented with 2 percent Viognier grapes, this, full-bodied, dark garnet-colored wine has a bouquet of black cherries, toasty oak, pipe tobacco, cedar and smoke. Look for a flavor dominated by black cherries and black pepper, with notes of raspberries, crème de cassis, and bitter chocolate. Ready to drink from release, this wine should be able to cellar until at least 2016. Score A- ($55, Direct from the winery: www.shirahwine.com. Please note that the wine will only be released shortly after Passover.)
Please note: Wines are scored on an ‘A’-‘F’ scale where ‘A’ is excellent, ‘B’ is good, ‘C’ is flawed, ‘D’ is very flawed, and ‘F’ is undrinkable. Prices listed reflect the price at the retailer mentioned.
Fruit of the Vine runs monthly.