Raise a glass (part way up, anyway) to 2010.
This Passover season, in spite of a sputtering economy and a weak dollar, the kosher wine industry seems to be bouncing back from a rough year. Not only has there been a notable increase in the number of new kosher wines on the market, as compared to last year at this time, but there has also been a bit of growth in other kosher wine-related businesses. For instance, New York’s first kosher wine bar, Basil Pizza & Wine Bar, is set to open this week in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
The most notable trend in kosher wine this year is the number of new wines coming out of California. Covenant Wines, whose Cabernet Sauvignons have almost annually made it into this column’s best wines of the year list, has released its first white wine, Covenant Chardonnay Lavan. Herzog Wine Cellars has released a new limited edition Cabernet Sauvignon made with Clone 6 grapes from Herzog’s Chalk Hill vineyard. Hagafen Cellars has recently released a new late harvest Sauvignon Blanc dessert wine, as well as its first varietal Cabernet Franc to be released in more than a decade.
Indeed, there are a growing number of Cabernet Franc-based wines that have been released to the market in recent months. Cabernet Franc, a close relative of the better-known Cabernet Sauvignon grape, tends to produce medium-bodied wines with cherry, berry and herbal flavors and aromas.
In addition to the new Cabernet Franc from Hagafen, both Carmel and Recanati have reintroduced their own Cabernet Francs to the U.S. market. Tanya Winery, a boutique winery located in the Judean Hills, also recently began exporting its Cabernet Franc to the U.S.
One of the most interesting non-wine kosher beverage releases this year is the new kosher-for-Passover gin from San Francisco’s 209 Distillery. Made from a sugarcane distillate and a unique mix of botanicals including juniper, bergamot, bay leaves, lemon zest, rosemary and coriander, the 209 gin is smooth and well-balanced with clean juniper and citrus flavors.
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