For some people, it’s just not a seder without the traditional sweet grape wine in each of the four cups. But, if you are tired of the same old four cups at your seder, and if your family traditions allow for a change, you have many new and exciting wine options for Passover.
First, a little background on Kosher wines. There’s a common urban legend that says wine is rendered Kosher when it is blessed by a rabbi – but that is incorrect.
According to the Royal Wine Corp., commonly known as Kedem, for a wine to be considered Kosher, strictly supervised purity guidelines must be followed from the moment the grapes enter a winery until the wine is bottled.
Sabbath-observant Jews must supervise, and sometimes handle, the entire winemaking process, from the time the grapes are crushed until bottling. And any ingredients used, including yeasts and fining agents, must be Kosher.
“Some Kosher wines are processed as mevushal, which means ‘cooked’ in Hebrew. Some wineries produce their mevushal wines by heating the must [grape juice] prior to fermentation, while others apply that procedure on the final product, prior to bottling,” according to a news release from Kedem.
“When Kosher wine is produced, marketed and sold commercially, it will bear Kosher certification granted by a specially-trained rabbi who is responsible for supervision from start to finish.”
With that in mind, Kate Miceli, wine manager at Bottles Fine Wine in Providence, offers three suggestions for Kosher, mevushal wines for your seder:
“Unorthodox Chenin Blanc ($17.99) is a new Kosher white wine from South Africa that we are totally excited about. It’s dry and has flavors of crisp apples and juicy lemons with a crisp finish,” Miceli said.
“The Butcher’s Daughter Cabernet Sauvignon ($12.99) is a great go-to with brisket and other red meats. This has loads of ripe red fruits, hints of vanilla and a smooth finish.
“Terra Vega Carmenere ($9.99) is a new favorite from Chile. Carmenere is a grape that is quite robust. This wine drinks similarly to a Zinfandel or Merlot. We love this one because it has very juicy, jammy notes of raspberries and black cherries but still ends up being quite dry on the finish.”
FRAN OSTENDORF (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the editor of Jewish Rhode Island.