Rosh Hashanah is second only to Passover as an important retail period for the kosher wine market. The weeks leading up to the first holiday meal typically see the release of new wines, new vintages, sometimes new wineries and even new wine-producing regions, so options for new wines abound.
Here are some to seek out and find:
Shirah, Riesling, Coquelicot Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, 2017 ($25): This is dry and fairly racy, and altogether stunning — great acidity and finely balanced. It offers a lovely floral honeysuckle and orange blossom honey nose, with tart fruity flavors (like quince), as well as some juicy stone fruit, and even some notes of firmly tropical fruit. Available directly from the producer at shirahwine.com.
Domaine Jean-Pierre Bailly, Pouilly-Fumé, Loire Valley, France, 2017 ($39.99): Wow. Vibrant, crisp, clean and just wonderfully aromatic. Along with the ever-traditional smoky “gunflint,” grapefruit and white floral aromas associated with these Loire Valley sauvignon blancs, look for the no-less absorbing notes of Meyer lemon, freshly cut grass and even a little lavender, with dollops of earthy mineral and flint, and something like leather. Fabulously tense balance, light to medium bodied, and with a mesmerizingly good finish. More please.
Vignobles David, Le Mourre de l’Isle, Blanc, Côtes du Rhône, 2017 ($16-19): This dry, light-bodied, balanced, floral, crisp and refreshing blend of 40 percent roussanne, 30 percent viognier and 30 percent grenache blanc offers aromas of acacia flowers and peaches, with strong notes of white-fleshed stone fruits on the palate, as well as some lovely mango, citrus and apricot amid a slightly earthy yet floral backdrop. This invigorating, generous and tasty wine is both serious and seriously delicious. Not to be missed. (This vintage will be available soon; check online at Kosherwine.com or at your favorite kosher wine purveyor.)
Shirah, Bro Deux, Vin Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, 2017 ($25): This fabulous, flinty, floral, grassy and green sauvignon blanc offers lovely notes of passion fruit, lime, stone fruits, freshly cut grass and induces a nice great-outdoors vibe. This is well balanced with agreeably refreshing acidity. The finish offers a mouth-watering lime zest tartness. This is Shirah’s first sauvignon blanc, and a great contribution to the lineup of kosher sauvignon blancs from the Golden State.
Vignobles David, Le Mourre de l’Isle, Rosé, Côtes du Rhône, 2017 ($16-19): This dry, refreshing and altogether lovely salmon-colored blend of 80 percent grenache and 20 percent syrah offers delicate notes of melon, raspberry, strawberry and citrus, with a little subtle spice.
Jezreel Valley Winery, Alfa, 2016 ($20; mevushal): This first mevushal offering from Jezreel is a pleasant if simple red blend — 60 percent syrah, 20 percent argaman, and 20 percent cabernet sauvignon — offering nice very-ripe dark and red berry fruit aromas and flavors. The nose is slightly better than the palate as the acidity is a little light. For a mevushal Israeli wine at this price, it makes for a generally satisfying if uncomplicated experience.
Bin Nun Winery, Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, Judean Hills, 2017 ($30): This is a full-bodied, fruit-forward, 37/63 blend of cab and merlot, offering a nose and palate of cherry, blackberry, cassis and vanillin oak, with a touch of mocha. Enjoyable now, it should be even better in a few months, and then should do well through about 2021.
Vignobles David, Oz Reserve, Côtes du Rhône Villages, France, 2016 ($27.99): A lovely blend of 40 percent syrah, 35 percent grenache and 25 percent mourvedre, this is rich, full and complex with aromas and flavors of black fruits, bramble, roasted meat, fresh espresso, some distinct spice and black licorice. The “Oz” is presumably named for the Hebrew word — certainly this wine has plenty of power, grip and a solid inner core. It’ll get better with age, but good and absorbing now. Take your time and let it breathe, too.
Send your wine and spirits questions to Joshua E. London at [email protected].