Passover begins at sundown on April 19, and I’ve been receiving a steady stream of requests for wine advice. The best advice I can offer is always: don’t get too worked up trying to determine the “best” or “perfect” wine selection.
The goal of matching wine with food is balance: neither the food nor thewine should overpower the other. At a minimum, these elements should balance out happily.
Worst case scenario: If you find your best effort at pairing food and wine is somehow catastrophic, simply stopper the bottle and move on to another. Alternatively, provide several options at once — one of them is likely to be a good fit. The only unrecoverable gaffe in my book is to run out of wine.
Of course, Passover is expensive already, but one need not break the bank to serve good wine. If the budget is especially tight, aim for slightly less expensive wines so that you can comfortably provide plenty of bottles without risking running dry.
Here are some new and interesting wines to consider this holiday season:
Herzog, Lineage, Rosé, Clarksburg, 2018 ($20; mevushal): This lovely field blend rosé is bright, refreshing, and floral, offering fresh though somewhat restrained notes of pomegranate, strawberry, watermelon and slightly under-ripe honeydew melon.
Flam, Rosé, 2018 ($32): This lovely
Israeli blend of 71 percent syrah, 23
percent cabernet franc and 6 percent cabernet sauvignon isfresh, aromatic, fruity yet restrained and elegant, with vibrant, zippy acidity that helps keep it all crisp and refreshing.
Gush Etzion Winery, Spring River, Rosé, Judean Hills (Israel), 2018 ($25): A lovely, flavorful, vibrant, balanced rosé.
Château Guiraud, Le G de Guiraud, Bordeaux Blanc Sec (kosher edition) 2017 ($37): A 50/50 blend of organic certified sémillon and sauvignon blanc, this is medium-bodied, intense, bone dry and fabulously balanced with terrific tension from the vibrant acidity.
Hagafen Cellars, Chardonnay, Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, 2017 ($30; mevushal): This is a classic Napa Chard done the right way: vibrant, engaging, fruity yet judiciously oaked and utterly delicious.
Domaine Les Marronniers, Chablis, 2017 ($33; mevushal): This is a superb, crisp, flinty, restrained and elegant
chablis (an unoaked chardonnay), with a fabulous, almost saline foundation upon which its fruit notes lovingly swim.
Any of the beaujolais wines I’ve written about recently would be great for a seder or holiday meal, like the Abarbanel
Beaujolais Villages ($16-17) or the Louis Blanc Cru Beaujolais wines exclusively available through kosherinw.com/Jwines.com — the Côte de Brouilly, the Juliénas, and the Moulin-à-Vent (each is $23). Some heftier reds, include…
Herzog, Special Reserve, Quartet, Red Blend, 2015 ($37; mevushal): A nice dark cherry-berry driven blend of 36 percent petite verdot, 31 percent cabernet sauvignon, 18 percent merlot and 15 percent zinfandel, with an appealing note of bitter chocolate on the finish.
Jacques Capsouto Vignobles, Cotes de Galilee Village, Cuvée Samuel Rouge, Galilee, Israel, 2016 ($20): A beautiful black cherry and black olive driven Rhône-like Israeli blend with a nice herbal backdrop and a hint of raspberry.
Jacques Capsouto Vignobles, Cotes de Galilee Village, Cuvée Marco, Grand Vin, 2016 ($40): This similar, but even better — altogether more elegant and complex — showing greater interplay between savory, sweet and spice.
Château Fontenil, Fronsac, 2015 ($55): This is elegant, supple, silky, soft, fresh and complex with spice, wet earth, sweet plum and black cherry notes.
Send your wine and spirits questions to Joshua E. London at [email protected].