Well, it’s that time of year again: Passover and Easter. Or, as we call it in our house, Peaster!
As I wrote in last year’s post on Kosher wine, there are varying degrees of “Kosher-ness” when it comes to wines for Passover. In fact, I am learning that there are varying degrees of “Kosher-ness” when it comes to most things in Judaism: it’s remarkable the number of people who keep Kosher at home but love a good slice of bacon in a diner on a Saturday morning!
Next week, we are heading to Montreal to celebrate the first Passover Seder (Seder being the feast that ushers in Passover. In addition to being a time to gather with family and friends, it is also a retelling of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt). I am, no surprise, charged with providing the wine.
As we now celebrate Shabbat dinners more regularly, I have had the chance to try more Kosher wines over the past year. It may be my imagination but it also seems to me that the LCBO has stocked more Kosher wines of late. In Ottawa, the place to go seems to be Vintages at the corner of Rideau and King Edward; downstairs near the cash, you will always find a selection of Kosher wines year round. In Toronto, there was a larger section at the LCBO at Queen’s Quai.
Here are a few wines for you to try this year, starting with some reds.
Le Mourre de l’Isle, Côtes du Rhône, Vignobles David (LCBO $16.95) – a reasonably priced red wine, I first bought this wine to serve with a red meat Shabbat dinner. As with most Côtes du Rhône table wines, this red is
Five Stones Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (LCBO $19.95) – I think this should be your go-to Kosher red wine. It’s under $20, it works well with most heavier dishes such as brisket or other meats and, frankly, is one of the few red Kosher wines that I have tried that are easily drunk without food, say, as you’re cooking. If you like a soft red wine with those notes of cooked cherries, with a hint of cigar box tannins, not overly drying in the mouth, this is the red wine for you this Passover or any day.
Reserve Barrell Aged Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Barkan Winery (LCBO $30.00) – this wine is too young and the tannins too pronounced to drink now. A few years will soften those harsh drying notes and allow the fruit to mellow and come through. If you want to cellar and age some Kosher wines alongside your stash, I recommend you buy this one and hang onto to it for 5 years or so.
Ella VAlley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (LCBO $32.95) – if you want to go all out and get a well-aged red wine to either serve at your own Seder or to bring as a gift, this is the one to buy. Aged in French oak, this wine probably started off quite tannic, drying, but I think the years of ageing have softened the wine and left a very smooth wine, with chocolate and coffee notes alongside some ripe red cherries. I would not keep this wine as I think it might lose the remaining fruit if held any longer. It’s a nice treat that I think you can serve or give with pride.
There were fewer white wines in stock but here are two that should do the trick for those white wine lovers at your table:
Five Stones Sauvignon Blanc Semillion (LCBO $19.95) – the Semillion in this wine makes it a sweeter white wine. I serve this wine very chilled, to hold down the floral notes and allow the citrus to come through. If you like a more flowery white like a Riesling or a Gewrutztraminer, I suggest you try this white. I particularly recommend it with the traditional soups or chicken dishes that you might find on the Seder table.
Recanati Sauvignon Blanc ($16.95) – this is our staple Kosher white wine. A dry white wine, I like the white grapefruit notes and the slight hint of rosemary or green herbs in the finish. We use this wine with the Friday roast chicken but I think it will also work with any of the side dishes that accompany the meals: roast peppers, eggplant, potatoes…
Teperberg Winery Chardonnay (LCBO $16.95) – I think it’s always a good idea to have a Chardonnay on hand for Passover meals. There are usually roast dishes and I find that slightly buttery lightly oaked Chardonnay is usually a good match.