Choosing the right wine for the Passover meal is often a tricky task. Year after year the wineries and beverage stores bombard us with sales and specials that are hard to resist. Nevertheless, and especially with the current economic situation, price often becomes the salient factor when standing in front of the loaded shelves.
As you may know, on seder night each person, (or at least those of legal drinking age) is required to drink four glasses of wine. Multiply that by the number of guests and we are looking at an average of one bottle per person or, in other words, a whole lot of wine.
Following are several holiday wine suggestions which will hopefully fit every pallet and pocket.
Up to NIS 54:
If you are looking for a white wine, try the Gamla, Riesling, 2008. Recently released, this is one of the best Riesling wines produced by the winery. If you fancy a light red wine, pick up a bottle of Recanati’s, Yasmine, Red, voted the red wine offering best value for money in its category. Another white wine option is the Barkan, Emerald Riesling, Reserve, light and refreshing this is a good way to get the evening started. Medium to full bodied red wine recommendations at this price range include the Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007; Segal’s, Marom Hagalil, Single, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 or the Galil Mountain, Merlot.
NIS 55- NIS 90:
Gamla, Cabernet Sauvignon or the Yarden, Syrah, 2004 would be good choices at this range. Both the Gamla & Yarden series are produced by the Golan Heights Winery and the wines (primarily reds) have demonstrated quality and stability over recent years. My blended holiday recommendations are Dalton’s Alma and the Galil Mountain, Yiron. Both wines are very approachable, aren’t too heavy and should go well with lighter meat and chicken dishes.
NIS 91 – NIS 120:
Now here is where it starts to get a bit tricky. With so many quality wines to choose from, why not try something different. If you get a chance, pick up a bottle of the Rehasim, Dovev, Argaman by Segal. Argaman is considered by many winemakers to be a low quality grape variety, offering little interest. Segal has proven them wrong, producing a concentrated and interesting Argaman wine. If you get hold of a bottle, try Yatir’s Shiraz 2005, deep in color and full bodied, the wine offers generous fruits, hints of herbs and a lingering finish. Another option is the Binyamina, Avnei Hachoshen, Syrah, Odem 2006 – While I enjoyed the Chardonnay as well, this is definitely my favorite wine from the Avnei Hachoshen series.
NIS 121 – NIS 205:
If you have the budget, why not indulge on some high end wine. In keeping with the Passover tradition of serving red at the festive meal, following are some suggestions for excellent reds. Yarden, Merlot, Ortal Vineyard – full bodied, layers of both red and black fruits and spices all leading to a long and elegant finish. Wines produced by the Margalit Winery are also a treat - my favorites are the Cabernet Sauvignon reserve, Cabernet Franc and the blended wine titled Enigma. I also enjoyed Barkan’s, Merlot, Superior, 2004 – this mouth-filling wine is showing tempting aromas of plums, berry fruits, thyme, pepper and a hint of smoky wood. Another interesting red is a kosher Austrian wine that was introduced to me recently – Hafner, Zweigelt Barrique, 2003. This dry red is reflecting its 24 months spent in barriques, suggesting generous cherry and berry aromas with hints of spice and oak.