On Purim and Passover an extra emphasis is put on the drinking of wine. On the night of the Seder, we are required to drink four glasses of wine while on Purim there is a practice of consuming wine and other alcoholic beverage to the point of - Ad d'lo Yada.
Ad d'lo Yada literally means that we are supposed to drink until we reach the point where we no longer know the difference between blessed in Mordecai and cursed in Haman. The drinking usually takes place during a festive holiday meal called ‘seudat Purim’ or in the night after reading the ‘megila’. The origin of Purim and the tradition of the festive meal dates back to the majestic banquet that King Achasverous made in the capital city Shushan.
While I have a lot of respect for tradition, personally, I do not enjoy excessive drinking to the point of intoxication and prefer to spend my money on one or two good bottles of wine rather than be tempted by the 4 or 5 for NIS 100 specials. To those who still want to practice the tradition but have a limited budget, I would suggest buying a couple of good bottles and drinking them at the beginning of the meal and then continuing on with the other vinos.
Following are a few good options to choose from:
Galil Mountain, Galil, Alon, 2009 – a new addition to the winery’s portfolio, the Alon blend comprises Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot grapes. Bright purple in color, full bodied, the wine is rather fruit forward, opening in the glass with concentrated slightly jammy aromas and flavors of red cherries, ripe plums and blueberries followed by notes of dried herbs, sweet coffee and cloves leading to a mouth-filling finish.
Recanati, Reserve, Syrah – Viognier, 2010 – 97% Syrah and 3% Viognier, a blending style that is rather popular in the Northern parts of France’s Rhone Valley, 9 months in French oak, this is a full bodied wine, suggesting pleasant aromas and flavors of red berry fruits alongside dry herbs, floral notes and just a touch of smoke backed by good acidity and a long finish - a very enjoyable wine.
Tulip, Black Tulip, 2007 – the Tulip winery’s flagship vino, the Black Tulip 07 is not kosher but since the winery recently received kashrut supervision, in the future we will probably be seeing kosher editions as well. A Bordeaux style blend made up of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, dark in color, full bodied, good structure and sweet-smooth tannins, the wine suggests notes of black berry fruits, plums, thyme and toasted oak leading to a long and satisfying finish.
Or HaGanuz, Elima, 2010 – an interesting wine from an interesting winery – Or HaGanuz in collaboration with winery consultant Arkadi Papikian recently released a special wine made without sodium bisulfite (used in most commercial wines to prevent oxidation). Bright ruby in colour, medium-full bodied, slight alcoholic sensation on the attack, the wine suggests tart plums, cherries, blackberry fruits with a medium-pleasant finish.
Psagot, Prat (Non-Vintage) – the Psagot winery recently released a fortified port-style vino. In addition to their dry red and white wines, Psagot has been producing port style wines since 2003. As this sweet vino is blended from wines of 3 different vintages, it is considered a non vintage wine (N.V.). Port and fortified port-style wines are an excellent way to end a meal and also pair very well with potent cheeses, chocolate, nuts and even a nice cigar. The winery also has a very welcoming, state of the art visitor’s center (10 minutes from Jerusalem) where guests can enjoy wine tasting, a light dairy meal and receive interesting explanations about the history of the area and various wineries and attractions in the region.