Kosher Wine Deserves a Better Reputation

As a sommelier who was raised in a kosher home– my father was a cantor, and I am, yes, a decanter– here’s an easy guide to what kosher white wine is and, almost more significantly, what it isn’t.

To begin with, when something is kosher, it just implies the item is fit for usage by watchful Jews. Nevertheless, there are a lot of myths and fallacies out there about kosher wine, so here are a few of the common misconceptions. Kosher wine, or any kosher product, is not “blessed” by a rabbi. (That said, production should be supervised by a person versed in the guidelines of kosher.) Second, kosher red wines are not cooked– this is a very periodic practice, used particularly to make a type of kosher white wine called mevushal. The popular brand Manischewitz, which is made from Concord grapes, has convinced numerous individuals that all kosher white wines are cloyingly sweet and low alcohol; the reality is that most aren’t. Whether a white wine is kosher or not has definitely nothing to do with its quality (or do not have thereof). For an analogy, think about natural red wines: There are outstanding examples and likewise horrible ones. That a wine was made following natural principles has definitely nothing to do with its quality. Kosher is similar method.

On the favorable side, what people frequently do not recognize is that kosher wine really, by its nature, follows some of the concepts most valued by the wine world as a whole: ecological friendliness, social responsibility, and mindfulness about what one eats and drinks.
Kosher wines
Ecological friendliness, for example, is a longstanding tenet of kosher production. In order for agricultural fruit and vegetables in Israel to be kosher, every 7 years the land must be left to go fallow, an idea known as shmita (” the year of release”). Essentially, the land is gone back to nature so that it may recuperate. Also, throughout that time, anyone who is hungry may freely help themselves to what the fields provide. This previous year, 2022, was a shmita year, and throughout Israel, fields showed signs encouraging those who were hungry to take what they liked. This kind of consideration for humanity is fundamental to Judaism and fundamentally connected to kosher as an outcome. Kosher likewise implies mindfulness regarding what one puts in one’s body. Biblical kosher guidelines had practically as much to do with health and wellness similar to religious ideology. Nowadays, lots of typical additives and chemicals are really left out from kosher production; numerous that lots of kosher wines are successfully organic. Good for the environment, good for society, good for your body, and terrific tasting, too: now that’s kosher wine.
2021 Tabor Adama Galilee Sauvignon Blanc ($ 20).
This vibrant white has the stunning bright citrus and gunflint notes of Loire Valley Sauvignons, a touch of grapefruit that nods to New Zealand, and a soft texture meaning fresher style Bordeaux Blanc– but the reality is that it’s Israeli through and through.

2020 Herzog Variations Be-Leaf Organic Cabernet Sauvignon ($ 26).
Notes of ripe brambly fruit like blackberry and boysenberry are matched by vanilla bean and baking spice in this excellent Cabernet from California’s Paso Robles region.

2018 Segal Whole-Cluster Judean Hill Pinot Noir ($ 45).
Master of Wine Ido Lewinsohn utilizes whole-cluster fermentation to provide this red-fruited Pinot from Israel sweet tobacco leaf and spicebox notes. It’s on the full-bodied side, with a long, smooth surface.

2018 Château Clarke Bordeaux Rouge ($ 54).
Full-bodied and earthy, this Cabernet-based white wine is timeless left-bank Bordeaux. Ripe, dark cherry, plum, and a stunning graphite earthiness are what to try to find here.

Champagne Laurent-Perrier Kosher Brut ($ 65).
This is Laurent-Perrier’s flagship cuvée and is made in a drier design than other brut Champagnes. Expect brilliant citrus and stone fruit flavors with a touch of brioche.

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