Eight (New Wines) Is Enough
New kosher wine selections are recommended choices for a seder meal.
'Tis the season for new kosher wines.
'Tis the season for new kosher wines.
The best time of year for kosher wine is upon us. It’s the two-month period when, due to Purim and Passover, demand for kosher wine is at its highest. And when young wines that were produced during the last harvest are finally ready and available. Over the past several weeks I’ve had the opportunity to taste numerous new kosher wines, and below are eight of the most interesting recent releases that should be in stores now or very soon. Prix Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Weir Family Vineyard, MJT Block, 2009: Made by Ernie Weir of Hagafen Cellars, this very-full-boded, inky dark-garnet colored Cabernet is a blockbuster of a wine. The nose is rich and complex, with elements of cherries, cassis, plums, Seville oranges, lemon verbena and espresso. Look for flavors of cherries, cassis, plums and raspberries at the front of the palate moving to notes of mocha, Seville oranges, and cedar at the back of the palate. Well made, with good mineral content and silky tannins, this wine is ready to drink now and for the next eight years, or perhaps longer.
Score A/A- ($70. Available direct from the winery,  424-2336, www.hagafen.com)
Gva’ot Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shomron, 2012: Aged for a year in oak, this very approachable blend of 90 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 percent Merlot, has a deep garnet color and a full body. Look for flavors and aromas of cherries, blackberries, smoky oak, and pipe tobacco, with hints of mocha and spice on the finish. This wine is well structured, with a generous amount of well-integrated tannins, and should drink well until at least 2020.
Score A- ($30-$35. This wine should be available in New York stores within the next few weeks.)
Chateau de Galilee, Blend, Upper-Galilee, 2010: One of the first wines to be imported from this small winery, the blend consists of a mixture of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, which was aged in new French oak barrels for 11 months. It has a fruity nose with notes of cassis, cranberries, blackberries, oak, pencil shavings and smoke, with hints of tobacco and crème de cassis. The first tastes one encounters are cherries and cassis, moving towards a smoky mid-palate and ending with a lingering finish of cranberries and sweet tobacco. While enjoyable now, this wine is not yet fully integrated, and could use another year of aging to show at its best. Drink 2016-2020.
Score A-/B+ ($42-$45. This wine should be available in New York stores within the next few weeks.)
Hagafen Cellars, Dry White Riesling, Napa Valley, Rancho Weiruszowsky Vineyard, 2014: Pale straw in color, this light-bodied crisp, bracingly dry Riesling has a nose of peaches, lychees, kumquats and allspice, with flavors of peaches, apricots, Meyer lemons and grapefruits. Look for a long, spicy finish with notes of allspice and pepper. Drink within the next three years.
Score A-/B+ ($70. Available direct from the winery,  424-2336, www.hagafen.com)
Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, Riserva, 2009: This almost-full-bodied, garnet-colored wine is made from Sangiovese that has been aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. Look for a woody nose dominated by oak and cedar, with notes of cherries, blackberries, lavender and smoke. The flavor is dominated by cherries up front, with a woody mid-palate, and notes of bitter chocolate, smoke, herbs and spice on the finish. Also look for well-integrated, powdery tannins. Drink within the next two years.
Score B+. ($34.99. Available at Beacon Wine & Spirits 2120 Broadway, Manhattan,  877-0028.)
Dalton Winery, Alma, Galilee, 2012: Made from a mixture of 52 percent Shiraz, 32 percent Grenache and 16 percent Mourvedre, each of which were aged separately in oak for fourteen months before blending, this is a very modern, Israeli take on a classic Rhône-style blend. Full-bodied, and garnet-colored the wine has flavors and aromas of cherries, raspberries, crème de framboise, mocha and oak, with hints of white pepper, spice and wildflowers. Drink until the end of the decade.
Score B+. ($19.95. Available at Skyview Wine & Spirits, 5681 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale,  548-3230.)
Shiloh, Legend II, Shomron, 2010: Bright garnet in color, this full-bodied, fruit forward wine is a cuvée of 70 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 percent Carignan and 5 percent Sangiovese, which was aged for 16 months in French oak. The nose is complex, with notes of cherries, violets, tobacco, and an earthy I-know-not-what element. Look for flavors of cherries, raspberries, Cherry Heering liqueur, chocolate and citrus, with an earthy undertone running throughout. Drink now-2019.
Score B+. ($34.95. Available at Skyview Wine & Spirits, 5681 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale,  548-3230.)
Goose Bay, Fume Blanc, Oak Aged Sauvignon Blanc, New Zeeland, 2013: Fermented and aged for 10 months in French oak barrels, this dry, bright-straw-colored wine has a fruity bouquet of oranges, mangos, kiwi-fruits and honeysuckle, with just a whiff of oak. Look for flavors of oranges, lemons, gooseberries, peaches and nectarines. Light, fun, and well made, this wine should be consumed within the next 18 months.
Score B+. ($24.95. Available at Sherry-Lehmann Wine and Spirits, 505 Park Ave., Manhattan,  838-7500) ♦
Please Note: Wines were scored on an ‘A’-‘F’ scale where ‘A’ is excellent, ‘B’ is good, ‘C’ is flawed, ‘D’ is very flawed, and ‘F’ is undrinkable. Prices listed reflect the price at the retailer mentioned.