More Purim Wines | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

More Purim Wines

More Purim Wines

Vitkin Corks/ Courtesy Vitkin Winery

L’Chaim suggests celebrating Purim with Vitkin wines

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The oft-sung phrase “Mishenichnas Adar marbim b’simcha” (When the month of Adar arrives we should increase our joy”) always makes me reach for a drink.

Indeed, Purim is here! So why read about booze when you could be drinking it?

Last year saw the first release to the US of kosher wines from Israel’s trailblazing Vitkin Winery. The winery’s first release was from the 2001 vintage, and they quickly established themselves as partisans under the ‘‘ABCM – Anything But Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Merlot’’ flag. In furtherance of this rallying cry, they’ve focused on such grape varieties as carignan, cabernet franc, petite sirah, pinot noir, grenach noir, grenach blanc, viognier, gewürztraminer, riesling, roussanne, and columbard.

Vitkin has rolled out four wines in their growing lineup. While everything produced at Vitkin is, so far, eminently worth pursuing, these are my favorites:

Vitkin Winery, White Israeli Journey, Dry White wine, 2016 ($23): this light-to-medium-bodied, unusual blend – 30 percent Grenache Blanc from the Upper Galilee, 20 percent Roussanne and 20 percent Viognier both from the Judean Hills, and then 20 percent colombard and 10 percent gewürztraminer both from the east Carmel Ridge foothills – is wonderfully expressive, relatively complex, and beautifully aromatic with floral, grassy, and citrusy notes, followed by peach, tart nectarine, tangerine, green apple, and melon, with perhaps a light touch of honey. Though still nicely balanced, the acidity isn’t as bracing to the whole as in the rose, so do enjoy with food rather than on its own.

Vitkin Winery, Pink Israeli Journey, Dry Rose Wine, 2016 ($23): This blend of 90 percent Grenach Noir and 10 percent Carignan, both from dry-farmed, bush vine vineyards from the east Carmel Ridge foothills, is aromatic, fresh, fruity (strawberries, cherries), balanced, dry, and utterly delightful. Serve chilled as an aperitif to any meal or as an accompaniment to fish, poultry, or Mediterranean-style foods.

Vitkin, Red Israeli Journey, 2016 ($23): This lovely, bright, supple, fresh, and refreshing blend of carignan from Mount Carmel, and syrah, cabernet franc and marselan from the Upper Galilee, showcases red and dark fruits, sweet spices, Mediterranean herbs, and has enough contemplative oomph to engage the senses, as well as accompany meaty Israeli foods.

Vitkin, Pinot Noir, 2016 ($30): Grown in the Ella Valley region and aged in French oak barrels for 10 months, this unfiltered, Mediterranean take on pinot is bright, light, fruity (cherry, cranberry, raspberry), mildly earthy, with some interesting herbal notes, and just overall lovely. With soft tannins and decent balancing acidity, this is easy to drink on its own, but really hungers for poultry or salmon.

L’Chaim!

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