Putting The Sparkle In The Festival Of Lights | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Putting The Sparkle In The Festival Of Lights


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Sparkling wines pair well with Chanukah fare.

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If there’s an oenological correlative to the twinkly lights of Chanukah, I guess it would be a quaff that sparkles. Sparkling wines always go especially well with latkes and other fried foods, the Chanukah culinary staples.

Personal exploration is the surest guide, though the goal of wine and food pairing remains near universal: balance and harmony — neither the food nor the wine should overpower each other, and each component should, by and large, complement the other.

Here, then, is a smattering of kosher wines for Chanukah.


Baron Herzog, Jeunesse, Belle Rouge, California ($16; mevushal): Semi-sweet and pretty simple stuff, but fun, sparkling and inviting — notes of ripe, sweet, almost candied red fruits like cherry, strawberry and raspberry with a slightly drying finish. Good for those who prefer sweeter red bubbly.

De La Rosa, Ur Kasdim, Sweet White Sparkling Muscat Ottonel, Burgenland, Austria, 2016 ($25; mevushal; organic): This fun, supple, enjoyable, frizzante-style sparkler is made from late-harvest muscat ottonel.

Hagafen, Brut Cuvée, Napa Valley, California, 2015 ($48; mevushal): Delightful blend — 70 percent pinot noir, 30 percent chardonnay; lovely, refreshing and simply delicious.

Herzog, Lineage, Momentus, non-vintage, California ($20; mevushal): Light but vibrant, value-driven, white, off-dry, refreshing and fairly elegant, with notes of citrus, stone fruits, fresh bread and slightly sweet melon.

Champagne des Barons de Rothschild, Brut Rosé, Kosher Edition, Champagne, France ($100): Enjoyable dry rosé with notes of strawberry, raspberry, citrus and toasted bread, gently persistent bubbles and good balancing acidity.


Covenant Israel, Blue C, Viognier, Galilee, Israel, 2018 ($30): Fabulous — lovely, fresh, vibrant and rich, with floral and ripe stone-fruit notes, citrus, a dollop of minerality and great acidity.

Goose Bay, Sauvignon Blanc, South Island, New Zealand, 2018 ($22; mevushal): Wonderfully brash, brisk, crisp, vivacious and herbaceous, with pungent aromas and flavors of grapefruit, gooseberry, green pepper, spicy ginger and passion fruit.

Hagafen, Lake County, Riesling, Napa Valley, California, 2018 ($27; mevushal): Delicious, light, and refreshing; off-dry with lovely tropical and citrus fruit notes; beautifully balanced.

Netofa, Tel Qasser, White, Galilee, Israel, 2017 ($33): Unalloyed pleasure; full-bodied, bright, rich, floral, earthy, minerally and fruity — green apples, pears and quince, and all firmly braced by lively acidity. 

Vitkin, Gewürztraminer, Judean Hills, Israel, 2018 ($30): Fantastic! Wonderfully and vibrantly aromatic with fruits and flowers, crisp, dry and lively on the palate; lovely balance.


Abarbanel, Beaujolais Villages, Château de Pougelon, Batch 90, Old Vines, Burgundy, France 2018 ($17): Delightful with outdoorsy floral and summer fruit aromas, and yummy red and black fruit flavors, subtle blanched almonds, a little violet, and all with a light strawberry overlay. Lovely Beaujolais Villages!

Flechas de Los Andes, Gran Malbec, Vista Flores, Argentina; 2017 ($30): Young and medium-bodied, with attractive notes of dark berry and stone fruits, chocolate, spice and light oak. Should improve with age but delicious now.

Netofa, Latour, Red, Galilee, Israel, 2017 ($30): Beautiful; with lovely notes of blackberry, cherry, plum, leather, Mediterranean herbs and coffee.  

Uva, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, Limited Edition, Abruzzo, Italy, 2014 ($28): Clean, fresh, tasty and alluring, with tart cherries, freshly crushed blackberries, purple plums, tobacco leaf, a decent earthiness, a smidge of licorice and hints of savory herbs.

Vitkin, Collector’s Edition, Grenache Noir, Galilee, Israel, 2017 ($40): Lovely, elegant, complex, beautifully balanced and wonderfully delicious — red and black fruits, floral notes, nice minerality, slightly meaty and earthy qualities, with herbal hints and an enchanting velvety texture.


Bartenura, Moscato d’Asti, Provincia di Pavia, Italy, 2018 ($16, though prices vary; mevushal): This is a semi-sweet, lightly bubbly, low-alcohol tropical fruit and citrus flavored wine; consistent from vintage to vintage, and across production regions. Not complex or ever meant to be anything but fun and light, it goes nicely with sufganiyot;  at just 5 percent alcohol by volume, it’s especially good served over ice like a soda.

De La Rosa, Donash 702, Sweet White Wine, Trocken Beeren Auslese, Burgenland, Austria, 2010 ($33; mevushal): Lovely, aromatic, rich and moderately sweet; good concentration and fine balancing acidity; notes of honeyed peach and dried apricot fruit notes on a lightly spicy background.

Herzog, Late Harvest, Orange Muscat, Oxnard, California, 2018 ($23; mevushal): Enjoyable, pleasing semi-sweet fruit salad of a wine with aromas and flavors of mandarin orange, marmalade, passion fruit, lychee sorbet, grapefruit, vanilla bean, honeysuckle, apricot and lemon, with bits of racy ginger, mild honeydew melon and raisin dancing in and out of focus.

Shirah Wine Co., “The Fortress” (Port Style Wine), Bethel Road Vineyard, Templeton Gap, Paso Robles, California, 2014 (20 percent abv; $65): Wow! Jammy nose of blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, tamarind, subtle rosemary and bergamot oil, carries through on the rich, juicy, sweet palate with dark berry fruits, black cherry soda, cocoa powder and some burnt herbal note. The finish offers more fruit jam and herbs. Spectacular.


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