Wine is so important on Passover. But it’s not simple selecting wine during this time because they serve different purposes. First we need to select the right wine for the seder, something easy to drink, flavorful, yet not too high in alcohol or too sweet so that drinking the four cups is not as physically difficult as actually leaving mitzrayim. Then, Yom Tov wines, or wines that we should enjoy and savor at the Yom Tov table but are not too painful on the pocketbook. We call these value wines, great taste for a reasonable price. Wines that enhance a meal and bring joy and flavor to the special dishes we have prepared. And finally, there are gift wines, or wines we bring to others when we share a meal, a thank you or just a way to cherish a time together. These are splurge opportunities or times to taste something we have always wanted to purchase.
For all our wine consultation, we love to ask our friends at Royal Wine. They certainly have the pulse on the wine world and give the best advice!
For the seder, Royal recommends, French wines because they are always lower in alcohol content due to the colder climate and lack of extreme exposure to sunlight (typically 1-3% lower than most other countries) where the grapes are grown. French wines have between 11-12.5% alcohol compared to a more common 14%. A semi-dry low alcohol red wine like a Herzog Chateneuf Rouge (red) is perfect for the seder. When a wine has a low-alcohol content like a moscatto it is typically very sweet because the sugar was not converted into alcohol. Many people like this at a seder. We recommend a semi-sweet wine (it has higher alcohol content than the sweet wines but is more full flavored), like the Or Haganuz Har Meron. We went through a lot of this wine for Purim too.
For a Yom Tov wine and something that has great value, we recommend the new Merlot Argamon from Barkan. At, $9.99-11.99, it’s a great buy. We also like the new Edom M series (M for mevushal) from Psagot. I personally just bought 6 bottles for about $16 each. Their wines have a smooth and luscious quality and pair well with most chicken and meat dishes, which makes it a great Yom Tov option.
For a gift wine, try The Herzog Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Basin Vineyard. From Basin Vineyard Napa Valley. I tried this (and posted about it) at the KFWE 2014, and it was one of my favorite wines of the evening. The grapes come from a Northern region of the area called the Basin and the results are terrific, full flavored, rich and warm feeling. See more details on this wine here. It is just out and available so ask your vine seller for some today because it will sell fast, as it has received some well-deserved great press.
Let me know what you are drinking or what you liked. Many thanks to Royal Wines for their great suggestions to help with the enjoyment of the Four Cups and more!