It's time to start preparing your own Passover seder — and with that, the wines that come with it (the meal does require four glasses, after all!). Thankfully, there are plenty of kosher wines on the market that taste nothing like the Manischewitz you grew up with. As we shared during the High Holy Days and Hanukkah, the kosher wine market has exploded — if only because kosher wine takes the purest form of the grape and turns it into wine.
We talked with Kim Marcus, editor at Wine Spectator, who reviews kosher wines for the magazine; he says that when trying kosher wines, he looks for the same flavors and profiles that he does in a non-kosher wine. "Kosher wines now are just as good as non-kosher wines," he says. "There's nothing inherent in the kosher winemaking process that introduces any new flavors." Moral of the story — the same flavors and characteristics you like in a non-kosher wine can generally be found in your new kosher wine picks.
Marcus shares the Wine Spectator's list of budget-friendly kosher wines to look for when planning your Passover seder, with some recommendations from The Daily Meal, too — your seder just got a little more special (as if matzoh ball soup wasn't enough to make the dinner great).
Wine Spectator's picks:
Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Solomon Lot 70: Rich and well-structured, with a tight core of currant, black licorice, cedar, and pencil lead, ending with loamy earth, good length, and drying tannins.
Recanati Petit Syrah-Zinfandel Galilee Reserve 2010: A jammy and ripe red, with blackberry, dark plum, and blueberry flavors, featuring notes of black licorice. The dense finish shows hints of chocolate.
Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Red C 2010: Providing immediate gratification, this is ripe to the edge of sweet, brimming with blackberry and wild berry fruit that some may find borderline cloying.
Covenant Chardonnay Russian River Valley Lavan 2010: Presents an elegant beam of lime- and citrus-laced green apple and pear flavors. Clean and pure, with hints of fig and hazelnut.
Recanati Carignan Judean Hills Wild Reserve 2010: Dense, with good structure behind the lively red currant and dried raspberry flavors, featuring a minerally component. Displays hints of cardamom and dried sage on the finish.
Rencanti Syrah-Viognier Galilee Reserve 2010: A ripe and spicy red, with concentrated blueberry, dark plum, and blackberry flavors, displaying generous creamy accents. Milk chocolate and almond notes grace the finish.
Weinstock Zinfandel Lodi Cellar Select 2010: Jammy and zesty, with black currant and licorice aromas complemented by dried cherry, tar, and pepper flavors.
Baron Herzog Zinfandel Lodi Old Vine 2009: Soft and supple, with easygoing raspberry, cinnamon and spice flavors. From California. Drink now through 2016.
Daltôn Chardonnay Galilee Unoaked 2011: Touches of richness define this well-crafted white, with ripe apple, pear, and buttery flavors that are generously spiced.
Daltôn Shiraz Galilee Oak Aged 2010: Features notes of Asian spices, with cedar hints to the blueberry and dried raspberry flavors. Iron and wet stone elements appear on the finish.
Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon Galilee 2011: A medium-bodied red, with plum and dried berry flavors that take on lively notes of tobacco. Offers a light and juicy finish.
Recanati Merlot Galilee 2011: Features dark plum fruit, with well-defined notes of tobacco, tar, and black olive. Hints of chocolate and mint linger on the finish.
Daltôn Chardonnay-Viognier Galilee Alma 2011: Medium-bodied, with some marzipan notes to the ripe apple, butterscotch, and vanilla flavors. Soft finish.
Daltôn Sauvignon Blanc Galilee Reserve 2011: Fruity, with supple peach and mango flavors, delivering lively spice notes. Soft finish. .
Teperberg: Sauvignon Blanc Shomron Terra 2011: The tropical fruit flavors are a touch decadent, with some candied notes.
You can find more on Wine Spectator's picks, with ratings, with their Wine Searcher.
The Daily Meal's picks:
Backsberg Estate Chardonnay 2011: A South African wine with notes of white peach and lemon zest that's balanced with an oak mouthfeel, medium body to balance.
Backsberg Estate Merlot 2011: A Meshuval wine, but don't let that frighten you away from it. With aromas of raspberries and black plums, the wine is full of tannins and flavors of sweet fruits.
Backsberg Estate Pinotage 2011: Aged in oak, the wine has notes of vanilla that are balanced with notes of berries.
Pacifica Oregon Pinot Noir: One of the few kosher wines from the Pacific Northwest, the pinot noir is a classic Oregon pinot noir with cherries, raspberries, and a mineral finish.
Pacifica Evan's Collection Meritage 2010: A blended wine of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, and petit verdot, this silky-smooth wine has notes of black cherry, blackberry, dark chocolate, toast, and coffee bean.