Passover is just around the corner. For some, the preparations for Seder involve a panicked trip to the local wine store to hunt down a suitable kosher wine that may or may not be enjoyable to drink. Paralyzed with uncertainty at the shelves lined with dozens of options, some consumers simply grab the first bottle of sweet red square-bottle wine in front of them and head home relieved they made a safe choice that won’t violate any of the kosher laws.
This ritual happens every year, but it doesn’t have to. These days, thanks to dedicated kosher wine producers, you certainly don’t have to sacrifice taste for Torah doctrine. With a knowledgeable wine seller as your guide, you can find exceptional red, white, rosé, and sparkling kosher wines for Passover that will comply with the rules and add a wonderful dimension to your meal. With so many options, we’ve put together our own Quick Sip Guide to Kosher Wine that includes recommendations even the fussiest wine expert will enjoy. L’chaim!
So here's the Quick Sip on Kosher Wine for Passover
· All kosher wines must certified by one of the thousands of reliable, recognized bodies responsible for kosher certification.
· Just printing the words “Kosher” or “Kosher for Passover” does not make a wine kosher.
· Kosher wines must bear the symbol of the certifying body on the wine label.
· All wines labeled “Kosher for Passover” are kosher, but not all kosher wines are kosher for Passover. Learn more about the difference in our article the Skinny on Kosher Wines.
· Mevushal wines are kosher and may be served at Passover, but cannot be used as sacramental wine or on the alter.
· Not all wines from Israel are kosher.
· To see if a wine is kosher for Passover, look on the back label of the wine bottle. You should see one of the kosher symbols with a small “p” right on the logo or next to the logo.
Here are our wine suggestions for Seder
Few things say “celebration” like a lovely glass of bubbly, so why not begin Seder with a crisp, refreshing French Champagne or prosecco from northeastern Italy? Seder is a celebration of triumph over impossible adversity and this annual event deserves a glass of wine that suits the mood. We’ve chosen two lovely options with two different price points for you to consider.
Laurent-Perrier Brut Rosé NV Champagne France ($89): Historic, elegant, and in a class on its own, this is a rosé for the ages. Made from 100 percent pinot noir, this wine is versatile enough to pair with a range of dishes and is the perfect wine for a toast. Wild fraises des bois and creamy brioche notes give it depth and crisp minerality.
Bartenura Prosecco NV Veneto Italy ($18.99): Made with Glera grapes, this is a light, lively, dry wine with just enough effervescence to put everyone in a jolly mood. Think white peach and creamy, golden delicious apple notes.
Goose Bay South Island Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2012 ($19.99): Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand has a distinct grapefruit or citrus profile that makes it the perfect wine to pair with a range of foods. This one is a crisp, juicy mouthful of bright grapefruit that’s hard to resist.
Hagafen Cellars Chardonnay Napa Valley California 2013 ($23.99): This luscious white wine seems earmarked for consumers who steadfastly cling to California chardonnay like a security blanket. It will satisfy the need for oak and pass muster for those who prefer Old World chardonnay.
Don Ernesto's Beret Rosé Napa Valley California 2014 ($24.99): Ernie Weir, wine grower and owner of Hagafen Cellars, aka Don Ernesto, makes the perfect rosé for your Seder dinner. Crisp like a white but with the depth of a light red, this is made with 100 percent syrah grapes and can be used as a cocktail wine or with your meal.
Hagafen Cellars Syrah Napa Valley California 2012 ($32.00): For the price, this is a “bluff wine,” or a wine that tastes more expensive than its price tag and can even fool the experts. The wine’s dark cherry and blackberry notes, bracing acidity, and firm tannins make for a dynamic duo with roasted lamb. It’s a sensational marriage of aromas and flavors.
Hagafen Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley California 2011 ($48.00): If you just can’t imagine Seder without a California cab, then make this kosher kicker your go-to wine. Produced using estate-grown grapes, it’s a BBR — big, bold red — with a huge personality. Toasty oak plays on the palate in tandem with cassis, woody herbs, and spicy grip from the tannins.