Today, that has changed for several reasons. First and foremost, people, kosher or not, generally are over drinking crappy wine. We all know what decent wine tastes like and we all want some, especially when celebrating our holidays. With that, kosher winemakers have expanded their horizons, kosher wine drinkers are willing to experiment more than they had been, and regions that specialize in kosher wines (Israel) have finally had the time to sort out their wine industries.
So I was faced with the task to head out and find some kosher wines worth recommending. I tasted through a nice range of wines, both whites and reds, and found some worth sharing. The 2009 Domaine Netofa Galilee Red was a discovery for me, elegant and subtle, and absolutely delicious!
Photo courtesy xtremevisuals via Flickr/CC
2010 Goose Bay South Island Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand 13%
This is very fresh on the nose. There is still a hint of yeast at first pour, which is followed by notes of roasted chili, lemon grass, sage and grapefruit over a nice mineral base. Nicely bright and juicy on entry, this shows early flashes of peach fruit that form a base for lightly chili-toned pineapple and lime fruit on the palate. This shows good richness but remains refreshing right through the lightly mineral and lime zest finish. 87pts
2010 Golan Heights Winery Sion Creek White Israel 13%
This is very interesting on the nose, with a blend of sandy mineral base notes under a layer of light herbal/floral tones and lovely hints of orange and dried lime zest. Rather light bodied in the mouth with a flavor profile that is similar to the nose, with nuanced bitter orange, some almond tones, and a dusting of pollen and honey. All layered over some dried herb notes and some tense mineral elements. This finishes with a touch of sweetness, just enough to smooth the edges a bit but still quite discreet. 87pts
2010 Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc Clarksburg CA 13%
This smells fairly floral with a decidedly apple tone to the orchard fruit on the nose. Lots of apple fruit in the mouth as well, with nice lemon acidity balancing the noticeable sweetness. There's a touch of pollen and some peachy tones on the back end and through the finish, though it's all nicely balanced with citrus flavors. Very easy to drink and sure to be a crowdpleaser for those who like their wines fruity. 85pts
NV Cuvee du Centenaire Cotes du Rhone 12%
Rather earthy on the nose and quite winey in an old school sort of way. There's some nice red berry fruit here on the nose, but there is also a strong aromatic herb/root vegetable element as well adding nice complexity. Light bodied and fresh in the mouth, with bright acidity and some dusty, stiff tannins accenting the light red berry fruit with its herbal edges and some dried citrus elements. This is rather simple but fresh and cleansing on the palate. 85pts
2009 Domaine Netofa Galilee Red Israel 13.3%
A Syrah Mourvedre blend. Tight on the nose with some dusty soil tones, a hint of violet and some lean, black fruit. This is tight on the palate as well, but the wine has lovely balance with strong acids and fine grained tannins that are supportive though unobtrusive. With air, the fruit does begin to emerge, showing lovely freshness with hints of plum and black currant accented with a touch of fragrant talc and some lovely spice tones. This finishes with some lightly spiced fruit and nice nuance. Much more elegant than I was expecting, this is really a lovely glass of wine. Easy to drink, but shows some nuance and sophistication as well. A bit creamy on the finish with a hint of chocolate adding a nice layer. 89pts
2006 Ella Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Judan Hills, Israel 14%
A touch oaky at first, this does show nice red currant and cherry fruit accented with clear herb tones in a fresh style. Lighter bodied and fresh in the mouth, this packs in pretty good depth of flavors, with wild cherry and raspberry cream notes accented by hints of wood spice and herbal top notes. The finish is fruity, with crisp black currant tones accented by nuanced oak notes. Good length and lovely tannins adding a little grab. 90pts
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