Like many aspects of Jewish cuisine, kosher wine is often misunderstood. While there are wines that fall into the stereotypical ultra-sweet category, kosher wines have experienced a bit of a renaissance lately, and there are now plenty of yummy ones to choose from. With Passover around the corner, you want to make sure you choose quality kosher. So we’ve selected seven wines that would make your Manischewitz-swigging bubby say “oy!”
First of all, let’s establish a bit of terminology. Kosher wines are either mevushal or non-mevushal. Mevushal wines are flash-boiled, while non-mevushal wines aren’t. The stipulation for being a kosher-for-Passover wine is actually quite simple: just keep everything out of contact from chametz, that is: grain, bread, and dough. Plenty of the kosher wines available are, by default, already fit for the holiday o’ matzo. Here are seven of our favorites.
Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc, Mevushal
You don’t have to be a wine snob – or a rabbi – to enjoy this bright, lively white. Kosher or not, it’s delightfully crowd-pleasing, highly rated, and inexpensive. Enjoy this off-dry white with typical daytime Passover schmear: white fish, matzah, and veggies.
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Shiloh Fort, Non-Mevushal
While technically not “port” wine (port must be made in Portugal, “Fort” is made in Israel), Shiloh Fort pairs well with desserts you can actually eat on Passover, like dark chocolate. Another great thing about Fort is that it comes with a screw cap, so it lasts for a couple of weeks even when opened.
The Tribe Red, Mevushal
Jeff Morgan, the winemaker behind The Tribe Red, resisted making Mevushal wines for most of his career. However, he and his team at Covenant Wines flash-heat the grapes as opposed to the wine, giving The Tribe Red a complexity not typical of Mevushal wines. This red blend has been adored by many a wine critic, and for good reason. A palate of ripe fruit and heavy tannins make it a great wine for food pairing.
Drappier Carte D’Or Brut, Mevushal
Regardless of how carb-drained it is, Passover is still a celebration, and a celebration calls for Champagne. Consisting primarily of Pinot Noir grapes, this Champagne is dry, crisp, and delivers a mouthful of white peach. L’chaim!
Netofa Tinto, Non-Mevushal
This Spanish-style blend has all the trimmings of a typical red (black currants, cherries), but licorice and citrus give it a unique, refreshing taste with a splice of minerality.
Baron Herzog Late Harvest Orange Muscat, Mevushal
Bartenura tends to be the kosher Moscato that gets a lot of press, but I actually prefer this late harvest Muscat. The sweetness is more complex than what you see in your typical Moscato, filled with apricot, tangerine, and orange spices. I’ve even enjoyed this wine with steak (I know, sacrilege).
Flam Classico, Non-Mevushal
Flam is Israel’s first modern family winery, and they produce the highest quality wines Israel has to offer. Flam Classico spends ten months in French and American oak barrels. A blend of four different grapes, this red has a bit of spice and green pepper typical of Mediterranean wines.