The Seder sip list

We are in­structed to drink four glasses of wine at the Seder meal — so why not make them good ones? AdamMon­te­fiore has some rec­om­men­da­tions

The Jewish Chronicle - - FEATURES 31 -

SFIRST GLASS:

SEC­OND GLASS:

‘C’ Blanc du Cas­tel 2006 is ar­guably Is­rael’s finest white wine. Its qual­ity is rem­i­nis­cent of a clas­sic white Bur­gundy. A but­tery wine E DER NI G HT i s noth­ing if not a clas­sic ban­quet. In a ban­quet there may be a num­ber of wines served. A sparkling wine will be the aper­i­tif, a white wine will be served with fish, a red wine with the meat course and a dessert wine with the pud­ding. My rec­om­men­da­tion is to fol­low the same idea with the four glasses for Passover. Though tra­di­tion holds that the finest red wine should fill the rit­ual four cups, if the white is good enough an ex­cep­tion may be made. Yar­den Blanc de Blancs i s a sparkling wine made by the Cham­pag­nemethod,with­a­toasty aroma and a clean, re­fresh­ing fin­ish. It makes the per­fect aper­i­tif.

If a dry sparkling wine is too much for you on an empty stom­ach, I sug­gest one of the fresh, grapey Moscatos pro­duced by Carmel or Golan winer­ies. They are light, slightly sparkling with a touch of sweet­ness and are also low in al­co­hol. with del­i­cate notes of trop­i­cal fruit, roasted al­monds and an ex­quis­ite bal­ance be­tween fruit and acid­ity.

Dal­ton Sauvi­gnon Blanc, Barkan Clas­sic Chardon­nay or Vine­yard’s Se­lected White Zin­fan­del, a semi dry rose, are less ex­pen­sive al­ter­na­tives.

THIRD GLASS:

Yatir For­est 2003. It is a full bod­ied Bordeauxblend­ofCaber­netSau­vi­gnon and Mer­lot, grown in the heart of Is­rael’s largest planted for­est, in the south­ern Judean Hills. Rich, vel­vety with great depth, it has a clas­sic aroma of blackcurrant and black­ber­ries, with hints of Mediter­ranean herbs.

The world’s most in­flu­en­tial wine critic, Robert Parker, judged the best Is­raeli wines to be as fol­lows in his Wine Ad­vo­cate mag­a­zine: Yatir For­est 2003 (93 points); Cas­tel Grand Vin 2004 (92); Yar­den Katzrin 2003 (91); Carmel Lim­ited Edi­tion 2004 (90); Yatir Caber­net Shi­raz Mer­lot 2003 (90). Each of th­ese, ac­cord­ing to Parker’s rat­ing, is “an out­stand­ing wine” and among the finest kosher wines in the world. Any of them will el­e­vate your Seder.

If th­ese are too ex­pen­sive, I rec­om­mend the Galil Moun­tain Caber­net Sauvi­gnon, Private Col­lec­tion Caber­net Mer­lot, or if you want some­thing more un­usual, the Ap­pel­la­tion Old Vines Carig­nan.

FOURTH GLASS:

CarmelSha’al Gewurz­traminer Late Har­vest 2006. This award- win­ning dessert wine, with aro­mas of ly­chees, apri­cots and cit­rus fruit, has a re­fresh­ing acid­ity and it is a won­der­ful, sweet way to fin­ish any meal. An al­ter­na­tive would be Binyamina Mus­cat.

For chil­dren I rec­om­mend ei­ther fol­low­ing the French cus­tom of di­lut­ing the wine with wa­ter, or pur­chas­ing a low al­co­hol Moscato. Both th­ese op­tions are more in keep­ing with the spirit of Passover than grape juice.

For those who in­sist on Kid­dush wines, note they will taste far bet­ter when served chilled from the fridge. Fol­low­ers of Pal­win should be aware that it is still one of the very few Kid­dush wines pro­duced with­out any ad­di­tional sugar. I would fill Eli­jah’s Cup with Pal­win, rather than us­ing the rare and ex­pen­sive Yatir For­est!

You will have no­ticed a dis­tinct bias for Is­rael in my choice of wines. Mas­ter of Wine Tim Atkin re­cently wrote in The Ob­server: “In such a cli­mate,” (re­fer­ring to ‘the sit­u­a­tion’ in Is­rael, not to the weather!) “tend­ing vine­yards and pro­duc­ing wine is an act of courage and op­ti­mism. I have ad­mi­ra­tion for the ma­jor­ity of Is­rael’s wine­mak­ers.” I agree with him.

Passover is the Fes­ti­val of Free­dom. We are now free to make wines in our own land. What is more, af­ter ex­per­i­ment­ing for a few thou­sand years, Is­raeli wines are turn­ing out to be rather good. Adam Mon­te­fiore works for Carmel Win­ery in Is­rael. He reg­u­larly writes about wine both in Is­rael and for in­ter­na­tional publi­ca­tions

Is­raeli vine­yards ( above) are pro­duc­ing some classy wines, and Yatir For­est ( be­low) is one of the most praised

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