Planning to celebrate Rosh Hashanah next week? Concerned that the kosher wine may not be up to par? You may be pleasantly surprised.
In an article in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Elizabeth Downer talks about a kosher wine tasting she participated in at Pinsker’s Judaica Center in Squirrel Hill with owner Schlomo Perelman, his wife, Chana, and Dr. Barry Levine. According to Dr. Levine, “today’s wine lovers do not have to lower their wine standards to keep kosher.”
Ms. Downer discusses seven of the wines she tasted and recommends three others:
- Baron Herzog Chardonnay from California (PLCB No. 005757, $12.99), which should be available in the PLCB’s regular stores;
- Golan Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 from Israel (PLCB No. 027082, $14.99), which can be found in the PLCB’s Specialty stores; and
- Mt. Tabor Merlot 2003 from Israel (PLCB No. 027055, $12.99), which also can be found in the Specialty stores.
Ever wonder what makes a wine kosher? Ms. Downer breaks down the Jewish laws courtesy of the Oxford Companion to Wine:
- No wine may be produced from a vine until its fourth year.
- The vineyard, if within biblical lands, must be left fallow every seven years.
- Only vines may be grown in vineyards; no other fruits or vegetables are allowed.
- There must be a symbolic ceremony in which just over one percent of the production is poured away in remembrance of the tithe set aside for Levites and priests in the days of the Jerusalem Temple.
- From arrival at the winery, the grapes and resulting wine may only be handled by strictly Sabbath-observing Jews and only 100 percent kosher materials may be used in the wine-making maturation and bottling processes. (This applies only to those who handle the grape must or the wine itself.)
- For a wine to be mevushal, a higher level of kosher designation, it must be cooked or pasteurized.
If you try any of the wines Ms. Downer recommends, leave a comment to let people know what you think. Shana Tova!
Photo credit: Andy Starnes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette