Drinking wine is a Mitzvah (good deed) and prescribed for many Jewish rituals: Bris Milah (circumcision), the wedding chuppa (canopy), and the Kiddush that starts all Sabbath.
Wine is essential to enjoy during the holidays. Celebrating Purim, wine is the beverage of choice for the festive meal. It may be sipped in abundance as described in the Megillah story. During Passover, Jews are required to drink four cups of wine at the Seder.
When I received three bottles of Herzog wine as a holiday gift, I learned a lot about Kosher wine. According to Jay Buchsbaum, Executive VP Marketing and Director of Wine Education at Royal Wine Corp. It’s the top kosher wine purveyor in America, “When it comes to taste, there’s no difference between kosher and non-kosher wine.”
To be considered kosher, Sabbath-observant Jews must supervise and sometimes handle the entire winemaking process, from the time the grapes are crushed until the wine is bottled. Any ingredients used, including yeasts must be kosher.
When kosher wine is produced, marketed and sold commercially, it will bear kosher certification granted by a specially-trained rabbi who is responsible for supervision from start to finish.
There has been an increased demand for kosher wines, motivating vintners in South Africa, Chile and Canada to produce kosher wines under strict rabbinical, besides the wines produced in Israel, France, California, Spain and Italy.
The first Herzog wine I opened was the Special Reserve Quartet, Red Blend. This 2013 wine offered notes of dark berries and a mouthful of vanilla and spice with finishing hints of dark chocolate. It’s made with 36% Petit Verdot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Malbec, and 15% Zinfandel.
For a family dinner I opened a chilled bottle of Baron Herzog California Chardonnay 2016. While taking a few sips I noted the essence of baked pear and apple with a hint of lemon zest. This is a nice wine to pair with an almond crusted fish or rosemary roasted chicken.
For a holiday meal, I uncorked the last bottle, a Herzog Lineage 2016 Choreograph. This wine is made from 12 select varietals in a secluded portion of their Herzog vineyard. Each of the vines were specially chosen to create a kaleidoscope of red and black raspberries, espresso, and nutmeg. It’s ideal with a steak or brisket.