Since Purim and then Pesach will be upon us before we know it, this month’s New & Kosher is all about WINE 😀 . Read on to see how you can WIN a selection of three wonderful new wines worth over £120 – just in time for Purim!
The last time I did a kosher wine tasting was about ten years ago, when we spent an evening choosing wines to serve at our wedding. I must admit that based on that experience, I had pretty low expectations for the Kosher Food and Wine Experience (KFWE) that I attended in London recently – but how wrong I was!
I was blown away by the quality, diversity and flavour of the wines on offer at KFWE. Either kosher wine has improved dramatically, or we were just really really unlucky last time! It was impossible to taste everything – there were dozens of wineries present, each showcasing numerous wines – but I did my best to sample a good fraction of them. I was particularly keen to taste wines that I hadn’t tried before, and there were plenty.
The wines on offer were from wineries of all sizes, and from across the globe, including France, Italy, Spain, California, New Zealand, and of course Israel. I think it’s fair to say there was something to suit everyone, whether you like crisp dry whites, fruity reds, sweet dessert wines or celebratory fizz.
I reckon I tasted between 30 and 40 wines at KFWE, so I won’t bore you rigid with descriptions of all of them! There were, of course, some that I didn’t like, or that I considered to be just ‘OK’, so I’ve left those out of my review. Instead, below are a few of my favourites from the day – the real stars – and those included in the giveaway.
Royal Wine Europe – Chateau Piada Sauternes 2013
Royal Wine Europe has entered into partnerships with well-known French wineries and Chateaux to bring excellent French wines to the kosher market, by facilitating supervised production of classic wines. The Sauternes was a wonderful example of a traditional French dessert wine – sweet, floral and delicious. I would happily have had another glass (or two!) and it would be a perfect way to end a special meal.
I can’t find an online UK stockist for the 2013 bottling, but the 2006 is available for £59.99 a bottle and the 2001 for £99.99 a bottle. (I expect the 2013 to be around £30 per bottle – if you can find it.)
Tabor winery – Adama Roussanne
The Tabor winery is located in Northern Israel, and covers an area with four different soil types. Grape varieties have been chosen to take advantage of these different soils, and a range of wines produced under the ‘Adama’ label.
The Adama Roussanne was delightfully different – I have never tried this grape variety before, but will look out for it in future. Tabor is the first winery in Israel to grow this variety, and they are producing only 15-20,000 bottles of the wine per year. The unoaked wine has a unique aroma and a light, fresh, fruity flavour, and is available only in Israel and the UK, where it costs around £14 per bottle.
Covenant Tribe Red and Red C Sauvignon Blanc Dry Creek Valley
The Covenant vineyard and winery was established by husband and wife Jodie (see left) and Jeff Morgan, in Napa Valley, California. Jeff has pioneered a process to produce mevushal wines without heating the grape juice – instead the grapes are heated whole before crushing. Jeff is one of very few kosher wine-makers to use only native yeasts for fermentation, and the resultant wines are really interesting – wonderful and complex.
Covenant Tribe Red is a ‘field blend’ comprising syrah, petite sirah and zinfandel grapes, and is smooth and fruity with very little tannin. (There is also a Tribe White which is largely Chardonnay.) The Red C Sauvignon Blanc (£25.99 per bottle) was one of my favourite wines of the day. It is aged in stainless steel barrels with no wood, and develops a really citrussy flavour – almost grapefruity. It would be terrific on a sunny summer’s afternoon!
Hagafen Oak Knoll Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc
Also from California, the Hagafen winery was established in 1979, and now produces a range of red and white wines.
The Oak Knoll Chardonnay stood out for me, as it was very dry but with a wonderful honeyed flavour. The wine is aged in oak for 6 months before bottling, and around 12,000 cases per year are produced. It has just been launched in the UK, and is available only in the USA and here, where it costs around £25 per bottle.
The Hagafen Cabernet Franc is the first of the three wines in my fantastic wine giveaway, in association with Kedem Europe. This full-bodied red is described as “bursting with flavours of the deep forest glen: rich earth, deep dark black cherries and rose hips.” It retails for £30.99 a bottle.
Herzog is one of the world’s largest kosher wineries, producing a huge range of red and white wines to suit almost every taste and occasion.
The Herzog family is celebrating the 30th anniversary of their California winery with the release of a very special wine. Camouflage is made from a field blend of 12 different estate-grown grape varieties, including Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Malbec and Petite Sirah. The grapes have been blended, then fermented and aged as a single wine, to give a complex flavour with subtle nuances of the different varieties. Tasting notes include red fruits, florals, and toasted nuts.
This remarkable wine is the second to be included in the giveaway! Or you can buy a bottle for £24.99.
Champagne Barons de Rothschild Brut Cuvée Cacher
I’m pretty excited by the third wine in the giveaway, as it’s this amazing kosher Barons de Rothschild Champagne, worth £66 a bottle!
This fantastic kosher Champagne is the result of a unique collaboration that has brought all three wine-making branches of the Rothschild family together for the first time. It comprises a blend of 60% Chardonnay, primarily from the Côte des Blancs, and 40% Pinot Noir, from the Montagne de Reims. The quality is exceptional, with fine bubbles and a subtle aroma of fruit, nuts and flowers.
This champagne would be a truly special way to toast any simcha, or for real indulgence, enjoy it with a celebratory meal of light dishes such as fish, salads, risotto or fresh white cheeses. (Hard or salty cheeses can make the wine taste weirdly horrible – I learned this the hard way!)
To be in with a chance of winning a bottle, plus the Hagafen Cabernet Franc and the Herzog Camouflage, simply enter using the rafflecopter below. Good luck!
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I received a free ticket to KFWE London. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.