Let's Eat

Please bring a bottle (one of these)

If you do not know your Sauvignon from your Shiraz, you may feel nothing but panic when faced with a wall of wine in the supermarket or off-licence.


With the gift-giving season almost upon us, many of us will be looking for kosher wines to give the wine drinker in our lives or to take to as a gift for your hosts when invited to a Chanukah bash. I asked Benjamin Gestetner of Kedem Europe for his expert opinion. He gave us his top 10 picks. “I’ve chosen wines that are a bit special; either new on the market or a little bit different,” he says.


1. Chateau Trijet Organic 10th

I chose this wine because “organic” is such a buzz-word nowadays. People are increasingly keen to eat and drink organic. This wine is made from grapes grown in the mediaeval walled village of Castelmoron-d’Albret, smallest municipality in Bordeaux and indeed in all of France. It is produced entirely without chemicals, which is much harder to do. It is made with 65 per cent Merlot; 35 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and is reasonably priced, so a good Shabbat wine, £14.99.


2. Vitkin Pinot Noir

This wine is from one Israel’s top-flight boutique wineries and so it is pretty special. It is also new to this country. Pinot noir is not a common grape varietal in Israel, which makes it even more unusual. I tasted this wine recently and it is out of this world. £30 to £32


One of a kind

3. Herzog Variation 5

Herzog is a kosher American winery owned by the Herzog family, who founded our parent company, Royal Wine Corporation. They have created a series of Cabernets blended from cabernet grapes grown in five different areas.

They have made one with three types (variation 3), one with four types (variation 4) and and one with five types of grape (variation 5).

The grapes are from Santa Ynez, Napa Valley, Alexander Valley, Paso Robles and Chalk Hill. This is something no vineyard has done before, so it is a special gift for someone who knows their wine. £30


4. Jezreel Carignan

This Israeli wine is another special find for the wine aficionado.

Carignan is an unusual grape used on its own as it is more commonly blended with other grapes. It is also not easy to find a kosher Carignan nor one from Israel.

The carignan grapes for this wine are all grown at the Shfeya vineyard, a 45-year-old vineyard near Zikron Ya’akov that produces very small and concentrated quantities of quality grapes. They are hand-picked and aged for 22 months in oak barrels. A special wine. £44.99


5. Matar Petit Verdot

Like Carignan, Petit Verdot is not common in Israeli wines, which are more commonly made from Syrah and Cabernet grapes. This is also a very special wine made from hand-picked grapes. £44.99


6. Castel La Vie Blanc

Israeli winery Castel makes four wines. This is its more everyday drinking wine — it makes a white (this one) and a red — LaVie Rouge. The wine arrived in this country only six months ago. Castel is normally an expensive vineyard but this is a bit more affordable, making it a nice host gift or Shabbat wine. £25.


7. Montefiore Aria Reserve

This is a really top-class gift as it comes in a gorgeous presentation box. It is new on the market and is also a limited edition — to celebrate the new style of Israeli Mediterranean blend.

The name “Aria” means air in Italian and was chosen as a reminder of the winds that blow the sails of the Montefiore windmill and the winds from the Mediterranean sea that cool the vineyard. A lovely story behind a great wine. £34


8. Herzog Special Reserve Lake County

Herzog already makes a popular Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon wine from grapes grown in Alexander and another from Napa Valley.

This has a similar style but the grapes are grown in Lake County. £39.99


For pudding lovers

9. Tzafona Ice Wine

This is an interesting dessert wine from Niagra Falls. Canada is famous for its ice wine, made from grapes that have been allowed to freeze on the vine, heightening their sweetness. It is not cheap at £37 for a half bottle (375ml) but it makes a wonderful gift. Perfect with many desserts or to dip biscotti into.


10. Covenant Israel

Covenant makes some of the best kosher wine in the world in its California vineyards. It now produces wine from its Israeli vineyards, too — and this is the first vintage. It is a full-bodied red with rich plum, black cherry and blackberry flavours and some spicy, anise-like flavours. The label — in the shape of Israel itself — is a nice touch. It can be drunk now or stored for future drinking. £52.


The Kedem Food and Wine Experience takes place on January 31, 2018.

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