wine time

Eight wines for Seder night 5783

JI wine columnist Yitz Applbaum previews the must-drink wines for this year's Seder

I apologize to my faithful readers: I have been a bit too busy to deliver my regular wine column the past few weeks. But I could not fathom missing my yearly Pesach recommendations – the eight cups of Seder.  Four cups we drink in the service of God, and four cups we drink to celebrate the remarkable Pesach meal we will be feasting on. 

The first cup of wine is the Odem Mountain Forest Red Blend 2021. This blend of Cabernet, Syrah and Nebbiolo opens with soft notes of strawberry and leads to a mid-palate of cantaloupe juice. The finish will take the edge off of the seder and is meaty enough not to require any food.

The second glass of wine is the Jezreel Alfa Special Reserve 2018. This wine is a blend of Syrah, Argaman (off-spring of Souzão and Carignan) and Cabernet. This wine has a very Middle Eastern flavor that engulfs your entire mouth. There are strong tannins in the mid-palate and the finish is of a Moroccan tannery.

The third becher of wine must be the 2018 Nevo Petit Verdot. It has a monolithic mouth feel from start to finish, and the tannins mellow after your third sip.

The fourth and final goblet should be filled to the brim with 2019 Yarden Cabernet. I love the simplicity and complexity of this wine all wrapped into one great bottle. It opens with big berries, which turn to muscular, spicy, dark raspberry in the middle palate and heavy French oaked dark chocolate cradling your palate on the finish.  This wine will have you singing “next year in Jerusalem!”

For the meal, I suggest trying as many of these four wines as possible:

Shiran Riesling 2021. This winery is housed in Kiryat Arba and has a reputation for thinking out of the box. The 2021 Resiling takes your palate on a journey from mango sweetness to acidic grapefruit all in one fell swoop.  It has a soothing finish and is a great way to start your meal.

Next comes the Flam Camellia 2021, which is a blend of ninety percent chardonnay and ten percent sauvignon blanc. It is a bright and energetic wine that blends apple overtones, vanilla bean ice cream, and a subtle finish of expensive olive oil.

Back to the Shiran winery, the 2020 Shiran The Conductor is a blend of petite syrah, petite verdot and cabernet Franc. This wine is bold and refreshing. The front palate is full of blackberry, the mid-palate is of dried apricots and the long finish makes you yearn for another pour.

And finally the wine to finish off the meal: The Ben Haim 2017 Cabernet Franc. I have known the Ben Haim family for a generation.  They produce wine that stays as close as possible to the true character of the grape. This Cab Franc has a sprinkling of merlot blended in to soften the strong ripe tannins. The truffle nose is prominent in your glass. The finish has earthy tones, and if you savor this drink till after you finish your seder, the wine morphs into a sensual, seductive, flowery liquid… you will wake up mid-way through the second Seder.

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