Viticulture has existed in Israel since biblical times and today there are about 150 wineries throughout Israel, with a mere 10,000 acres under vine (compare that to Spain’s 3 million acres). Until the 1980s, Israeli wines were primarily of sacramental interest and the standard output was sweet red. These days, the focus is on quality table wines. To be considered Kosher, a wine may only be handled by observant Jews from the time the grapes are crushed. If, however, the wine is pasteurized, it may subsequently be handled by anyone without losing its Kosher status. Additionally, Kosher wine cannot contain any non-Kosher ingredients or fining agents such as isinglass or gelatin. Read on to learn more about two new labels at The Wine Studio ready for you to enjoy during this year’s Passover holiday!
Barkan Pinot Noir, Negev, Israel, $15
The unique vineyard at Mitzpeh-Ramon is planted in the Negev region, the center of the Israeli desert (south of Gaza) with marked differences in daytime and nighttime temperatures (perfect for pinot noir, which has rarely succeeded in Israel). Its medium body and color blend well with its cherry and strawberry varietal character and subtle oak bouquet. A nice food wine and a great accompaniment to your Passover Seder!
Barkan Shiraz, Dan, Israel, $15
This wine is based on Shiraz grapes harvested at Barkan's Tel-Safi vineyard in the central coastal plain of the province of Dan. The Mediterranean climate is perfect for syrah grapes (the Mediterranean, after all, is where the grape originated!) Ageing was brief, 6 months in stainless steel tanks. The result is an energetic wine that's a pleasure to sip as well as serve on the table. It’s deep purple in color and smells of ripe berries, cassis and black cherries, with a hint of sweet vanilla.
Other Kosher for Passover Wines available at The Wine Studio:
Baron Herzog Chardonnay, CA, $16
Baron Herzog Sauvignon Blanc, CA, $16
Baron Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, CA, $16
Yarden Brut Sparkling, Israel, $20