Searching for great tasting wines that are Kosher for Passover? Look to one of the oldest New World wine producing countries — Israel.
I recently tasted a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from Gilgal, a new label from the Golan Heights Winery.
The wine is named after Gilgal Refaim, a site in the Golan Heights region in northern Israel. It is a ring of more than 42,000 rocks placed in concentric circles by people some 5,000 years ago. Like England’s Stonehenge, Gilgal Refaim is a site of mystery and wonder.
The 2009 Gilgal Chardonnay is made from grapes sourced near Gilgal Refaim and aged in oak for four months. Aromas of golden apple, Meyer lemon and pineapple develop on the palate along with flavors of pear, melon and a hint of creamy vanilla and sage. Good acidity throughout gives the wine a crisp finish.
Easy to drink, this Chardonnay a nice wine to have with hors d’oeuvres or light pasta, salmon or white fish.
The 2007 Gilgal Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of Cabernet grapes from several vineyards and aged in French oak barrels for one year. The wine smells like an Old World wine and tastes like a New World one. Meaty aromas of woodsy earth and spice lead to flavors of plum and bramble fruit preserves along with baked cherry pie filling. The wine is full bodied with chewy tannins, and better shines when paired with food. Try serving the Cabernet Sauvignon with lamb, steak or strongly flavored cheeses.
The 2009 Gilgal Chardonnay and the 2007 Gilgal Cabernet Sauvignon cost $16 a bottle. Both are Kosher for Passover but can be enjoyed by any wine drinker.
Read earlier articles on Kosher wines:
Yarden Syrah 2005
Galil Mountain Viognier 2008
Wines from the Land of Milk and Honey: Yarden, Galil Mountain and Golan