10 Sep Some Wine Suggestions for Rosh Hashanah 5776
I’m not a huge fans of these holiday lists because if you are reading me throughout the year, I’ve already given you plenty of suggestions. It’s not like wine tastes better or worse during the holidays although there may some food pairing that call for different choices.
Since people tend to have bigger gatherings on Rosh Hashanah then say on Shabbat, price can be an issue. There are good bargains to be had at different prices points and your budget and what you appreciate should come into play. There’s no point paying for good wine that you and your guests don’t appreciate.
If you appreciate good wine and you KNOW you’re guests don’t then consider keeping a good bottle or two in the kitchen and refill your glass in the kitchen. As they say in the restaurant business, you’re better off not knowing what goes on in the kitchen. Seriously, why should you drink cheap wine to get down to your guests level of appreciation or pour them wine twice or three times the price level they appreciate.
Here are three value-for-money Israeli wine (all kosher) recommendations for the holidays I’ve recently tried.
For 30 NIS try the 2014 Derech Eretz Shiraz available through Sheked distributors and easy to find at Derech Hayain (the Wine Route) Shops. Its fruity with a touch of oak notes. Not too complicated but an accessible wine that’s palatable to any snobby friends and not so pricey it will annoy you if anyone leaves any in a glass but its raspberry, cherry and tobacco notes will get many wanting a second glass.
For 65 NIS but on sale for 2/100 NIS is the 2014 Carmel Private Collection Shiraz. This series delivers some great value for money wines (their sparkling wines for instance) and this Shiraz outperforms some pretentious boutiques who charge 80 or more NIS per bottle (good for Carmel but sad for wineries who think small production equals higher prices without higher quality). Bold raspberry, some blueberry,leather and some notes of espresso make this affordable but not cheap wine a good staple for Shabbat and not just special occasions.
From Carmel’s sister winery Yatir comes a new label for an old brand. Yatir’s entry level red has gone through several incarnations most recently as Merlot-Shiraz-Cabernet. To give the winemaker freedom over what grapes he uses and still adhere to labeling rules in the USA (the largest market for Israeli wine exports) the name was changed to Mt. Amasa (a fixture close to the vineyards that reinforces these grapes are from higher latitude vineyards). With this new name the wines grape makeup may vary each vintage without losing brand recognition and integrity. For between 99 NIS and 119 NIS, this wine is a good higher end value wine that makes a nice gift that doesn’t set you back TOO much but can still make a good impression if your host enjoys and knows Israeli wines. The 2011 Yatir Mt. Amasa from Cab, Merlot Shiraz and Petit Verdot is smooth bodied, elegant yet accessible, fruity but not bombastic, easy drinking with red plums, dark cherries, cassis and spice.