Kosher wines not just High Holidays


We are in the middle of the Jewish High Holidays and so there is much written in the wine press about Kosher wines. Regardless of your religious affiliation, these are fine and delicious wines. Try some. If they’re not available locally, shop the Internet.

“Kosher wine is made just like other table wine, with an extra set of rules to make it consistent with Jewish dietary law,” explains Nick Fauchauld in The Wine Spectator. “In order for a wine to be deemed kosher (Yiddish for “proper” or “fit”), it must be made under the supervision of a rabbi. The wine must contain only kosher ingredients (including yeast and fining agents), and it must be processed using equipment rabbinically certified to make kosher wines. No preservatives or artificial colors may be added.”

The list and commentary below was supplied by the experts at Wine Spectator Magazine. They rounded up the best and most budget-friendly kosher wine picks, from Israel and California, and scored them with its rating system. For more recommendations, see the full article at

Kosher wines from California
Covenant 2011 Chardonnay Lavan Sonoma Mountain: A lighter style, with toned-down citrus, green apple, floral and spicy scents, ending on a delicate note. Drink now through 2018. 500 cases made. Score: 88. $38.

Baron Herzog 2011 Chenin Blanc Clarksburg Tangy lemon, peach and apple flavors are ripe and juicy, with a smooth body and a lip-smacking finish. Drink now. 4,000 cases made. Score: 86. $8.

Covenant 2012 Rec C Sauvignon Blanc Dry Creek Valley Allan Nelson Vineyard =: Clear, bright, focused and extremely juicy, with plenty of lime, lemon, grapefruit and apple flavors. Drink now. 450 cases made. Score: 86. $24.

Kosher wines from Israel
Recanati 2010 Merlot Galilee Reserve Manara Vineyard: Offers a perfumed, floral aroma, with nicely sculpted flavors of dark currant, plum tart, pomegranate and mocha. Medium-grained tannins give this backbone. Finishes with dark chocolate, raspberry jam and minty overtones. Drink now through 2016. 3,000 cases made. Score: 90. $25.

Binyamina 2009 Reserve Merlot Galilee: Color is a sinewy red. Dried red fruit and crushed berry notes, and tea flavors are joined by bittersweet chocolate on the long, supple finish. Drink now. 3,000 cases made. Score: 89. $25.

Barkan Tzafit 2010 Assemblage Judean Hills: An interesting mix of sage, sandalwood and wild currant flavors that have notes of raspberry jam and iodine, followed by a long finish of pepper and cardamom. Marselan, Caledoc, Carignane and Pinotage. Drink now. 250 cases imported. Score: 88. $34.

My thanks to the editorial staff at the Wine Spectator for supplying this information.

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Barbara Keck
Barbara started writing for newspapers when she was 14 and continues to write, most recently the “Wineries of the Sierra Foothills” book published by Range of Light Media, parent company of The Tahoe Weekly. Barbara wrote the wine column for the Weekly for many years, and contributes occasional tidbits on tourism and entertainment topics. A long marketing consulting career that included extensive international travel led her to conclude that Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Almost 20 years of enjoying the seasons on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe has confirmed her belief.