Four Cups #1
Four Cups: NO Wining. Too often, Kosher for Passover wines receive a pretty bad rap.
Here at Acker Merrall & Condit we tasted hundreds of Kosher wines, some great—some not so great, in order to curate a collection of around 25 of our favorites. After an exhaustive series of tastings, we have selected a few gems—some Kosher, some not, but all displaying both chutzpah and finesse.
First up: Light bodied Pinot Noirs -
2013 Goose Bay East Coast NZ, Pinot Noir $23.99 (Grade A-) For Passover
Planted in 1989 with the first commercial wine harvest in 1994, Spencer Hill under the Goose Bay label is the only kosher New Zealand winery. The wines are sourced from cool climate vineyard sites in Upper Moutere Hills close to Nelson.
Taste: Soft red fruit of cherry and strawberry dominate. Integrated silky tannins similar to green apple skin. This wine will pair well with most cuisines.
2013 Gilgal Galilee Israel, Pinot Noir $14.99 (Grade B+) For Passover
Within the Golan Heights lies a small refrain of volcanic soil, which is where this exceptional value Pinot is grown.
Taste: As close to a baby Burgundy as you will find. Lots of earth, bright cherry and mushroom.
2013 Martin Ray Russian River Valley California, Pinot Noir $19.99 (Grade B) Not for Passover
Located in the heart of Sonoma, this winery treats each of the many plots it farms individually and then blends for a consistent house style.
Taste: Much richer and riper dark cherry fruit and spice on the nose.
If you like soft and elegant, then the Gilgal and Goose Bay are for you. If you want bigger and showier, Martin Ray is your wine.
Next Up: Bordeaux and Richer Red Blends
2014 Golan Heights Winery “Mount Hermon Red” Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot $14.99 (Grade A) For Passover
Golan Heights Winery was founded in the early 1980s and produces wines from distinct high elevation vineyard sites nearly 4,000 ft in elevation. The area has been compared to Bordeaux and Tuscany for its beauty and prized land. This is a large winery employs 5 winemakers over 150 employees and practices organic farming.
Taste: Plum fruit, gaminess, fruit leather, earth. There is a sweetness on the nose of vanilla and cinnamon. The palate shows a light greenness to the wine, the fruit subtle and very simple. The tannins are present and lasting but the acidity is somewhat lacking.
2013 Hewitson “Ned & Henry” Syrah Barossa Valley, Australia $19.99 (Grade A-) Not for Passover
Founded in 1998 by winemaker Dean Hewitson. Hewitson had a desire to produce Old World wine with New World fruit purity. He settled in the dry-grown vineyards of South Australia’s very best regions including the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills.
Taste: Ripe blueberries, fruit forward, lasting tannins, long finish. Some alcohol on the palate, decent amount of cocoa and wheat.
Golan Heights for a wine with more Old World earthy notes and Hewitson for a fresher and more youthful appearance.
Cliff Korn has worn nearly every hat at Acker Merrall throughout the years, currently serving as Senior VP as well spending time in the California sunshine where he makes his own wine named “No Limit” http://nolimitwine.com
Matt Reiser received critical acclaim as the wine director of Boston’s UpStairs on the Square for more than a decade. Reiser is a certified sommelier and joined the Acker family in November.
If you can’t find these wines or wish to provide feedback you can call Cliff or Matt at 212-787-1700 or contact Cliff at Cliff@ackerwines.com.
Part Two: Medium and full bodied wines.
Four Cups #1
Considering having a Men's Club Wine sale? See here.