Kosher wines for the High Holidays
The difference between kosher and nonkosher wine has nothing to do with the grape or the taste of the wine.
But for many years, kosher wines were identified with Concord grapes and abundant sweetness to make them drinkable. Sometimes, the image sticks. But if, as the High Holidays near, you're looking to buy kosher wines today, you'll have many fine choices. And plenty will be from sources that might not immediately come to mind.
For an excellent kosher Champagne, consider Drappier Carte Blanche Brut (about $50); and nonvintage Laurent Perrier Brut (less than $100). Pommery, one of Champagne's historic houses, now also makes a kosher sparkler for about $60.
Less expensive but very celebratory bubbles are available from Italian producers. There are two from Bartenura, Prosecco (about $16) and Asti Spumante (about $17). And Notte Italiana also makes satisfying kosher prosecco for less than $20.
Bordeaux contributes the outstanding 2005 Château Léoville-Poyferré, an elegant Saint-Julien (about $100); and the rich, full 2003 Château Giscours, a dependable Margaux (about $80). More modestly priced and good: the 2011 Chateau Camplay Bordeaux Superieur (less than $20).
White wine? New Zealand offers the bright, satisfying 2011 Goose Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (about $16). And Australia sends over the fruity, versatile 2011 Teal Lake Chardonnay (less than $15).
More familiar sources of very good kosher wine are from Israel. Notable producers include Galil Mountain, Psagot, Alexander, Carmel, Binyamina and Barkan. Hagafen Cellars and Covenant Wines in Napa Valley also produce fine kosher wine.