If you reflexively think "Manischewitz" when you hear the phrase "kosher wine," think again. Sweet sacramental wines are far from the only game in town. The kosher wine industry is booming, with ever-widening availability of varietals from around the world. Wine Spectator's October 2016 issue was largely devoted to Israeli wine, and featured mostly kosher bottles. The cover headline touted "Surprising Quality from an Emerging Region." Of course, considering Israel's status as a winemaking country since antiquity, it has distinct advantages when it comes to terroir, as do many of the other regions now producing great kosher wines.
Kosher wines do have a reputation for being more expensive and less sophisticated then their non-kosher counterparts, but there are definitely nice finds to be had, even if you're on a budget. This evolving list will help you hone in on bottles that offer a good value and tasting experience, whether you drink kosher wine exclusively or not.
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Terra di Seta Chianti Classico 2013, $20
Comprised of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, Terra de Seta's organic Chianti Classico carries the D.O.C.G classification, reflecting its use of Tuscan estate-grown grapes.
Aged in French oak for 12 months, this ruby-hued Chianti starts with a lively peppery bite, then opens up to display smooth cherry and floral notes.
Pair it with pasta dishes, beef or aged cheeses.
Not Mevushal. Kosher for Passover. 14% Alcohol.
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La Fille du Boucher Bordeaux Reserve 2014, $15
Parisian kosher steakhouse La Fille du Boucher has started exporting its house wines, including this medium-bodied Bordeaux. Supple tannins, with cassis, berry and spice.
Kosher for Passover. 13.5% Alcohol.
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Teal Lake Shiraz 2015, $13
Teal Lake's Australian Shiraz has long enjoyed go-to status for a reliable–and affordable–kosher red. Soft on the palate, with spice, berry and cherry notes.
Kosher for Passover. 13.5% AlcoholContinue to 5 of 14 below.
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Castra Rubra Via Diagonalis 2010, $18
Wine Enthusiast gave this well-balanced blend a respectable 89 rating. Velvety tannins, with jammy plum, cherry, spice, anise and vanilla notes.
Bonus: If you're looking for a wine for a Harry Potter-themed party, this bottle's Diagon Alley-esque moniker makes it a perfect choice. (Viktor Krum fans, take note: the wine hails from Bulgaria.)
Kosher for Passover. 14.5% Alcohol.
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Baron Herzog Chardonnay Clarksburg 2015, $14
Fresh and smooth, with peach, apple and tropical fruit notes. A touch of vanilla and oak on the finish.
Kosher for Passover. 13.5% Alcohol.Continue to 9 of 14 below.
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Covenant Mensch Roussane Lodi 2015, $20
Nice minerality, with floral, tropical fruit and peach notes. Wine Enthusiast lauded the wine's "gorgeous and expressive" fruit flavors, and "subtle acidity" in its 91-point rating. Covenant utilizes a flash-détente process to render the wine Mevushal without heating it (the grapes are flash heated pre-fermentation instead).
Kosher for Passover. 14.2% Alcohol.
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O'Dwyers Creek Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016, $17
Across vintages, this New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a consistently good buy. Crisp and approachable, it displays characteristic tropical fruit and grapefruit notes. Nice acidity and minerality, with a hint of grassiness.
Kosher for Passover. 12.5% Alcohol.
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Yarden Gewurztraminer Galilee 2015, $15
A surprising find at this price point, the Yarden Gewurztraminer is leggy and nicely viscous, with honeysuckle and graphite on the nose. It's more complex and less cloying than many kosher Gewurztraminers, with some residual sweetness on the finish.
Kosher for Passover. 14% Alcohol.Continue to 13 of 14 below.
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