Prices will vary by retailer. If you can’t find the vintages listed, buy the available vintage.
Champagne Nicholas Feuillatte Brut Kosher (France)
From the vineyards of Epernay to your table, this perennial favorite, pronounced nico-LAH foy-YAHT, is the real deal: a deep gold color, perfectly balanced with ripe fruit, bright, racy acidity and a finish. It is a blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir grapes. The nose has notes of honey, acacia blossom, apples and pears. Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Kosher is certified kosher, kosher for Passover and Mevushal by Rabbi Nissim Redibo of the Beth Din in Paris and Orthodox Union in the United States. $45.00.
Another fine Champagne house, Laurent Perrier, makes Brut and Rose Champagnes that are kosher but not mevushal; and Heidsieck & Co. makes a mevushal Monopole Brut Kosher Champagne ($62.00). (Heidsieck was the official champagne aboard the Titanic. Bottles salvaged a few years back reportedly still tasted terrific.)
Hagafen Cellars (U.S.)
In the heart of Napa Valley, Hagafen has been making noteworthy kosher French varietal wines for 25 years. They have even been served at the White House. Hagafen produces classic French premium varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah. They also produce a sparkling wine, Brut Cuvee and an off-dry White Riesling. Robert Parker has called the Syrah “the best kosher red ever produced.”
All of the wines are worth trying—especially the ones you wouldn’t think to try, the Brut Cuvee and the White Riesling.
2001 Napa Valley Brut Cuvee Sparkling Wine Late Disgorge. Aromas of lemon, grapefruit, strawberry, and white chocolate with hints of melon, tea and toast. The palate has complex flavors of peach, tropical pineapple, grapefruit and pink grapefruit, berry, chocolate, tea, and bread; and a long finish. $36.00.
2000 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon—Estate Bottled. The heavyweight of the two cabernets, with 10% Cabernet Franc, has won gold medals for all previous vintages since 1995. The nose is dense red raspberries, wild blackberries, chocolate, and a warm toasty essence. The palate, like the nose, has a compact structure but softens in the finish. $36.00.
2005 Napa Valley White Riesling—Estate Bottled. A perennial gold medal winner, twelve previous vintages won gold medals at major wine competitions. On the nose, classic Riesling aromas of litchi, Royal Anne cherries and white peach; a palate of peach, pear, pineapple, grapefruit and mandarins. An extremely long finish. In general, the slight sweetness of White Riesling is good to to offset spicy or succulent foods (we enjoy it with Thai, Indian and Chinese cuisines). $21.00.
2000 Napa Valley Syrah—Estate Bottled. Bright fruit flavors: raspberry, red licorice, cinnamon and toasty oak aromas reach out from this wine. Aged for twenty months in small oak cooperage, this medium- to full-bodied wine fills the palate with fruit and retains a long raspberry finish. $39.00.
You can read about the other bottlings on the company’s website. Wines are sold by the half-case from the website, which has a retail store locator as well. If you’re in Napa, vineyard tours are conducted daily at 11 a.m., by appointment. Hagafen.com.
Ramon Cardova Rioja (Spain)
Kosher for Passover Rioja from Spain? Why not! There are good kosher wines from Australia, Argentina and other places you wouldn’t think cater to the kosher market. For lovers of dry reds, this is a luxurious Rioja produced from 100% Tempranillo grapes from old vines surrounding the town of Haro, La Rioja. With its bright ruby red color, a nose of ripe wild berries and balsamic aromas, Ramon Cardova is ideal with red meat, fish and soft, light cheeses. Supervision: OU. $17.00. Available from KosherWine.com.