Wine & Spirits

By Stef Schwalb

Time to spin that dreidel again…that’s right, Hanukkah is here. What better way to launch our wine column than with eight wines to help you celebrate the Festival of Lights. This is the real gelt you want to grab a hold of, and there are plenty of kosher selections to choose from. Plenty of cool wines from all over the globe, so let’s get started.

First up, let’s head to the Homeland. For Israel, we’ve opted to offer two selections to consider – one red and one white. The Tishbi is a rich Cabernet Sauvignon/Petite Sirah blend that’s medium-bodied, dry and fruity with hints of violets, blackberry, white pepper, spice and black currant on the nose and mouth. This supple red would be the bomb with some brisket. For our white, the rich Ella Valley Vineyards Chardonnay is food-friendly fave. It’s medium-bodied, dry and floral with hints of tropical fruits, mineral, lemon and butter. It’s moderate in acidity and intensity and offers a nice long finish that’s easy to love.

From the other side of the world, we’ve picked Teal Lake Shiraz from Southeastern Australia. This medium-bodied, rich, red wine provides a balanced combination of fruit and offers hints of spice, raspberry, licorice, blackberry and black cherry. It partners to perfection with savory dishes. Next let’s say g’day to Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. This medium-bodied, dry, fruity and crisp wine works wonders with fish and light meats. It’s got some hints of tropical fruits, grapefruit and lemon to it as well as a medium acidity, intensity and finish. As they say, moderation is key…

But not when it comes to a muscular Gran Malbec from Argentina. As a full-bodied red that packs a serious punch of fruit, Flechas de los Andes ignites the senses with intense hints of black fruits, licorice, black currant, fig and chocolate. Dishes doling out robust flavors will rock this wine the right way. Love the latkes? Most people tend to pair sparkling wines with this fried fellow, which is often enjoyed with a little food accessory known as applesauce. But we’re adventurous souls who believe our passion for potato pancake goodness might also bond well with Baron Herzog Chardonnay from Cali. This medium-bodied white is fruity and crisp. It displays hints of vanilla, tropical fruits, citrus fruits and green apple.

Speaking of sparkling, lest we forget the doughnuts (also known as sufganiyah) that are often filled with jelly or cream. You can move over that menorah and make the most of dessert with Rashi Moscato d’Asti, a sweet, light-bodied white that’s fruity and fresh. It showcases stone fruits, melon, peach and pear on the nose and mouth.

And just to reiterate how adventurous we are (in beauty, and of course, now the bottle), our last suggestion makes the journey from Japan. Sake, Japanese rice wine, can work well with flavorful seafood. Some of which might be made at least one meal during the eight-day celebration. So consider Fukucho “Moon on the Water” Junmai Ginjo Saké, a rich, full-bodied white that’s a touch sweet and floral with hints of wild flowers, lime, melon, licorice and tropical fruits.

Next up for us? 12 Wines of Christmas, of course. Our sack of holiday faves for the season will be coming at you later this week, so tuned. Until then, let’s toast to beauty and the vine.

Originally published December 2011
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