Passover is April 19-27 this year, so it’s time to look at some kosher wines. As I noted last year, the quality of these wines appears to be getting better. This year’s four recommendations include a textbook chardonnay from Terra Vega winery in Chile, a deal at $10 and the greatest value of the week.
I’ll confess I was more excited by the sangiovese from Cantina Gabriele in Italy, a delight for $13. We also have an earthy primitivo from Leuci Lucio in Italy and a delicious, juicy chenin blanc called Unorthodox from South Africa. And it’s also worth noting that because of rabbinical requirements, all kosher wines are vegan.
To finish off the list, check out the Pratello Catulliano Lugana, a lovely Italian white (not labeled as kosher) that is an ideal partner for seafood
Cantina Gabriele Sangiovese 2017
Two and a half stars
Lazio, Italy, $13
This sangiovese is downright delicious, juicy with cherry, raspberry and cocoa notes and a silky texture. Mevushal, kosher for Passover. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.
Terra Vega Chardonnay Bin No. 959 2018
One and a half stars
Valle Central, Chile, $10
A basic chardonnay, with some oak influence, the wine offers a hint of peach and pear flavors and mouth-filling texture. It is fine by itself and versatile with a variety of foods. Mevushal, kosher for Passover. ABV: 12 percent.
Leuci Lucio Primitivo Rosso 2017
Salento, Italy, $14
Primitivo is the Italian name for a grape now recognized as tribidrag, its original name in the Balkans. In California, it is known as zinfandel. This wine is earthy, with flavors of black tea and olives over dark fruit. Mevushal, kosher for Passover. ABV: 14 percent.
Unorthodox Chenin Blanc 2018
Coastal Region, South Africa, $15
Chenin blanc is South Africa’s star white wine, and Zandwijk Wines captures the character of the grape in this juicy example with the humorous name. It offers orchard fruit flavors of peach and apricot, with a slightly off-dry finish. Mevushal, kosher for Passover. ABV: 14 percent.
Pratello Catulliano Lugana 2017
Two and a half stars
Lake Garda, Italy, $19
Here’s another lovely white wine that displays Italy’s diversity of grapes. The label says the wine is 100 percent turbiana, and I thought I’d found another obscure grape to cross off my list. Importer Didier Simonin says it’s native to the Lugana region and used to be called trebbiano di Lugana. According to Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, et al., that is a synonym for verdicchio. Whatever it is, this beauty offers aromas of white flowers and flavors of orchard fruit, with a hint of salinity and smoke for added interest. This cries out for seafood. I’ve seen online that it is made from organic grapes, though the label does not say so. ABV: 13 percent.
3 stars: Exceptional; 2 stars: Excellent; 1 star: Very Good
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.