I find it hard to believe that I’m writing about Passover again. It feels like yesterday that I shared 20 “Year Round Recipes” for Pesach and yet here we are again, in the weeks before the holiday.
This year, I’m talking less about the food and more about the wine.
For the last few years, I’ve saved some of my favorite and most memorable wines for the seder. My wine club has made this effortless, and I’ve given my Passover wine list much more thought than my menus.
These are the four cups of Passover wine that I am thinking about for an outstanding seder.
The First Cup
I always like to start the evening with a good Pinot Noir. Being light and balanced, it’s a really great way to get the evening started. So many people sit down at the seder table and realize they haven’t eaten much that day, so a lighter wine is a good idea for a first cup.
This year, my choice is Goose Bay Blanc de Pinot Noir 2014. It’s a delightful Rose produced from pinot grapes. Overall, Goose Bay are doing an excellent job at bringing wines from New Zealand to the kosher market. This delightful wine pairs nicely with spicy foods too so leave the bottle on the table to sip with your horseradish!
The Second Cup
Next up is Domaine l’Or de Line Chateauneuf Du Pape 2012. As with many wines from the South of France, this wine is light, fruity and bursting with flavor. It’s luxurious and has a medium body. It’s fruity flavor will pair well with many different foods making this a great choice for drinking throughout the seder and your meal.
I always recommend letting red wines breathe before serving but please be sure to decant this wine ahead of time, even if you’re using an aerator, for the fullest and most enjoyable taste of French wine.
The Third Cup
The third cup of wine takes place right before the seder meal, so I want a wine that can be sipped with dinner. I’ve chosen a serious Bordeaux style blend for this cup. Shiloh Mosaic 2010.
Under the direction of master winemaker Amichai Luria, Shiloh’s wines have won an impressive array of national and international awards and the Mosaic is certainly a fine choice for the Seder.
This Bordeaux style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot has a luxurious garnet color, and aroma of black fruit and gentle tannins. This wine will pair excellently with beef or chicken.
The Fourth Cup
For the fourth cup deserves something very special. While I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, I can appreciate a good dessert wine and it’s a nice way to end the night.
Chateau Guiraud Sauternes 1999 has excellent aging potential and makes this a remarkable choice, reflected in the fact that it’s consistently scored 90+ points since the 1997 vintage. This wine is known for it’s exceptional clarity, balance and freshness.
For a wine at a lower price point, Herzog Late Harvest Zinfandel 2013 is an excellent choice. Enjoy a rich texture and a luscious sweet berry finish when you end your seder with this wine. It’s a sweet, but not syrupy, wine with cherry tones and a short finish.
How much wine should I buy?
As a general rule, a bottle of wine will pour four glasses. One bottle per person is my rule of thumb for the seder, plus some more if you’re planning to serve wine with your meal.
As well as the wines I’ve got in mind for the four cups, I’m going be getting a couple of Passover Mixed Cases too to make sure we have everything we need for the week, and something to pair with all of our passover menus, just as soon as I write them!