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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Copacetic Koshers

Does the memory of Manischewitz have you wanting to bypass kosher wine forever? Maybe it's time you gave them a second look—kosher wines have come a long way, and many are deliciously delicate and nuanced, the product of talented winemakers experimenting with different varietals and techniques. From inexpensive bubbly to a graceful Bordeaux blend, here are 10 bottles that make us say l’chaim!

Baron Herzog Lodi Syrah 2005
From the California Lodi region comes this fruit-forward, food-friendly wine with notes of boysenberry and a soft finish of leather and smoke. Try it with anything from marinara and goat-cheese pasta to grilled Portobello mushrooms. $12, varmax.com

Domaine du Castel “Petit Castel” 2006
Aged 16 months in part new, part used French oak barrels, this Israel-produced Bordeaux blend is dark and brooding with aromas of blackberries and cassis, flavors of dark plums and a subtle finish of roasted cocoa. Try it with a New York strip, lamb or brisket. $47, klwines.com

Galil Mountain Barbera 2006
A taste of northern Italy makes its way to Israel with this ruby-red Barbera, where tart, sour cherries and ripe raspberries soften into a lingering finish of oak and vanilla. Try it with pizza or a meaty ragu. $17, kosherwine.com

Golan Heights “Gamla” Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
This cooler-climate Cab is aged in a mix of French and American oak, making it a great candidate for your cellar, while a healthy dose of Cabernet Franc and Malbec before bottling makes it deliciously approachable anytime. $19, drinkupny.com

Golan Heights Moscato 2009
The perfect brunch sipper, this sparkling and slightly sweet wine is low in alcohol and full of orange blossom aromas, tropical fruit flavors and a hint of marzipan on the finish. $12, klwines.com

Goose Bay Savignon Blanc 2008
New Zealand’s first kosher wine, this Sauv Blanc is bright and fruity with flavors of tart green apples and freshly cut grass. Bright acidity and good balance make this Marlborough District white perfect with mild, flaky fish. $18, klwines.com

Hagafen Zinfandel 2006
A great barbecue wine, this California Zin is rich with notes of currants, black cherries and firm tannins that shift to a finish of cloves and black licorice. $32, hagafen.com

Tishbi Pinot Noir 2006
This Pinot is the perfect party red with balanced fruit and approachable acidity and tannins. Sip alongside appetizers, burgers or take-out. $20, winelibrbary.com

Yarden Brut NV
Made in the méthode champenoise, this Golan Heights, Israel blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is rich and creamy with a subtle aroma of toast and vanilla and flavors of lemon zest and ripe peaches. Serve as an aperitif or pair it with a main course of roasted chicken. $23, wallywine.com

Yarden Heightswine Gewürtztraminer 2005
Unabashedly sweet, this dessert wine is crafted from frozen Gewürtztraminer grapes harvested in Israel’s northernmost appellation. Its rich flavors of candied pineapple, dried apricots and a hint of spice shines alongside shortbread or biscotti. $16, sfwtc.com

Wondering what makes a wine kosher? Click here to find out.