Chanuka isn’t just for kids.
Adults enjoy this festival of lights and freedom as well. One way they appreciate it is through fine kosher wines. For some time, kosher wines have been shedding the image of sweet concord wines that were synonymous with the product for years. That is changing — fast.
Pittsburgh has two wine dealers that specialize in kosher wines — Michael Greathouse of Premier Wines, and Shlomo Perelman of Pinskers Judaica Center. The Chronicle asked them to recommend four wines apiece for Chanuka. The following are their selections.
Greathouse specializes in boutique kosher wines. Here are his recommendations:
Gedeon Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Judean Hills, Israel:
This Cabernet hails from the foothills of the Judean mountains, south and east from Jerusalem near Beth Shemesh. This vibrant wine features fruit forward along with black currants and tobacco notes from French oak barrels. Best served with steak, roasted lamb or flavorful hard cheeses.
White Tulip 2010, Kfar Yuval and Kerem Ben Zimra, Upper Galilee, Israel:
White Tulip is a unique blend of two white varieties, different by nature: the fruity, spicy, sweet Gewürztraminer and the green, fresh and tart, Sauvignon Blanc.
The Gewürztraminer grapes come from the Gilad Vineyard, located in Kfar Yuval, near Metula while the Sauvignon Blanc grapes are harvested in Kerem Ben Zimra plateau vineyard.
White Tulip 2010 is a dry white wine, characterized by a light straw-like color and fruity aromas such as guava, grapefruit and lychee, with a fresh greenness and pleasant acidity.
The wine’s unique style surprises every single time and it perfectly accompanies a wide variety of foods — fresh ceviche fish, spicy Asian dishes and even spicy grilled meats.
Prestige Cacher Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Pays d’oc, France:
With a low degree of alcohol (11.5 percent), men and women as well as all sweet wine amateurs appreciate this fragrant and beautifully colored wine; it is a perfect introduction to signature’s dry wine — Cabernet Sauvignon, a famous unblended French wine. Chez Gérard’s Collection provides a unique quality at an affordable price despite the high cost of French wines due to their strong Euro currency. It is savored at its best when served at room temperature, but eventually it can also be served also cold with fish.
Gvaot Herodian Merlot 2009, Shomron, Israel:
This wine is produced from 90 percent Merlot and 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested vineyards planted on the slopes of the central mountain of Samaria at more than 2,000 feet above sea level. This ancient wine region, the rocky, shallow soil, the dry air and cool night temperatures create ideal conditions to produce quality wines. Select plots create this wine with a fruity crisp and delicate elegance that provides a special tasting experience. Aromas of ripe plum, cherry and spice and mineral flavor characterize the wine. It is not filtered to maintain the full aroma potential.
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Perelman offers a wide selection of kosher wines from Israel and around the world. Here are his recommendations:
Sagot Viognier Judean Hills, Israel Dry White:
Connoisseurs will appreciate the similarities between Psagot Viognier and the coveted wines of France’s Rhone Valley, namely its floral, honeyed complexity. Half the wine that ends up in the bottle is aged in large French oak casks, and the other half anise, apricot, honey and lemon harmonize beautifully. Don’t miss the chance to pair it with grilled fish, quiche or chicken.
Binyamina Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Upper Galille, Israel, Dry Red:
This lovely wine expresses the best of Upper Galilee’s “terroir” (a group of vineyards (or even vines) from the same region, belonging to a specific appellation, and sharing the same type of soil, weather conditions), verifying the claim of wine writers that Galil is “the region with the most obvious potential” in Israel.
Ripe fruit aromas of black raspberry and cassis are complimented by subtle hints of roasted coffee beans and mint. The flavor profile features toasted
almond notes from the benefit of premium oak barrel aging. Pairs remarkably with most strong-flavored red meat dishes, particu-larly lamb shank, steaks and roasts, stewed beef. Also recommended to service with fine hard cheeses.
Bartenura Moscato Sparkling Wines, Sweet, White or Rose Asti Region, Piemonte Province, Italy:
These two wines are perfect for holiday toasts and year-round celebrations. These new wines have been introduced to expand the selection of “Asti Spumante-type” wines. Both are sweet and well balanced with crisp citrus flavors. The Moscato Rose has a touch of tartness with a delicate fragrance. We love these wines for sipping, toasting or serving at festive meals. They pair well with fruits and cheese and are a perfect choice for those who prefer sweet to dry wines at the dinner table.
Elvi Classico, Dry Red, Spain:
This is a luxurious red blend from a historic Spanish winery that dates back to the year 1492. The winemaking team of Moshe and Ana Cohen bring the highest level of respect and craftsmanship to producing this silky fruit-forward wine from Tempranillo, Spain’s signature varietal. This distinctive wine features red berry with cascading flavors of strawberry and black cherry. The slight herbaceous quality adds to its flavor profile. Elvi Clasico is at its best alongside Mediterranean foods: spicy chicken, rich roast meats, or piquant Eastern cuisine. It’s a remarkable buy for easy drinking or sipping.