Kosher Wines

Huge Giant Disclaimer: Although I am Jewish, I am not a rabbi and no great authority on matters of Jewish law. If you are serious about keeping kosher with wines, please consult your rabbi. If you are a rabbi and wish to correct my information, I'd be glad to learn.

A common misconception is that Kosher is a style of wine. This is not so. Any style of wine can be made kosher if it was prepared in accordance with Jewish dietary laws, in the same way that Tex-Mex food could be kosher if it was prepared right with kosher ingredients. You can find kosher Bordeaux, kosher Burgundy, kosher Italian wines, kosher Champagne, and more.

More generally, there are a great many misconceptions among the goyim (er, "gentiles") about what kosher-certified food is. The most common one is that it is "blessed" by a rabbi. This is simply not so; there is no religious blessing involved in certifying a food product as kosher. Certification only ensures that the food has been prepared in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. Saying that the rabbi blesses the food is like saying that the USDA blesses steaks. Certification and compliance inspection is a more accurate description of what is going on, even though the rules themselves are religious in origin.

What is Kosher Wine?

Making wines kosher imposes several additional rules:

  • The vines must be at least four years old (Israel only).
  • The vineyard must be left fallow once every seven years (Israel only).
  • Only vines (and not other agricultural plants) may be grown in the vineyard (Israel only).
  • All equipment and machines involved must be kosher (so they cannot be used to make non-kosher wine on the side).
  • Only Sabbath-observant Jews are allowed to handle the wine through the entire production process unless the wine is mevushal (pasteurized).
  • All ingredients and fining agents must be kosher. This means kosher yeast. This also means no use of (non-kosher) gelatin, casein, blood, isinglass, and other substances for fining and filtering, as all of these are outright treyf (non-kosher) or can cause interesting complications ("dairy" wine in the case of casein) for the kashrut of the resulting wine. Kosher winemakers typically use bentonite (clay) for fining.

Israel is treated differently from other countries because the relevant agricultural regulations in halacha (Jewish law) are different for the Promised Land. These extra rules obviously do not apply outside Israel. The most active area for wine cultivation in Israel is around the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights (while the political status of the Golan Heights is contested, it is a part of Biblical Israel and I'd guess that the restrictions would apply there regardless of which nation happens to control it today).

The reason why Sabbath-observant Jews are the only ones allowed to make kosher wine stems from the sacramental use of wine. There were good reasons for not wanting to use wine that could have been used in pagan religious activities. Since non-Jews couldn't be completely trusted to manage this, supervision is required to guarantee that the wine is safe and untampered.

Most kosher wine is made mevushal (pasteurized). The wine is pasteurized either before (for white) or after (for red) fermentation. This is done very quickly and generally without actually boiling the wine. Mevushal wine can be handled by non-Jewish truckers, store clerks, friends, etc, and still retain kosher status. According to Jewish law, the pasteurization/cooking process renders wine unsuitable for idolatrous libations. While historic techniques actually boil the wine and thus greatly (and very negatively) alter the flavor, studies conducted by the University of California at Davis have concluded that modern flash-pasteurization techniques do not have an impact on taste in blind tasting.

Note that kosher wine served at catered events in almost always mevushal. According to the strict Orthodox position, an opened bottle of non-mevushal kosher wine ceases to be kosher if it is directly handled by a non-Jew. Since waitstaff and guests at events like bar mitzvahs and weddings often include many non-Jews, the wine must be mevushal so that it can be served by and for non-Jews without rendering it unkosher.

The most common kosher symbol on wine (and many other foods) is the U inside a circle, the symbol of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union). The K inside a circle is the symbol of OK Kosher, another prominent and reputable certifying agency. You may also see the K inside a star, the symbol of the Star-K Kosher Certification Agency. Smaller wineries are often certified by local organizations; look for the appropriate English/Hebrew writing (you'll often find the name of the rabbi responsible here). Ask your rabbi or frum (observant) friend and he/she can tell you about all the various symbols. In any case, if you're an observant Jew, you probably already know how to look for a proper hechsher (sign of rabbinic approval).

Conservative and Reform leniencies

We use "kosher wines" to refer to supervised wines that are kosher according to Orthodox standards; this is the common understanding of the term anyway. However, Conservative Judaism differs from Orthodox practice in that they consider all wines to be, if not completely kosher, at least not unkosher and thereby permitted for regular consumption. Regular wines, of course, are not normally refered to as "kosher wines" by anyone; however, the Conservative movement does permit their use in otherwise "kosher" (by Conservative standards) homes.

As far as the rules go, the two main obstacles for kosher certification are the use of fining agents and the requirement of Jewish supervision. The Conservative movement has found reasons to hold that wines that do not satisfy either of these conditions are "kosher" (or at least not unkosher) as well. This leniency is adopted by the Conservative and Reform movements (but not Orthodox!); in practice, this means that virtually all wine made in the Western world is "kosher" (except for Passover).

The CJLS approved a teshuva by Rabbi Isaac Silverman on this topic in 1964. Rabbi Elliot Dorff revisited this topic in 1985 and this position remains standard today. Rabbi Dorff's paper considers a number of issues in wine production, including the use of non-kosher fining and filtering agents. Despite these possibilities, the paper states that uncertified wines are still kosher:

Even though restricting one's own home use to rabbinically certified wines is preferable, those who use uncertified wines in their homes should not thereby be considered Jews who do not keep kosher.

The main gist of the argument is that with regards to fining agents, the agents are added with the intention of clarifying the wine as opposed to halachically nullifying the fining agent itself, so there is plenty of halachic precedent to consider it kosher. As for the rabbinic prohibitions on wine touched by gentiles or made by gentiles, the original concerns about idolatry are non-issues today in the Western world (even Orthodox authorities, going as far back as the Tosafists, do not consider Christians to be idolators, even though Christian practices are avodah zarah for Jews) and the probihition does nothing to discourage interaction and intermarriage with gentiles (another cited motivation).

However, even though the other considerations can be argued away in accordance with Jewish law, their existence makes it preferable to use only certified kosher wines for sacramental purposes:

In light of the questions raised about uncertified wine, however, it should certainly be a standard for our movement that only certified wines be used for sacramental purposes - kiddush, the seder, etc. - at home as well as in the synagogue.

See Elliot Dorff, "On the Use of All Wines" YD 123:1.1985

With regard to wines and kashrut in general, Reform does not consider halacha to be binding anyway, so it is a moot point, especially for those who eat bacon...

As far as I know, all kosher certification is performed by Orthodox authorities and none of them take advantage of any of these leniencies, so the kashrut of certified wines is beyond question.

Again, I emphasize that if you keep kosher and wish to take advantage of this position, you should discuss this with your rabbi. There are numerous opinions, and as Rabbi Moline famously said, "Everyone who keeps kosher will tell you that his version is the only correct version. Everyone else is either a fanatic or a heretic" (that's why you should ask your rabbi and not just some random guy on the Internet).

Why is it so Sweet?

As mentioned above, kosher wine does not have to be sweet. However, a lot of kosher wine on the market is extremely sweet. This is due to historical reasons. When the Jews first emigrated to New York, the only grape they had for winemaking was the Concord Grape. The Concord Grape is terrible for wine; it does not have adequate natural sugar and large quantities of sugar must be added to get it to ferment right. The resulting wine is disgustingly sweet and tastes not unlike Concord Grape Jam, which isn't that different. This sweet style has become entrenched in American Jewish culture, and amazingly enough, there are many Jews who actually like this stuff...

Incidentally, my best guess at the difference between the kosher-for-Passover Manischewitz and the non-kosher-for-Passover version is corn syrup (which is kitnyos and hence forbidden for Passover for the Ashkenazim) versus beet or cane sugar. Fine wines should not have this issue as sugar is not normally added, so there would be no special Pesach issues anyway.

I strongly recommend avoiding these sweet wines. You may wish to try a bottle or two (they tend to be very cheap) out of curiosity, but believe me, it's not very good. If you are having difficulty finishing it, try mixing it with soda. In any case, there's lots of good kosher wine out there, so why settle?

Wine Comments

These wine comments appear elsewhere on my site, under their respective countries, but are copied here for your convenience. Try something tasty for your next simcha or shabbat!

Red Manischewitz Concord Grape (USA) (Mevushal)
14 July 2003 Incredibly sweet but still a touch bitter. Fairly vile.
$3 / bottle
Red Kedem Concord Grape (USA) (Mevushal)
13 December 2003 Sweet and juicy, but somewhat hollow. Soft grape juice. Not vile.
$4 / bottle
Red Weinstock, "Cellar Select" Zinfandel 2004 (Lodi, California) (Mevushal)
29 April 2011 Dark fruit with potpourri and jam. Grapeskins on the finish. Almost more like a claret.
$30 / bottle
Red Casa da Corca, Douro 2006 (DOC Douro, Portugal) (Not Mevushal)
16 July 2010 Zesty dark fruit with a bold attack and a surprisingly mellow mouthfeel. Dark cherries and berries with wood backing.
$22 / bottle
Red Hagafen, Prix "Vichy Vineyards Block 4" Reserve Merlot 2004 (Napa Valley, California) (Mevushal)
15 April 2011 Exuberant cherries and berries with surprisingly mellow tannins. Almost Rhone-style. Lots of fun.
$55 / bottle
Red Covenant, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Napa Valley, California) (Not Mevushal)
29 September 2011 Rich and juicy blackberry and cassis, with restrained vanilla, cedar, chocolate, and potpourri. Smooth yet firm tannins with abundant French oak. Classically-styled.
$85 / bottle
Red Tzora Vineyards, "Giv'at Hachalukim" Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Samson, Israel) (Not Mevushal)
11 June 2011 Deep peppers and currant with hints of leather, chocolate, and potpourri. Restrained and well-balanced tannins, Old-World Bordeaux style. Very tasty.
$26 / bottle
Red Fortant, Kosher Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Vin de Pays d'Oc, France) (Mevushal)
14 July 2011 Dark blackcurrants and spicy bell peppers with hints of tobacco and cigar smoke. Very tannic and heady finish. Unsubtle yet sophisticated.
$9 / bottle
Red Baron Herzog, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Central Coast, California) (Mevushal)
11 March 2011 Zippy bell peppers and sawdust over currant. Bold tannins but thin and watery mouthfeel.
$16 / bottle
Red Terrenal, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Mendoza, Argentina) (Mevushal)
18 February 2011 Dark currant and berry fruit with a hint of raisins. Unsuble and heady but still fun. Good value.
$4 / bottle
Red Byblos, Bonarda 2006 (Mendoza, Argentina) (Mevushal)
20 September 2009 Bright fruit with notes of plums and blackberries over incense. Young yet musty.
$12 / bottle
Red Baron Herzog, Merlot 2004 (Central Coast, California) (Mevushal)
9 March 2008 Straightforward fruit with slight hints of cherry. Moderate wood. Slightly watery mouthfeel and somewhat hollow tannins.
$12 / bottle
Red Carmel Vineyards Selected Merlot 2004 (Dan, Israel) (Not Mevshal)
30 May 2008 Juicy and smoky, with generous wood, tobacco, incense, and berries. Medium body, easy drinking, and tasty.
$10 / bottle
Red Barkan, Merlot 2003 (Galil, Israel) (Mevushal)
20 March 2008 Plump and juicy fruit, with spicy wood and soft tannins. Very forward flavors but light mouthfeel.
$11 / bottle
Red Noah Winery "Tevel" Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Judean Hills, Israel) (Mevushal)
7 June 2008 Juicy but not excessive fruit with berries, moderate vanilla wood, and bell peppers. Tasty.
$16 / bottle
Red Dalton Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (Galilee Region, Israel) (Not Mevushal)
8 December 2007 Strong forward and spicy fruit with green peppers. Light wood treatment. Smooth. Strong varietal characteristics in the California style.
$24 / bottle
Red Carmel "Private Collection" Merlot 2005 (Judean Hills, Israel) (Mevushal)
18 October 2008 Intense pepper and spicy wood over robust fruit, tea, and tobacco. Spicy, big and bold.
$17 / bottle
Red Golan Heights Winery "Gamla" Merlot 2003 (Galilee, Israel) (Not Mevushal)
7 March 2007 Fruity and spicy, with abundant oak and herbal and floral notes. Soft velvety tannins.
$19 / bottle
Red Barkan, "Classic" Pinot Noir 2009 (Negev, Israel) (Mevushal)
13 May 2011 Big and juicy dark cherries with potpourri. Smooth and supple tannins. Very tasty!
$17 / bottle
Red Hagafen, Pinot Noir 2008 (Napa, California) (Mevushal)
18 April 2011 Bold potent tannins with very dark fruit. Heady and hot.
$27 / bottle
Red Goose Bay, Pinot Noir 2006 (East Coast, New Zealand) (Mevushal)
20 March 2009 Rich dark cherries with a hint of plum, wood, and earth in the finish. Very zippy and lively mouthfeel.
$24 / bottle
Red Barkan, Petit Syrah 2004 (Dan, Israel) (Mevushal)
1 June 2007 Straight fruit with extremely lively mouthfeel and firm tannin.
$11 / bottle
Red Teal Lake, Shiraz 2005 (South Eastern Australia) (Mevushal)
23 February 2008 Simple fruit, moderate wood, chewy tannins. Heady but unremarkable.
$13 / bottle
Red Bartenura, Barbera d'Asti 2006 (DOC Barbera d'Asti, Italy) (Mevushal)
14 April 2009 Big bold fruit with a slightly stemmy finish and hints of licorice. Somewhat heady and minimal tannin and wood.
$11 / bottle
Red Herzog Selection, Brouilly 2002 (AOC Brouilly, Beaujolais, France) (Mevushal)
5 October 2007 Strawberry nose and flavors with rich tannins upon opening up.
$18 / bottle
Red Abarbanel, "Chateau de la Salle" Beaujolais Villages 2006 (AOC Beaujolais Villages, France) (Mevushal)
9 March 2009 Tart dark cherries and grapeskins. Very fruit-driven.
$12 / bottle
Red Abarbanel "Aude Valley Estate" Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 (Vin de Pays de l'Aude, France) (Mevushal)
26 April 2008 Dark and smoky, with abundant wood, tobacco, and potpourri. Average tannins and medium-full body.
$14 / bottle
Red Grand Prince, Bordeaux 2005 (AOC Bordeaux, France) (Mevushal)
9 October 2009 Bold and very tannic, with chocolate and currant notes. Somewhat heady and unusually powerful.
$15 / bottle
Red Abarbanel, "Efron's Cave" Cabernet / Merlot / Shiraz 2003 (Judean Hills, Israel) (Mevushal)
15 February 2008 Light wood and lively but straight fruit. Soft and smooth tannins with mushrooms on the nose and palate. Bone dry yet soft, and surprisingly fun.
$13 / bottle
Red Noah Winery, "Gedeon" Petit Syrah 2005 (Judean Hills, Israel) (Mevushal)
28 February 2008 Big juicy fruit with plums, cherries, and berries over moderate wood. Light potpourri secondary flavors. Soft and smooth tannins, very easy drinking, but short finish.
$15 / bottle
Red Golan, "Sion Creek Red" 2009 (Galilee, Israel) (Not Mevushal)
22 January 2011 Rich fruit raisins, with a soft impression on the mouth and a medium-full body.
$11 / bottle
Red Psagot, Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (Judean Hills, Israel) (Not Mevushal)
17 July 2009 Dark fruit with very firm tannins. Medium wood with smoky tobacco flavors. Tasty.
$26 / bottle
Red Teal Lake, Cabernet Merlot 2007 (South Eastern Australia) (Mevushal)
3 July 2009 Bold fruit with a hint of plums. Very smooth with light wood. Easygoing.
$14 / bottle
Red Beckett's Flat, Shiraz 2003 (Margaret River, Western Australia) (Mevushal)
13 July 2009 Rich, powerful fruit over light wood. Hints of plums and roses. Very firm tannins.
$19 / bottle
Red Noah Winery "Tevel" Merlot 2005 (Judean Hills, Israel) (Mevushal)
19 July 2009 Stemmy fruit with light wood and a bloody mouthfeel. Faint sour note on finish.
$18 / bottle
Red Castello di Cesare, Rosso Toscano 2005 (IGT Rosso Toscano, Italy) (Not Mevushal)
27 February 2009 Subdued fruit with somewhat murky tannins. Rather undistinguished.
$13 / bottle
Red Ramon Cardova, Rioja Crianza 2002 (DOCa Rioja, Spain) (Not Mevushal)
24 February 2009 Dark and bloody fruit with a slight perfumed touch in the finish. Subdued fruit and surprisingly heady.
$13 / bottle
Red Barkan, Reserve Merlot 2005 (Galil, Israel) (Not Mevushal)
26 March 2010 Strong and bold tannins, with peppers, potpourri, and tobacco over solid dark fruit. Muscular and tasty.
$23 / bottle
Red Bartenura, Valpolicella 2007 (DOC Valpolicella, Italy) (Mevushal)
26 February 2010 Light fruit with rich incense and rose on the palate.
$15 / bottle
Red Terroso, Malbec-Merlot 2006 (Mendoza, Argentina) (Mevushal)
11 September 2009 Moderate fruit and oak. with light currant and blood flavors. Smooth but unremarkable.
$8 / bottle
Red Terroso, Malbec 2006 (Mendoza, Argentina) (Mevushal)
2 March 2008 Forward plummy fruit and moderate wood. Heady. Soft tannins and medium body.
$11 / bottle
Rose Weinstock Cellars, "Pink by W" 2008 (California) (Mevushal)
19 August 2011 Bright grapes, peaches, cherries, and jelly. Crisp and refreshing. A hint of cherry and tannins on the finish. Tasty. Blend of Cabernet, Petit Syrah, Zinfandel, and Muscat Canelli.
$11 / bottle
Rose Bartenura, Malvasia (rose) 2009 (IGT Salento, Italy) (Mevushal)
18 March 2011 Bright and sweet cherries with a hint of peach and a jelly finish. Rather sweet, borderline sticky finish.
$15 / bottle
Rose Baron Herzog, Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (California) (Mevushal)
8 April 2010 Sharp but musty, with strong Jell-O flavors. Busy nose. Confected impression.
$11 / bottle
Rose Beckett's Flat, Cerise Rose 2004 (Margaret River, Australia) (Mevushal)
13 October 2008 Bright berries and currant and a touch of pepper. Off-dry with a hint of tartness. Cabernet-based. A favorite!
$20 / bottle
White Baron Herzog, Chardonnay 2006 (Central Coast, California) (Mevushal)
23 April 2008 Fat and plump citrus and apples. Crisper on the finish. Unremarkable.
$16 / bottle
White Fortant, Kosher Chardonnay 2006 (Vin de Pays d'Oc, France) (Mevushal)
20 May 2011 Plump mouthfeel, crisp citrus and slate with hints of exotic pears. Fatty finish.
$9 / bottle
White Terrenal, Chardonnay 2010 (Curico, Chile) (Mevushal)
1 April 2011 Crisp and bright with strong citrus. Surprisingly heady (13.5%)
$4 / bottle
White Carmel "Private Collection" Chardonnay 2003 (Galil, Israel) (Mevushal)
27 March 2009 Big, rich, and creamy fruit with surprisingly moderate oak. A slightly bloated finish but still pleasant.
$15 / bottle
White Golan, Moscato 2006 (Galilee, Israel) (Not Mevushal)
16 February 2008 Sweet and effervescent, bursting with powerful peaches and apricots with faint hints of green fruit in the Moscato d'Asti style. Crisp and refreshing, without stickiness despite its sweetness. Very delightful and actually quite a bit better than most Moscato d'Asti.
$12 / bottle
White Noah, Muscat 2005 (Judean Hills, Israel) (Mevushal)
18 February 2008 Lively, spicy attack with dense and heady floral and grape essences and loads of honeysuckle and botrytis flavor. High alcohol. Heavy and sweet finish. Tastes more like Sauternes than Moscatel, but slightly lighter.
$16 / 500ml
White Bartenura, Moscato 2006 (IGT Provincia di Pavia, Italy) (Mevushal)
26 June 2007 Effervescent peach and honey, thin fruit, short finish.
$13 / bottle
White Bartenura, Moscato 2005 (IGT Provincia di Pavia, Italy) (Mevushal)
31 December 2007 Light and fizzy, faint and simple fruit and moderate sweetness. Short finish.
$12 / bottle
White Layla, White (Chardonnay / Pinot Noir 50/50) 2007 (Mendoza, Argentina) (Mevushal)
25 June 2010 Bright strawberries and apricot with a hint of spiciness. Off-dry. Unusual and fun.
$13 / bottle
White Terroso, Chardonnay 2008 (Lontue Valley, Chile) (Mevushal)
14 August 2009 Indistinct fruit with a round and plump mouthfeel. Unremarkable.
$?? / bottle
White Golan, Chardonnay 2007 (Galilee, Israel) (Not Mevushal)
31 July 2009 Bracingly crisp and acidic, with light tropical fruits, apple, and a slight hint of butter. No discernable wood. Heady for a white.
$17 / bottle
White Castello di Cesare, Bianco Lazio 2007 (IGT Latium Album, Italy) (Not Mevushal)
23 October 2009 Straightforward grape and citrus with a hint of honey. Crisp but mellow with a short finish.
$11 / bottle
White Rashi, Moscato d'Asti 2007 (DOCG Moscato d'Asti, Italy) (Mevushal)
24 October 2009 Sweet peach and citrus with a slight touch of honey. Minimal effervescence.
$14 / bottle
White Alfasi, Chardonnay 2007 (Valle del Maule, Chile) (Mevushal)
18 December 2009 Crisp and smooth, with strong apple-pear flavors. Slightly heady.
$9 / bottle
White Alfasi, Chardonnay 2006 (Valle del Maule, Chile) (Mevushal)
28 November 2008 Very crisp citrus in a lower-oak style. Headier than expected.
$9 / bottle
White Hagafen, Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Napa, California) (Mevushal)
22 April 2011 Zippy tropical fruit and citrus with a mineral finish. Stylistically somewhere between New Zealand and Bordeaux.
$17 / bottle
White Barkan, "Classic" Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (Adulam, Israel) (Mevushal)
27 April 2011 Bright tropical fruit, crisp but with a smooth mouthfeel and finish. Light wood. Bordeaux-style but with more zip.
$15 / bottle
White Beckett's Flat, Sauvignon Blanc / Semillion 60/40 2006 (Margaret River, Australia) (Mevushal)
6 March 2009 Zippy grass and gunpowder over crisp tropical fruit. Long finish. Tasty.
$19 / bottle
White Herzog Selection "Chateneuf" Bordeaux 2006 (white) (AOC Bordeaux, France) (Mevushal)
12 June 2008 Muted grapefruit, peach, and melon. Very pleasant buttery and semi-sweet mouthfeel.
$11 / bottle
White Barkan, "Classic" Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (Adulam, Israel) (Mevushal)
24 April 2009 Light tropical fruit with a surprisingly buttery mouthfeel and noticeable wood. Somewhat heavy in texture.
$12 / bottle
White Eshkol Winery, "Izimbali White" 2004 (Paarl, South Africa)
29 May 2009 Crisp and bursting with apples, with a buttery texture on the finish. A blend of 75% Chenin Blanc / 25% Chardonnay.
$14 / bottle
White Abarbanel, "Efron's Cave" Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (Dan, Israel) (Mevushal)
2 October 2009 Plump white grape with a touch of flowers and smooth, slightly buttery mouthfeel. Very unlike sauvignon blanc.
$13 / bottle
White Barkan "Classic" Sauvignon Blanc 2004 (Adulam, Israel) (Mevushal)
20 February 2008 Plump and heavy, with a slightly buttery mouthfeel and noticable wood. Uncomplicated fruit.
$11 / bottle
White Baron Herzog, Chenin Blanc 2009 (Clarksburg, CA) (Mevushal)
23 September 2011 Crisp melons and lemon citrus with moderate minerals. Very crisp, but with a slightly soft and sweet mouthfeel on the finish.
$10 / bottle
White Baron Herzog, Chenin Blanc 2006 (Clarksburg, CA) (Mevushal)
8 August 2008 Light citrus and strong slate character. Plump and bloated on the finish.
$10 / bottle
White Baron Herzog, Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (Central Coast, California) (Mevushal)
23 April 2008 Sharp citrus with faint hints of fruit and minimal grass. Fat and bloated mouthfeel.
$10 / bottle
White Teal Lake Chardonnay 2005 (South Eastern Australia) (Mevushal)
26 April 2008 Rich and flavorful, with bright tropical fruit, strong citrus notes, and refreshing crispness. Some wood. Very full-bodied.
$13 / bottle
White Abarbanel, Aude Valley Estate Chardonnay 2003 (Vin de Pays de l'Aude, France) (Mevushal)
26 February 2008 Bright tropical fruit and green apples, buttery mouthfeel. Minimal wood. Extremely crisp and refreshing, very pure flavors, pleasant.
$16 / bottle
White Fortant, Kosher Chardonnay 2003 (Vin de Pays d'Oc) (Mevushal)
21 March 2008 Plump and very buttery, surprisingly fat for light wood. Otherwise unremarkable.
$10 / bottle
White Herzog, Late Harvest White Riesling 2005 (Monterey, California) (Mevushal)
9 March 2009 Intensely sweet honey and nectar with a slight touch of citrus zest in the finish. Almost syrup-like and sickly-sweet.
$22 / bottle
White Abarbanel, Riesling 2004 (AOC Alsace, France) (Mevushal)
10 August 2007 Dry with strong fragrant flower flavors. Clean.
$21 / bottle
White Rashi, Moscato d'Asti 2005 (DOCG Moscato d'Asti, Italy) (Mevushal)
12 September 2007 Sweet and fruity nectarine, orange, and honey flavors. Pleasant.
$13 / bottle
White Yarden, White Riesling 2003 (Galilee Region, Israel) (Not Mevushal)
6 October 2006 Prominent and sharp fruit with moderate floral tones, refreshing crispness, long finish.
$14 / bottle
White Goose Bay, Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (Marlborough, New Zealand) (Mevushal)
28 August 2009 Bright green peppers and starfruit with a crisp yet supple mouthfeel. Well-structured and balanced.
$18 / bottle
White Bartenura, Moscato d'Asti 2001 (DOCG Asti, Italy) (Mevushal)
2002 Very melony fruit, very sweet, almost syrup in texture. More like a good dessert wine.
$10 / bottle
White Bartenura, Moscato d'Asti 2003 (DOCG Asti, Italy) (Mevushal)
24 July 2004 Light and fizzy, with very sweet peach and apricot with a touch of mineral.
$12 / bottle
White Yarden, Muscat 2003 (Galilee, Israel) (Not Mevushal)
4 September 2009 Syrupy sweet with orange blossoms and slight fruit pungency on finish.
$14 / 500ml
Sparkling Bartenura, Prosecco Extra Dry NV (VSAQ, Italy) (Mevushal)
27 May 2011 Fizzy pear jelly with a creamy mouthfeel. Pleasant but undistinguished.
$20 / bottle
Sparkling Hagafen, Brut Cuvee 1997 (Napa Valley, California) (Mevushal)
20 May 2008 Juicy apple flavor over a crisp effervescent base. Minimal yeast. Tasty.
$26 / bottle
Sparkling Primo V, Prosecco Extra Dry NV (Italy) (Mevushal)
27 February 2010 Bright and off-dry with strong pear flavors backed by a hint of apple. Fun.
$15 / bottle
Sparkling Abarbanel, Cremant d'Alsace Brut NV (AOC Cremant d'Alsace, France) (Mevushal)
17 May 2008 Herbal and tropical nose with bright citrus flavors. Crisp, minimal yeast flavors, and fine bubbles.
$21 / bottle
Sparkling Baron Herzog, American Champagne Brut NV (USA) (Mevushal)
24 April 2008 Dark apple and yeast flavors. Large soda-like bubbles. Unimpressive.
$11 / bottle
Sparkling Kedem Champagne NV (New York) (Mevushal)
16 May 2008 Bitter and unbalanced, with a strong grain alcohol nose. Unpleasant.
$8 / bottle
Fortified Porto Cordovero Fine Ruby NV (Portugal) (Not Mevushal)
12 January 2008 Dark sweet raisins and surprising amounts of wood for a ruby. Exceptionally heady.
$32 / bottle