The Best Brands of Kosher Wines
Kosher wines are an essential component of Jewish meals and celebrations. They must meet strict production and certification standards in keeping with Jewish law. While this has natural limits on production, the flipside is that quality Kosher wines yield unique taste profiles.
While there are ways to determine if a wine is Kosher, there are advantages to going to the source. Winemakers who specialize in Kosher wine have mastered the advantages these meticulous processes afford. They are making some of the most popular wines today.
This article covers some of the best brands of Kosher wines available. It also includes some recommendations on our favorites from each winemaker. The information will help you select the best one for your next special occasion.
Kosher Wine Benefits
Before we jump into the brands, it is worth pointing out the many advantages of Kosher wines. Besides complying with Jewish law for religious purposes, when consumed in moderation, these wines have many health benefits.
They are rich in vitamins B6 and B12. They contain various nutrients, including large amounts of iron and zinc. Wine is also choc full of antioxidants, which can help lower cholesterol levels and improve your heart health.
Best Kosher Wine Brands
While there are many winemakers putting different kinds of Kosher wine, there are some that stand out above the rest. Here are our picks for the best Kosher white and red wine brands today.
Recanati is the only winery in Israel with seven wines awarded 90 points or above. It was established in 2000 with the goal of producing original, quality wines that express the local terroir of the upper-Galilea region. They have made a name for themselves by combining classic Mediterranean varietals with the Israeli climate.
Recanati’s cabernet sauvignon is medium-bodied with a bright ruby-red color. It comes from hand-picked grapes that have been aged eight months in French oak barrels. It is a full-bodied wine with a smoky aroma and subtle hints of plum, blackberry, and spices.
Recanati makes a merlot that is robust and fruit-filled with hints of vanilla and cloves. It is medium-bodied with notes of red berries, strawberries, pomegranates, and vanilla. This one is also aged in French oak barrels for at least eight months.
The Italian heritage of Recanati’s winemaker comes out in their full-bodied chardonnay that is aged sur lie for nine months. It offers delicate aromas of tropical fruit with hints of almond and caramel and a smooth finish.
For a special occasion, try Recanati’s reserve wild carignan, made from grapes harvested from dry-farmed vines. This wine is minimally filtered, giving it a rich, fruity, and herbal flavor. It will pair well with hearty dishes.
Israel’s ancient soil and extensive growing season make it a ripe environment for nurturing all varieties of grapes. Segal was founded in the 1940s by Russian immigrants to Israel looking to capitalize on these unique growing attributes. It was bought by Barkan Winery in 2001 and has quickly become renowned for its innovative, naturally-produced wines with Israeli roots.
Segal makes a dry, full-bodied chardonnay that comes from the free-run juice of grapes grown in the Upper Galilee region. It undergoes malolactic fermentation and ages seven months sur lie in American and French oak barrels. It has an intense peach nose with milder, buttery notes of oaky butterscotch, vanilla, and cashew.
For a red that is good for drinking now or cellaring for a few years, try their special reserve merlot. Grapes for this wine are harvested at peak ripeness and, after fermentation, are aged for 12 months in oak barrels. It has a deep ruby-violet hue with a rich, fruity, and varied aroma that includes cherry, raspberries, black pepper, coffee, vanilla, and cassis.
Segal makes a special reserve cabernet-merlot as well. It undergoes micro-oxygenation that yields a velvety smooth texture with aromas of currant, plum, berries, and spices. It has a riper, peppery nose balanced for a deep, rich flavor. The wine is 60 percent merlot, 20 percent cabernet sauvignon, and 20 percent cab franc.
For a white blend, try their chardonnay-sauvignon blanc fusion. It comes from young, carefully-selected grapes that produce an easy-drinking wine with plenty of fruit. It is very light, not too dry, and with just the right amount of sweetness.
Hagafen Cellars was founded in 1979, making it Napa Valley’s first Kosher winery. This was at a time when the American wine industry offered very few options for high-quality Kosher wines.
The founders hail from Tel Aviv and have worked wonders merging old-world tradition with the finest Napa Valley grapes. Their wines continue to grow in popularity and have been served at state dinners at the White House.
Hagafen’s cabernet sauvignon is a stunning Napa Valley classic. It is grown in iron-rich soils and aged 20 months in small French and American oak barrels.
They add 10 percent cab franc to the cabernet to increase the complexity of the wine and to bring out its robust, silky flavor. It has aromas of licorice, plum, and cranberries, with notes of chocolate and black cherry.
Their vintage merlot is also a delight, bringing abundant aromatics filled with wild strawberry, violet, and rose. There are subtle hints of rosemary, fig, and pipe smoke as well, which complement the lingering soft-oak finish and smooth tannins.
Pinot grapes are especially difficult to grow. Napa's unique soil and climate make it possible to cultivate this delicate grape. The benefits are boundless though, resulting in complex wines with subtle flavors.
Hagafen’s pinot is packed with aromas, though they are not overpowering. These include an herbal mix of cinnamon and strawberry, with hints of raspberry, rosemary, sage, and oak. The wine is garnet in color and has a smooth, balanced finish.
Domaine du Castel
In 1988, the amateur founder of this winery planted the first modern-day vineyard in the Judean Hills, in what was then the backyard of his home. Within four years, the family harvested the grapes and made the first vintage.
Since that time, Domaine du Castel has established itself as one of the most prominent and prolific wineries in the region. While they have exploded in popularity, they still only produce limited yields every year. This is due in part to their planting density of 6,700 vines per hectare, handpicked grapes, and extensive barrel-aging.
Their Blanc du Castel is a dry, Burgundy-style chardonnay. It is crisp, sophisticated, and full-bodied (though perhaps light-bodied for a chardonnay). It is wonderfully balanced with fruity and floral aromas and a smooth finish.
The winemaker also produces cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot, and cab franc varietals. They age most of them in French oak barrels for between 12 and 16 months before bottling.
Herzog Wine Cellars began when Rabbi Menachem Herzog started making wine in Slovakia in the 19th century. The family’s wine quickly became so popular that bottles made their way onto the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Frans-Josef’s table.
The family continued the tradition until the 1930s, when Menachem’s grandson, Eugene, fled the Nazis and arrived in New York City.
Through hard work and various business enterprises, Eugene leveraged his family’s winemaking abilities in America. He eventually started sourcing grapes from the finest growers in Napa Valley.
Today, they still make some of the most revered Kosher wines available. They also have won recognition for an outstanding value-to-price ratio. Herzog produces quality wines that will far exceed expectations for their price point.
Among these are Chenin Blanc, a distinctive wine made with grapes from the Clarksburg appellation in California’s Central Valley. It has intense fruity notes, including apple, white peach, nectarine, and gooseberry. It is off-dry with a medium body and acidity.
Herzog’s cabernet sauvignon has layers of currant, wild berry, and plum, as well as spices. Its soft tannins give it a deep, rich color and flavor. Each batch ages separately and is minimally filtered.
The winemaker produces a merlot, full of hickory and toffee notes, followed by licorice, and violet. It has fine tannins that produce a medium-bodied wine with a smokey finish. This is a unique wine that many reviewers point out drinks more like a zinfandel than a merlot.
Finally, check out Herzog’s pinot noir reserve. This California wine has oaky and herbal overtones reminiscent of Burgundy wines. The mouth has the right amount of acid and tannin which, combines with nice salinity, is sure to impress.
Yarden Wines imports quality Israeli wines from two Kosher growers: Golan Heights and Galil Mountain Winery. It was established in 2001 and is currently headquartered in New York City.
Yarden’s Galilee Gewurztraminer is one of its most popular wines. It has a variety of fruity, floral, and herbal notes, including tangerine, litchi, peach, and honeysuckle. It is an off-dry, medium-bodied wine that is very aromatic.
Galil Mountain’s Alon is a red blend that is very unique. It uses mostly cabernet sauvignon and syrah, with cabernet franc and petit verdot mixed in. It is well-balanced and herbal, with hints of maple, butter, plum, and black cherry.
Northern Goland Heights is the coolest viticultural area in Israel. It allows the production of wines like the Golan Heights Blanc de Blanc, a refreshing sparkling chardonnay that is complex with delicate aromas. These include lemon, flower, green pear, and green apple.
This New Zealand producer does not make exclusively Kosher wines, though they do specialize in them. The owner and consulting winemaker, Matthew Rutherford, was integral in developing the first Kosher-certified Passover wines from New Zealand. He also has experience from various regions of America, including the Pacific Northwest.
Goose Bay’s pinot noir is one of their most popular wines. It has a middle palate with strong notes of ripe berry fruit and hints of pomegranate and cherry. The pinot has buttery overtones and is easy on the alcohol, making it a welcomed addition to lighter meals.
As an alternative, give their flavorful pinot noir rose a whirl. It has a dry finish and an earthy minerality.
Goose Bay’s pinot grigio exemplifies the dept of flavor found in New Zealand’s grapes sourced from Marlborough. It is reminiscent of many European wines with a new-world twist. The wine is crisp and brightly colored and has notes of pear, vanilla, and quince.
Their sauvignon blanc also is worth a try. It is an aromatic wine, bursting with kiwi, honeydew, and lemon. The nose is mildly acidic and has light minerality.
Bartenura is an Italian winemaker specializing in Kosher sparkling wines in their iconic blue bottles. They leverage the famed terroir of Provincia di Pavia in the northern region of the country.
Their moscato wines are available in white, rose, and sparkling options. They are all crisp, refreshing, and semi-sweet. They have fruity notes, including pear, tangerine, nectar, and melon flavors.
Their prosecco brut sparkling wine is semi-dry with a light effervescence. It is nutty, and creamy, making it a good option if you are looking for something with fruity notes that is not too sweet.
The winery also makes a pinot grigio that is quite well-balanced. It is quite dry with a clean finish. The wine relays distinct flavors of pear and honeysuckle.
Learn More About Kosher Wines
Now that you know some of the most prominent and accomplished producers of Kosher wines, you can decide which is best for your next big event or simply enjoy it over dinner. With so many options and at varying price points, you can find Kosher wine for any budget or occasion.
Liquorama is family-owned and operated. We offer one of the largest selections of spirits, craft beer, and wine––including an impressive collection of Kosher wines. Take a look at our extensive online inventory today.