Passover: The best wines to buy for the holiday

As we cautiously return to some sort of normalcy, there’s no better way to celebrate this year’s holiday of freedom than to raise our glasses with family and friends on the eve of Passover.

Parfum de Binyamina. (photo credit: COURTESY OF BINYAMINA WINERY)
Parfum de Binyamina.
 Apparently, during the year of the coronavirus pandemic, Israelis consumed more wine than in previous years and were willing to explore and try new and more expensive wines. This is good news for the local wine industry and the wine-makers hope that this trend will continue. 
So, as we cautiously return to some sort of normalcy, there’s no better way to celebrate this year’s holiday of freedom than to raise our glasses with family and friends on the eve of Passover. Here is our wine list for this year. Enjoy!
For this holiday Barkan, presents the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Platinum, and it really is a celebratory wine. Made from choice barrels, this is a very rich and harmonious wine, with flavors of dark and red fruit, spices and roasted wood. NIS 70
Barkan offers special holiday boxes, including the Altitude Cabernet Sauvignon +585 with a professional corkscrew for NIS 160. Another option is the Reserve Gold Edition – including Cabernet Sauvignon and Gewürztraminer and a bottle of Cava Iberica Brut for NIS 110. 
Senna, from the winery’s Tradition series, is a lovely red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and some Grenache. This year the winery launched its 2017 Senna, celebrating the family’s 50th year since they made their first wine. NIS 100
For this holiday, Binyamina introduced a very special wine: Parfum de Binyamina, an aromatic rosé, that joins the fast-growing premium rosés that are becoming the new trend. This aromatic wine celebrates the scents of the spring, nature and tradition. NIS 89
The winery regularly presents excellent wines and this year they recommend their 2020 Sauvignon Blanc to start the evening, and moving to the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon for the main dish.
The Sauvignon Blanc is very fresh and crisp, lively and with very good acidity. NIS 79
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is very rich and intense, and will compliment roasts and rich beef dishes. NIS 120
Carmel wines need no introduction. The winery is offering, as at every holiday, a few different collections, but this year they suggest mixing them. Carmel Private Collection added this year a new rosé, which is lovely and will most definitely be very popular once the weather heats up. NIS 40
Yatir launched a new independent brand: Darom (South), exciting and accessible wines. IThe winery launches two new wines: Darom white and Darom Red. The red is a blend of Merlot, Shiraz, Malbec, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is easy to drink and will accompany meat dishes as well as Mediterranean dishes. The Darom white, a blend of Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc, is very fresh, with aromas of citrus, jasmine and chamomile, as well as flavors of green pear and citrus fruit. NIS 80 
Golan Heights continues to offer special holiday boxes, including a very festive box from the Gamla Collection, including a 2019 Sauvignon Blanc and a 2018 Gamla Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as two wine glasses, quality olive oil, a runner, Haggadah, and more. NIS 260
The northern winery launches for this holiday a special gift box. A percentage of the proceeds from sales of the boxes will be donated. The packaging was done by organizations for people with disabilities and children. The gift box includes a bottle of Yiron 2017, the winery’s flagship wine, as well as two wine glasses, a ceramic matzah plate, pralines and more. 
Yiron 2017 is a very well balanced red blend that offers aromas of berries, cherries and plums, as well as a nose of vanilla, clove and wood. The box is available online at the winery’s store. NIS 270
Harey Galil is Israel’s first ecologically sustainable winery, and for this spring they launched their new Galil Collection of everyday fresh and lively wines, including a few reds and some whites. The new wine in the collection is the 2018 Galil Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is full-bodied and offers typical aromas. Also in the same line are the 2020 Gewürztraminer, 2020 Blanc de Noir and 2020 Sauvignon Blanc. NIS 65
Hayotzer Winery offers for this Passover a few gift box options as well as a few new wines. Their leading collections for this year are the Bereshit (Genesis) Collection and the Virtuoso Collection, of which I am sure many will love the 2019 Virtuoso Chardonnay – fantastic as an aperitif and with fish, rich cheeses and salads. NIS 49.9 or 2 for NIS 80
The boutique winery located in the Judean Hills at the northern part of Yatir Forest offers wines that are both very local and very French. The wines are complex and rich, and yet easy to drink. The winery offers a few collections, in a variety of prices and sells only online, sending the wines anywhere in the country. To mention but a few of the wines, from the Talpiot Collection we loved the 2020 white blend of Roussanne and Chenin Blanc. NIS 65. Another hit from the collection is the elegant light-colored rosé that is a perfect aperitif for a warm evening. 
My favorite red from La Foret Blanche is the 2018 Dvir Pinot Noir. It is a personal choice, and not everybody loves Pinot, but the aromas of a forest after the rain, black currants and blackberries are worth exploring. NIS 85. The red blend in the Dvir Collection will be loved by everybody. With a bright red color and dark berry aromas, this wine will accompany your red meat dishes perfectly. NIS 100ץ And then there is the Levanon – the winery’s flagship wine made from free-run (first-squeezed juice) of Cabernet Sauvignon, and aged 24 months in oak barrels. Fantastic! 
 NIS 220
This boutique winery, with second-generation wine-growers and wine-makers from Karmei Yosef, was established in 2018 with the ambition of producing local wines. The wines are seasonal and change according to the changing conditions. The 2019 Neta Red Blend is smooth and soft, with lovely red color and fresh fruity aromas. NIS 79
For this holiday, Recanati offers their 2017 Special Reserve Red, a wine that embodies the best of every harvest and the best fields from five different vineyards from across the country. The blend is determined by the wine-makers after a series of tastings, aged 18 months and then tasted again to choose only the best for a harmonious and very special blend. The wine has a very full body, is very intense and rich and will age well for at least 10 years. Very festive. NIS 189
The veteran winery chooses to show its wild side, offering wine gift boxes with two wines from the winery’s Wild Fermentation Collection, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay as well as a gift chef’s knife. NIS 150. The Cabernet Sauvignon from that collection is dark red, with aromas of red fruit and spices, full bodied and fruity, with a long finish. The Chardonnay in the Wild Fermentation Collection has a light green-yellow color, citrus-fruit aromas and full body. 
Three special wines are offered by Teperberg for this Passover night. The three include the 2020 Rosé Impression, the 2016 Legacy Cabernet Franc and the 2016 Merlot Essence. In short, a wine for each palate. The 2020 Rose Impression, is bright pink and very lively. Dry with gentle acidity, this wine is fruity and young and is perfect as an aperitif. NIS 40. The 2016 Legacy Cabernet Franc is red and full bodied, with red fruit flavors and rich typical fruity aromas as well as round oak flavors. A very good wine to serve with rich meat dishes. NIS 200
Tura Winery is a family-run estate winery founded in 2003 in the village of Rehelim by Vered and Erez Ben Sa’adon. Their vineyards are planted around the Bracha community. These exceptional Tura wines are produced with much love, patience and inspiration. They are all full-bodied, bursting with fruit flavors, and are marketed after a lengthy maturation period in the winery’s cellars. Start the evening with Snow, Tura Winery’s white blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. It is a very pleasing wine – light yellow with medium body and fresh acidity. NIS 69. Other good choices are the 2017 Merlot and 2017 Shiraz – both very good wines that everyone will enjoy. Both are excellent choices to serve with the main dish. NIS 129. If you wish to splurge, do try the 2017 Mountain Peak, the flagship wine of Tura Winery, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and some Petit Verdot. It is a great wine that won several prizes both in and outside of Israel. The wine has a bright red color and fruity aromas of berries, some pepper, clove and mint, full body and well-balanced acidity. Perfect for a grand dinner. NIS 219
Yatir Winery launches its 2017 Nahal Yatir Red and 2019 Nahal Yatir White for this holiday. The 2017 Nahal Yatir Red is the pure expression of the Negev where Yatir Winery is located. A blend of Syrah (64%) and Tannat and Grenache, all varietals that grow well in the area. The color is dark red, with red raspberry aromas and fruity flavors. This wine will accompany steaks and meat stews very well. NIS 150 . The 2019 Nahal Yatir White is elegant and fresh, with green aromas and concentrated flavors. The kind of wine you’d like to drink all summer. NIS 150.
Bana Drinks offers a wide range of wine gift boxes for Passover this year, and they are willing to deliver to your doorstep. Bana offers a variety of boxes with wines, spirits, glasses, chocolates, cheeses and more. From the Bana Collection we chose two wines that are exclusive to the chain: the Backsberg Brut – because we love bubbly – and the Agadat Yerushalayim Red. Nothing says celebration more than popping a bottle of bubbly and the South African kosher Backsberg, a bubbly that we came to enjoy, will really give that celebratory feel to the evening. It is made in the traditional Champagne method, is very refreshing and will be the perfect start to this year’s Seder. NIS 99.9
For the main dish try the Agadat Yerushalayim Red Blend from the Jerusalem winery. It is full-bodied, rich and very satisfying. Aged in oak barrels for 18 months, the wine has aromas of pomegranate, pine and anise. NIS 109.9