Four cups...and then some

As every year, we present a number of wine recommendations, based on taste and value for money.

Wine (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The Seder requires that everyone drink at least four cups of wine, and the Israeli wine industry relies on Passover for a large portion of its sales. As every year, we present a number of wine recommendations, based on taste and value for money. The wines are listed in alphabetical order. All the wines are kosher for Passover, unless otherwise noted.
Barkan Superior Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
If it’s an impressive gift that you’re looking to bring to the Seder table, consider the Barkan Superior Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, which is presented in a beautiful wooden box. Barkan consider it to be their top wine of this year, inspired by the great wines of Bordeaux. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (87%), Merlot and Petit Verdot, the wine is deep red, wrapped in oak aromas when first opened, revealing layers of fresh red fruit and hazelnuts after a short aerating or decanting. NIS 225.
Barkan Reserve Collection
The Reserve Collection by Barkan includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Emerald Riesling and Gewürztraminer. These varietal wines are aged in French oak barrels and are usually made of grapes from several areas. Very good value at NIS 45.
Ben Haim Cabernet Franc 2013
The boutique winery suggests their 2013 Cabernet Franc from the Hashmura collection for the Seder table. The wine, made from 85% Cabernet Franc and some Merlot and Petit Syrah, is aged in oak barrels for 24 months. The wine is rich and complex, yet fresh enough to pair well with meat dishes, as well as fish. NIS 150.
Bravdo 2015
Shiraz Bravdo is a kosher boutique winery from Karmei Yosef, owned and managed by two professors – Ben- Ami Bravdo and Oded Shoseyov.
The 2015 Bravdo Shiraz was aged 12 months in oak barrels. It is a harmonious red wine, with medium to full body, rich in tannins and fruity aromas and long finish. Kept under the right conditions, the wine makers predict that it will develop well for 10 years in the bottle. NIS 130.
Bravdo 2017 Sauvignon Blanc
The Bravdo 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is a light and very dry wine, offering typical flavor and fresh fruit aromas. Very good value at NIS 80.
Carmel wines – Selected Collection
For the holiday, take advantage of the special prices offered on Carmel’s leading collections. From the moderately priced Selected Collection, try the Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – dry, light and easy wine to drink. From the reds – go for the Cabernet Sauvignon – a fresh and fruity wine. NIS 25.
Carmel wines Private Collection
This collection has been around for almost 40 years and recently won prizes in the Best Value category. This year, try the Chardonnay 2017. Aromatic and well balanced, it is a good choice for the fish and salads dishes of the evening. From the red, I would go for the Cabernet Merlot 2016 – with aromas of dark fruit and smoke. NIS 39.
Castel – La Vie Rouge 2016
One of the most prestigious wineries in Israel, Castel launches the 2016 La Vie Rouge in time for the holiday – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Wine critic Robert Parker recently reviewed the La Vie collection, giving the wines high praise. The 2016 La Vie Rouge is fresh, well balanced, fruity, has a good body and a rich finish. Part of the young La Vie series, it is very good yet priced under NIS 100. Serve at 18 to 20 degrees. NIS 75.
Jerusalem Wineries
One of the oldest wineries in Israel, the Jerusalem Wineries suggests a two-wine package containing the 2014 Chardonnay and the 2014 Shiraz. The Chardonnay is fresh with typical aromas of citrus and tropical fruit. The Shiraz has a deep red color, aromas of plums and red fruit. NIS 119.
MAIA Mare red 2016
MAIA, or Mediterranean Approach, Israeli Art, aptly describes the wine producer’s approach. All the wines produced by MAIA are blends of Mediterranean varietals. Yiannis Paraskevoulos, the pioneer of the Greek wine renaissance, together with David Bar-Ilan (Tulip Winery) and viticultural expert Kostas Bakasietas, have created Mediterranean-style wines. The 2016 MAIA Red is a medium- to light-bodied red wine, a blend of Carignan, Syrah and Mourvedre, with aromas of red fruit and nice finish. NIS 85.
Midbar Vlognier 2016
Midbar winery from Arad in the Negev suggests this Seder night to choose white wines. The 2016 Viognier, a dry white wine with fruity aromas that pairs best with Asian dishes but also goes well with grilled beef or chicken dishes, as well as fish. For other meals, we also like it with aromatic cheeses or as an aperitif. NIS 90.
Midbar Chardonnay 2016
This Chardonnay is blissfully without wood – meaning that it has less vanilla flavor, and the aromas of the fruit are more noticeable. Great with fish and cheeses, as well as an aperitif. NIS 90.
Ortal Viognier 2015
Located in the northern part of the Golan Heights, the winery enjoys the benefit of using grapes from vineyards nearby. The 2015 Ortal Viognier was aged in French oak barrels for nine months. Lovely to drink as an aperitif or with salads and fruit, serve the wine well chilled. NIS 68. Not kosher.
Ortal Cabernet Franc 2014
Ortal also launched the 2014 Cabernet Franc for the holiday – a dark, full-bodied wine that pairs well with meat stews and lamb. NIS 99. Not kosher.
The 2016 Psagot Merlot is a dry red wine made from grapes grown in the Har Bracha vineyards. The wine is made from grapes that were picked on several dates – adding depth to its flavors and aromas. It is a full-bodied wine, well constructed with aromas of red and dark fruit, coffee, spices and dark chocolate. Wonderful for serving with the main dish. NIS 100.
Recanati Yonatan 2017
Recanati introduced Yonatan, a new collection from the 2017 harvest. These young, fruity wines are light and very suitable for a large dinner party. The 2017 Yonatan Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, aged in oak barrels. It will pair well with the main dish. NIS 39
Recanati Special Reserve White
Also from Recanati, try the new Special Reserve wines. The 2016 White is a blend of two Mediterranean varietals – Roussann and Marsanne. This wine is fresh and fruity, with floral aromas and buttery flavors. NIS 150.
Segal Free Run
Segal Winery launches its Free Run Collection. Free Run is the first juice that comes out of the grape without intervention. Tthe juice is then aged 10 months in French oak barrels and is used for the Free Run collection.
Segal Free Run Cabernet Sauvignon is harmonious and rich. Very fruity, the wine is dark red, with cassis, plum and herbal aromas. The finish is long and fruity.
Also from the Free Run collection, the Merlot is full-bodied and has a velvety texture, with round tannins. It is a wonderful choice for the Seder dinner. Both wines are NIS 65.
Teperberg Essence Merlot 2014
The grapes were grown in two very different vineyards – one in the Ella Valley and the other atop the Ephraim Mountains. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months and in the bottles for 10 months. This dark red wine has rich and complex aromas of red fruit, cherries and pine. Smooth and balanced, the wine renders a long and pleasant finish. NIS 100
Teperberg Inspire Famitage 2017
This Dabuki-Sauvignon Blanc- Gewurztraminer blend is a unique combination that creates a harmonious wine. The leading variety is the Dabuki, an ancient and traditional Israeli variety which gives the wine a rich nose. The wine is characterized by a soft and pleasant texture and a juicy combination of fruit sweetness and delicate and delightful sourness. NIS 60.
Tishbi Red-Purple 2017
This dry red blend from Zichron Ya’acov is very fruity, with flavors of toffee, blackberries and herbs. Pairs well with meat or cheese. NIS 35
Tishbi Viognier-Gewurztraminer 2017
A semi-dry white that is easy to drink and pairs well with fish and salads, the wine has aromas of white peach, apricot and citrus flowers. Nice as an aperitif or with food. NIS 45
Tulip White Franc 2017
A very unique rosé. A blend of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, this lovely rosé has an orange-pink color and flavors that are typical of Cabernet Franc. With aromas of rosewater, citrus flowers and strawberry, this light and slightly sweet wine is lovely as an aperitif or with light dishes. NIS 82.
Yatir Mt. Amasa 2014
The composition of Petite Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Malbec differs from year to year, in order to emphasize the “Yatir” character and uniqueness of the region and its vineyards. The wine is a deep purple in color with a fragrance reminiscent of ripe plum, a touch of smoke and spices. The taste of the wine is fruity, ripe and mediumbodied. The wine is dark red with aromas of ripe raspberry, smoke and some spice, with fruity flavors and full body. The wine pairs well with red meat and hearty stews. NIS 100.
Yatir 2016 Viognier
The only white wine produced by Yatir, the Viognier is light greenishgold in color, with aromas of white peach and jasmine and fruity flavors of nectarine and citrus fruit. The wine is lovely on its own and will pair well with food as well. NIS 90.
Blue Nun (Kosher)
It seems that Blue Nun is one of the best-selling imported wines in Israel. According to wine importer Shaked, more than a million bottles of Blue Nun were sold in Israel last year. The kosher Blue Nun arrives in time for the Seder. It is a semi-dry white wine, a blend of Gewurztraminer and Riesling, perfect for sipping with desserts or as an aperitif. NIS 50.