November 12, 2021 by Arden Montgomery
Best Kosher Wine for Hanukkah
The Jewish Festival of Lights is a wonderful autumnal gift-giving opportunity, as well as a time to celebrate life with dear friends, family, and fare around a traditional menorah. Wine and Judaism have a rich and intertwining mutual history, and there’s no better present you can give to the kosher oenophiles in your life than a beautiful bottle of wholly natural viticultural libations.
So let’s take a look at some of the best kosher wines we have to offer from our collection here at Argaux.
What is kosher?
Whether you’re a non-Jewish person trying to give a thoughtful gift to your Jewish loved ones, or are non-practicing and need a refresher, it’s a good idea to have a solid grasp on what “kosher” actually means before you start shopping.
Kosher is an important dietary tradition for many members of Jewish communities around the world. In the strictest sense, kosher foods can only be deemed as much if they have been exclusively handled by Shabbat-observant Jewish individuals from cultivation to production to packaging. Additionally, kosher foods must fit within a certain set of guidelines which define specific additives, sources, animal parts, or practices that may or may not be used.
Kosher wine is most typically made exclusively by Shabbat-observant Jews, except in the case that it is Meshuval, sterilized using a flash-pasteurization technique. In this case it may be handled by non-observant or non-Jewish winemakers.
Kosher wine is also made without certain additives which are sometimes introduced during the winemaking process as preservatives, stabilizers, or stimulators of fermentation. These additives, called “fining agents,” include both kosher ingredients such as bentonite clay and egg whites, as well as non-kosher ingredients like casein, animal gelatin and isinglass.
You can identify kosher wine in the store by a mark on the label, most typically a K, KSA, or an encircled U.
Best kosher wine for Hanukkah
The two kosher wines we have in our collection come from the Golan Heights Winery, a wine making giant both internationally and of their home country Israel. These grapes, grown in the volcanic earth of the Galilee mountains, have been instrumental in putting Israel on the wine map since their first planting in 1983.
But the viticultural history of their landscape is much, much older, dating back at least 2,000 years. Golan Heights is continuing the ancient and storied tradition of Israeli wine making with sustainable farming practices, and even earned the first internationally-recognized sustainability certification through the LODI RULES organization.
Their Yarden wines, named for the Yiddish translation of the River Jordan, are wholly kosher, eco-conscious, and wholly affordable. Not to mention they taste divine.
- 2017 Yarden Galilee Chardonnay – $26
A delightfully crisp Chardonnay that defies the genre’s typical butteriness and instead pushes lemon, pear, and apricot for a fruity finish. Floral notes, a hint of spice, and an obligatory dollop of cream add intrigue and a distinct silkiness to this vino’s delectable palate and offer an utterly drinkable experience. Pair with seared ahi tuna steaks or your favorite Sufganiyot.
- 2016 Yarden Galilee Cabernet Sauvignon – $43
This delicious, earthy Cab Sauv is a triumph of the vintage. Dry and tart, with deep notes of ripe red fruit, subtle herbaceousness, and oaky tannins, it is perfectly palatable and leaves a lasting delectability that will carry you through the dark nights of the winter. A food-friendly kosher beverage, we recommend pairing this with your traditional Hanukkah brisket.
Best natural wine for Hanukkah
As the global production of kosher wines continues to grow, we hope to add more to our collection. In the meantime, we’d like to offer a few more labels which, while not officiated as kosher, are made using sustainable farming practices and with zero additives.
The “natural” wines in the Argaux cellars are consciously grown, and fermented using only the fruit, airborne yeasts, and the magic of time. Here are a few of our favorites.
- 2018 Flâneur Willamette Valley Chardonnay – $28
Another beautiful, deep, and fruity Chard to grace your table this holiday. The color alone inspires a honey-rich warmth and comfort to match the sentiments of the season. Lemon, almond, and spice on the tongue formulate flavors of a quintessential Chardonnay, white stone fruit and white flowers in the nose reminisce warmer weather. Organically grown and made with native yeast fermentation and without filtering and fining in the Willamette Valley, Oregon.
- 2019 Domaine de la Bonne Tonne ‘Cuvée Cléa’ Regnie Beaujolais – $50
Something dark and earthy to compliment the weather, if you happen to be in a part of the northern hemisphere that sees rain. But this almost-black red wine, featuring red fruits, black berries, and a generous splash of spice, is as lively as they come, promising to be a light in the dark of winter. Organically grown and made with native yeast fermentation and without filtering and fining in Burgundy, France.
- 2020 Purity Wine Co “The Estates” Pet Nat – $26
This delicious fruit punch of a pink wine is made with sustainable farming practices that actually give back to the land on which the grapes were grown. Patrons of this particular bottle are rewarded for the Purity Wine Co’s good deeds with a delightful blend of stone fruit, citrus, and strawberry sorbet. Organically and regeneratively grown and made with native yeast fermentation and without filtering and fining in Mendocino County, California.
A gift from Argaux
If you’re giving the gift of wine this season, Argaux offers a number of pre-packed collections that allow you to taste your way around the world from the comfort of your own home. Our baskets include the ‘Gaux to France Gift Box, including some of our favorite French libations, and our Food and Wine Pairing Kit that teaches budding oenophiles how to pair wines with their favorite everyday snacks.
Or, if you prefer to select your own bottles, we’ll wrap them up for you in sophisticated nesting boxes that are almost as beautiful as the labels themselves.