Zin For The Win | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Zin For The Win

Zin For The Win

Kosher wine’s exception to the expensive rule.

Facebook icon
Twitter icon
Digg icon
e-mail icon

Making wine commercially is an expensive proposition, doing so with Kashrus certification is, on balance, even more so. Finding Sabbath observant Jewish labor can add considerably to the cost of doing business in many parts of the wine producing world, after all. This is part of the reason that there are such a limited number of fully kosher wineries outside of Israel. Likewise, this is partly why the majority of the world’s wine regions are under-represented in the kosher wine world. True, there are plenty of non-kosher wineries that periodically produce a “kosher run” or even a “kosher edition” of their regular wines, but this is often a very limited production. Nearly all such efforts have been done under contract for this or that kosher wine negociant, importer, distributor, marketer or what have you.

So, for example, more than a few French châteaux have come to release kosher cuvées, including some well-regarded classified estates, like Léoville-Poyferré , Gruaud-Larose,  Giscours, and Pontet-Canet, among others. The kosher versions of Château de Valandraud, a Bordeaux “garagiste”  wine that has reached cult status, commands a price upwards of hundreds of dollars. One can similarly find kosher version or editions of some Grand Cru Burgundy and some famous Champagnes too. By and large, these are all worthwhile efforts—though the pricing for the kosher market is often terrible.

There is much less by way of kosher “versions” or “editions” for much of the other great wine producing regions, including domestically here in the US. One exception is BR Cohn who occasionally releases a very good kosher version of their Glen Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, but there are few others. It would be wonderful, for example, if some of California’s notable Zinfandel producers—like RidgeBialeRosenblum, Carol SheltonTurleyRavenswoodBogleDry Creek VineyardSeghesio,A. Rafanelli and Martinelli—could be induced to do a limited kosher run.

In the meantime, we will continue to enjoy what the market currently has to offer. This includes the Agua Dulce Zinfandel 2010 ($34). This is a bit of a hybrid of what we mean. Agua Dulce, located in Northern Los Angeles County, is hardly a well-known CA wine producer—far from it. The otherwise non-kosher winery doesn’t really even service the wider market, opting instead for a local niche, wine-club/direct-to-consumer model. Its production of three kosher wines, which we’ve written glowingly about before, is really just a one off by Agua Dulce’s talented winemaker Craig Winchell, formerly of the legendary but sadly closed Gan Eden Winery in Sonoma. The Agua Dulce Zinfandel 2010 is a powerful, explosive nose of fruit and spice, this medium to full bodied Zin is complex, richly layered and well structured, with lovely dark fruit and spice notes, and a pleasing, lengthy finish.


Join The Discussion