Wines To Match The Festive Season | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Wines To Match The Festive Season

Wines To Match The Festive Season

L'chaim!

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Celebratory wines, whether bubbly or sweet, suit the Chanukah season’s festivities, and they make for great gifts. Dessert-style table wines pair well with Chanukah’s rich foods, like latkes with applesauce or sour cream. But take your sweet wine to the next level by pairing them with salty foods. Think about chocolate-covered pretzels or the current craze for salted-caramel anything. Champagne, Spanish Cava or Italian Prosecco go very well with salt and fat, which make them ideal for winter festivities. 

Here, then, are a handful of fun, festive wines to consider serving at, or bringing to, a Chanukah bash:

Sweet: 

Covenant, Zahav, Late Harvest Muscat Canelli, Suisin Valley, 2014 ($44; half bottle): This fabulous, rich, sweet wine offers aromas and flavors of apricot, honey, honeysuckle, peach, raisins, candied nuts, overripe tropical fruits and orange peel. The finish is a tad clipped at first, but as it breathes, it lingers with some additional sweet complexity. Yummy. (Available through the winery at covenantwines.com, [510] 559-9045)

Herzog, Late Harvest Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg, 2013 ($16.95; mevushal): This luscious, aromatic, fruity yet serious sweet wine offers aromas and flavors of pear, honey, peach, apricot, mandarin oranges, mango, custard and a smidgen of candied ginger. Enough acidity and complexity to keep it both balanced and interesting. Mighty tasty. (Available at Skyview Wines and Liquor, 5681 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale, [718] 601-8222)

Herzog, Late Harvest Zinfandel, Lodi, 2013 ($19.95; mevushal):  Slightly fruitier on the nose, with aromas and flavors of under-ripe white peach, apricot, dark and red berry fruits, this is tasty now but is likely to improve with some additional short-term cellaring. (Available at Skyview Wines and Liquor, 5681 Riverdale Ave., [718] 601-8222)

Herzog, Late Harvest White Riesling, Monterey County, 2014 ($19.99; mevushal): With decent balancing acidity, this sweet wine offers aromas and flavors of dried apricots, tropical fruits, baking spice and baked apple with a kiss of lemon custard and some subtle pear. Not as complex as it ought to be, given the rest of the Herzog Late Harvest series, but certainly enjoyable and in its way quite charming. (Available at Columbus Wines and Spirits, 730 Columbus Ave., Manhattan, [212] 865-7070)

Herzog, Late Harvest Orange Muscat, 2013 ($23.99; mevushal): A light but pleasing sweet-ish fruit salad of a wine with aromas and flavors of mandarin orange, marmalade, lychee sorbet, grapefruit, vanilla bean, honeysuckle, apricot and lemon, with bits of racy ginger, mild honeydew melon and raisin dancing in and out of focus. Most enjoyable! (Available at Great Neck Wines and Spirits, 13 N. Station Plaza, Great Neck, L.I., [516] 466-7585)

Hafner, Icewine Gewürztraminer, Kosher, Burgenland, Austria, 2010 ($35; mevushal; organic): Rich and luscious with honeyed fruit, crushed juniper berry, baked cinnamon, candied orange and grapefruit,  lemon zest, with some candied nuttiness, orange blossom and slight anise or black licorice twang in the lengthy finish. Juicy sweet yet somehow also controlled and tart, this is complex and fabulous! (Available at DeWine Spot, 428 Lorimer St., Brooklyn [718] 388-9463)

Bubbly:

Herzog Selection, Rose Brut, France ($14.99; mevushal): Simple but pleasant, off-dry with aromas and flavors of strawberry, Bing cherry, raspberry, apple, and lightly toasted commercial white bread. The acidity isn’t bad, though the bubbles are slight and subtle bordering on barely noticeable. Finish is clean and pleasant. Overall a satisfying quaffer. (Available at Skyview Wines and Liquor, 5681 Riverdale Ave., (718) 601-8222)

Hagafen Brut Cuvée 2012 ($39.95; mevushal): Full-bodied with a lovely, bright peach hue and a robust head of large, lively bubbles, this delicious dry sparkler offers aromas and flavors of peach, apple, strawberry, a touch of melon, citrus, dollops of cream, a touch of yeast, and an inviting smidge of brioche; there is also a generous hint of sweet syrup, finishing in a long citrus and green almond finish. (Available at Skyview Wines and Liquor, 5681 Riverdale Ave., [718] 601-8222)

Champagne Barons de Rothschild Brut Cuvée ($90; mevushal; make sure to check for the kosher version): A complex assemblage of 60 percent Chardonnay and 40 percent Pinot Noir, with 40 percent reserve wines blended in for added quality and consistency; this Champagne is dry, elegant and restrained with aromas and flavors of green apple, pear, lemon peel, white peach, toast, pie-crust, almonds and hazelnuts, and with a lovely, chalky minerality and wonderfully balancing acidity. Managing to be both austere and creamy, focused yet breezy, this is delightful and entertaining now, but holds much promise of things to come with some additional aging. A fine, lovely kosher, mevushal Champagne. (Available at kosherwine.com, [866] 567-4370)

Bonnet-Ponson, Brut, Premier Cru, Kosher, Champagne ($55; make sure to check for the kosher version): This wonderfully fruited, creamy Champagne with fine, intense and endless bubbles, is a blend of 60 percent Pinot Noir and 40 percent Chardonnay, with 30 percent reserve wines blended in for greater depth and finesse. It offers deep aromas and lovely flavors of lemon zest, baked apple, green apple, citrus, peach and cream, with flaky and buttery pie crust, toasted brioche, almonds, and fresh yeasty bread. Refreshing and delicious! (Available at kosherwine.com, [866] 567-4370)

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