Tag Archives: Jewish wine

Kosher Psagot Merlot with Hanukkah latkes

Move over Manischewitz! I’ve discovered a wine that pairs best with your Hanukkah latkes, especially if you make them with lots of veggies and cheese. What goes best with these Judaic delights is Psagot’s 2014 Merlot. This wine label with the image of a Second Temple-era coin adhered to the label is produced in Israel and made from 100% Merlot grapes, aged for 13 months in French wood barrels. The bottle itself is a nice decoration for the table, with a label written in both Hebrew and English.

Flavors of dark berries and aromas of plum, cherries and leather offer a hint to what’s next… that long and lingering blackberry finish. This mellow merlot’s distinctly Israeli flavor profile also pairs well with meat dishes and will make it a unique addition to any meal. (SRP $26)

With only two nights left before Hanukkah concludes, be sure to serve a bottle of Psagot with those latkes! Happy Hanukkah to all…please enjoy this shared message of the meaning of Hanukka:

When the rabbis of Talmudic times asked, “What is Hanukkah?” their answer focused on the purification of the Temple and the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days, despite the fact that there seemed to be oil enough for only a single day. As a new spiritual leadership dealing with the religious challenge of Jewry’s survival after the loss of Jewish sovereignty and power, the rabbis stressed the divine miracle to the exclusion of military and diplomatic acts and the sovereignty exercised by the Maccabees after their victory.

Similarly, medieval Jews focused on the divine miraculous activity in Hanukkah, projecting their own sense of helplessness and their longing for the messianic redeemer to do it all for them.

By contrast, modern Zionists saw in Hanukkah a reflection of their agenda: They celebrated Maccabee military prowess and political achievement. An early secular Zionist song proclaimed that “a miracle did not happen to us, we found no cruse of oil.” To these Zionists, the Maccabees’ state-building was the eternal message of the holiday.

For modern liberal Jews, Hanukkah became the holiday of religious freedom. The Maccabee fight was presented as the uprising of a religious community against suppression. The Festival of Lights was a victory for, and a living model of, the religious tolerance that Jews sought in the modern world. To uphold this view, liberals had to filter out the fact that while the Maccabees fought for the right to practice their own religion, they were hardly pluralist. In fact, the Maccabees fought Hellenizing Jews–those who were assimilating into Greek culture–to the death and suppressed them as they achieved power.

Read more, courtesy of BeliefNet.com



Psagot, a kosher cabernet

A noble grape is one capable of making high quality wine, is able to grow in a variety of climates outside its indigenous environment, ages well and shows a sense of place while retaining its unique characteristics. Recently, I tasted a perfect example of a successful noble grape: the M-series 2013 Psagot single vineyard cabernet sauvignon, with its grapes grown in the capital of Israel, in the Jerusalem Mountains, 900 meters above sea level.

A waxed coin was stuck on the bottle somewhere, but I couldn’t figure out where because during the bottle’s shipment it had fallen off. I wasn’t sure how this was related until I read the bottle.

“The coin depicted on the front comes from the period of the “Great Revolt” (66-73 CE). The coin was discovered while digging out a cave which would become the Winery’s barrel aging room.”

I quickly realized that I would be tasting tradition. And through the expression of tradition in the history, dusty and dry soil, and methods of viticulture to make this Psagot vineyard, I was ready to taste the kosher, single vineyard cabernet sauvignon aged for 13 months in French oak barrels.

Its dark claret offered an elegant nose of a wine steeped in culture. The deepest berries and a touch of green pepper led way to flavors of an assortment of local and global dark, blackberries. Elements of the French oak barrel were found in the butterscotch elements, and led to the smooth and subtly spicy tannins. According to the winemaker notes, there are flavors of orange peel and mint, with nice notes of citrus and branberry. Although my palate didn’t detect these – and I have never consumed a branberry – I will take his word for it.

To taste this Psagot cabernet sauvignon is about transporting your palate and imagining standing within the mountains of Jerusalem. Warning: You may be unable to resist booking a trip. But, if you’re planning to visit Jerusalem, you can head to the visitor center for a tour takes about an hour and includes wine tasting of Psagot Winery. Visit Psagotwines.com for more information.

A bottle sells for around $63, depending on where you look online.