From slavery to freedom
Passover celebrates the Jewish people’s redemption from slavery in Egypt. However, we are not free of obligations. The purpose of breaking free from Pharaoh was so we could fulfill G-d’s promise to our forefathers and be his servants. Every mitzvah we do is part of this covenant with G-d, including the Passover seder and the four cups of wine. Yes, B” H, we are free to choose which wines to use for this mitzvah.
There are different minhagim among families and communities for which type of wine to drink at the Seder. Thankfully, the selection of kosher wine is more extensive than ever, which allows us the freedom to try more varieties and enjoy new wines for the holiday.
Personally, and for those following my column, these aren’t news; I use rosé for the four cups. According to most halachic opinions, rosé is a shade of red and counts as such as it is made from red grape varieties. Using one of 3 methods, the winemaker decides how red he/she wants the wine to be by limiting the contact between the must, the grape juice, and the grape’s skins from which the color comes.
Here are the rosé wines I plan on enjoying this coming Passover: The Herzog Lineage Rosé 2022 is quite successful, blending refreshing acidity and mouthwatering fruitiness. On the higher end the superb Razi’el Rosé 2021, with its complex notes of tart strawberries, vanilla cream, and herbaceous undertones. The Château Roubine Lion & Dragon Rosé 2021 is quite sophisticated. It pops in the mouth with layers of berry and stone fruit flavors, combined with lively acidity and an unusual but masterfully integrated structure and oak notes. While these last two wines are not from the more recent 2022 vintage, they are especially made not only to last longer than most rosé wines but also to improve for a couple of years and should be at their peak now.
For the meal, Shulchan Orech, I will grace our Seder table with one of my favorite wines from Israel, the Carmel Limited Edition 2007, which I have aged for quite a few years. The current 2019 vintage is also excellent and will gain even more flavors and complexity if you wish to put some away, as I did. For the second Seder, I will open a mature bottle of Château Malartic-Lagravière 2005. Here too, the new 2020 vintage is also excellent and will age gracefully
There is another popular strategy. Start with a light wine. It can also be a rosé, like the Hagafen Rosé 2022, but it can also be a Pinot Noir, such as the Vitkin Pinot Noir 2021. Then, you can work your way up and enjoy a bigger wine, such as the Binyamina Chosen Tarshish Cabernet Sauvignon 2018. It is rich and layered, with complex, black fruit and herbaceous notes and a long and plush finish. You can then move back to your Rosé or Pinot Noir or keep going with the Binyamina. For the 4th cup, if you can handle it, maybe a sweet wine dessert wine? The Or Haganuz Har Sinai, for instance. Port-style wines are heavier, high in alcohol, and therefore not everyone’s first choice for the Seder. But the sweetness and balance allow a unique drinking experience to wrap up the ceremony.
May these delicious wines and any other wine you choose to perform this mitzvah enhance your Pesach Sedarim. Chag Pesach Kasher v’sameyach! L’chaim!