The freedom to chose

The freedom to chose

Gabe, which wines are you serving this year for the Four Cups? I am asked this question every year, countless times. Does it matter? It does — but mostly to me. What should matter to you, dear readers, is which wines you like to drink for the Four Cups. Pesach is the celebration of freedom — freedom from Mitzrayim and from earthly, materialistic avdut, and the freedom to be the willful servants of Hashem. We have to drink four cups of wine on the night of the seder, but, B”H, we can freely choose the wines we enjoy most.

As I do every year, I plan on drinking the best rosé from Eretz Yisrael I can get for the first seder, the best rosé from the Diaspora for the second seder. But if you prefer an off-dry white, a bold dry red, or a sparkling wine, go for it! Yes, there are family customs and some rules that have various interpretations. However, drinking the Four Cups should be a pleasant experience done with hiddur mitzvah — “adornment of the mitzvah” — and not merely a religious ritual we practice because we are meant to. And by hiddur mitzvah, I mean that the wine you choose should be enjoyable to drink in that setting. Here is a selection of wines, each appealing to a different approach and palate. This Pesach, may you thoroughly enjoy each of your cups. L’chaim, chag sameach!

Razi’el, Rosé, Brut, NV: Several of my friends use a rosé sparkling wine for some or all of the Four Cups — rosé because it counts as red, and sparkling because it’s refreshing and easy to drink. While I love a good sparkling wine, I personally find the effervescence calls for slow sipping rather than for quick drinking, which is how I drink my Four Cups. For my aforementioned friends (and those who share their preferences), I recommend this complex traditional-method sparkling wine from Israel made by Eli Ben Zaken, the proprietor and founder of Domaine du Castel. It is a rich, complex wine with elegant bubbles and layers of red berries and stone fruits notes alongside subtle yeastiness. A truly luxurious wine.

Matar, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2019: Matar has gained many fans for their clean, consistent, and fruit-forward wines. Matar Winery, in the Golan Heights, minutes from the Lebanese and Syrian borders, has a clear New World style of winemaking without ever succumbing to the temptations of in-your-face, overly ripe wines. This Cabernet Sauvignon will satisfy the most demanding drinkers of bold, generous wines with a long finish and linear tannins.

Rocca delle Macie, Chianti Classico, 2022: No wonder this winery sells more than 80,000 cases a year to mainstream wine consumers! It is a delicious, easy-to-drink Chianti. With a medium body featuring juicy red and black fruits, earthy and savory notes of seared portobello in a balsamic glaze, refreshing acidity, and soft, silky tannins, this wine should also be a pleasure to drink throughout the meal.

Tura, Mountain Vista, Chardonnay, 2021: This Chardonnay shows a great balance of oak and fruit. It is neither too fruity nor too oaky, with medium acidity keeping it refreshing without feeling abrasive. It can also accompany an entire meal starting with matzah ball soup, followed by gefilte fish, chicken, and fruit salad.

Herzog, Variations, Be-leaf, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2021: We cannot forget those who are sensitive to sulfites. While sulfites occur naturally in every wine, winemakers usually add some during the process to prevent premature oxidation. The Be-leaf is made from high-quality organic Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in Paso Robles, with no added sulfites. It is a juicy, delicious, quality wine with notes of black and blue fruits and polished tannins. It is also CCOF organic-certified.

Royal Wine

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