The season of Passover and Easter is the second busiest time of the year for wine sales, in large part because wine plays a role in the religious traditions and customs of both holidays. CBS This Morning enlisted the aid of Andrea Immer, who works in the famous wine cellars of New York's Windows on the World restaurant, to share her recommendations for the best wines for the holidays under $20.
"So many of our rituals from antiquity center on wine," notes Immer. "This is one of those natural times of year when people have families in for gatherings and rituals that involve getting around the table and sharing food and wine together."
She recommends six inexpensive wines just right for the holidays. Her picks include two kosher wines.
Immer says it is important to emphasize that wine for an Easter dinner or Passover seder need not be expensive to be good. "In a family gathering you have traditional meals with a broad range of tastes. We see this both with Easter and Passover," she says. "So you really need a wine that is versatile and not too distinctive in taste. You need an all-around crowd-pleasing type of wine."
"Most versatile wines are medium-bodied and smooth, made from a mixture of different grapes," Immer says.
- Morgan Sauvignon Blanc 1997 ($12.00). A tangy and refreshing white wine. Immer says this wine is perfect for spring foods like asparagus and other fresh spring vegetables as they come into season.
- Tavel Domaine Pelaquie 1997 ($10.00). A pink that gives that great spring color and festiveness that awakens a person from the winter slump. Very refreshing, with enough body to stand up to Easter ham. (This wine de-emphasizes the saltiness of ham.)
- Chateau La Cardonne 1995 ($15.00). A Bordeaux wine from France. A French classic red wine to match with lamb. Great for folks who plan lamb for Easter dinner.
- Rioja Sierra Cantabria 1995 ($12.00). Another classic red for lamb and other roasted meats. A great value for the money.
- Yarden Chardonnay 1997 ($16.00). A white kosher wine. This wine is from Israel, highlighting the fact that there really is a world class wine region budding in Israel.
- Baron Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 ($10.00 - $12.00). A kosher red wine. A California cabernet stylistically flavored. Everything you would expect in a cabernet, and pretty full-bodied.
Better Tasting Kosher Wines
Kosher wines have come a long way from the Concord-grape wines many folks grew up with. Their taste has become more sophisticated and less sweet and syrupy.
Kosher wines now are cultivated in California, France, Chile, Italy and Israel, among other areas. They range from cabernets to merlots and zinfandels, to chardonnays, rieslings and more. The taste of kosher wines has matured to the degree that many in the industry now find they are great fo drinking all year round.
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