What makes a wine kosher? Dorothy J. Gaiter
and John Brecher of the Wall Street Journal have covered this topic in several
articles over the last 2-3 years. Here is their description of what makes a
kosher wine from their last
article on this topic on March 2001:
"The process starts with
special treatment and attention to cleanliness. Rabbis or their assistants
supervise the wine's production from crush to bottling. Experts told us that
wines labeled 'kosher for Passover' are made with special enzymes and yeasts
and fining agents -- not animal byproducts, like gelatin, for example -- that
clarify the wine. Often their front labels will sport an 'O' with a 'U' inside
with a 'P' near it. This, they said, is the stamp of approval of the largest
kosher certification body in the world and basically means there's no need to
read the label further to learn that the wine is kosher for Passover.
Some wines are both kosher
for Passover and mevushal. Baron Herzog told us that its wines and many other
kosher wines go through this added step. Sometimes it's listed on the label.
'A mevushal wine,' Herzog's representative said, 'is one that can be handled
by the general public, like a non-Jewish waiter, and still remain kosher.'
Wine that does not go through this mevushal process must be served by
observant Jews to retain its kosher status.
Basically, Herzog told us,
a mevushal wine is heated in seconds by flash pasteurization, with the
temperature brought down quickly so as not to harm the wine. Some wineries do
this to the unfermented white and blush juice; others do it with reds after
fermentation. This added step, the Herzog people said, not only doesn't harm
the wine, but 'enhances its aromatics and complexities' while 'stabilizing the
color and tannins.'"
Together, they have
published three columns that cover kosher wines. These three columns are titled:
With Passover Upon Us,
Give Kosher Wine a Try, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, Wall Street
Journal, March 30, 2001
the Best Kosher Wines; Moving Beyond Heavy and Sweet, Dorothy J. Gaiter and
John Brecher, Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2000
You Don't Have to Be
Jewish To Appreciate a Kosher Wine, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, Wall
Street Journal, March 12, 1999
I have listed a number of
kosher wines in the table following this paragraph -- both from recommendations
from the Wall Street Journal column and from other sources. Two comments on this
list. First, some of the French wines (Giscours, La Gaffeliere, Laurent
Perrier) are produced in both kosher and non-kosher versions. Second, the
recommendations that are noted above and below were for specific years. The
quality of any vintage may vary -- so buyer beware. Where possible, I have
listed a good source on the Internet for these wines.
The Wine Enthusiast is a great source of glassware, serving and
preservation systems, in addition to self-contained wine cellars and other wine
storage options. If you're not sure what you need, the company offers a list of 'Recommended' items that cover a wide range of needs
through their home page.
Serving and preserve your wine, from the most elegant decanters
to chillers, coasters, drip savers and more. When we want wine by the glass
(when we don't think we'll finish a bottle), we use the
which automatically fills the bottle with nitrogen to preserve the wine.