As the New Year approaches, we can look forward to a treasure trove of high-quality wines from some of the world’s most prestigious regions.
Though the Yamim Nora’im are solemn days, when our focus shifts to introspection and teshuva, they are also a time of joy, deserving of wines that echo this spirit.
My ideal way to begin the year is with sparkling wine. Bubbly wines radiate positivity and pair beautifully with a wide array of dishes. While the selection of kosher French Champagnes continues to grow, I’d like to highlight one from Israel crafted just like Champagne.
For over two decades, Psâgot winery has been producing rich and thought-provoking wines. Psâgot just released a Blanc de Blancs: a Champagne-method wine made with Chardonnay grapes that is exquisite — crisp, dry, with effervescence and adorned with yeasty and mineral notes.
Being patient with wine can be extraordinarily rewarding. Consider wines that, when stored correctly, continue to evolve and improve for years after release. The key is to purchase a few bottles (or cases!) of each wine you intend to cellar. Start by tasting a bottle upon release and revisit it every two to three years to monitor its evolution.
Two wines that consistently exhibit aging potential are the Shiloh Mosaic from Israel and the Herzog Special Edition Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford from California’s Napa Valley. They can continue to improve for a decade or more after their harvest year. The Shiloh tends to develop a spicier and juicier character; the Herzog offers bold, concentrated berry notes, with some earthy undertones reminiscent of the finest Bordeaux wines.
Speaking of Bordeaux, keep an eye out for the Château Lagrange 2021. Hailing from the Saint-Julien appellation, this classed growth wine presents youthful notes of red berries with a velvety mouthfeel, complemented by a distinctive austerity. Over the years, this will transform into mouth-filling, smooth, and captivating secondary and tertiary notes of forest floor and chocolate.
Italy offers some of the most intriguing and flavorful wines. The new Lovatelli Barbera d’Asti boasts notes of ripe strawberries, red cherries, and raspberries with herbaceous nuances and high acidity.
Celebrating the holidays by uncorking a special bottle will enhance any meal. Sipping these wines reminds us that time can transform a wine, just as it transforms us through our choices and decisions. Shanah Tovah!
Gabriel Geller is director of Public Relations & Advertising and manager of Wine Education at Royal Wine Corp. in Bayonne.