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Red and white wines for the Passover seder

on 27/03/12 at 8:56 am


Finding a good pinot noir for under $15 is always difficult, but it’s even more challenging when you’re looking for kosher wine.

Pinot noir grapes are hard to grow and difficult to work with, and their thin skin makes them susceptible to disease. That’s why better pinot noir wines are expensive to produce, and the price rises when you add the labor costs of meeting Jewish dietary regulations.

So I was surprised to see the 2010 Barkan Classic Pinot Noir selling for $10.99 at the Wine and Cheese Place, 457 North New Ballas Road in Creve Coeur. The timing couldn’t have been better, because pinot noir is a good wine to bring to a Passover seder, which like Thanksgiving feasts, incorporates a range of foods and flavors. Pinot noir is a versatile red that goes well with popular seder entrees such as brisket, roast chicken or salmon.

Seders are the ritual meals held the first two nights of Passover that commemorate the story of the Exodus, in which Jews were freed from slavery in Egypt. The ceremonial part of the meal calls for participants to drink four glasses of wine. This year, Passover begins at sundown April 6.

With that four-cup requirement, the increasing selection of dry, better-quality kosher wines is a blessing to those of us who cringe at the thought of having to down super-sweet kosher Concord grape wine. Although Concord grape wines are traditionally used during seders and other Jewish rituals held in this country, there is no dietary law that says kosher wines have to be sweet. In fact, they are made like other wines, although the grapes and wine must be handled only by observant Jews during the fermentation process. When there is a possibility that a non-Jew might be pouring the wine after fermentation, some observant Jews require that their wines also be flash-pasteurized, a step called mevushal.

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