By Jewish Link Wine Guide Staff
Whether it’s time to celebrate an engagement or a wedding, a milestone birthday or an anniversary, or you are looking to choose a sweet wine to begin or end your meal, we’ve found some favorites that are sure to please. For those shopping for others: whether your friends or family like sweet, dry, or even would rather pop a beer, we’ve got a bubbly to suit everyone’s taste and budget. L’Chaim!
Freixenet Excelencia Cava
The least expensive wine in our tasting turned out to be the night’s favorite. Would it be that it were always the case. At $18, this dark straw-colored Spanish sparkler has large snapping bubbles and a bouquet of peaches, apricots and lychees. Look for flavors of peaches, apricots and cantaloupe, with a yeasty overtone and notes of lemon, with cream on the finish.
Barons Edmonds de Rothschild Champagne
A blend of 60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir, this medium-bodied, straw-colored wine has an active mousse of tiny bubbles. According to Gamliel Kronemer writing in last year’s Jewish Link Wine Guide, it has a woodsy nose with elements of bramble, pears, quince and roasted nuts. Look for flavors of pears, apples and quince, with a nice level of acid, and a just-light hint of cream on the finish. This is an expensive wine at $89.99, sure to impress whoever is lucky enough to receive it.
Herzog Lineage Momentus
Herzog makes the moments matter with this sparkling wine, bright yellow with notes of lemon, pear, stone fruit, as well as bready, yeasty notes. A perfect $20 bubbly to share with friends and family.
Bartenura Brut Rosé
This is an off-dry pink wine to enjoy at a celebration or on a hot summer day. At $21, the price is hard to beat. It’s not as sweet as its blue bottled brother, but it doesn’t matter. This Veneto-made pink prosecco has fans all over the world.
Contessa Annalisa Prosecco
This very easy-to-drink Italian sparkler ($14.99) has a light to medium body, a light straw color and an abundance of bubbles both large and small. Look for flavors and aromas of lemons, apples and honey, with just a whiff of lime zest.
Jezreel Valley Natural Sparkling Wine (Pét-Nat)
Pét-Nat, which is short for petillant natural, is a naturally sparkling dry rosé wine. For those among us who prefer beer to wine, this is a perfect cross-over, and a great treat for special occasions. Fizzy like light beer (and bottled with a cap, not a cork!) this fun wine has raspberry and strawberry and floral notes and is made from 100% carignan, a native Israeli grape. The light effervescence is a product of the wine being bottled before primary fermentation is finished. For those who like their food and beverage to be more natural, this wine is unfiltered, and surprisingly interesting. The bottle label is also a beautiful conversation piece. Available exclusively from KosherWine.com for $27.99.
Covenant Blanc de Blanc
Technically speaking, this bright straw-colored wine ($40) is a carbonated wine, not a sparkling wine. According to Gamliel Kronemer writing in last year’s Jewish Link Wine Guide, this particular blanc de blanc was born when Covenant’s former cellar master decided to see what would happen when he put some of the winery’s Tribe Chardonnay into a SodaStream! Look for flavors and aromas of apples, lemon, mango, key limes and honey. Enjoy its bracing acidity and bone dryness.
Vera Wang Prosecco
Vera Wang Party Prosecco ($25.99) is a very classic and simple prosecco made from 100% glera grapes from Italy’s Veneto region. This fun, opaque silver bottle really comes ready-wrapped like a present for a party. We don’t get too many of these celebrity-named wines in the kosher world, but Vera Wang, a designer famous for her wedding dresses with classy, clean lines, is somewhat of an interesting choice to headline a kosher wine (mevushal, no less!). Luckily, the pale yellow bubbly (you wouldn’t know the color from looking at the silver bottle) is also fun and pleasant. It’s not too complex but we don’t always need everything to be complex, do we? Sometimes you just want to say mazel tov!
Gondola Brut Rosé
This pink bubbly comes in a stylish bottle that adds interest, along with its beautiful color. At $20, it’s a great buy for celebrating life’s special moments. It has nice fruity notes and plentiful bursting bubbles. Serve it very cold. For those who want a celebratory beverage with a lot more sweetness, try Gondola’s Semi-Sweet Rosé.
Drappier Champagne Rosé de Saignée Brut
Drappier Champagne Rosé de Saignée Brut ($53) is perfect for any occasion that calls for pink champagne. My sense is if I have the choice between white and pink, I choose the pink more often for the additional fruit flavors contributed by the small amount of grape skin contact… plus it looks super-fun and extra-celebratory in the glass! Drappier’s brut nature (traditional white Champagne) and the rosé are both made from pinot noir grapes, for which Drappier is famous. In addition to the medium-size, tight-bursting bubbles, with the rosé there’s a sense of red fruit along with all the expected yeasty, bready scents typical of historic French champagne.
Want something even sweeter? Try these special late harvest sweet wines. Late harvest wines are made from grapes that stay on the vine the longest and have concentrated sugars. The wines produced from late harvest grapes tend to have incredibly beautiful scents of fruit. They are perfect for ending a meal as dessert, or to bring to a friend or host as a gift.