Ned Towle of the Westchester Wine School Evaluates Kosher Wines for Passover

Kosher, yes—but how does it taste?

There are dozens of kosher wines to choose from for your Passover Seder, but which are actually good? We enlisted Ned Towle of the Westchester Wine School ( to sample and evaluate five kosher bottles. “Kosher wines are in these days,” Towle says. “Not because they are ethnic, but because many are good. Whatever country, grape variety, or wine style you favor, there is likely a kosher one available for you.” Here, Towle’s take on five kosher-for-Passover wines.

Tzora Vineyards 2010 “Neve Ilan” Chardonnay, Judean Hills, Israel $30
“The favorite of the bunch. A surprisingly aromatic Chardonnay, it has mineral, fruit, and floral notes surrounded by a light toastiness. Full-bodied [14.5 percent alcohol] and complex, this wine will match both flavorful fish and poultry dishes.”

Goose Bay 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, South Island, New Zealand $20
“This wine is most aromatic and flavorful. With the unmistakable aromas of citrus, gooseberry, and cut grass, this is a zesty, crowd-pleasing white.”

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Don Guillermo de Mendoza 2010 Malbec Mendoza, Argentina $12
“A ruby red Malbec with aromas of red cherries, violets, earth, and spice, this is the best value of the bottles I tasted. It delivers a huge amount of yummy flavor for just twelve dollars.”

Domaine Netofa 2009    Syrah/Mourvèdre, Galilee, Israel $25
“This Galilee is only for those who like earthy, savory wines and have a pepper steak ready to be grilled. The smoky, red fruit, earth, and green pepper aromas lead to a robust mix of red cherry, stony earth, licorice, and black pepper flavors on the palate.”

Manischewitz Concord Grape, New York $6
“Manischewitz wine is a sweet, candied-cherry-flavored, inexpensive brew not to be matched to food: it’s too sweet and overly fruity. It’s instead a sipping wine, preferably at holidays with grandparents and children. With a low alcohol content and a low, low price, all but the wine snobs will enjoy it at least once a year.”    


Best Wine Shops for Kosher Wines
While most Westchester wine shops sell kosher wines around Passover, three wine shops, according to Towle, have extensive selections year-round: The Grape Exchange in New Rochelle, Cheers in Scarsdale, and Westchester Wine Warehouse in White Plains.

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