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5 Great Kosher Wines

Ultra-Orthodox Jew Haim Abergil stands alongside ripening Shiraz grapes in a Dalton vineyard as he recites his morning prayers during their Sauvignon Blanc grape harvest August 19, 2004. See our collection of wine pictures.
David Silverman/Staff/Getty Images News

Kosher wines have improved in the last couple of decades, inspiring a generation of wine lovers to rethink their drinking habits. Kosher wines are processed differently from conventional wines, typically including some additional steps, limitations and certifications, and more wineries around the world are now adding kosher options to their standard offerings.

Although wines fall into lots of different categories, there are two fundamental types of kosher wine: those that have been flash pasteurized (mevushal) and those that haven't. A mevushal wine can be handled by non-Jews after the bottle has been opened. This makes it the default choice for gatherings where there will be a mix of guests or servers present.

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Our selections aren't mevushal wines, but they're kosher and should appeal to a variety of tastes. The five wines we've chosen represent established wineries that have distinguished reputations for providing superior kosher wine. We've also scoured the globe to offer up some fun wines with international flair.

Finding Kosher Wine

When browsing the kosher aisle of your local wine shop, check the bottle for these trusted kosher certifications:

  • OU - accepted by the Union of Orthodox Rabbis (may be shown as an "O" surrounding the letter 'U")
  • OK - OK Kosher Certification
  • Certified by the Chief Rabbinate

This World Wine Championship silver medal winner is sweet but balanced, with a dollop of pear essence, a suggestion of caramel and a very faint vanilla aftertaste. Even if you aren't a lover of wine, this mild but elegant white from California is sure to please. Try it with your favorite chicken entrée. It'll be a winner with fish and Asian dishes, too.

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An Israeli hostess serves Yarden Merlot during an evening of wine-tasting at a wine festival at the Israeli Museum August 11, 2004 in Jerusalem, Israel.
An Israeli hostess serves Yarden Merlot during an evening of wine-tasting at a wine festival at the Israeli Museum August 11, 2004 in Jerusalem, Israel.
David Silverman/Staff/Getty Images News

A dry wine with an opulent garnet color and a rich, aromatic blend of fruits and spices, this Golan Heights Winery merlot is an exceptional import. If you like your wines very dry and can appreciate a complex bouquet, it's definitely worth the investment. With a hint of oak, licorice and just a trace of tobacco, it will add zest to a rich meal. Special note: The 2004 is very nice, too.

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This pinot noir is a sleek, versatile red wine that brings the flavors of cherries and strawberries to your table in a subtle blending that's great with meat, poultry, fatty fish or vegetables. Thanks to New Zealand's cool, long growing season, the wine offers the delicious promise of summer any time of year. Keep some on hand -- you'll be glad you have a few bottles in reserve.

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A pilgrim from Italy travels the Bierzo region of wines (in Northwest Spain). Terragona, where the Cellar de Capcanes winery is located, is on the eastern side of the country.
A pilgrim from Italy travels the Bierzo region of wines (in Northwest Spain). Terragona, where the Cellar de Capcanes winery is located, is on the eastern side of the country.
Xurxo Lobato/Getty Images

This robust Spanish wine combines carignan, garnacha and cabernet sauvignon grapes into a concentrated and cohesive whole that's dry and smooth. If you're into red wine, you should really indulge yourself with this one. It offers a deep, fruity bouquet with a hint of oak. Pair it with game meats, cheeses, beef or lamb.

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This plush varietal wine has a rich ruby color and boasts a bouquet of cedar wood, smoke, plums and currants. Although it's pricey -- around $90 a bottle -- Robert Parker, the celebrated American wine critic, gave it a score of 90 to 92 on a scale of 100 and rated it "one of the finest kosher wines money can buy." For a special treat, try it with your favorite grilled fare [source: Covenant].

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Sources

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  • ChowHound.com "Kosher Wine (Generally) Sucks."http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/361936
  • Covenant Wines. "Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2007." Undated. 2/14/10.http://www.covenantwines.com/covenant-2007.php
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  • Reformjudaismmag.org. "The Top 50 Kosher Wines in the World." Undated. 2/11/10.http://reformjudaismmag.org/_kd/Items/actions.cfm?action=Show&item_id=1227&destination=ShowItem
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