Tasty wines from Israel, France, Spain, Argentina, Italy, New Zealand and, of course, California’s Napa Valley were on glittering display on Monday at the 12th Kosher Food and Wine Experience, Royal Wines’ annual New York event at Chelsea Piers. Also available for tasting were cognacs, scotches, vodkas and various other spirits that are part of the Royal Wine family.
A number of very-high-end wines from Bordeaux, France, were poured for the kosher community for the first time, providing the exclusive appellations of Cru Classé, Grand Cru and Chateau Margaux for the kosher-keeping world. We were particularly enamored with wine from Chateau Gazin Rocquencourt from Pessac-Léognan and Château Malartic-LaGravière’s Grand Cru Classé de Graves, which are imported by winemaker Bruno LaPlane, who explained that the Grand Cru wine we tasted was from a run of just 5,000 kosher bottles. Based on its popularity, he decided to ramp up kosher production in subsequent runs.
Other favorites noted for the uniqueness included the smoky wines of Israel’s Alexander Wine’s Alexander the Great series, which includes the famed “Amarolo” wine, which has strong toasted oak characteristics that give the wine a unique depth.
The Yatir Forest 2013, from the Yatir Winery in the heart of Israel’s Negev desert, was the favorite of one taster who called it smooth and balanced, elegant and not bracing. Composed of 68 percent cabernet sauvignon and 32 percent petit verdot, it has been awarded 90 points or more in the Wine Advocate Magazine. This taster also liked the affordably priced Reshit from the Nadiv Winery in the Judean Hills. A soft, silky wine, Reshit is made from 65 percent cabernet sauvignon, 25 percent merlot and 10 percent syrah.
KFWE, now not just an industry event to showcase the newest and most celebrated kosher wines in Royal’s portfolio, travels across the U.S. and the globe to present the finest kosher wine and spirits the world has to offer. After kicking off in Miami on December 13, 2017, it made a stop in Tel Aviv (January 29), London (January 31). It heads to Los Angeles on February 7.
The winemakers from Israel’s Vitkin, Doron Belogolovsky and his wife Sharona Paz-Belogolovsky, charmingly explained their pioneering “Israeli Journey” series, which include white, red and rosé blends (named white, red and pink Israeli Journey, respectively), as well as single varietal wines such as grenache blanc, grenache noir and pinot noir.
Companies providing delicious fleishig bites to mop up the wine were Breadberry, Wandering Que, Silverleaf Caterers, Great Falls Bistro, Diamond Caterers, West Wing, Judd’s Memphis Kitchen, Marani, Abigael’s on Broadway, Grow & Behold, Graze, Pelleh Poultry, Sabra, Aufschnitt Meats, UN Plaza Grill & Sushi, Koshe Poke, Buffalo2Go, Bison & Bourbon, T Fusion Steakhouse, Heritage Kosher, Le Marais, NY Brat Factory, Teaneck Doghouse, Sushi Tokyo, Urban Pops, Wissotzky, Susan Sez “Say it With Cake,” Sesame, The Nuttery, Dess Frozen Excellence. Reserve Cut foods were exclusively served in the VIP room.
By Bracha Schwartz and Elizabeth Kratz