By André Cohen, French WineMaster, CSW (Certified Specialist in Wine) ~
Given the burgeoning market for fine kosher wines, this month the Ledger begins a monthly column featuring select kosher wines. The column is written by Wine Master Andre Cohen, whose bio is included below.
Passover is coming up soon and we are all looking for a nice bottle (or two, or three?) to put on our seder table. I have just returned from a trip to Israel visiting vineyards and wineries and I was privileged to discover a big, bold but surprisingly smooth wine from the world famous Binyamina Winery: the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Binyamina Reserve for under $20.
This is a strictly Kosher for Passover (only new bottles are used), mevushal, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the rugged but beautiful upper Galilee region in northern Israel where the terroir is quite unique: a climate similar to Provence or Tuscany, but with a soil reminiscent of Bordeaux. After 18 months in French oak, the result is a wonderfully fruity, generous and well-balanced wine. I would even call it the classic Israeli Cab!
With aromas of raspberries, cassis, roasted coffee beans and herbs on the nose, this medium-to-full body wine presents an unctuous, almost creamy characteristic on the palate. The tannins can be a bit harsh at first (don’t forget to open the bottle at least half an hour in advance!), but the finish is surprisingly soft and smooth. In addition, you can drink the 2009 vintage right now, or keep it in your cellar for many years. It pairs beautifully with chicken, meat or a ragout sauce-type of dish: in another words, perfect for Pesach!
A few words about the Binyamina Winery: originally founded by the famous Rothschild family in the 20’s and named after Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, it was the first winery to receive the prestigious “Upper Galilee Appellation.” After many years of hard work, Chief Winemaker Sasson Ben Aharon has succeeded in producing an exciting line of reserve wines that includes Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and even an unoaked Chardonnay. I would strongly encourage my readers to sample these different varietals. And by the way, anyone with plans to visit Israel is welcome to Binyamina for a tour of the vineyard and the winery.
Binyamina Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is available at Wine and Spirits Discount Warehouse in New Rochelle, N.Y.
ABOUT OUR COLUMNIST: André Cohen is a wine master and a certified specialist in wine (CSW). Raised in the south of France, he started picking grapes at age 13 in Provence. After a 25-year career as an investment banker in Paris, London and New York, Andre decided to pursue his passion for wine, and began studying in earnest to become a wine master. He has also made his own wine, learning about the complex process from grape harvest to crushing, pressing, racking, aging and bottling.
He recently founded Larchmont Wine Consultants, which offers wine tastings, presentations and classes, and wine/cellar
consulting. Fluent in four languages, André holds a BA in economics from Université de Provence, an MBA in international finance from Columbia University as well as a CSW from the American Wine Society; he is also a member of the French Wine Society. He lives in Larchmont, NY.