It’s only in the United States that people think of sweet, syrupy Manischewitz when contemplating kosher wines. The rest of the world knows that there are great kosher reds, whites, rosés and sparklers produced all over the place—most notably in Israel, France, Spain, Italy, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and, of course, the U.S. Technically, a wine must be served by an observant Jew to retain its kosher status, but there’s an authentication variation known as “meshuval” that allows non-Jewish waiters and the general public to handle the bottle. To earn this distinction, wines are heated by flash pasteurization, a process that people used to equate with “boiled” and bad. But today’s meshuval wines can be just as good as any kosher ones.
As we head into Hanukkah season (starting at sundown on Sunday, December 6 and ending at nightfall on Monday, December 14), we asked Tali Dalbaha, the Israeli-born wine director at City Winery in Manhattan, to share her eight favorite kosher wines—one bottle for each night of the holiday.
2014 Hagafen Dry White Riesling, $24
The Napa Valley–based winery has three brands—Hagafen Cellars, Prix Vineyards, Don Ernesto—all of which are kosher and meshuval. The Riesling balances spice and fruit (lemon and peach) with a long, soft finish.