Kosher Moscato

Kosher Moscato wines, which are made in many wine regions both in and outside of Italy, are enjoyed all over the world, with the U.S. and Australia taking a particular interest in the sweeter flavors of Moscato. Moscato wines are known for their musky, fresh grape flavors and are created from the oldest category of grapes known to man: the muscat grape. Most Moscato wines are produced in a winemaking style that emphasizes the varietal aromas of the grape rather than the aromas derived from winemaking processes, like oak aging or steel tank production. Kosher Moscato and muscat wines made from fresh-pressed muscat grapes can now be delivered to your door when you order online from Learn more about this unique style of wine and browse our inventory of kosher Moscato below.

What is Kosher Moscato

Moscato is known for its sweet flavors of peach, orange blossom and nectarine, but it’s low alcohol content and refreshing flavor profile make Moscato more than just a dessert wine. This white wine is made from Moscato grapes and is often referred to as “Moscato d’Asti.” Kosher Moscato wines offer a nice change of pace from the other widely available kosher wines on the market. It’s the perfect choice if you’re searching for a smooth, sweet, fragrant and slightly bubbly kosher wine.

From Italy to Australia, Moscato has been produced in many different cultures for thousands of years. Many kosher Moscatos are produced in Italy and many can be enjoyed as a kosher wine for Passover.  the Most famed kosher moscato however is the blue bottle- Bartenura.

A slight effervescence provides a spirited liveliness.

wine regions of israel: the powerhouse winemakers of central israel

The wines my group enjoyed in this tasting all were from wineries that the average kosher wine consumer has heard of, even if he or she doesn’t know them well. Domaine du Castel, Flam, Psagot and Dalton are all “household names” that are part of Israel’s high-end, powerhouse wineries, the ones who make wines that are impressive in practically every situation. The wines we tasted would universally make great gifts, and we would encourage you to try both the ones we tasted, and other blends and varietals that strike your fancy from these wineries. We also thank Wine Country for providing these wines for our tasting and for placing them on sale at such deep discounts for the coming week so our readers will have an extra inducement to try them out.

This is our third of four tastings on Israeli wine regions, and the second half of our tasting on central Israel, focusing on bottles from the Judean Hills or Shimson (Samson), where many of the country’s most artistic, artisanal and successful wineries are located. Just to review once again, Israel has five legally defined regional appellations: Galilee, Judean Hills, Shomron, Shimshon (Samson) and Negev, but central Israel, that is the Judean Hills and Shomron, are really where a lot of the action is. It was a pleasure to try all these wines and to bring some of their stories to our readers.

Generally made from grapes grown on exalted ground just outside of Jerusalem, these wines in particular seem to celebrate the land and the promise of Israel, creating true joy in what the land produces. “We should celebrate what this land produces at every simcha, at every Shabbos table. I personally look to buy Israeli wines for my Shabbos table, where the laws of shmitah and yovel were adhered to, and terumah and maaser. You can’t get that with a California or French wine,” said Ari.

Domaine du Castel just celebrated its 25th anniversary; it was my pleasure to be at a tasting dinner in Manhattan this past November that celebrated Castel’s amazing rags-to-riches story and its wonderful French-style, award-winning wines that are known the world over. Founder, owner and head winemaker Eli Ben-Zaken, an entirely self-taught vintner, was there as well as his children Ilana, Ariel and Eitan, who all work with their father. The Ben-Zakens have built Castel into a world-class winery, bringing Israel to a greater standard worldwide. Their wines are regularly scaled by Wine Advocate and have been sold and written about by Sotheby’s; Daniel Rogov, z”l; Robert Parker; and every other wine critic of note.

While most of Domaine du Castel’s wines are meant to be aged and can even be considered investment purchases, Castel’s La Vie line of red and white blends seeks to bring a young, more entry-level wine to the kosher world. For me, the La Vie wines were accessible in a way many of the other Castels are not, mainly because of the price. I generally like to buy wines that cost under $25 and think the lovely Petit Castel ($50) or a Domaine du Castel Grand Vin ($89) is just too rich for an average Shabbat purchase. However, the name Castel means something, so La Vie presents an opportunity for someone like me to purchase a impressive, aspirational wine from a well-known vineyard, in my price range. Meant for drinking now, La Vie Blanc du Castel, ($17.97 at Wine Country) is 50 percent sauvignon blanc, 45 percent chardonnay and 5 percent gewurtztraminer. “It’s fresh; bracing and bold, with no acid,” said Chana. “There is a bit of sweetness and soft roundness. It would be good with a nice piece of fish,” she said. “It’s chardonnay-heavy, and that gives a lot of steely sweetness. I’m not used to unoaked whites like this. It makes the wine fruitier,” said Allyson.

The La Vie Rouge du Castel ($17.97 at Wine Country) is a classic young red blend, 50 percent cabernet sauvignon, 40 percent merlot, 5 percent syrah and 5 percent petit verdot. “Smooth, but surprisingly light,” said Aron. “This is a bordeaux for beginners,” said Chana. “This wine is not meant to be saved; it’s meant to be drunk now,” said Yeruchum.

Flam, similarly to Castel, is a winery based in the Judean Hills that is well-known for making home-run wines of international importance. We tasted the Flam Reserve Syrah 2014, even though we later found out that these grapes came from the Galil, in the north. However, we couldn’t throw this special wine out of our tasting, for any reason. “This is a powerful wine; it gets to all your senses. It’s full bodied and balanced,” said Yeruchum. “This is part of the kedushas of Eretz Yisroel,” said Ari. The fruity nose of cherries and cranberries combined with its heft and nice viscosity are clearly why this wine received 90 points in Wine Enthusiast. This a great wine; and 2014 was a great year for Israeli reds. If you love Israeli syrahs, you will love this wine. This wine is $39.97 at Wine Country.

To give a sense of the impressive nature of the next wine we tried, it’s interesting to note the Psagot Winery only opened in 2003, but has been busy winning awards and becoming well known for its craftmanship and artfulness. Because Psagot has become so well known for its reds (and we tried a Psagot merlot in our previous tasting), we tried the Psagot Viognier 2016. Viognier is a white wine grape we’ve gotten to know from our time studying Israel’s wine regions, and we’ve found it’s distinct from other whites like chardonnay or sauvignon blanc and so, so refreshing in so many ways. This wine is made with 100 percent viognier. Half of this wine was aged in new 500-liter French oak wood barrels, and the remaining half was aged in stainless steel tanks, so that the wine’s unique flavor doesn’t get lost in the oak, we assume. “This is so light; so fruity, but not sweet,” said Michal. “No tannins, and the fruit only comes at the end,” said Yeruchum. This wine is available at Wine Country for $18.97.

Last in our tasting was Dalton’s Petite Sirah 2014, from Shimshon. This aged in American oak for 12 months wine just took our breath away, with its nose of crushed red fruits and spice, and round, soft, chewy, pleasing tannins. The color was beautiful; the viscosity and mouthfeel was good overall. “This wine is warming, with notes of blackberry,” said Allyson. “Yum,” said Chana. “This wine is an incredible value and for people who love reds, this is a great one,” said Aron. This wine was also one of our best-value wines, at $14.97.

We look forward to concluding our wine regions series in the next few weeks, wrapping up with wines in the southern half of Israel, including the Negev. Thanks again to Scott Maybaum of Wine Country for curating the tasting. Visit Wine Country at 89 New Bridge Road, in Bergenfield. Call 201-385-0106.

kosher wine and food pairing

One of the most frequently-asked questions is with respect to finding the “right” wine(s) to go with any number of specific dishes and/or holiday meals.  The general belief is that wine is a beverage that can and should bring pleasure and therefore one should drink the wines you like with the food you like. That said, there are some pretty easy-to-follow tips that can bring an even higher level of enjoying to your meals.

Even though a fair amount of wine is enjoyed without the accompaniment of food, food and wine are soulmates that should rarely be separated.  Similar to the Torah’s description of man and woman’s ability to compliment each other, wine and food belong together, with each bringing something to the table that enhances the other.    

Our general philosophy is that when it comes to enjoying the nectar of the gods – do with your wine that which brings you (and yours) pleasure and enjoyment, regardless of the prevailing common wisdom or opinion of so-called experts  

Drink the wines that bring you the most pleasure, whether mouth-puckering and acid loaded Sancerre, oak-aged ripe Cabernet Sauvignon wines or full-bodied buttery Chardonnays.  Bring them to the table regardless of what culinary fare is being served.  

There is a ton of legitimate science behind food pairings and a highly successful pairing has the power to elevate dining to a transcendental experience.  The majority of science relates to the manner in which different food compounds interact with those in the wines (and in the other dishes with which they are served).  In order to help make your meals more enjoyable, here are some general tips and helpful suggestions for thinking about your food and wine in a slightly different way; a way that will make it easier to create a more harmonious combination of foods and wine.

Before getting into specifics with respect to the individual characteristics of the wine and food in question, one should first consider whether the goal of the pairing is to complement or contrast.  If a complementary pairing is desired, focusing on the dominant flavors in the relevant dish can be helpful in finding a matching wine.  Pairing the 16 ounce aged ribeye in pepper sauce with a spicy Syrah or Zinfandel will provide complementary nuances as will a buttery Chardonnay with a sea bass poached in farm-fresh French butter.  Other examples would be to pair a meat dish sweetened by a fruity sauce or glaze with a red wine that is very fruit-forward or utilizing the savory and earthy notes in a classic Bordeaux to match with a dish redolent with pungent mushrooms or other umami-heavy foods.  If your goal is to showcase the uniqueness of either the food or wine, you might prefer to use the textures of each to showcase a contrast between the two.  Utilizing texture leads to many of the more well-known pairings including matching the grease-laden traditional Chanukah latkes and sufganiyot with a crisply acidic Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wine (that has the added grease-cutting abilities drawn from its bubbles).

One of the most important things to consider are the characteristics of the wine and food in question, with the wine’s “weight” or how it feels in your mouth (heavily influenced by the alcohol content) being the most important piece of the puzzle and the easiest to understand – lighter wines go with lighter food and heavier wines make better pairings with heavier dishes.  The rationale being that one wants the food and wine to complement each other as opposed to one overwhelming the other.  The nuanced beauty of a delicate and complex Pinot Noir could be obliterated by a perfectly constructed beef bourguignon, whereby a rich and slightly spicy Shiraz would provide the needed heft to match the dish round for round.  The need for proper balancing of the weight is the genesis of the now-infamous “white with fish and red with meat” rule, but given the dizzying array of possible weights for fish (think of lighter white fish versus heavier tuna and salmon), poultry (lighter chicken versus heavier turkey or goose) and meat (veal is significantly lighter than beef), the simplistic cliché is not really relevant.

While the alcohol level plays a big part in the weight of the wine, a dizzying array of other wine components all have a say in how well a wine will pair with any particular food or dish.  Any list of factors to be taken into consideration when thinking about wine and food pairing will include the levels of acid, alcohol and sugar in any particular wine, along with the oak influence and strength of its tannins.  Similar to salt’s role when flavoring food, acid acts as an enhancer, highlighting the primary flavors in any particular food.  As long as the wine is balanced, the higher the acidity levels the better the wine will pair with food.  A white wine’s acidity levels, together with its level of dryness (i.e. lack of residual sugar) will contribute to its “crispness”, which can serve as a lovely balance to fatty foods.  While acid can be (and is) added to any wine (a practice especially prevalent in hotter-climate wine-growing regions, where the wines ripen too quickly for their natural acidity levels to be sufficiently preserved), some grape varietals are more natural acidic then others including Barbera, Sangiovese and Sauvignon Blanc.  

In addition to their influence on a wine’s weight (and the resulting food-compatibility), higher alcohol in a wine can overwhelm delicate flavors in a dish by creating a bitter sensation, but can play very nicely with sweeter foods (e.g. most dessert wines are relatively high in alcohol).  In addition to their über-importance in a wine’s structure, balance and aging ability, a wine’s tannins can be softened by pairing them with fatty and high-protein foods like steak and certain cheeses.  However, when paired with sweeter foods, the tannins can have the negative impact of diminishing the sweetness and making the food seem dry and bitter (e.g. Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and rich chocolate fudge cake are not the best pairing).  Keep in mind is that a dish’s sauce or glaze will often provide the dominant flavor in a dish so make sure to take the flavors and textures of the sauce when thinking through any wine pairing scenarios.  Another tidbit is to ensure that any dessert wine you are serving should be sweeter than the dessert it is expected to accompany.

Especially when you are contemplating a multi-course meal with numerous dishes and/or dominant flavors in each course, the thought of coming up with a “proper” wine pairing can seem significantly overwhelming (especially on top of actually cooking all that delectable food).  If the thought causes you stress just stick to some generally food friendly wines, that manage to pair nicely with a wide array of different flavors. Chief among such wines is Champagne (or other good sparkling wines), whose crisp dry acidity, typically low(er) alcohol level and refreshing bubbles ensure a wine-range of pairing opportunities and make it the go-to pairing partner (besides providing you with the welcome opportunity to significantly up your sparkling wine consumption).  Other options are crisply dry Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Riesling and Cabernet Franc.  While they can certainly provide magnificent pairings with a little bit of thought and advance planning, bigger and bolder Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are not wines that can be relied on to safely pair with anything you put in front of them (with tannin likely a food pairings worst enemy).  One of the kosher wine world’s many ironies is that these two varietals are the best-selling wines for a consumer base whose primary method of wine consumption is during Shabbat and Chag meals where the need for versatile wines is the greatest.

Despite all of the above, the awesomeness of any particular pairing hinges on whether you like the wine or food in question.  Sauternes and foie gras may be a classic (and insanely divine) pairing, but it won’t be enjoyable to you if you don’t like  Sauternes or foie gras. 

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