Kosher Wines and New Recipes for the High Holidays
17 recently rated reds, whites and more, plus two great recipes from Joan Nathan's new book
The high holidays are just around the corner—Rosh Hashana starts at sundown Sept. 8, and Yom Kippur begins at sundown Sept. 17—and it's time now to stock up on great kosher wine and start planning your holiday meals. WineSpectator.com had a chance to speak with author Joan Nathan, whose titles include Jewish Cooking in America, Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook, and The Foods of Israel Today. Her latest book, Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France, will be available in late October, and Nathan has kindly shared two recipes from the book, which also includes a fascinating section on the history of kosher wine in France, and how it's made today.
"France, in a way, is like the U.S.," said Nathan. "France was historically the promised land, and a cross-cultural land. People think of 'the French' as living in France, but there have been all kinds of people living in France for thousands of years." The recipes in her new book reflect this reality, with influences from Alsace, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Spain, Portugal and Eastern Europe.
For inspiration in planning your own holiday entertaining, see the recipes below, and the list of kosher wines, recently rated by the editors of Wine Spectator.
Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemons
Recipes from Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France by Joan Nathan, to be published Oct. 26 by Alfred A. Knopf
• 4 large cloves garlic, mashed
• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 1 to 2 tablespoons ras al-hanout (a Moroccan spice blend that includes cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, cloves, and paprika. Available in Middle Eastern stores, or you may substitute equal parts of the spices listed)
• 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• One 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch
• 1 cup black Moroccan dry-cured olives, pitted
• Diced rind of 2 preserved lemons
1. Mix the mashed garlic with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, the turmeric, the ras al-hanout, half the cilantro, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Rub the surface of the chicken pieces with this spice mixture, put them in a dish, and marinate in the refrigerator, covered, overnight.
2. The next day, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan. Sauté the spice-rubbed chicken until golden brown on
3. Stir the cornstarch into 1 cup water, and pour over the chicken. Bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. Add
the olives, and continue cooking for another 20 minutes. Sprinkle on the preserved lemon, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Garnish with the remaining cilantro. Serve with rice or couscous. Serves 4 to 6.
Beef Cheek Stew with Cilantro and Cumin, Algerian Style
Nathan notes in her book that this dish, in which one may subtitute veal shanks, stew meat or flanken for the cheeks, tastes even better the day after it's made. Reheat just before serving.
• 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 3 large onions, peeled and chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, crushed
• 2 pounds beef cheeks, beef or veal shanks, stew meat, or flanken, cut into 2 pieces
• 2 bay leaves
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
• 2 cups chicken broth
1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy pan, add the onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are golden, adding more oil if needed. Remove from the pan, and set aside.
2. Add the remaining oil, and brown the meat on all sides. Return the onions and garlic to the pan, stir in the bay leaves, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, the cumin, and all but 2 tablespoons of the cilantro. Pour the chicken broth over the meat. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer very slowly for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the meat is tender.
3. Take the pan off the heat, let cool, then remove the meat with a slotted spoon and cut into 1-inch cubes. Return the meat to the pan, and refrigerate overnight.
4. The next day, remove any fat that has accumulated, reheat the stew over low heat, adjust seasonings, and sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of reserved fresh cilantro leaves before serving. Serves 8 to 10.
RECOMMENDED KOSHER WINES
Note: The following list is a selection of wines from recently rated releases.
WHITE WINES AND ROSÉS
Covenant Chardonnay Russian River Valley Lavan 2008 Score: 90 | $38
Offers pithy citrus peel, pear, honeysuckle, floral and melon flavors that are elegant, full-bodied, focused and pure, gaining depth and complexity on the finish. Drink now through 2014. 300 cases made. —J.L.
Carmei Zvi-Segal Bros. Chardonnay Galilee Heights Segal's Special Reserve 2007 Score: 88 | $16
Very buttery, with loads of ripe pear, apple and vanilla flavors, which turn thick on the midpalate. Smoky and spicy on the finish. Kosher. Drink now through 2013. 800 cases imported. —K.M.
Galil Mountain Rosé Galilee 2009 Score: 87 | $15
A fresh-tasting rosé, with zesty, well-focused flavors of red berry, melon and cherry. The juicy finish features some rich, creamy notes. Sangiovese, Barbera and Pinot Noir. Kosher. Drink now. 3,900 cases made. —K.M.
Golan Heights Winery Chardonnay Galilee Yarden Katzrin 2006 Score: 87 | $26
Mature-tasting, with some interesting glazed white fruit and cream notes. The ripe finish is spicy, showing notes of honey and smoke. Kosher. Drink now. 2,000 cases made. —K.M.
Golan Heights Winery Viognier Galilee Yarden 2007 Score: 87 | $18
This white has good cut to the peach, quince and white cherry flavors. Notes of chamomile, honeysuckle and cream appear on the finish. Kosher. Drink now through 2013. 400 cases made. —K.M.
Tabor Chardonnay Galilee Galil 2009 Score: 87 | $16
Ripe apple and pear flavors dominate this medium-bodied white. Spice, honey and cream appear on the plush finish. Drink now. 3,000 cases made. —K.M.
Galil Mountain Avivim Galilee White 2007 Score: 86 | $22
A ripe white, showing plenty of butterscotch overtones to the peach, apricot and melon flavors. This is creamy on the midpalate, with a finish of tropical fruit that turns a touch hot. Viognier and Chardonnay. Kosher. Drink now. 1,000 cases made. —K.M.
Golan Heights Winery Chardonnay Galilee Yarden 2007 Score: 86 | $18
This has an apple pie aroma, with flavors to match. Well-seasoned, offering lush spicy notes joined by hints of apricot on the finish. Kosher. Drink now. 9,065 cases made. —K.M.
Golan Heights Winery Chardonnay Galilee Yarden Odem 2008 Score: 85 | $18
Buttery aromas and flavors dominate this ripe white. Baked apple, pineapple and mango flavors are flanked by plenty of spicy notes. Kosher. Drink now. 2,280 cases made. —K.M.
Golan Heights Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Galilee Yarden 2006 Score: 88 | $28
A supple, mature-tasting red from Israel, delivering a violet-tinged aroma and flavors of red raspberry, damson plum, cream and spice. Finishes fresh and spicy, with chocolate notes. Kosher. Drink now. 4,000 cases made. —K.M.
Barkan Cabernet Sauvignon Galil Altitude Series +624 Reserve 2007 Score: 87 | $40
Firm, with good lift to the wild berry, damson plum and dark cherry flavors. Smoky on the finish, with touches of hoisin sauce and cocoa. Kosher. Drink now. 970 cases made. —K.M.
Golan Heights Winery Syrah Galilee Yarden 2005 Score: 86 | $25
Firm and juicy, featuring dried raspberry and blackberry jam flavors. Finishes with mocha and spice, and hints of cream. Kosher. Drink now. 4,607 cases made. —K.M.
Galil Mountain Pinot Noir Galilee 2007 Score: 85 | $18
A beefy-tasting red, with dried cherry and mincemeat flavors that extend on the supple, spicy finish. Kosher. Drink now. 2,000 cases made. —K.M.
Tishbi Cabernet Sauvignon Shomron Limited Edition 2007 Score: 85 | $24
A firm red, offering plum, dried cherry and berry flavors that are backed up a crisp acidity. Features mocha java on the finish, with some herbal notes. Drink now. 90,000 cases made. —K.M.
Golan Heights Winery Gewürztraminer Galilee Heights Yarden 2008 Score: 89 | $23 / 375ml
Aromas and flavors of ripe peach, apricot and lychee fruit give this sweetie plenty of allure. Cream and butterscotch fill the rich finish. Kosher. Drink now through 2015. 650 cases made. —K.M.
Carmel Gewürztraminer Galilee Late Harvest Sha'al 2006 Score: 87 | $26 / 375ml
A fresh-tasting sweetie, featuring lychee fruit, gooseberry and spiced pear flavors, with honey and cream on the ripe finish. Kosher. Drink now. 350 cases imported. —K.M.
Golan Heights Winery Muscat Galilee Yarden 2008 Score: 85 | $18 / 500ml
A light, bright and sweet white, with a floral aroma and flavors of white peach, melon and gooseberry. Spicy finish. Kosher. Drink now. 6,643 cases made. —K.M.