wp-1459718685131.jpgWhat a difference a year makes in the wine industry! Last year I was extremely frustrated trying to find a local Kosher for Passover wine option. I found an option made in New York State, and when that had disappointing results, I opted for an option out of Argentina. But I persevered. I could not wrap my brain around Ontario having 150+ wineries and 195,000+ Jewish people, but no locally produced Kosher for Passover (or Kosher) wines. What an uncorked market – there is a LOT of wine consumed as part of the Passover Seder.

I asked my Jewish friends for ideas, and I asked my wine industry acquaintances for help. I came up mostly empty handed. My research tipped me off to Rodrigues Winery out of Newfoundland earlier this year. Then I tried again in March and found two VQA wineries with Kosher options. I was ecstatic. Huff Estates in Bloomfield, ON was the first winery I found, but I was quickly saddened to learn their Kosher for Passover Riesling was only available through their winery or their online retail store ($25 for a 750 ml bottle). They were happy to send me a complimentary bottle to sample and review.

This is the first ever Kosher wine produced in Prince Edward County, and one of the first produced in Ontario. I was hoping for a dry Riesling or a full-bodies red option, but I was happy to give this one a go. Made under Rabbinical cooperation with Rabbi Levy Teitlebaum, only the rabbis were allowed to touch the product – under supervision of winemaker Frédéric Picard. Riesling is the Queen of Grapes and offers an amazing amount of versatility for the winemaker to play with.

Appearance: Medium straw, with hints of green. No CO2 or sediment. Youthful rim.

Viscosity: Medium viscocity.

Aroma: Light aroma with notes of Bartlett pears, green apples, peaches, wet slate, and delicate white flowers. Winery mentions herbal dill notes that I do not pick up. Unoaked.

Palate: More sweet pear and peach notes on the palate. Heavy residual sugar makes this an off-dry option, with 20 grams/L of residual sugar.

Acidity: Medium + acidity, balances the sweetness fairly well.

Body: Medium body.

Suggested food pairings: Serve as an apératif with matzos based canapés and smoked salmon at the start of your Seder while waiting for family to arrive, as part of the reading to wash down the bitter herbs, or as a digestif with coconut macaroons. Serving temperature is 8-12C.

Shawna O'Flaherty

Shawna is a 30-something Montreal native transplanted to Toronto in 2010. Wine loving, beer sniffing and rum swilling come naturally to her, and she is also a certified Irish whiskey taster. She has hosted beer and cheese pairing events in the past.

Shawna has visited vineyards in 6 countries on 3 continents, and has a knack for finding the hoppiest beers around.

She can be found drinking alka-seltzer and coconut water in the morning.

Email: shawna@torontoboozehound.com

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