We hit our 400th post this week, and it completely slipped under our radar until Wednesday. In celebration of this milestone, I thought I’d go rogue and keep with my Passover theme, only this time I checked out an imported Kosher for Passover wine from O’Dwyers Creek. Based out of the Marlborough region in New Zealand, this Sauvignon Blanc is an odd choice for me. For starters, New Zealand is essentially the furthest thing from a local product I could choose and still be on the same planet. Furthermore, this varietal and appellation are not my favourites. Kole was confused when I said I wanted to write about this wine, but the nice thing about New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is that it has a very predictable and easily identifiable aromatic and flavour profile. Could a Kosher wine hold up?

Brian Moskowitz, a local freelance writer reached out to us to tell us about Grafstein Wines, Toronto’s longest-standing importer of fine kosher wines from around the world. As a private importer, they operate outside of the LCBO, providing imported Kosher wine to Toronto’s Jewish community along with a surprising amount of sacramental wine to Christian groups. Some of their products overlap with the LCBO, such as O’Dwyers Creek, whereas others I’ve only seen overseas and in this store. Moskowitz invited us to come by and check out the space, and I selected a bottle of O’Dwyers Creek as I found a strong kinship with the O’ in the name.

Grafstein Wines is a bit of a mystery. They don’t have a website, a Facebook or Twitter account, or even any Yelp Reviews. You just have to trust that they are there and hope for the best as you make your way to 2803 Bathurst St. In fact, they didn’t even have an entrance facing the street, and we were only able to enter through the parking lot in back. I knew places like this existed, but I was never fully aware of where to find them. Grafstein Wines is responsible for bringing many Kosher wines to the LCBO shelves.

O’Dwyers Creek is available through the LCBO at a reasonably priced $20.60 for a 750 ml bottle, however our bottle was a sample. I’ve come to learn that there are Kosher wines for every palate and almost every wallet, and here are a few options available if you haven’t stocked up for this weekend’s Seders:

) LCBO #283820 Recanati Yasmin White – 2017, release date: March 3, 2018

2) LCBO #218677 Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon — 2016, release date: March 17, 2018

3) LCBO #128322 Recanati Chardonnay – 2014, release date: March 17, 2018

4) LCBO #399758 O’Dwyers Creek Sauvignon Blanc – 2016, release date: March 17, 2018

Also previously released…
5) LCBO #440495 Koenig Riesling – 2015, release date: February 3, 2018

6) LCBO #557447 Adar Reserva Ribera Del Jucar – 2008, release date: Feb 3, 2018


1) LCBO #111146 Binyamina Chocolate Liquer (kosher for Passover), release date: March 3, 2018

2) LCBO #127878 Binyamina Creme De Cassis Liquer (kosher for Passover), release date: March 3, 2018

Right. So how was the Sauvignon Blanc? It was true to style for the appellation. Again, not my preferred style, but I approached it with a curiosity of how close it was to expectations for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Honestly I’m always relieved when there is a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand whenever I do a blind tasting as I can spot the flavour profile from across the room.


Appearance: Pale straw with a watery rim, still a very young wine.

Aroma: Juicy pink grapefruit including the pith, mango, tangerine, papaya, guava and asparagus.

Palate: Lime juice, Ocean Spray grapefruit juice. Oily mouth feel that reminds me of Semillon. Guava. Asparagus.

Acidity: Medium plus acid, easily disguised by the tropical notes.

Body: Medium body.

Aftertaste: Crunchy green pepper, asparagus, guava.

Suggested food pairings: We had it with Shakshuka and whole wheat matzos to see if it would hold up to Passover cooking, and it worked wonderfully. If you’re having this outside of Passover, enjoy with lightly toasted sourdough and garlic butter. Kole got really excited over the Shakshuka and ended up breaking Reddit for a bit.

Overall: True to style and appellation while upholding a Kosher for Passover label. Wash down the gefilte fish at the start of your Seder without breaking the bank. If you enjoy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and you’re celebrating Passover this year, why not get the Kosher wine with the Irish name from New Zealand?

Shawna O'Flaherty

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