By Gabriel Geller
Let’s first address the title of this writeup. If anyone is gifted, it’s the winemakers who make the delicious wines. With that said, these are wines that should be gifted. To our parents, grandparents, rabbanim, friends, siblings, employees, our children’s teachers, or to our bosses. Chanukah is a great occasion for that. This is why I selected some exceptional wines that would please the most discerning wine lovers. Wines and spirits are a rather classic choice of gift, whether for Chanukah or in general. A bottle of wine presented in a gift box always makes a stronger impression. However, the box or the label does not necessarily guarantee the quality of the contents. Following is a selection of five great wines that also come in a beautiful gift package:
Netofa Dor 2017. Netofa is a great boutique winery located between Tzfat and Tiberias in the Galilee. The Netofa Dor is the winery’s flagship wine, a single varietal wine produced from the variety that showed best in any given vintage. For 2017 it was Syrah, which is a grape that has been thriving and producing unique and delightful wines ever since it was first planted in Israel about 25 years ago. This wine shows a full body, with black and red berry fruit and a spicy aroma of black pepper and nutmeg. It is an Israeli wine, but the winemaking style takes its inspiration from France’s Rhône Valley. It is available in a beautiful individual gift package. While it is tremendously enjoyable now, it will also benefit from a few years of further bottle aging.
Champagne des Barons Rothschild. The House of Rothschild has been known for close to 200 years for the outstanding wines produced throughout the world by the three branches of the family. This Champagne, a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, symbolizes that benchmark quality, resulting from the family’s combined knowledge and experience. It is also mevushal, which can be a significant advantage on such occasions. Gifting a great sparkling wine makes an immediate effect, even more so when it’s Champagne!
Tabor Malkiya Cabernet Sauvignon 2018. This is an elegant Cabernet Sauvignon from grapes harvested in a single vineyard that showcases big, bold black fruit aromas with layers of depth and complexity. Tabor is a winery that was established 20 years ago on a very small scale with about 30,000 bottles. It has grown to be one of Israel’s largest wineries, producing north of 2 million bottles a year. Yet not only have they not compromised on the quality, but they have also increased it ten-fold, and this bottle is an excellent example of that. It is available in a lovely gift box, as well.
Herzog Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Lake County 2020. I like to say that Lake County is the Golan Heights of California. Indeed, they both are comparable in altitude, and both regions are known for their volcanic soil, yielding wines with remarkable precision and focus, as well as a rich mineral core. The Herzog Lake County is an opulent, multi-layered Cabernet, and it also has the potential to cellar for a decade. Ask for the gift box!
Elvi Herenza Reserva Rioja 2016. One of the best kosher Spanish wines, the Elvi Reserva is an incredibly complex Tempranillo from the Rioja region. It features black plums and black forest berries with notes of herbs, spices, and vanilla. This type of wine constantly evolves, developing secondary and tertiary notes over two decades or more. I would recommend picking up at least 2 bottles, one to drink now and one to open in 5 or 10 years, as it will reward such patience. The uniqueness and high quality make it a great gift, but it also comes wrapped in an elegant, chic, gold net that makes it stand out at first sight.
Chanukah sameyach, l’chaim!