January 17, 2019

Symbolic wines for the new year

In traditional circles, Rosh Hashanah meals are laden with delicious foods that carry symbolic meanings, designed to bode well for the upcoming year.

While most of us are familiar with eating apples and honey in anticipation of a sweet year, other more diverse foods can be incorporated into this ritual as well, such as squash, beans, fish and, in our family, beef tongue.

Utilizing puns and poetic license, the Hebrew names of these foods generally will reference our desire for success, progeny and dignity. While we all are looking for a happy and healthy new year, perhaps some wine descriptors might carry over their meaning and similarly bid us pleasantries for the future, in their own way.

As an homage to Rosh Hashanah symbolism and a fun way to incorporate excellent wines into a traditional New Year’s celebration, I’ve chosen four wines that have their own exciting attributes, all of which carry kosher certification.


2016 Hagafen Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley: Alacrity for our daily tasks and an energetic approach for life truly are attributes for which to strive. Represent that drive with this lively wine from Napa stalwart Hagafen Cellars. Notes of lemon, tropical fruit, grapefruit zest and freshly cut grass are exhilarating in the glass and on the palate. Serve on its own or with a mixed-greens salad with roasted local squash. $22


Bonnet-Ponson Champagne, Brut Premier Cru, France: Sometimes we are faced with unexpected situations or opportunities outside of familiar areas, where our ability to adapt and adjust is tested. While most people associate Champagne only with celebratory moments, this wine is by far the most versatile on the planet. It has an elegant mousse with flavors of lemon curd and apple tart. Save the orange juice and enjoy this delectable wine with diverse cuisine from sushi to fried chicken, or even with breakfast. $59


2014 Recanati Wild Carignan, Israel: Commitment to honoring the past is a value with which many can identify. This wine hails from a little-known vineyard in Israel, where the farmer refused to uproot ancient vines to replace them with more contemporary grape varieties. Turns out this commitment to the past was spot on: The grapes from this vineyard would go on to comprise critically acclaimed wines. They aresome of the most enjoyable and unique wines from Israel I’ve had in quite some time. $49


2012 Echo Roses Camille, Bordeaux, France: Having the strength to follow your passions, dreams and convictions requires incredible fortitude. Tap into the full-bodied structure of this small-production, single-vineyard wine from the heart of Pomerol, the Rodeo Drive of Bordeaux. Made by a fifth-generation Bordeaux winemaker, this layered, luscious wine has signature regional aromas of violets, cocoa and raspberry. Drink now after a couple hours of breathing, or cellar for New Year’s festivities to come. $79

Andrew Breskin is a sommelier and founder of Liquid Kosher, a boutique online wine shop.