Dairy-Friendly Reds | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Dairy-Friendly Reds

Dairy-Friendly Reds

Seven sippers for Shavuot.

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It’s a wine truism heard often: “Pair red wines with meat and white wines with dairy.” While this is sound advice, it’s too simplistic. What makes white wines so good with dairy is their lighter body and higher acidy. But there are a number of red grapes that do well at producing light- or medium-bodied reds that have higher acidity (think gamay noir, pinot noir and sangiovese). So in honor of Shavuot, we picked seven reds that should pair well with your favorite dairy dishes.

Prix Reserve, Pinot Noir, Montington Vineyard, Coombsville, Napa Valley, 2013: Ruby-to-garnet in color, this medium-bodied wine has an appealing nose of cherries, raspberries, plums, Cherry Heering liqueur, chocolate and oak, with a nice touch of earthiness. Look for flavors of cherries, strawberries, raspberries rhubarb and oak, all on an earthy background, with a touch of espresso on the finish. This pinot noir is very versatile, and should go well with cheesy dishes, cream sauces and fish. Drinking well now, this wine has at least another four or five years of life.

Score A- ($60. Available directly from the winery, hagafen.com, [888] 424-2336.)


Louis Blanc, Domaine La Ferrage, Côte de Brouilly, Beaujolais, 2013: Côte de Brouilly is one of the 10 cru Beaujolais appellations, making it part of the most prestigious wine district in the Beaujolais region. While 15 years ago there were four different kosher cru Beaujolais wines available in the U.S., there were none for at least a decade before the 2012 vintage of this Côte de Brouilly was released in 2015. The 2012 vintage was delightful, and the recently released 2013 vintage is even better. Made from 100 percent gamay grapes grown on the side of an ancient volcano, this medium-bodied, ruby-to-garnet colored wine has flavors and aromas of cherries, boysenberries, blackberries and plums, with a hint of violets, a touch of brier and a gentle chalky, mineral background. This wine is very food friendly and should go well with a broad array of dairy dishes. Best served slightly chilled (55F-60F), this Beaujolais should be consumed in the next 18 months, or perhaps a bit later. 

Score A-/B+ ($19.99. Available at Westchester Wine Warehouse, 53 Tarrytown Road, White Plains, [914] 824-1400.)


Goose Bay, Pinot Noir, Small Batch, South Island, New Zealand, 2014: Medium-bodied, and ruby-colored, this very enjoyable example of New Zealand pinot noir has flavors and aromas of tart cherries, currants and raspberries, with whiffs of earth and cedar, a touch of pepper and a hint of tropical fruits. This food-friendly wine can be enjoyed either at room temperature or slightly chilled. Drink until the end of the decade. 

Score B+ ($22.95. Available at Skyview Wine and Liquor, 5681 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale, [718] 601-8222.)  


Cantina Giuliano, Chianti, 2015: Produced at one of Europe’s few wholly kosher wineries, which is located in the heart of Tuscany, this very enjoyable chianti is made of a blend of 70 percent sangiovese, 15 percent ciliegiolo and 15 percent canaiolo. With a ruby color and a medium body, this chianti has flavors and aromas of cherries, black raspberries, chocolate, herbs and wild flowers, with a bit of a green note. This wine should pair well with fish or pasta in cream sauces. Drink within the next three years.

Score B+ (This vintage has not yet been released in the US, but should be on store shelves shortly.)


Don Ernesto, Clarinet, Tempranillo, Lodi, 2014: Garnet-colored and medium-bodied, this fruity, off-dry, Californian red has flavors and aromas of cherries, cranberries, raspberries and plums, with a hint of sour citrus and a touch of spice. The wine’s residual sugar is well-balanced by a nice level of acidy. It would be a great choice to serve with something like a cheesy tuna-noodle casserole. Drink now until 2019.

Score B+ ($32. Available directly from the winery, hagafen.com, [888] 424-2336.)


Oscar Quevedo, Red Table Wine, Douro, Portugal, 2014: This bright-garnet-colored, medium-bodied, high-acid red is made from a blend of 60 percent touriga nacional and 40 percent tinta roriz (which is the Portuguese name for tempranillo). Look for flavors and aromas of cherries, currants, coffee and smoke, with a floral note, a hint of bitter orange and pleasant layer of earth. This should make a good accompaniment to sharp cheeses. Drink within the next year.

Score B ($12.95. Available at Skyview Wine and Liquor, 5681 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale, [718] 601-8222.) 


Bartenura, Rosso Toscano, 2014: Made from 100 percent sangiovese grown in the Tuscan region of Italy, this was both the lightest bodied and least expensive wine in the tasting. Light-ruby-colored, this simple but enjoyable quaffer has a bouquet of strawberries, cherries and endives. Look for flavors of cherries and strawberries with a light hint of citrus.  Try enjoying with pizza, lighter pasta dishes or salads in creamy dressings. Drink by the end of the year.

Score B ($5.99. Available at Shoppers Vineyard, 875 Bloomfield Ave., Clifton, N.J., [973] 916-0707.)  


Wines are scored on an “A”-“F” scale where “A” is excellent, “B” is good, “C” is flawed, “D” is very flawed and “F” is undrinkable. Prices listed reflect the price at the retailer mentioned.  

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