Seder Night is a family event in which wine plays a very prominent part. ?Many relate the Arba Kossot, the four cups of wine, to G-d?s four expressions about how the Exodus would come about: ? I will bring out??deliver? redeem?take?.? However in the Mishnah, the drinking of four cups, is mentioned as fitting in with different stages of a meal, as in any banquet. The wine connection has its historical roots in the Greek Symposium, which was a glorified wine tasting, and the Roman banquet, in which food & wine were celebrated without restraint.
A classic banquet may start with sparkling wine as the aperitif, then a white wine will be used with the first courses, a red wine with the main courses and a dessert wine with the desserts. These could well make up the four glasses, as the second and third glass may also accompany the meal. Following this guideline, you may start with the Yarden Blanc de Blancs, followed by the ?C? Blanc du Castel. The red wine might be the Yatir Forest and the dessert wine may be the Carmel Sha?al Gewurztraminer Late Harvest. This choice would show off dome of the finest Israeli wines.
Obviously in a small Seder, it is not an extravagance to use expensive wines. However in large Seders, when the wider family and guests come to visit, value for money is a more important criteria. In this instance, be careful not to choose wines that are too prestigious. They might not be appreciated and you might not appreciate the costs involved. Carmel Ridge, Dalton Canaan, Recanati Yasmin, and Yarden Mount Hermon are brands with both red and white wines which are reasonably priced, full of fruit, and easy drinking. They are ideal for the budget Seder. Also for the larger gathering, a simple wine glass will be more suitable than expensive glassware.
Customs differ depending on the family minhag. Some will only use red wines believing they are more appropriate. Others may use whites, because red wines remind them of the blood libel. Many use a sweet Kiddush wine for the first glass, because of tradition or because guests will be drinking on an empty stomach. If this is your choice, a Kiddush wine like King David or Hallel the better brands and both also have a low alcohol versions. If you do insist on a Kiddush wine, you are advised to chill it in the fridge. It will make it more palatable.
Better and more innovative might be a low alcohol white Moscato (Dalton, Golan, Young Selected) or red Carignano (Young Selected). These wines are semi sweet, low alcohol and slightly sparkling. Perfect family wines as even the great Aunt who does not like wine, will like these. Low alcohol wines are a good solution for young families. This is a better option than mixing grape juice and a Kiddush wine, as some young families do.
Some will use the first glass for the very best wine, because this is the most important. They might choose a prestigious wine like Carmel Limited Edition, Castel Grand Vin, Galil Mountain Yiron, Recanati Special Reserve, Yarden Katzrin or Yatir Forest to start proceedings. These are some of Israel?s finest blended wines, which are all based on Cabernet Sauvignon, the king of grapes.
Whether the Seder is in Jerusalem, London, Paris or New York, the wine selection should be blue and white to show support for the Israeli wine growers. Israeli wines are the finest kosher wines in the world, they also provide more variety in different styles and at varying price points than anywhere else, and it is a mitzvah to buy from Eretz Ha?Kodesh. For those who constantly moan Israeli wines are too expensive, visit any supermarket in the weeks before Passover. There is an enormous choice of wines on promotion, at very attractive prices. Most of the talk about pricing is because the media, wine critics and special tastings center around trophy or medal winning wines. However these may be the wines people talk about. They are not always the wines people actually drink! Mid to lower priced brands such as Binyamina Bin, Carmel Private Collection, Galil Mountain, Segal?s Merom Galil and Tabor Har, all show good quality in relation to the price.
Finally, remember the mitzvah in the Mishnah that even the poorest in Israel must be given not less than four cups of wine to drink. The beauty of Passover is that Jews all over the world, whether religious, traditional or secular will celebrating the Seder with four glasses of wine.