The Details: Well, the festive and totally underrated holiday of Purim is upon us. While we listen to Megillat Esther twice before the big Purim seudah (holiday meal) on March 20-21 and excitedly stamp out the name of the evil Haman (boo!), we can’t help but think of the upcoming joyous party. And there are those of us who are thinking about wine pairings with the soup, the fish, the meats and, yes, the once-a-year hamantaschen (OK, maybe I sneak a few the week before when my family is baking them. Someone’s gotta test them!)
Seasoned and hardened Purim veterans know to pace themselves on the wine. It’s a long day of passing out mishloach manot (gifts of food and drinks) and eating, drinking and singing. Additionally, many people will filter in and out of the house during the festivities, so it’s best to keep the premium (read: expensive) wines tucked safely away in the cellar.
This is a holiday where the great QPR (Quality Price Ratio) wines come out to play. So in the interests of brevity and ease, let’s highlight a wonderful QPR wine suitable for the multiple-glass endurance of Purim.
I greatly advise, nay demand, that you pick up the 2017 O’Dwyers Creek Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($16-$19, found locally in most stores carrying kosher wines, and even some that don’t).
The Backstory: O’Dwyers Creek is produced by husband and wife team Lindsay and Trish Dahlberg on an eight-hectare vineyard in the cold-climate city of Blenheim, heart of the world-renowned wine region of Marlborough, New Zealand, at the northern tip of the Southern Island. Just 1 percent of the world’s wine is produced in New Zealand, yet New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is universally loved. In fact, a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has an incredibly distinctive nose, which we’ll discuss in the tasting notes section.
The Dahlbergs began producing grapes for other wineries in 2002. In 2010, the Dahlbergs made the decision to create their own wine and have been doing so ever since. They also decided to produce exclusively kosher wine, though the Dahlbergs themselves are not Jewish. Enough of their Jewish friends pushed them to produce the only true single estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that the Dahlbergs decided to create this niche wine. Their wine is even certified vegan. O’Dwyers Creek also produces a Pinot Noir (available in the U.S.) and a Chardonnay (sadly not available in the U.S).
Tasting Notes & Pairings: The 2017 O’Dwyers Creek Sauvignon Blanc screams bright citrus fruit. With an intoxicating (the ephemeral type) nose of grapefruit, orange peel and tropical fruits, followed by mouth-puckering acid, there’s no mistaking the O’Dwyers Creek as classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. You’ll also find flavors of passionfruit, fresh-cut grass and lemongrass. There’s a vim and vitality in the glass. Zesty and zippy. Tangy and long-lasting pizazz! This wine suits the Purim and Passover season, with its lengthening days, and the palpable feel of the warming spring easing into the poolside leisure of a sticky summer.
This exciting wine will grace your Purim table beautifully, and will pair nicely with a variety of lighter dishes, including light cheese, fresh soups, vegetarian dishes and fish. Considering that we’re in the great city of Baltimore, might I arrogantly suggest a dish of fresh pita and Old Bay Charm City Hummus, published once-upon-a-time right here in the pages of Jmore?
A happy and freilichin Purim to all!
Dr. Kenneth Friedman is a Baltimore-born kosher wine aficionado/connoisseur. He is known for his unsolicited wine advice and runs many local kosher wine tastings.