Rosh Hashanah brings with it the hope for a sweet new year. Here at The Kosher Decanter, the Jewish New Year brings the chance to pair up all of the special Rosh Hashanah dishes with top-notch wines.
Rosh Hashanah is also a holiday full of symbolic foods and blessings for the upcoming year. Read more about all the interesting foods to grace your Rosh Hashanah table.
Kiddush & Sweet Round Challah Starter
For a festive evening holiday kiddush, it is nice to start things off with a nice crisp Rosé to match the chill in the air of fall.
For the 2019 releases, I very much enjoyed the 2019 Binah Winery Rosé, from Allentown, Pa. ($16). The Rosé is a blend of grape varieties grown in the Lehigh Valley, including Cabernet Franc, Blaufränkisch and Chambourcin. Dark, deep salmon color. Hyperfloral nose of lilacs and rose. On the palate, medium body with nice acid up front. Dry to off-dry. Red berries, strawberries and tart raspberries, with more acid on the finish.
As for the challah, why not try something different? Round challah symbolizes the circularity of our years and seasons, and the sweetness for our hope of our next trip around the sun. This Round Apples and Honey Sweet Challah will be a hit with your family, and could easily replace your dessert.
Fish & Soup Course All-In-One: Vietnamese Fish Head Soup
If you really want to get nuts, and get the kids excited, get yourself a salmon head. You can either roast in your oven (the cheek meat is worth it) or take the next step and make this Vietnamese Fish Head Soup.
Fish head symbolizes our hope to be “the head and not the tail” over the next year.
So I’ve never paired wine with Vietnamese Fish Head Soup — now I can cross that off my list) — but I’m a big fan of the 2018 Netofa Latour White ($26) from Netofa Winery of Mitzpe Netofa, Israel. This 100 percent Chenin Blanc is French oak-aged for 10 months. In the glass, it is pale yellow and clear. The nose is very floral with baked pear and orange blossom. The palate shows more baked pear and brioche, with tart acid, lingering on the finish.
Really nice wine, as Israel continues its notable strides making world-class whites.
Main Course: Rich, Savory Rosh Hashanah Roast
So, yes, I realize many people like to have a traditional brisket for the holiday. But I hope you realize your family will likely go to sleep wondering why Mom or Bubbie insists on making dry brisket year after year.
Unless you’re smoking a whole brisket (please tell me you are), why not opt for a juicier cut such as a French Roast? This sweet, oniony Rosh Hashanah Roast made with dried fruit is sure to be a hit and is a take on tsimmes with your main course.
The recipe calls for sweet red wine, the perfect place to use the bottle of Sweet Concord wine that your Aunt Naomi drops off before yom tov every year. Please God, don’t drink it.
As for the wine to drink with this savory roast, how about a brand new offering? The 2019 La Gravelle Chinon Cuvee Terroir ($18) is a wonderful appellation Chinon of 100 percent Cabernet Franc, from the Loire Valley in France. In the glass, medium purple, translucent, with a nose of red fruit, green notes, and some earth.
On the palate, a medium to full body, with medium tannins, and rich acid throughout. Best part is this Chinon’s low price tag paired with its satisfying return.
Dessert: Jewish Honey Cake
There are so many choices to be had here, and honestly, the whole Rosh Hashanah meal revolves around sweet dishes, but my Mom (may she be blessed for a happy, healthy year!) makes a brilliant take much like this Jewish honey cake.
And do I have a wine for you to end your new beginning? The Dalton Anna ($42), named for the winemaker’s mother, should be raised to toast l’chaim to your own mother, Bubby, wife, daughter, orspecial woman in your life. The Anna, made in the traditional Solera method, has a nose of honey and guava. You’d swear you’re holding a glass of Sherry. On the palate, a thick full-body, with dried apricot, caramel and honey. My favorite dessert wine.
May we all drink great wine and be inscribed and sealed for a happy, healthy 5781!
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.