We’ve begun to see an increase in boutique wineries interested in OU Kosher certification. So we decided to go back to the basics in understanding the primary types of kosher wine and what they are best paired with.
OU Kosher Consumer Disclaimer: Please note, when making kosher wine purchases make certain to look for the OU or OUP Kosher for Passover designations on the label. Most kosher wine is kosher for Passover as well, but there are some rare exceptions, so it’s important to check each label carefully.
First, what is the difference between a single variety wine and a blend? A wine made with a single variety grape is a known as a varietal wine and wine made from a few different grapes is a blend. There are several thousand different kinds of kinds of wine grapes, e.g. chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet, so it’s no wonder that people keep coming out with different blends.
Body is a term that comes up a lot, as in “Here is a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon.” This is where one would nod, swish and pretend to understand the nature of the term “bodied.” However, bodied here is exactly as it sounds, and it refers to how heavy the wine feels. By way of illustration, in terms of the density of milk, skim is less bodied then 2% milk. Body is affected by the grape varietals, the age of the wine and of course the alcohol percentage.
Bouquet refers to the lingering aroma of wine because of the aging process. A mature wine will have a complex bouquet as opposed to a recently fermented wine.
Fermentation is the process of converting the sugar from the grape into alcohol and carbon dioxide, as previously discussed in our article about kosher kombucha.
Finish or, more commonly, the aftertaste a wine leaves. The better-quality wines tend to have a longer finish that is rich, complex and flavorful.
Ten Types of Kosher Wine
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular wine variety in the world. It is a full-bodied red wine that originated in the Bordeaux region of France.
Pairs well with: Robust red meat, lamb, beef.
Syrah (Shiraz) is a full-bodied red wine that’s heavily planted in the Rhône Valley in France and Australia. It is recognized for its intense fruit flavors.
Pairs well with: Highly seasoned and smoked dishes.
Zinfandel (aka Primitivo) is a medium-bodied red wine that originated in Croatia. Wines are fruit-forward and spicy with a medium length finish.
Pairs well with: Dishes that are rustic and rich, such as mousse and pâté.
Chardonnay is a dry, full-bodied white wine. Originally, large quantities were planted in Burgundy, France.
Pairs well with: Fatty fish, rich cream sauce and mushrooms.
Champagne is a white sparkling wine, usually associated with celebration. It originated in the Champagne region of France.
Pairs well with: Anything salty. Because most dry sparkling wines have a touch of sweetness, champagne complements anything salty.
Pinot Noir is richer than many white wines because it’s made with red wine grapes. It was first widely planted in France.
Pairs well with: Dishes with earthy flavors, cream sauces, soft cheeses and nutty, medium-firm cheeses.
Sauvignon Blanc is a dry white grape first widely planted in France. Often identified as tart because of its citrus (grapefruit) and exotic fruit (melon, passion fruit, kiwi) notes.
Pairs well with: Tangy foods and tart dressings and sauces.
Riesling A floral and fruit-driven aromatic white that originated in the Rhine region of Germany. Some producers choose not to ferment all the grape sugar and therefore make the wine in an “off-dry” style.
Pairs well with: Sweet and spicy dishes.
Dry Rosé gets its Rosé color because it is a type of wine that incorporates some of its color from grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine. Best identified with the acidity of white wine and the fruit character of red.
Pairs well with: Rich cheesy dishes.
Moscato d’ Asti because there’s always room for dessert…. Moscato d’ Asti is a sparkling white wine produced mainly in the province of Asti, Italy. It is recognized as a moderately sweet sparkling dessert wine.
Pairs well with: Natural sugar, especially that of fruits.