A couple of days ago, a stranger walked into Eli’s List. “Which wine would you recommend I buy for Passover?” he asked. I blinked, my mind awash with a list of wines I thought I would like to see at a Passover sedar.
Just like with any other event, recommending a wine for the Passover sedar is not as easy as one would think. Several criteria have to be met. Of course, it has to be kosher. It has to fit in to the nature of the event; it has to be a wine that doesn’t require any special treatment, immediately drinkable and tasty; nothing too sophisticated, yet something that would please the wine enthusiasts at the table and the great aunt who drinks once a year. And it has to fit into one’s budget, especially since for Passover every person at the table has to raise his or her glass four times over the course of the sedar.
After getting all the answers I needed from the gentleman, I finally came up with what I thought would be the ideal sedar wine: Or Haganuz, Marom Series, a lovely cabernet franc from the Eviatar parcel. A rich and distinctive wine, it is elegantly aromatic and velvety to the palate with its dark berry fruits, cherries, and plums alongside dried herbs and a touch of mint. It's flavors are characteristic of the terroir around Mount Meron in upper Galilee that is Israel’s pre-eminent wine growing region, thanks to its high attitude, 2700 feet, northern exposure, suitable slopes and mineral soils of terra-rossa and limestone.
Established in 2005, the Or Haganuz Winery (a Kabbalic name meaning the ‘hidden light’) is managed and operated by the residents of an Ultra Orthodox cooperative village (similar to a kibbutz) baring the same name. Longtime vintner and winemaker Yehuda Camisa is at the helm and production levels are at some 100,000 bottles per annum with a large percentage intended for exports.