Red or White? What’s a Good Deal…?

“I really do find that red wine usually goes better with red meat - the tannins in the wine cut through fat and muscle, helping to enhance the flavors…” If you’ve been pestering Yonatan Sternberg with Rosh Hashanah wine questions, keep reading to find all answers revealed.

With just a couple of days left before we enter the holiday season full steam ahead, people are swarming the stores, shopping like crazy and attempting to stretch their shekel as far as they can. Every year, just before Rosh Hashana (and Passover for that matter), I find that I often regret being a wine lover (a feeling that goes away almost immediately) but most importantly I regret having a cell phone. On almost every given day on the week before the holiday, I receive between 6-9 phone calls inquiring which wine to serve with the meal? Red or white? Which wine should we cook with? Is three for NIS 100 a good deal? Did you try the new merlots released by the Golan Heights? (I have, and they are both very good, although I preferred the Tel Phares). Which wine can I serve with my gefilte fish? And the list of questions goes on and on.

First to questions of which wine to serve: Should we serve a medium-full bodied red with our brisket or try something new? Should we serve a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc with our herb crusted fillet of fish or should we go for a rose? I really do find that red wine usually goes better with red meat - the tannins in the wine cut through fat and muscle, helping to enhance the flavors. However, if you are serving a relatively lean cut of meat (e.g. fillet, sirloin etc.) a nice chardonnay will do the trick as well. At the end of the day it's all a matter of personal taste.

If you are serving Asian or Indian style dishes try serving a semi dry Gewürztraminer (the ones by the Golan Heights – Yarden Series, Pelter or Binyamina wineries would be good and relatively affordable options) or a nice Riesling – if you get a chance try picking up a bottle or two of the excellent German Riesling's imported by Giaconda. I'm sure that even those of us who claim that they only drink red wine will fall in love with these whites. Managed by New Zealand trained winemakers Anat Sela and Refaela Ronen, Giaconda is one of the top "boutique" wine importers offering excellent wines from Germany, New Zealand and more.

Another popular question is: which wine should I use for cooking? While I am not suggesting that you go out and buy a bottle Chateau Petrus or Castel Grand Vin to make your Beef Stroganoff, the general rule of thumb is never cook with wine you wouldn’t drink. Try to avoid using the wines labeled "cooking wines", as these often have added salts and spices (which are meant to enhance flavors but also to prevent us from drinking it straight) which can ruin or somewhat impair your holiday dish. In my opinion, and of course only if you have the budget, it is usually a good idea to cook with the same wine you plan on serving with the meal. The character of the wine will provide a link between the dish and the Vino you drink with the meal.

Chag Sameach and Shana Tova ve Metuka!