Sunday, April 4, 2010


I meant to only start posting after the holiday, but a matter of urgency just came up and I must share.

Today, I had to buy wine.

Buying wine is a task I avoid whenever possible. I hate wine. To my oh-so-distinguishing palete, all wines taste approximately the same: bad. As such, having me choose the wine for a meal is to beg and plead for disaster. When I am hosting a meal, I avoid said disaster by farming out the wine buying duties to one of my guests—preferably one who likes wine. I instruct the appointed wine bearer that they should buy whatever they like that goes with chicken. When I am invited out, I will offer to bring something else: challot, a side dish, appetizer salads, world peace—anything but wine. If the host insists, I will bring a wine bottle from the stash I keep of “wine brought by my guests that we never got to”. If someone else brought it, there is a fighting chance that it is actually a good wine.

But sometimes, sadly, it cannot be avoided. Sometimes my wine stash is empty. Or there are days like today, where my wine stash is not empty, but all of it is plain kosher, and not kosher l’Pesach kosher. To tell the truth, I am not 100% sure if wine has to be kosher l’Pesach or not. However, given that the local super has been offering piles and piles of kosher l’Pesach sponges, aluminum foil, plastic wrap and cleaning fluid—all of which are liable to be fatal if ingested—there is no way that wine, which is merely unpleasant when ingested, has managed to get off scot free.

Out of necessity, over the years I have developed a set of simple rules which can help to steer me in the right direction when purchasing wine.

1) No wine with screw tops. Screw tops are bad.
2) Do not get the cheapest wine. That means it is bad. But do not get the most expensive wine either (because, quite frankly, I like you, but not that much). Pick a wine in the mid-range—say about 25-30 shekels. If it is mid-range, it is probably good.
3) Muscats are for dessert! They do not go with chicken!
4) White wine goes with white food and red wine goes with red food. Or it is the other way around.
5) King David Sweet Concord Wine (local version of Manishevetz) is unspeakably vile and should never, ever be purchased. But it has a screw top, so you already knew this!
6) The prettier the bottle, the better the wine.

The last rule is the most important. Once one manages to winnow out the screw tops and muscats and the super cheap wines, one is left with a wide selection of bottles from which to pick. At this point, one picks based on the bottle. Generally, this is easy. Today it was not. All the bottles…I don’t know…they were so…blah! Plain! Here a few flowers, there some nice scenery…but nothing special. Nothing that made me say “wow, that wine must be really tasty to those who do not think that wine tastes like battery acid”. Then, suddenly, I saw it: the most beautiful bottles EVER. Look for yourself. Gorgeous, no?

And the price was perfect-29 shekels! Score! But wait…what is this?

A screw top? !

On a wine bottle with a pretty label?!

WTF?????? Those bastards! To make a gorgeous label and then add a screw top so I cannot buy it.


I spent a good twenty minutes staring at the wine section and trying to decided what on earth to buy. In the end, out of desperation and a burning desire to go home, like, today, I said screw it, grabbed a couple bottles of Teva, and headed for the check out.

Teva labels:

Not so exciting, but the colors are nice, no? I bought a green label (white wine-goes with chicken) and a red label (blush wine—goes with the mutant spawn that one gets from cross-breeding chickens and cows).


Leah in Chicago said...

I'm going to ruin this for you... but screw tops are better for the wine than cork. We are obsessed with the romance of cork, but for shipping and the environment and the stability of the wine - screw tops all the way.

Also - no awkward "who can open wine" moments.

Lynne said...

Lynne (not-exactly-in-but-near Chicago) says -- Welcome back! You were missed.

e.e. said...

Hehe, look on the bright side - soon Pesach will be over, then you'll just have the other criteria to take into account. For me, this has been a virtually pain-free chag. I usually can't stand it, but I've been so busy writing Uni papers, that it's gone almost unnoticed. Pesach "break" they call it...
Glad to see you back, me likey your writing.

Tzipporah said...

Gila, I actually did a tasting this year of kasher l'pesach wines, and found a couple Israeli ones that were GREAT for not-too-spicy meals. Check it out.

Nicole said...

Welcome back! We've been patiently waiting...

Kayla said...

See-like I said, screw tops are fine!

Uncle Buck said...

Have to admit, cork (am tremendous
oldfashioned) would give a better feeling, screw tops are better.

It's all a matter of perspective, to me the fluid counts.

sp said...

Screw tops are becoming more commonplace, especially with wines such as sauvignon blanc- even with higher quality wine.

The San Francisco Chronicle ( just had a good article about winemakers in California who are producing excellent quality kosher wines.

Anonymous said...

Hey - King David is not vile!!!!! If it wasn't for their concord grape, my haroseth would be horrible! And okay.... after I use the minute amount that I need for the haroseth and polish off the bottle, I may wake up with a bit of a hangover, but it was worth it! I was brought up on Manishewitz.... I crave it on Pesach! Hope you enjoyed the holiday and welcome back - Madelyn

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Oy vey. I am not showing this post to no wine lover ;-)

aliyah06 said...

Tip: know where the little strip mall is in Katamonim on the way towards HaMoshava? About a block before you get to the right turn onto Pierre Koenig and cross the RR tracks? OK--in the mini-strip-mall is Big Apple Pizza but also a liquor/wine/nuts/halvah/whatever store. First, best nuts in Jerusalem. But for YOU, more importantly--there is a barrel outside turned on its side with specials every week: 3 for 100 shekels. You CANNOT go wrong buying this special. Get three. You can always bring the other two as gifts.