The Wine List - April 2014

The spring holidays are coming. Easter, Passover and the big one: Opening Day. These are all great occasions to open a nice bottle of wine with friends and family. Easter often features Brunch. What could be more classic than a Mimosa cocktail? The easiest way to make them, is to pour some sparkling wine into a glass and top it with an equal part (or maybe a bit more) or orange juice. Certainly, the better quality ingredients the better drink experience. A Mimosa with vintage Champagne and fresh squeezed orange juice is likely to be delicious. Most of us cannot really afford the time or money for that. Still, it’s a good idea to use good quality sparkling wine. Here are five that won’t break the bank.

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NV Champagne Lallier Champagne Grande Réserve Grand Cru From France, this is a true Champagne. It is oneofmy favorite sparkling wines at the moment. It’s about $40 a bottle worth a lot more than that. This has lots of green apples and ginger. It is complex and easy to drink. Save a bit to drink on its own after your guests have left.

For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.

NV Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut This is about $25. It comes from California and isavailable almost everywhere. It has green apples and baking spices. It is easy to drink and works well with OJ.

NV Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut This is really a great value in sparkling wine. Itisfrom France’s Alsace region and costs about $18. Lots of apricots and spices. Nice acidity that makes it food friendly.

NV Ferrari Brut From Alto Adige in north­east Italy. This has red apples andlots of minerals. Found everywhere for around $20. A nice lean sparkling wine with great acidity.

2010 Zardetto Prosecco Zeta A good Prosecco is one of the great values in sparkling wine. This one costs about $13. It can be found everywhere and is a great choice for Mimosas because it has a lot of fruit and enough acidity to work with food. At that price, you can let everyone have a second (or even a third) glass.

For those of you celebrating Passover, I recommend getting some Kosher wine. Even if you don’t keep Kosher the rest of the year, this is a fun way to add some authenticity to your Passover Seder. There really are better and better Kosher wines being made and imported. They are worth seeking out.

2010 Celler De Capcanes Mas Donis Barrica This is a Grenache­Syrah blend from Spain. It is good in every vintagewith 2010 being the most recent. It has lots of raspberries and minerality. Easy to drink and works well with food. At $10 a bottle, there is no pain in serving to a large crowd.

2011 Covenant "Red C" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Kosher for Passover) This is 100%cabernet sauvignon from Napa’s premier Kosher winery. It retails for around $40 which is a decent value for a Napa Cabernet. This is the little brother to the Covenant that retails foraround $100, making the Red C a lovely wine to serve with your Passover brisket.2011 Agur Kessem Kosher This is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc from one of the idiosyncratic wineries in the Judean Hills outside of Jerusalem, Israel. It retails for $33 in the United States. This is quality wine worth the tariff. Why not add something Israeli to your Seder?

2011 Agur Kessem Kosher This is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc from one of the idiosyncratic wineries in the Judean Hills outside of Jerusalem, Israel.  It retails for $33 in the United States.  This is quality wine worth the tariff.  Why not add something Israeli to your Seder?

2012 Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc Kosher Very good Kosher wines are being made around the world. Why not New Zealand? For those of you who like New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, here is a Kosher wine. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive than most, but hey, it’s Kosher. Add it to your Seder because this is a wine you and your guests will find familiar and enjoyable. $23

2010 Dalton Satsufa Merlot Israel Kosher Want something from Israel, but on a budget?Dalton winery in the Galilee is a very good option. This Merlot will set you back about $18. It is a solid red wine that will do your cooking proud. Easy to drink with lots of cherry fruit, this will be a crowd pleaser.

I hope you all enjoy the holidays with friends and family. If you have no plans? Make some. Invite some people over. Finally, what about Opening Day? Forget the wine. Find the craft beer stand at your local ballpark, and get something really interesting. Play Ball!

The Wine List is a monthly feature by IntoWine contributor Loren Sonkin where he provides a list of seasonal wine recommendations designed to ensure your wine cabinet is sufficiently stocked with fantastic and unique wines.