Surprising Kosher Wine Suggestions from a Guy Who Tastes a Lot of Kosher Wineby Brie Stimson June 29, 2017
Andrew Breskin, a lawyer, has devoted the last several years to the wine business – specifically the kosher wine business.
“Kosher wine has a reputation of being really bad,” he tells me one Friday morning at his wine storage facility in Linda Vista. “In the last few years it’s elevated from really bad to mediocre. A lot of it in the past was really deserved; a lot of it today is really unfair.”
Through his company Liquid Kosher, Breskin serves as a kosher wine distributor for small quantities, often specializing in rarities. He says kosher wine is shaking off its bad reputation.
“Many people are familiar with the Israeli wine scene because they’ve been making really, truly excellent wines for the last seven, 10 years or so,” he says. “There’s really a scene now where there’s wine tasting societies, wine tasting clubs meeting on a very regular basis and they’re tasting higher-end kosher wine from around the world.”
In his business, Breskin says he looks for kosher wines that aren’t just a carbon copy of something non-kosher.
“Here in San Diego most of my clients, they’re not kosher people or Jewish people. … You buy Oreos – Oreos are kosher, but you still buy them because they’re good … That’s what we’re doing with wine and it’s been going really well.”
One of his best sellers is a sparkling wine that comes from a five-generation family vineyard in Champagne, France – called Champagne Bonnet Ponson. The champagne is made of pinot noir and chardonnay grapes.
“This comes from some of the greatest vineyards in the region and they made a kosher wine and we tasted it and it was fantastic so we brought it over,” he explains.
Breskin also likes the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Flam winery in Israel.
“They’re one of the top Israeli wineries that was not kosher, then several years ago they decided to make their production kosher to keep up with the demand of Israeli wines in the marketplace, and this one was really interesting. It was ready to go right out of the bottle. It was more of a modern style, which is not what I typically go for, but people who like new-world style wines, Napa Cabs, etc., this is right up their alley, very jammy, very intense, high octane and it was just delicious. It’s not what I would usually go for, but it’s just quite a surprise.”
He also likes the Hajdu Winery’s rosé, which he recommends in the summer. The Berkeley winery makes a different rosé every year.
“He makes a delicious rosé,” Breskin says. “Rosé is nice because it’s always cold and it has the crispness and refreshingness of a white wine, but has a little extra dimension of fruit flavor than you get from white wine. It’s made from white wine but since it has less time actually spent on the actual grape skins it’s got less color and it doesn’t ferment all the way so it’s very fruity, crisp and always refreshing on a summer night.”
Breskin says he’s also a fan of a new kosher German Reisling, a small project between Israeli and German winemakers.
“For many reasons, kosher German wine has not really been a thing … cultural reasons and also practically speaking German wine makes a very small quantity, a lot of German wine is made in very small lots that’s not very conducive to kosher wine production.”
The wine is from 2015 and it’s called Gefen HaShalom.
“As someone who drank a ton of German wine in the past, tasting this wine really brought me back,” he says. “I’m not sure if the program is continuing because it’s just complicated and lots of different people involved … but to have it taste like a real German Reisling it was very refreshing to me to be kosher.”
The most important thing about drinking wine, to Breskin, is appreciating it with good company.
“You’ll always remember things with the people they’re associated with. That’s one thing with religion and with wine – I always remember the people I had it with.”