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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sukkot this year looks to be more of a dilemma than ever when it comes to menu planning and wine picking.

These past few weeks, we have indeed been exposed to constant ups and downs with the weather and outside temperature. It won’t be easy to decide between the chicken salad and the French roast. Especially when we do not even know if we will be eating outdoors in the sukkah or, chas v’shalom, indoors in the dining room. Thankfully, wine rejoices the heart of man (Tehilim, 104:15). So no matter if it will be hot or cold, and whether we will be eating in the sukkah or not, we will have good wine with which to rejoice and celebrate Sukkot and Simchat Torah.

Whites and rosés are not exclusively summer beverages. Take for instance the Herzog Special Reserve Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley, a beautiful and unique area in Sonoma County, California. Its perfectly balanced acidity and mineral undertones make it both refreshing and a wonderful accompaniment with a stuffed veal roulade. The Vitkin Pink Israeli Journey is a great rosé with which to cool off when the sun’s strikes hard on the sukkah. It will be also delicious as a pairing to bagels, lox and cream cheese for shalosh seudot on Shabbat Chol Hamoed.

Many of us are looking forward to indulge with BBQ short ribs on yom tov. Château Fontenil would complement the sweet and meaty flavors well as it is a big, bold, powerful wine. This château comes from the Fronsac region, which sits alongside the Dordogne River in the Bordeaux wine country. It is the estate of Michel Rolland. Rolland is arguably the most famous winemaker and oenologist in the world, consulting for dozens of wineries across the entire globe. Involved in the elaboration of many wines in Bordeaux such as Château Le Crock, Malartic-Lagravière or Léoville Poyferré, Rolland is well known for making wines that are rich and velvety. Fontenil is his very own creation; he owns it and makes the wine there to fully reflect his philosophy. It is ripe and full bodied and while reminiscent of some new-world wines in its youth, it will likely develop earthy aromas and flavors with proper cellaring.

Les Roches de Yon-Figeac is a classic Right Bank Bordeaux from Saint-Emilion, also in the Right Bank. The second wine of Château Yon-Figeac, it features layers of elegance as well as notes of red fruit, earth, graphite and minerals. Whether you choose to serve some cold chicken salad or a French roast, this wine will enhance the meal tremendously.

With so many meals and so much food, a nice way to relax while learning or before taking a nap is to drink a digestif. A digestif is a type of spirit that is customary in Europe to help digest a meal. The world-class Slivovitz from Jelinek is well worthy of consideration with its hints of fresh almonds and juicy plums. Served ice-cold, it is a classy refreshment, but if it is chilly outside, it will also warm you up served at room temperature. Last but not least, nothing is more distinguished on yom tov than some Cognac. Either sipped on its own or with light snacks such as caramelized pecan or salted peanuts, a glass of Louis Royer Cognac always brings a smile of satisfaction.

Chag Sameach, l’chaim!

By Gabriel Geller