We reviewed five of them for Palate Press, focusing on pairing with a traditional Passover meal, from gefilte fish to brisket. Hagafen’s wines are all certified by the Orthodox Union as Kosher for Passover. They are also yayin mevushal through the process of flash pasteurization. For the uninitiated, this means they will be considered kosher even if served by non-Jews.
2011 Hagafen Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
The bottle is slightly green, giving a tint to the wine that does not show in the glass. In the glass, it is very light, almost clear with a golden tint. It is rich on the nose, like a tropical tart with tangerine and mango and a flaky crust, with light aromas of fresh-cut grass far in the background. Citrus is more forward and assertive on the palate, orange, lime, and white grapefruit, with hints of ginger and grass coming through on the mid-palate. A fresh, zingy mid-length finish ends with lingering white grapefruit. This would go well with haroset, a traditional blend of chopped apples, nuts (usually walnuts, sometimes almonds), and cinnamon, a reminder of the mortar used in the construction of buildings in the Jews’ time of bondage. Recommended (89).
2011 Hagafen Lodi Roussane “Ripken Vineyard”
The nose smells like a middle eastern bakery, with rising bread, honey, chopped nuts, and tiny hints of exotic spices. The sensation carries over to the palate, with pastry, walnuts, honey, and a garnish of nutmeg and grated lemon rind, all while remaining dry. It’s like baklava in a glass, but dry. The richness would match the richness of home-made chicken soup with matzoh balls. Recommended (87).
2012 Hagafen Estate Bottled Dry White Riesling “Rancho Wieruszowski Vineyard”
This is an interesting wine. The nose is as grassy as a South American Sauvignon Blanc. On the palate it shows crisp green apple and key lime, a bit of Zweiback on the mid-palate, and lingering citrus, key lime juice and pith. The combination of richness and zing would hold up to that most peculiar of Passover traditions, gefilte fish, a loaf of chopped white fish, onions, carrots, and parsley, held together with eggs and matzoh meal. Recommended (87).
2009 Hagafen Estate Bottled Cabernet Franc
The nose is full of blackcurrant, with some black cherry, vanilla, and spice in the background. It is medium-bodied on the palate, with blackcurrant, black cherry, and vanilla on the attack, fading and adding tobacco and tomato on the mid-palate. This is varietally spot-on and pleasant, a red wine that will not overpower, but complement, lamb shanks, a traditional Passover option. Highly recommended (90).
209 Hagafen Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon
Blackcurrant and vanilla are on the nose. Blackcurrant dominates the attack, getting sweeter with vanilla on the mid-palate. Tannins are firm and slightly dusty. The finish is lingering and sweet. Rich and full-bodied, this is a good wine for brisket, the traditional main course of the Passover meal. Recommended (89).