By Takaki Kodama
Have you ever tried kosher? Are you wondering where to buy kosher wine in Japan? Here are five points to enlighten you on these world-class grapes from Israel and where to get your hands on this amazing kosher wine in Japan.
1. What is kosher wine?
Kosher wine is produced per Jewish dietary laws, also known as kashrut. It demands that all ingredients used in the winemaking process, including finings, be kosher. A rabbi must supervise the process itself and the equipment used also requires rabbinical certification. From the grape vines to the bottling, wine can only be considered kosher if it is handled by Sabbath-observant Jews. This ancient and effective quality control process results in an unadulterated wine produced in a consistent manner with the flavour and character left intact.
2. Is kosher wine in Japan also vegan friendly?
During the wine making process, finings are added so that suspended particles in the wine such as, protein, yeast and other organic particles can be collected and removed from the fermented liquid. Finings used in the production of non-kosher wines are often made from animal products such as gelatine or casein, which makes most wine neither vegetarian nor vegan friendly.
Kosher wine forbids the use of these finings inadvertently making most kosher wines vegan friendly. HealthyTokyo carries a variety of kosher vegan wines for purchase in Japan.
It must be noted that some kosher wine may use isinglass derived from fish bladders for finings, making products produced in this manner unsuitable for Vegans.
3. Where does kosher wine in Japan come from?
The land of Israel has been producing wine since biblical times and has therefore all but mastered the art of creating wine. Israel remains the largest producer and exporter of kosher wine. There are some other producers of kosher wines outside of Israel.
4. Who produces kosher wine in Japan?
There are a number of wineries that specialize in kosher wine around the world, however kosher wine in Japan is not easy to come by. HealthyTokyo carries a large selection of fine kosher wines in Japan from Dalton Winery and Barkan Winery.
The Dalton winery
Mat and Alex Haruni in the Galilee region of Israel founded the Dalton Winery in 1995. This area is well suited to growing grapes. The Galilee region of Israel sits at a high elevation of between 650-900 meters above sea level. The Dalton Winery also sees abundant rainfall and sunshine for most of the year. The soil boasts a rich combination of heavy basalt and limestone, providing the perfect terroir for Dalton grapes.
The chief winemaker is Na’ama Sorkin has been with Dalton since 2002. He plays a crucial role in the creation of every bottle of Dalton wine as he alone decides when to harvest the grapes. The Dalton winery produces various wines totalling around one million bottles annually.
Estate Chardonnay is a vegan friendly, kosher white wine. It is fruity with a well-balanced acidity, containing high notes of tropical and citrus flavours, especially that of peaches and apricots. This wine goes very well with fish, or cream-based pastas.
Dalton’s Alma Scarlet is a vegan friendly, kosher red wine. It is a blend of Shiraz, Mourvedre and Grenach wines, bringing forth a new dimension to Dalton’s selection of wines. It has a rich, earthy flavour with a hint of liquorice and a floral undertone. The silky finish pairs perfectly with a stew or winter casserole.
The Dalton winery also produces liqueurs, although in very limited quantities. Anna is a vegan friendly, kosher Muscat liqueur created using the traditional solera method. Anna has a deep aroma of dried flowers and apricots with a hint of citrus zest. The palate is rich with a creamy finish, it the ideal accompaniment to a dessert or a cheese platter.
The Barkan winery
The Barkan Winery was created at the end of the 19th century in Israel and now occupies nearly 2500 acres of land, with every acre used to create the highest quality wines.
The Barkan Winery competes on an international scale, having won more than 200 medals from around the world, including France, the UK, Canada and of course Israel. In fact, Barkan wines won the most gold and double gold medals in international competitions from 2008-2016, establishing their position as one of the best wine makers in the world.
Although this feat is born from the cumulative effort of the entire Barkan Winery team, head winemaker Ido Lewinsohn was no doubt a large contributor to this accomplishment.
The Barkan Winery produces not only regular wine but also reserve and special reserve varieties of each wine, when appropriate. The kosher Merlot Reserve is a flavourful and aromatic red wine, with fruity notes from cherries and plums, to richer notes such as mint and chocolate.
5. What is a reserve wine?
When a wine is labelled as reserve, it means it is a higher quality wine or has been aged. Originally, wineries would reserve their best wines rather than sell them immediately after production, popularizing the term.
If you would like to try a kosher wine, then feel free to browse our selection here on the HealthyTokyo online shop. If there is any additional information you would like to share with us about kosher wine, or have any questions regarding our selection, please leave a comment below.