“In vino veritas” is one of the most famous sayings in Latin, but the Talmud said it first over 1500 years ago:
When wine enters, out come the secrets.
What is not a secret
Jews and Italians have many similarities when it comes to family values and with all the food and wine.... this is really where the cultures meet up. After all, most Italian families drink wine with their festive meals and the same is absolutely true for Jews.
Many countries have been producing kosher wine and Italy is certainly participating in this exciting world, bringing the finest Italian wines to the kosher market.
Tuscany is by far one of the most noteworthy regions for winemaking in Italy and in the world and a recent visit to the Cignozza Winery, just outside Chianciano Terme, helped me understand why the wines were nothing short of outstanding and the scenery literally took my breath away!
What is still a secret
The Del Buono family has been making wine for close to 500 years. Authentically Tuscan, the family has lived for many generations in this natural treasure, an extremely privileged oasis for grape cultivation. Located on the hills that divide the Val d’Orcia from the Val di Chiana just South of Siena, the actual family winery called La Cignozza was modernized and rebuilt brick by brick in 1961 and enjoys the grapes of about 40,000 vines in the Colle Senesi (hills of Siena just a few km from Montalcino) in the heart of Chianti in the infamous Tuscan wine country.
The winery has a capacity of about 70,000 liters with many opportunities for expansion and new vineyards are in the process of being nurtured.
The 2021 yield was not to be believed! Tuscany suffered a drought which forced the vines to produce more clusters than usual although bearing smaller grapes. The result was a much more laborious harvest with the grapes producing a decisively more intense and aromatic flavor. Kosher wine tastings are available all year round with future plans for a small farm-to-table kosher restaurant as well as 5-star accommodations.
The 2021 kosher production consists of six different wines, three of which are ready to drink now and are available to be tasted at the Ba Ghetto restaurants in Rome, Florence and Milan and will be available shortly in the United States and Canada.
The other three red wines that will be available in the coming years as they have put the wines in barriques to age. I was fortunate to taste 3 new kosher wines that will shortly be available at your favorite kosher wine shop. Each wine is an experience of its own – a true symphony of flavors which linger until the next sip.
Il Fior Toscano – The Tuscan Flower
A delicious white wine made of Vermentino Toscano and small percentages of Trebbiano and Grechetto grapes which give the wine a perfect balance in structure and acidity. Hints of green apple, white flower and a touch of banana, the mouth is wide and lively and supported by a pleasant mineral trail with a clean and intense finish. Best served at: 10–12 °C / 50-55 °F, 12.5% vol.
Il Timido – The Timid one
Superior rosé wine made of Ciliegiolo and Sangiovese grapes. Both grape varieties are hand-selected prior to full maturation, thereby expressing the bounty of Tuscany's most traditional flavors while maintaining a brilliant rosé colour and perfect acidic equilibrium. With a refined nose of cherry, strawberry and red berries, the sip is smooth and savory with good freshness on the palate and a pleasant and persistent finish. Best served at: 10–12 °C / 50-55 °F, 13% vol.
Il Generoso – The Generous one
A luscious red wine made of Sangiovese and small percentages of Canaiolo and Ciliegiolo grapes. An intense and lively color, offering a rich and complex bouquet of ripe red fruit, blueberry, cherry and wildberry, accompanied by light spicy notes of vanilla. This wine is elegantly powerful while remaining generously soft on the palate with perfectly balanced tannins. It has a rich and engaging sip with fine persistence. Best served at: 18– 20 °C / 65-68 °F, 13.5% vol.
Simple and genuine, the La Cignozza winery reflects the family character and personality in its wines. Today it is Roberto Del Buono who leads the family estate and winery. Along with a passion that has lead him to expertise in the winemaking and aging sector, he is dedicated to exploring new markets without ever sacrificing the natural and spectacular personalities of his wines.
It is he, together with his father Alvaro and partner David Walden, that takes care of the vineyards and are the faces of the winery. This collaboration is made of true dedication to give fruit to and pass on the true passion of those who know how much work is in every glass of wine that is raised to toast and share a moment.
Kosher wine is simply about commemoration. While many “drink to forget,” kosher wine is always associated with blessing and remembrance, especially of the six days of creation and exodus from Egyptian slavery. So drink to remember and never forget!
With the contribution of Robert Del Buono and David Walden.