Photo Credit: Courtesy: Golan Heights Winery

We have a multiple three day Yom Tovim in front of us, for those that live in the Diaspora. What to serve, when to make it and how to juggle all the preparations, is a major mission. Especially if you have guests coming, you want to make sure that every detail is perfect.

Wine is part of the meal many hosts forget to plan. But getting the wine ‘right’ can be the perfect finishing touch to a delicious meal. We talked to Israeli wine expert, Yael Gai from the Golan Heights Winery to get the insider scoop on serving wine for the holiday period.

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Before the meal:
Wine needs to be at the correct temperature. This means just as you plan when to cook or heat up your food on yom tov, you also need to plan ahead for your wine. Ideally white wines should be placed in the refrigerator the night before you plan to serve them to make sure they are at the correct chilled temperature. Gai cautioned readers, “The day before is also the right time to check you have ice ready to put in ice bucket to leave white wines in during the meal.”

Many of us know that red wines should be opened 2-3 hours before the meal. But not everyone knows that rule also applies to full body & aged white wines. Gai gave further advice, “Pour out a little wine from the bottle, maybe a quarter to a third of a glass. This gives the wine more space to breath and brings out the full flavor.” In wine terminology, this is called ‘lowering the shoulders.’

During the meal:
Ever wondered why some wine glasses are so big? Gai gave us the answer, To give your wine more room to reach the air. She suggests that during the meal you only fill wine glasses half or even a third full to have the best wine drinking experience. “If you want to drink more than half a glass, just keep adding more in!” She quipped. This is true for red wines, but even more important for whites, since the new wine added will be cooler than that already in your glass and lower the overall temperature.

After the meal:
How many bottles of wine to open can be a hard part of Yom Tov planning. You don’t want to waste anything but some of the family like red and others white, or maybe the guests won’t drink as much as you expected. One of the advantages of a 3 day Yom Tov is that it actually makes serving a mixture of wines even easier. Gai explained that most bottles of quality wine will last opened for 3 days, as long as you put the cork back in, and stores whites in the fridge or reds in a cool dark place.

This is the biggest difference between buying cheaper wines verses quality wines. “You don’t actually save money buying low quality wines. A quality bottle of wine actually gives you better value for money. If you buy something mid-range like a Gamla Cabernet Sauvignon or even the very affordable Mount Hermon red, you will be able to drink them for the entire Yom Tov.” She added that some complex red wines (like Yarden Petit Verdot or Galil Mountain Yiftah) might actually taste better the day after you open them.

Getting the wine right is the perfect finishing touch to any holiday meal. With the right care, you will be able to get the most out of your wine choices for the 3 day Yom Tov. Now all you have to do is choose which wine you’ll open to help you through the process of cooking all that food!

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