Have you ever had a Kosher wine? That’s also organic? And a Malbec from Argentina? I’ve had all of these – but not all in the same wine. So when I was offered this unique wine to try I jumped on it! I will share my tasting notes at the end of this article, but first let me share some of the details on this “dual status” wine with some sections I’ve put in bold I found interesting and want you to take notice of:
The debut 2021 vintage of Alavida Malbec (SRP $19), new from Origins Organic Import, is Argentina’s first USDA-certified organic and kosher wine. Alavida is one of few wines worldwide to achieve this unusual dual status. Alavida is also vegan, gluten-fee, and Ecocert-approved…
The Alavida name is a riff on “A la vida!” Spanish for “To life!” itself a riff on the traditional Hebrew toast “L’chaim!” Origins Organic is owned by husband-and-wife team Labid al Ameri and Anne Bousquet. “Argentina is a nation rich in diversity, and our own multi-cultural family has been making certified organic wines in Argentina since 1997,” al Ameri observes.
Of necessity, fruit for Alavida must be of exceptional quality, with good concentration, and balance of acidity (a natural preservative). Why? Because USDA regulations prohibit the addition of sulfites (SO2) in winemaking. Sulfites are commonly used as a form of preservative or to help conceal natural flaws.
The new wine hails from high-altitude vineyards in the Uco Valley, an area identified with a growing number of the Mendoza region’s finest quality wines. Grapes grow at 4,000+ feet in the Andes foothills, where daily temperature swings of up to 60° F deliver more sugar (hot days) and more acid (cold nights). By omitting SO2, characteristics associated with the Uco Valley’s high-altitude, cool-climate terroir are heightened and enhanced. Purity of fruit, aroma, flavors, and freshness become even more apparent.
The winemaking process for Alavida is almost identical to that used in making a non-kosher wine, with two exceptions. Ingredients such as yeast must be kosher, and the wine physically made by a Sabbath-observant Jewish team under the supervision of a rabbi. For Alavida that means double the number of people involved: a Jewish team member to handle grapes and wine, paired with a home team member standing alongside and directing. For Alavida, that entailed five duos! Winemaker Rodrigo Serrano gave the work orders; his Jewish counterparts executed them.
Once the truck filled with grapes arrived at the winery, the Jewish team took the grapes from the truck, used the forklift, pressed the on/off button at the sorting table, and so on. Though the visiting team members were experienced winemakers, they had never worked at this quality level. At the end of each day, everything was locked by the rabbi. If winemaker Serrano wanted to take a sample, he could not do so. Indeed, if a non-Jewish person were to stumble and accidentally touch a tank, the wine is no longer kosher – representing a potential loss of 4,700 liters of wine! At the end of the process, the rabbi pronounced Alavida the best kosher wine he had ever tasted!
Alavida Kosher Malbec 2021 — Technical Data
Residual Sugar: 1.52
Alavida Kosher Malbec from Origins Organic Imports / SRP $19
Now available DC, DE, CA, CT, FL, IL, MD, ME, NJ, VT, and WA
Plus NY and OR, effective April 1.
Eve’s Tasting Notes
Starting off with a deep burgundy to purple in color, completely opaque, with just a slightly lighter edge that sparkles, inviting. On the nose I experienced aromas of plum, raspberry, dark chocolate, grilled mushroom, green peppercorn, earth, ash and coffee. The taste reminded me of dried red fruit, as well as ripe strawberry and red currant, bright and lively, with gripping tannins, no annoying acidity, a long finish and well balanced. Very interesting indeed. If I saw this in a shop I would buy it, a steal for $19.
About Origins Organic Imports: Miami-based Origins Organic Imports is owned and run by husband-and-wife team Labid Ameri and Anne Bousquet, also the owners of Argentina’s leading producer and exporter of certified-organic wines. With Origins Organic, Ameri and Bousquet are dedicated to introducing U.S. consumers to a growing roster of well-priced, high-quality certified-organic offerings from around the world, in addition to those from their own estate.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.