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Matzo Balls and Cabernet? Israeli Wine Tasting at Pourtal + Fun Hanukkah Pairings

With only two nights left to fire up the menorah, you might find yourself in a kitchen filled with Hanukkah leftovers. Maybe your last minute soirée could use an alcohol spike? Last night's Israeli kosher Yarden wine tasting at Pourtal Wine Tasting Bar featured four wines, two reds and two whites that paired well with their house-made hummus and pita. But can you throw latkes, brisket, rugelach, and even bagels with lox into the mix? "Why not?" says Yarden regional sales manager William Mendel. "The 2008 Golan Moscato goes very well with potato latkes." The sweet white wine (sold at Pourtal) might go well with latkes, but what about with something more substantial?

Mendel suggests the 2006 Yarden Cabernet for brisket, heavy meats and chocolate cake. The wines, ranging from $12-$15, featured in last night's Cradle of Wine tour tasting, highlighting the ancient and modern birthplaces of wine, can be found at Cost Plus World Markets, local Kosher markets including Glatt Mart, and Costco during the holidays. "What's better than latkes and wine?" says Pourtal host Matthew Cohen.

William Mendel

Celia SoudryWilliam Mendel

Pourtal Wine Tasting Bar: 104 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 393-7693.

What's the difference between kosher and non-kosher wines, some patrons ask Mendel. Kosher wine is a process that starts in the vineyards and is overseen by rabbis the whole way through, explains Mendel. Only grapes can grow on the rows of the vines, no other fruits and vegetables. "Kosher tools and storage facilities. No foreign objects can remain in the equipment." Most importantly "Only religious Jews, kashrut supervisors, can come in contact with the wine during the wine making process."

2008 Golan Mascato

Celia Soudry2008 Golan Mascato

Hummus and roasted pepper dip at Pourtal

Celia SoudryHummus and roasted pepper dip at Pourtal