Last night I had the pleasure of meeting the owners of Terra di Seta, the only 100% Kosher winery in Italy and perhaps in Europe. The choice means that much of the wine produced will be exported because Italy has such a small Jewish population, around 40,000 people.
It was an interesting blend of cultures and wines as well as much food. I was delighted to see the intrepid Italian Consul General Francesco Maria Talo’ attended the event and spent a considerable amount of time with the owners of this unique winery. I thought that was amazing actually to see an Italian official present at this event.
Back to the wine, Daniele Della Seta and his wife, Maria Pellegrini have owned this winery in the Chianti Classico DOCG region at 1,574 feet above sea level. Together with the winery, they have what seems to be a beautiful Bed and Breakfast or agriturismo. Le Macie. Della Seta comes from an ancient Roman family while Pellegrini is a Toscana DOC, or Tuscan born and bred from the Grosseto area.
They make two wines currently, a Chianti Classico DOCG and a Toscana IGT on 15 hectares.
The Chianti Classico DOCG 2008 is made from sangiovese with a hint of Cabernet sauvignon. It was fresh, fruity and acidic as sangiovese should be. This is their first vintage and I am sure that the future holds much promise for their wines.
According to Della Seta, the winery is “obsessed with hygiene” and they are organically certified in Italy and in Europe. The wine maker is Enrico Paternoster from the Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige.
The wines are 100% Kosher but not Mevushal. For those who have no idea what that means, neither did I until recently, it is a pasteurization technique that some Kosher wines undergo but not all of them.
The production of Kosher wines entails a number of things including that the equipment and machinery used to make the wine must be used exclusively for the production of kosher products. From grape crushing to the sealing of the bottles, only Sabbath observant Jews may physically handle the grapes, production equipment and wine. Only certified kosher products (yeast, filtering agents, etc) may be used in processing.
Kosher wines are subject to very stringent filtration procedures and no foreign substance may be used and no artificial coloring or preservatives may be used at all.
It seems more complicated than it is at times but what it does do is often add to the price of the wines. I’m not sure what this Chianti retails for but I am happy to see another Chianti on the market and a good one at that. I rarely buy Kosher wine because I am not observant but I do drink it on passover and like to be able to recommend good kosher wine to friends. Now I have another one to add to my list. Meno o male….Salute!