by Fred McMillin
for December 24, 1997

Happy Hanukkah


  • The forces of Syrian Emperor Antiochus Epiphanes in Jerusalem had substituted idol worship for the worship of One God and had desecrated the town's temple. Hanukkah, meaning "dedication," is a feast that celebrates the 165 B.C. defeat of the Syrians by Judah the Maccabee. The temple was cleansed, made suitable for the worship of God, and Jewish religious freedom was re-established.

    ...W.F.R., The World Book

  • The Chardonnay is a particularly ancient vine variety, nurtured originally by the Syrians and the Lebanese.

    ...J.R., Vines, Grapes and Wines

The Rest of the Story: So, what wine to serve at the Hanukkah feast? A kosher Chardonnay, of course...and we have a good, affordable one. It's the Baron Herzog 1996 Chardonnay for $11.99.

The Wine:
1996 Baron Herzog Chardonnay
Grape Sources—Half cool Russian River, half warmer inland sources, providing nice range of flavors. Added fruit from 11% award-winning Clarksburg Chenin Blanc.
Food Affinities—Winemaker Peter Stern has been careful to avoid any excesses, so this Chardonnay supports, not dominates, a meal. Suitable for any Hanukkah menu.
Contact—Kimberly Griff, (415) 346-2929

Postscript: Not so long ago a Herzog Chardonnay won a gold at the Taster's Guild International competition. Such triumphs are nothing new. E.g., over a century ago, Emperor Franz Joseph liked the original Herzog European wines so well he bestowed the title of Baron on the head of the winery.

Note: For more about the winery, see the August 29, 1997 WineDay titled "The Emperor's Choice."

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf

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