Growing up, my attendance at Passover seders was spotty at best, not for any lack of cajoling or even demands on my mother's part. I suppose we hadn't ever gone regularly enough for it to feel like a family tradition, so despite all the usual methods used to make it tolerable for kids, I found the whole thing interminable. Despite being a poor-excuse-for-a-Jew, I do have fond memories of my few encounters with Manischewitz. With just the right combination of verboten and high sugar content (especially for a hippie kid that didn't get much sugar at a young age) it was certainly the high point of the few seders I did go to.
After a long time, and with a palate now spoiled by a burgeoning interest in wine, I tried everyone's favorite Passover drink again, and found it, well, vile. Which is why I was amused and quite enchanted to hear it both referred to as the 11th plague, as well as its origins so nicely researched in this piece in the Atlantic.
Despite the nostalgia and tradition behind it, as someone who loves wine, and more importantly good wine, I do have to urge you to move on, however, tradition be damned. There is plenty of decent kosher wine out there, as I wrote a couple of years ago for Epicurious.
There is even some truly stellar kosher wine out there, if you can manage to buy some before the gentiles scoop it all up.
Of course, if you want to look at your yearly four glass dose of concord grape syrup as yet another symbol of our people's suffering, that's your prerogative. But life is too short to drink bad wine, no matter how much it reminds you of childhood.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Acid Freaks Unite: Highlights From the 2015 IPOB Tasting Vinography Images: A Brief Oasis Going Dry In California Off to Taste Champagne! Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 5, 2015 Vinography Images: The Color of Spring Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 29, 2015 Vinography Images: Waves of Vines Tempranillo (and Gang) TAPAS Tasting: April 26, San Francisco A Man, An Island, and a Bottle of Grüner: The Wines of Rudi Pichler
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune