Friday, October 19, 2018

Kosher Viognier From Israel

The Covenant wine label grew because two Napa Valley vintners wondered why they couldn't make a great kosher wine in the homeland of the Jewish people.  Turns out, they could.

Co-owners Jeff Morgan and Leslie Rudd were inspired by the many Israeli wineries and the terroir of the Galilee and Golan Heights. The landscape reportedly reminded them of both California and France's Rhône Valley.  Unfortunately, Mr. Rudd passed away this past May after a battle with cancer at the age of 76.

Covenant started out as a California wine, made in the cellars of Herzog Winery.  It was in 2013 that Morgan and Rudd decided to more fully embrace their Jewish roots and expand to Israel.  Neither had been an observant Jew when they got started in the winemaking business.

The winery explains kosher wine by saying that "all wine is kosher. But because kosher wine is also a beverage used to sanctify the Sabbath and other holidays, it can only be handled in the cellar by Sabbath-observant Jews."  The Covenant wines fit the bill.  They are produced under rabbinical oversight.

Viognier is one of the premiere white grapes of France's Rhone Valley, and it is also at home in the hills of the northern Galilee.  This wine is sourced solely from the Manara Vineyard.  It is made in a lighter style, and shows just light spice notes and restrained alcohol at 13.6% abv.

The 2017 Covenant Israel Blue C Viognier's pretty nose shows floral and mineral notes, with a lovely blast of mango and tangerine in the middle.  The acidity is bright and fresh, but not strong enough to rip one's taste buds out by the roots.  It's a weighty wine, with flavors staying along the mineral and citrus backbone.  The finish is medium and pleasant.

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