Covenant Lavan Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay (OU Kosher) 2014
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A trip to the Galilee and Golan Heights in 2011 inspired California winemaker Jeff Morgan to make wine In Israel. He named his Israeli wine project, Covenant Israel, after his California winery—Covenant. The soils in Israel reminded him of the Napa Valley, where he produces a renowned Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as the Rhone Valley, the home of such classic varieties as Syrah and Viognier. Jeff teamed up with American/Israeli winemaker friend Ari Erle in 2013 to make the first vintage of Covenant Israel Syrah. Jeff met Ari in Napa Valley circa 2008, when Ari was working for such renowned Napa wineries as Colgin and O’Shaughnessy. When Ari moved back to Israel a few years later, the two Winemakers hatched the Covenant Israel plan together. Covenant Israel has been widely acclaimed in the media and among wine aficionados. It is currently the only Israeli wine found on the wine list at Napa Valley’s famous French Laundry. But Covenant’s Israeli Wines can also be enjoyed all over the world—from Israel to Europe and America and even in Japan and Taiwan. Jeff likes to say that Israel is where winemaking began. And so, it makes perfect sense for this California winemaker to have found his way back to his roots.
Defined more by altitude than geographical outline, the Sonoma Mountain appellation occupies elevations between 400 and 1,200 feet on the northern and eastern slopes of the actual Sonoma Mountain and is part of the greater Sonoma Valley appellation. The mountain reaches 2,400 feet; its hills separate the cooling winds of Petaluma Gap from the Sonoma Valley.
On a cooler western flank, Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Syrah enjoy a great deal of success. Vineyards on its warmer, eastern side, interspersed with heavily forested areas, tend to include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, and Syrah. Given its complexity of topography and mesoclimates, Sonoma Mountain excels with a wide range of grape varieties.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.