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Kosher wine evolves from cheap to collectible

MICHELLE LOCKE
The Associated Press
Modified: March 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm •  Published: March 12, 2013
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/articleid/3765165/1/pictures/1979960">Photo - This undated publicity photo provided by courtesy of Covenant Wines shows winemaker, Jeff Morgan, sampling Solomon grapes in the Covenant Wines vineyard in Napa Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Courtesy Covenant Wines)
This undated publicity photo provided by courtesy of Covenant Wines shows winemaker, Jeff Morgan, sampling Solomon grapes in the Covenant Wines vineyard in Napa Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Courtesy Covenant Wines)

Even that's a big leap from the old-school kosher wines that go for under $7 a bottle.

When he started making Covenant wines a decade ago, Morgan was confident he could make great wine that was kosher, "but I didn't know that our wines would be so well received in both the Jewish world and the non-Jewish world. That has been very gratifying because it's nice to know that the whole world realizes that kosher wine can also just be great wine."

Morgan didn't just have to win over outsiders. Even though Rudd was a huge supporter of the project, it took six years before he began putting grapes from his very high-end Rudd vineyards into the wines. Those grapes now go into Covenant's Solomon Lot 70 cabernet, which refers to Rudd's Hebrew name. The wine is made in very limited quantities and costs $150 a bottle.

Other premium kosher wines include Herzog, which in addition to a wide line of affordable bottles has a limited edition Generation VIII Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa's famous To Kalon vineyard that goes for close to $200 a bottle.

Bernstein has one wine, the 2003 Chateau de Valandraud kosher wine from the Bordeaux region of France that fetches as much as $500 a bottle.

Passover begins at sundown March 25 this year and for the four cups of wine served at the Passover seder (the special dinner that begins the holiday), Morgan will be serving different vintages of Covenant wine. His family also will be enjoying other kosher wines.

Bernstein, who remembers a lot of seders where the wine was sweet and bubbly and just something you drank to be done with, has introduced his family to premium kosher wines. And that has changed their approach to it. "They're not just looking to get by with four cups of wine, they're looking to get good wine for those four cups."

For more kosher wine options, master sommelier Richard Betts has these suggestions:

FROM FRANCE:

— Chateau Giraud Sauternes, Kosher Edition

— Chateau Pontet-Canet, Pauillac, Kosher Edition

— Laurent-Perrier, Champagne Brut NV Kosher Version

FROM ISRAEL:

— Castel, Grand Vin Castel

— Recanati Wild Carignan Reserve

— Yarden Merlot

FROM THE U.S.:

— Prix Vineyards Reserve Syrah

FROM SPAIN:

— Elvi Wines EL26 Priorat


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