Diary of a Happy Wine Woman- Part 2

And so we continue our quest through Napa. Part 2 of 2.

Covenant Logo, Courtesy http://www.covenantwines.com

COVENANT WINES

The Aussie told me that we were going to meet a fellow kosher wine maker who resides in the Napa Valley for lunch and a tasting. He was thrilled to be meeting him, as The Morgans are part of a very small and unique group of Kosher winemakers. They have been in the business for several years and their friendliness and wine acumen was apparent within minutes of meeting this special family.

As a third-party observer, and non-Jewish participant, I found the experience educational, fun and delicious. The Morgan’s home is well over one-hundred years old, and has all the quirky wine-countryness one could imagine. Even the chicken coop out back with fluffy hens doesn’t fail to disappoint in the charm department.

We sat down to lunch with the whole Morgan family- co-owners and husband/wife team of Jeff and Jodie Morgan and their two lovely daughters. Lunch was paired with wines from Convenant- along with stories from Jeff… and quite humorously peppered with the family’s side comments.

We tried two wines from the Covenant collection. As you recall in Part 1, I am a happy wine woman of few and pithy descriptions. Which, I actually feel a bit bad about in this particular review, considering Mr. Morgan is quite an established and respected wine writer and cookbook author. So, with that warning now in place… the wines we tasted from my point of view:

Covenant Cabernet – easy, soft tannins (of which I am fond), delicious!

Covenant Chardonnay Lavan – light, and a touch of citrus sweetness that I did not expect in a chard.I don’t always enjoy chardonnay, but I found this to be delightful… much like the winemakers themselves.

HARKHAM WINDARRA

And to wrap up my wine tasting write-up… we have the winemaker/travel buddy himself… the Aussie. The Aussie brought along two wines for the Morgans to taste as well with lunch.

What is very different and interesting about the Aussie’s wines is that while his wines are Kosher, they are also Preservative Free- meaning, NO SULFITES added. The entire time I had spent with the Aussie in Thailand and the US, I had never tried his wines, until now.

Aziza’s Chardonnay 2011 Preservative Free

I was very surprised by the color/clarity of the wine, it was a darker, almost apple juice-type color. That color was a foreshadowing of the wine’s purity. You can taste differences in a wine that appears to be showcasing the actual grape/s. Aussie explained that the wines are unfiltered and pressed lovingly as whole bunches. The chardonnay was soft, gentle and felt almost- alive? And I quite enjoyed having it with my asparagus spears at lunch.

Aziza’s Shiraz 2011 Preservative Free

Another soft tannin wine, which I am really learning to appreciate. Aussie told me that he finds American wines to be quite a bit more tannic than their worldly counterparts- to which I had never noticed, until this trip. The wine appears to open up quite well over time and I found it to be a smooth operator, strikingly similar to the wine’s Managing Owner.

I left that lunch knowing more about Judaism, Kosher winemaking, and writing than I had ever learned in a lifetime. What a great mind-opening experience.

S&M VINEYARDS

Photo, Courtesy of Shannon’s Friend on FB. S&M Vineyard, Napa, 2012.

Finally, the wedding. The whole purpose of my trip.

The wedding was gorgeous and took place on a private vineyard in Napa. The crowd was fun, lively and quite entertaining.

When I was originally invited, the invitation read, “And guest” as I had a boyfriend at the time. We had since broken up and I was nervous about going up to Napa alone for a wedding where I knew the bride, groom, and perhaps one other couple. I asked if I could bring a friend, and they said yes. Yvo, was then slated to come with – as she lived in SF and would be a great buddy along for the ride. About a week before, she said she couldn’t make it. Enter Aussie.

I figured since Aussie wanted to explore this holiday, and he was a winemaker, he might enjoy a trip to Napa- but I also knew his charisma and easygoing nature would be the perfect pairing with this crowd. And I was right, he was a great wedding date, but when on his own, met fun new people as well, while I did the same. It was exactly the right balance.

And I think that was the overall theme of the trip… balance. Whether in the wines,  yoga, or life- balance and harmony for me equals a lot of fun, life-expanding opportunities and a lot of great memories.

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