Passover Wines Not To Be Passed Over

While the food at a seder can be spectacular, the kosher wine served along with it — and wine is a “mandated” part of the meal — can be (and often was) undrinkable.  The Passover wine that I remember was as thick as motor oil and as sweet as syrup.  For sure, it did nothing to enhance the holiday brisket and worse, because even kids sometimes get a sip of wine at the seder, it probably made teetotalers out of potential mavens. 

Imagine how much more delicious seders would have been with great wines to go with the meals cooks spend days preparing.  Enter Jeff and Jodie Morgan and their wines, Covenant and Red C.

I ran into Jeff and Jodie (pictured above on their porch) when I was in Napa in January and I was so happy to meet Jodie and to catch up with Jeff after many years.  I’d known Jeff in New York in the late ’80s, when he was writing about wine and working on the Dean & DeLuca Cookbook.  Shortly after we met, he and Jodie moved to San Francisco and Jeff became a member of the Wine Spectator‘s prestigious (and feared) tasting panel.  A few years later, Jeff went from judging wines to making them:  He and Jodie founded SoloRosa and just about single-handedly put quality rose on connoisseurs’ radar.

I guess I didn’t know Jeff well enough in the “old days” to know that he was such a fighter, but clearly the guy can’t let a challenge go unmet, which would be the only way to explain his deciding to make kosher wine, probably the least respected type of wine in winedom.  I bet the Baron de Rothschild of legendary Chateau Lafite, who also makes kosher wine, was happy to have Jeff enter the ring.  It can be lonely at the top and now Jeff and his wines are at the top, too.

Convenant and Red C, both Napa cabernet sauvignons, have gotten consistently high rankings from the uber-guru of wines, Robert Parker.  The latest Red C vintage got an 89-90 rating, while Parker gave Covenant a whopping 90 – 92 and said, “Jeff Morgan continues to make one of the finest kosher wines on Planet Earth.” 

Of course, like so many good Napa wines, Covenant and Red C are expensive ($90 and $42 respectively), but Passover comes only once a year and if, when you pour a glass of wine for the angel Elijah, as tradition demands,  this turns out to be the year he actually shows up to drink it, wouldn’t you want to have a great wine waiting for him?

Dorie Greenspan