01 Nov Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Covenant Israel 2018 Syrah
As another week filled with news of tragedy passed, I have been consumed with fear and uncertainty. While I feel helpless in many ways, I plead for the release of the 240+ Israeli hostages and I pray for all the innocent women and children. As I thought about what wine I wanted to enjoy this week, I thought of Covenant Wines, a winery that makes wine in both California and Israel. A “Covenant” connotes a strong connection between those who share common history, experience, and values. So, in solidarity with the people of Israel, I opened the Covenant Israel 2018 Syrah, the Please The Palate wine of the week.
About Covenant Wines Israel
Covenant Wines is an urban winery based in Berkeley, California, that was founded in 2003 by Jeff Morgan and Leslie Rudd. It was after tasting an Israeli wine together that Leslie Rudd challenged Jeff to make a kosher wine from Napa Valley that would be as good as non-kosher wines from the region. And he did just that. Covenant sources grapes from top vineyards across California.
Then, more than two decades ago, Jeff visited Israel and was impressed with a wine he tasted. He saw the potential of Israeli wine. In 2013, he started making wine in Israel, sourcing grapes from the Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. Today Covenant produces three Israeli wines, in addition to their California wines.
The Covenant Israel Syrah is a blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The majority of the grapes come from the biodynamically farmed vineyard Tzivon in the Upper Galilee. Grapes also come from the sustainably farmed Tel Faris in Golan Heights. The grapes are fermented with native yeasts and aged for 18 months in French oak (40% new).
On the nose, the wine has rich fruit aromas of ripe cherries, raspberry, and blackberry. There are also spice, chocolate, licorice, and herbal notes. On the palate, the wine is elegant and balanced with firm tannins and good acidity. The wine lingers on the palate with a long finish. With each sip, I was able to take a deeper and deeper breath and relax.
Syrah is one of the friendliest food wines. With its spicy, fruity, and bold profile, Syrah pairs well with foods that are also robust and flavorful. Enjoy Syrah, especially this Covenant Syrah with lamb chops, roasted lamb, steak, and portobello mushrooms. Or try one of the receipts in Jeff and his wife Jodie’s eighth cookbook “The Covenant Kitchen: Food and Wine for the New Jewish Table”. I would suggest the Truffled Macaroni and Cheese, Apple-Stuffed Rosemary Roast Chicken with New Potatoes, Korean-Style Flanken with Asian Slaw and Red Potato Salad, or Braised Beef Short Ribs with Root Vegetables and Garlic Confit Mashed Potatoes. Time to get cooking!
Where To Purchase
The Covenant Wines Israel 2018 Syrah retails for $75. It is available in top wine retailers, as well as directly from the winery at Covenant Wines.com.
Meet Owner Jeff Morgan
Meet owner and winemaker Jeff Morgan and listen to his story on the Wine Soundtrack podcast.
Read about the Covenant Wines 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, a previous Please The Palate wine of the week.