Covenant Chardonnay Lavan 2009

REVIEW BY DANIEL ROGOV
Author and Wine Critic
Israel

Covenant Chardonnay "Lavan" Napa Valley 2009: Glistening gold in color, full-bodied and mouth-filling, showing notes of spicy oak and vanilla set off by fine balancing acidity. On the nose and palate white peaches, Anjou pears and figs with hints of citrus peel and cloves that come in on the long finish. Drink now-2016. Score 90.

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Covenant Chardonnay "Lavan" Napa Valley 2009

Jeff Morgan is rightly proud of his Lavan ("white," in Hebrew), an unfiltered, full-bodied white wine with a fine blend of mineral, stone fruit, toast, vanilla, and citrus flavors. "It's barrel-fermented for richness and complexity," he says, "and it's got bright acidity and can stand up to all sorts of rich dishes. But it also has enough elegance to pair well with light-textured seafood and soups."

This chardonnay is an olive branch between toast-loving and pure-fruit-driven chardonnay drinkers. The nose on the 2009 Covenant Chardonnay Lavan ($38) shows toasty richness along with its fresh apple and pear fruit. Take a sip and you drink in lots of citrus — tangerine, lemon, lime — with the rich red apple flavors on the palate. There is a touch of oak spice on the finish.

Covenant is made by two vintners intricately woven into the Napa Valley wine industry, Jeff Morgan and Leslie Rudd. Yet this wine is less about its famous vintners and all about the creation of a great wine — a wine that just happens to be kosher.

Covenant is made in the same way any fine wine is made today. Although the producers can’t use certain yeasts and a number of non-kosher items to make their wine, that all seems irrelevant when you taste the wine. It is just a great wine.

It is relevant, however, to the Sabbath-observant Jewish community. This is a kosher wine, but it is non-mevushal. For more information on kosher and mevushal wine, visit covenantwines.com. For those celebrating Easter, this is a perfect wine to serve for a diverse group of guests on Easter Sunday.

92 Points

A sophisticated Chardonnay that has both power and charm. Light gold in color with a nose of peach and vanilla notes against a floral background. Refreshing notes of peach and pear on the palate mixed with pockets of oak and spice. Full bodied with bright acidity and long spicy finish. Still a bit on the young side and will improve with age.

Yossie Horwitz
#173 – May 11, 2011

After the success of the 2008 vintage I was super-excited to try the 2009, and it did not disappoint. Sourced from a single vineyard in the Carneros section of Napa Valley, the wine was blended from two Chardonnay clones (Robert Young and Wente) and the difference in vineyards is easily distinguished even though the style remains the same – that of a powerful and sophisticated California Chardonnay that avoids being overly oaky and buttery, with hints of Burgundy. Tons of pear, apricots, peaches and figs on the nose and palate, accompanied by vanilla, oak and hints of spiciness. Slightly more mineral notes and less caramel than the 2008. A delicious and refreshing wine with plenty of acidity to keep everything honest. A long and slightly finish rounds out this very refreshing wine that will continue to cellar nicely for another five years. 350 cases were produced.