Show 467, March 26, 2022: Covenant Winery, Berkeley with Founding Winemaker & Co-Owner Jeff Morgan

Jeff Morgan of Covenant Winery

“In 2003, Covenant founders Jeff Morgan and the late Leslie Rudd tasted an Israeli wine that inspired them to bring a new California perspective to a 3,500-year-old winemaking tradition. What started as a 500-case Napa Cabernet project has now grown more than ten-fold. Today, Covenant’s 7,000-square-foot urban winery is situated in Berkeley, California, also home to other urban wineries. Covenant’s sister winery, Covenant Israel, was founded in 2013. Since 2013, Covenant Israel wines have been made in the northern Galilee.”

“Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from several exceptional vineyards in Napa Valley. Pinot Noir is sourced from Francis Mahoney’s hilltop Carneros vineyard. They also have long-standing relationships with growers in Sonoma’s Bennett Valley, Sonoma Mountain, Dry Creek Valley and Sonoma Valley and Lake County. In Lodi, Covenant works with the Mettler family’s vineyards. In Israel, their best Syrah is grown on Israel’s only biodynamic vineyard—Tzivon—in the Upper Galilee.”

Vintner & Co-Owner Jeff Morgan is the featured guest at the upcoming Covenant Wine Dinner at The Milky Way (The Spielberg Family’s Kosher Dairy restaurant) in Los Angeles on Thursday evening, March 31st at 7:00 p.m. Executive Chef Phil Kastel will serve a four-course repast with a Covenant wine matched with each dish. It starts with a Crispy Salmon Cake with a shaved fennel and arugula salad matched with 2020 Covenant Blanc De Blanc sparking wine.

The March 31st evening is at capacity but the better news is that the special Covenant Wine Dinner menu and the wine pairings will be available for the additional 5 nights of Sunday, April 3rd through Thursday, April 7th. Reservations are needed with the guests requesting the Covenant Wines Menu.

Jeff Morgan joins us to uncork all that is Covenant urban winery.

Show 296, November 3, 2018: Kyle Meyer, Proprietor, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeFor the end of the year there is always the dilemma of what wines to pair with the culinary delights of the various Holiday tables. We’re also looking for quality wines as gifts yet we don’t want to break the bank.

To the rescue comes our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange. The thoughtful buying philosophy of Wine Exchange is to purchase “little wines” from great producers. That’s where the great value comes in.

Kyle has the first installment of his best picks for quality and value for the Holidays. We’ll start with an outstanding Grower Champagne (Sanger Brut Grand Cru NV Blanc de Blanc Terroir Natal) that pairs well with most everything and comes with a heck of a good story.

“It’s not often you get to tell a story like this one and it’s also important to understand that this probably couldn’t happen here. True we don’t have Champagne vineyards close by like the high school that is the center of this story does. But, honestly, high school students being allowed to get involved with the production of alcoholic beverages simply wouldn’t play in America, period. This unique co-operative source all came about by a series of events.”

“In 1919, the war and phylloxera had pretty much trashed many wine producing areas in France. The Puisards, a successful merchant couple with no heirs, decided to donate their lands to the government on the condition that there would be a winemaking school created in Avize. That school, Avize Viti Campus, was officially founded in 1927 and, in 1952, the students and teachers along with local cellarmasters and winemakers, collaborated to produce a Champagne at the school.”

“Champagne Sanger is that Champagne, and it is a nod to the success of the school and the collaborative process, as well as the passing of practical knowledge from one class to another. Sanger is 100% Chardonnay, coming exclusively from the Grand Cru vineyards belonging to the school, from areas of Cramant, Oger and Avize, some owned by the school and some from local growers who are alumni. It sees 60 months en tirage (the minimum is only 15 months for the appellation) and is finished to a dosage of 6g/l.”

“It is extra brut without being overly aggressive, comes off as bone dry yet shows plenty of fruit (so many low dosage efforts are painfully dry) and plays sensationally with both food and by itself. This is truly Champagne made by Champenois and we recommend it highly for its price performance (all Grand Cru fruit for under $45!) and distinctive styling.  It also has some unique character points as, along with the typical brioche, citrus and apple elements one typically finds from the area, there is also and engaging spice nuance and notes that remind one of red berries. Very cool bubbles from a very unique source, and very little of it crosses the ‘Pond’.”

Show 161, February 27, 2016: Executive Chef Jason Rivas, South Coast Winery Resort & Carter Estate Winery, Temecula

Jason RivasExecutive Chef Jason Rivas is newly arrived at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and the adjacent Carter Estate Winery and Resort. It’s actually an encore for him as he was on the property previously from 2009 to 2014. He’s also a Certified Sommelier. We’ll meet him.

The Carter Estate Winery has been built exclusively for the production of world class sparkling wines using the traditional Methode Champenoise process developed in the Champagne region of France. The current release is their 2012 Blanc de Blanc.

Chef Jason oversees the Vineyard Rose Restaurant at South Coast as well as the new Vineyard Grill Poolside Dining at Carter Estate. Both serve Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. He’s also responsible for the busy banquet operations at both properties.

“Today, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and Carter Estates is the “Diamond of the Temecula Valley.” Touting over 600 distinguished awards for the wines they’ve produced in just four years, South Coast surprised the Wine Industry further in July of 2008 when it took the coveted “Golden Bear” award from its Northern California counterparts, naming it “California Winery of the Year” from the California State Fair Wine Competition”

“It’s an honor to have South Coast Winery recognized as an outstanding wine producer among its peers of California Wineries. I’m on top of the world right now, but I didn’t do it alone. I simply set the goal to create the finest wines in all of California; then provided our incredibly talented winemakers with the tools they needed to accomplish our joint mission.

The three of us – Jon McPherson, Javier Flores, and myself — did it really. By combining their skills, with my quality vineyards, adding in some hard work, and a lot of heart, we have created the best wines in the Golden State of California.” says a smiling Jim Carter, owner/vintner. “This marks the beginning for our winery.”

South Coast Winery produces a broad portfolio of premium wines that are 10 per cent grown and produced with care under his tutelage in Southern California’s up and coming Temecula Valley Wine Country. In fact, it’s targeting to produce over 65,000 cases of award-winning wine next year under four very distinct labels: Elevation; South Coast Winery; Wild Horse Peak Mountain Vineyard; and Carter Estates.