The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2014

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46  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2014 OVER THE TABLE J eff Morgan is anything but your typical winemaker. Forget the fact that he produced what Robert Parker called "the finest kosher wine on planet Earth," and that he's authored numerous cookbooks for restaurants, retailers (like Dean & Deluca) and wineries with his wife, Jodie. Morgan played saxophone in the trenches of New York City's subways before moving to France as bandleader at the Grand Casino in Monte Carlo in the mid-1980s. "France is where I got the wine bug," he told me. Morgan's Covenant Wines have garnered high praise from critics, are adored by most everyone who tastes them and are wholly embraced by the Jewish community—the same community that urged Morgan to make a mevushal wine, something he hadn't done before. "Covenant has always been native yeast–fermented, unfined and unfiltered. But it was never flash-pasteurized—or mevushal—which allows the wine to be poured in kosher restaurants and cater- ing halls," says Morgan. "Flash-détente, currently in vogue with many non-kosher wineries, has made it possible to flash-heat the grapes as soon as they are picked. The juice is then fermented normally—even with native yeast. With flash-détente we can now create mevushal wines worthy of our brand." Morgan's new lines of modern mevushal wines, called The Tribe, consists of a proprietary red blend and a Chardonnay available nationally, and Mensch, California red and white wines only available in CA. —Jonathan Cristaldi Mensch 2013 California White Wine ($20) Elegantly structured, with silky texture and zippy acidity, all support- ing vibrant notes of citrus, pear and honey- dew melon. 100% Roussanne (500 cases). The Tribe 2013 Proprietary Red Wine, Sonoma County ($38) Medium- to full-bodied, packed with ripe, sweet berry flavors backed by soft tannins, subtle earth tones and a lingering finish. Co-fermented, single-vineyard Syrah, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel (750 cases). Steve Shaw Sr. grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York State and was bitten by the wine bug as a young man. He first worked the bottling line at Taylor Wine Co. and labored in Dr. Frank's vineyards. By his 20s he had started working with his dad, Charles Shaw (no relation to Two-Buck Chuck) selling insurance, and by age 24 had bought Keuka Hill Road Vineyard, a property that sold grapes to Taylor. Planted to Catawba and Concord grapes, Shaw replanted it to Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. By the 80s and 90s he was a respected grower, selling to Dr. Frank, Herman J. Weimer and Ravines. In 1999 he bought a Seneca Lake vineyard and named it Shaw Vineyard, planting Riesling, Merlot, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. Shaw Vineyard's tasting room and winery opened in 2007. Steve Shaw Jr. visited our TASTING PANEL offices in February. "Our vineyards are planted on slopes close to the water's edge where the air coming off the lake is a bit warmer," he explained. "Soils are mostly glacial, silt and Marcellus shale." Shaw's annual production of 2,500 cases means an emphasis on quality. "We hand-harvest, use a Champagne- style press, cold soak and do gentle punch-downs, whole-berry fermenta- tion and our reds spend four years in barrel before release." —J. C. Shaw Vineyard 2007 Keuka Hill Reserve, Finger Lakes ($35) Full- bodied, offering supple black fruit, fine minerality and mouth-gripping tannins; finish of tobacco and tealeaf spice. 40% Cab Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 30% Cab Franc (330 cases). Shaw Vineyard 2008 Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes ($19) Aged on lees for three years, the wine boasts a luscious body with crisp, bright mineral char- acter and classic petrol notes. 100% Riesling (250 cases). Renowned Kosher Winemaker Jeff Morgan Goes Modern Mevushal From The Finger Lakes: Shaw Vineyard, A History in the Making Jeff Morgan. PHOTO: JONATHAN CRISTALDI PHOTO: JONATHAN CRISTALDI PHOTO: JONATHAN CRISTALDI Steve Shaw Jr. TP0414_034-71.indd 46 3/24/14 3:29 PM

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