Back in 2003, Jeff Morgan and Leslie Rudd made a kosher Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon called Covenant that could stand right up there with the big boys. Now the partners have just come out with their first Chardonnay, named Lavan, which means "white" in Hebrew.
Who knew you could make a kosher Chardonnay that tastes like a white Burgundy? The grapes come from the Bacigalupi Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. Note for your next wine trivia game: Grapes from that vineyard were part of the blend in the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, which famously won the Paris tasting in 1976 that pitted French wines against upstart California ones.
More important, the 2008 Covenant Chardonnay has a classic Burgundian profile. It's toasty and creamy, with a thrilling acidity, notes of butterscotch and citrus and a long, long finish. This might be the best kosher Chardonnay ever made.
It also costs way less than a Burgundy of similar quality. Drink it with a simple roast chicken, poached salmon, slow-cooked fish or scallops in sauce.
—S. Irene Virbila
Region: Russian River Valley
Price: About $38
Style: Rich and creamy
What it goes with: poached salmon, slow-cooked fish, scallops, roast chicken
Where to find it: Duke of Bourbon in Canoga Park, (818) 341-1234, http://www.dukeofbourbon.com; Glatt Mart in Los Angeles, (310) 289-6888, http://www.glattmart.net; Greenblatt's Deli & Fine Wines in West Hollywood, (323) 656-0606, http://www.greenblattsdeli.com; Mission Wines in South Pasadena, (626) 403-9463, http://www.missionwines.com; Red Carpet Wine Merchants in Glendale, (818) 247-5544, http://www.redcarpetwine.com; Wally's Wine & Spirits in West Los Angeles, (310) 475-0606, http://www.wallywine.com.