The Story of ‘The Finest Kosher Wine in America’
on 16/01/11 at 11:03 amWine
Jeff Morgan grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan – before the area required a skirt or kippah. He didn’t have a Bar Mitzvah, nor did not celebrate shabbat and he never kept kosher. But somehow along the way he learned to make what Robert Parker of Wine Spectator fame has said “may be the finest kosher wine in America.”
In 1992, Morgan who was working as a wine writer, was asked to write the annual Passover wine article for the Wine Spectator. When we asked him why he was chosen for the assignment, Morgan replied, “If you are going to be critical about kosher wine in a major publication, it helps to be Jewish.” It was his first experience with kosher wine. He was not impressed.
It took him several bottles of standout vintages to realize kosher wine could be made well. At a synagogue fundraiser, he found himself tasting wines with Leslie Rudd, chairman of the gourmet marketplace Dean & DeLuca and a well-known producer of high-end, non-kosher wines at Rudd Winery. Rudd asked Morgan why there weren’t more great kosher wines. Morgan replied that with the right grapes he thought he could make a great kosher wine. Rudd was intrigued and willing to help with the project, but not with his grapes, at least not yet.