Lovely kosher Rhone wines from the Chateauneuf du Pape, Israel, and California

FB_IMG_13980337629999427It has been quite sometime since I last posted, it is a mix of many things that has limited my access to time to type up all my notes and thoughts. Over Passover we enjoyed a few wines and many of them were in the theme of Rhone wines, including two that were actually from the highly vaunted Chateauneuf du Pape wine region (a sub region of the Rhone wine region).

I have written extensively about Rhone wines from the best kosher purveyors of these lovely wine varietals; Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, Carignan (accepted by the Rhone Ranger community), Petite Sirah (same with this varietal), Grenache Blanc, and Roussanne. These varietals are gaining traction in the kosher wine world, with great help from Netofa Wines, Vignobles David Winery, Reacanati Winery, Hajdu/Brob Wines, and Shirah Winery.

There are many wineries making a wine or two from the Rhone varietals, but few have taken to the varietals like the list above. Recanati may well be making Cabernet and the such, the Mediterranean labels are almost all Rhone in style and varietal and it has been a boon for both buyers and the winery. The Carignan Wild has been a huge winner for the winery, the Petite Sirah is magnificent, and the white RSR is now a unique blend of Roussanne and Marsanne. But the best wine from the Med series may well be the 2012 Marselan – an absolutely insane wine.

Of course, when you think Rhone Ranger and Israel, the real ranger MUST be Pierre who released his first wine under the Netofa Winery label in 2009. It was an entire line of red and white wines based solely on the Rhone and Loire Valley varietals. Since then he has branched out to Portugal grapes, but the red and rose Netofa and Netofa Latour wines are all Rhone varietals. The white varieties are Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley.

Even before that, Jonathan Hajdu and the Weiss Brothers have been releasing wines based on the Rhone Ranger methodology, under the Brobdingnagian and Shirah labels respectively, going as far back as 2005.

This brings us to Fred Davids, who has been making wines in the Rhone Valley since 1991, and kosher wines since 2005. However, his first CDP (Chateauneuf du Pape) was in 2011. The CDP wine region has truly gained great acclaim on the back of Robert Parker, still the wines are truly impressive and unique with deeper mineral and was the first region to go with the GSM blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre).

So, when I had the chance to taste through more of these wines over Passover, I could not pass up trying the 2011 and 2012 CDP from Vignobles David side by side. The 2012 outshines the 2011 vintage, but they are both lovely and rich and unique. The 2011 Shirah Alder Springs Syrah is a paltry 13% ABV – yeah 2011 was a tough year. The 2011 Makom Carignan was also very light, but they showed the lovely style and flavors that make these varietals so deeply loved by people like me.

So, in the end, the 2012 Vignobles David CDP may well be the best kosher CDP out there and one of the best kosher wines out there. A truly fantastic wine and one that would be great to taste in a few years again and when you do, taste it side by side the 2012 Netofa Latour red – I think it would be very cool (even if the Netofa lacks the Grenache)!

My wine notes follow below:

2012 Makom Grenache Blanc – Score: A-
I loved this wine before it was filtered a year ago. Since then the wine has come close to that but filtering removes some of the wine’s mineral and yeast components that made the wine even better then. The nose explodes with rich slate, followed by lovely floral aromas, ripe lime, lemon, grapefruit, jasmine, lovely cut grass, straw, and herbal notes. The mouth is ripe and medium bodied, with nice lemon friache, good strong and balancing acid, ripe peach, pineapple, and crazy citrus. The finish is long and spicy, with hints of banana, ripe fig, and nice mineral and slate.

2012 Tabor Roussanne Adama – Score: A-
This may well be one of the better kosher Roussanne out there, with no oak allowing for a clean and ripe wine. The nose on this wine screams with guava, dried straw, fresh cut grass, fresh cut honeysuckle, granny smith apple, mineral, and citrus peel. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is intense with searing acid, no residual sugar, some oiliness, along with pineapple, tropical fruit, and spice. The finish is long with more tart notes, bitter almond, salty notes, and great mineral, with slate and rock lingering long – very nice!!

2013 Domaine Netofa Rose (QPR) – Score: A- (and more) (BRAVO)!
This wine is blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Mourvedre. The nose on this beautiful cherry colored wine, is ripe with peach aromas, intense floral notes, hints of kiwi, quince, rich herb, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine has lovely strawberry, tart cherry, with nice fruit structure, along with insane acid, nice melon, and tart fruit that keeps on coming. The finish is long and spicy with rose petals, green and red apple sauce, and spiced apples.

2011 Makom Carignan – Score: A-
The nose on the Carignan wine is rich with toast notes and bushels of red fruit, ripe fruit, and nice baking spices. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is screaming with lovely acid, ripe fruit, blackcurrant, cranberry, and sweet boysenberry, all wrapped up with lovely mouth coating tannin and sweet oak. The finish is long and tart with ripe blackberry, watermelon, and lovely layers of spice, white pepper, sweet vanilla, lingering tart red and black fruit, and sweet tannin – lovely!

2011 Shirah Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard – Score: A-
This wine is 100% Syrah from Alder springs in Mendocino county. The nose on this wine is ripe and rich with blackberry, strawberry, boysenberry, and root beer. The mouth on this medium bodied wine starts off almost hollow, but with a few hours the wine opens up and shows lovely nice extraction and good spice, with blue and black fruit, red berries and lovely mouth coating tannin that grips to the mouth. The finish is long and spicy with rich leather, tobacco, sweet fruit, and coffee. This is a lovely wine and one that needs time to open, but it is a lighter wine than previous vintages, but 2011 was a hard year. The wine is 13% ABV, not your classic Weiss Brothers number :-)

2010 Shirah Syrah Mourvedre Thompson Vineyard – Score: A- (and more)
This is another classic wine blend from the Weiss brothers (AKA blend masters), a blend of 75% Syrah and 25% Mourvèdre, both were sourced from the Thompson Vineyard in Santa Barbara County and aged for 24 months in french oak.

This is one dark and brooding wine with intense depth and attack. The nose starts with dark fruit, quava, asian spice, blueberry, and balck fruit. The mouth on this full bodied wine almost screams Touriga instead of Syrah, with crazy white fruit, boysenberry, intense tart citrus acid, along with layers of sweet black and blue fruit, strawberry, intense spice, and lovely sweet tannin. The finish is long and tart with more bracing acid, tart fruit, cinnamon, chocolate, cloves, leather, and more spice. The fruit is intense, sweet, controlled, with bracing acid and great spice, BRAVO!

2011 Vignobles David Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Masques – Score: A-
This wine is one of the best kosher CDP (Chateauneuf-du-pape) wines out there! It is a blend of 85% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, and 5% Syrah all from very old vines.

The nose on this wine is black and ripe with toasty notes, deep mineral, and good graphite. The mouth on medium bodied wine opens with a bit of time, to show layers of ripe concentrated blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, nice extraction, and lovely mouth coating tannin that coats the mouth with sweet oak. The finish is long with lovely tart and ripe blue and black fruit, root beer, watermelon, and lovely spice that lingers long – a lovely wine indeed! The wine is starting to throw sediment.

2012 Vignobles David Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Masques – Score: A- to A (maybe higher)
This wine may well be the best kosher CDP (Chateauneuf-du-pape) on the market and is better than its older 2011 vintage! It is a blend of 85% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, and 5% Syrah all from very old vines.

The nose on this wine is screaming with blueberry, blackberry, sweet boysenberry, sweet spices, along with ripe mineral and graphite. The mouth on full bodied wine is crazy rich, layered, concentrated and full of intense ripe black and blue fruit, rich raspberry, and intense spice, with massive sweet and mouth coating tannin that sticks to your mouth long after the wine is gone. The finish is jammy and fruity, with fantastic control, impressive, with layers of rich tannin, spice, root beer, tart and sweet watermelon, that comes at you in an intense attack and does not let up, truly impressive. The finish ends with sweet spice, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and hints of white fruit – BRAVO truly an impressive wine!

Posted on May 16, 2014, in Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Rose Wine, Kosher White Wine, Uncategorized, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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