My top 25 kosher wines of 2014

Well, 2014 has come and gone and my top wines of the past year were too many to limit to 10. Now these wines comprise a list of wines I enjoyed over the year. Some were released in 2014 and many were released a long time ago. Either way these are wines that made an impression upon me and that is the only characteristic that I used to define this list.

Some of these wines may not score a solid A, but they deserve to be here because of their trail blazing characteristics Take for instance – the 2012 Recanati Marselan. It is the only kosher Marselan and it is very good. The 2013 Yarden Sauvignon Blanc, one of the best whites to come out of Israel along with the 2012 Tzora Shoresh White, a wine that I believe is better than the 2013 Shoresh white, were both on my list last year, so they are not on it this year. The 2013 Tzora Shoresh is on this year’s list and if you have not gotten any – you are making a huge mistake. I had both in 2014, and even though I liked the 2012 a bit more, the 2013 is an epic white wine, in its own right. The best rose, hands down, was the 2013 Hajdu Pinot Gris rose. It is tied for best ever kosher rose with the 2012 Shirah rose, but that was already enjoyed in 2013. The next white wine was the epic 2013 Dalton Viognier, a wine that is worthy, once again, of the Dalton reserve label. It beats the 2012 hands down, and reclaims the title as the best kosher Viognier that is available in the US or Israel. There may be a French Viognier that is available there, but I do not know of them. The final non red wine was the 1996 Four Gates Chardonnay, which while never released officially, it was an awesome wine indeed! I tasted while tasting an entire vertical of all of Benyamin’s Chardonnay wines and this was the best of the bunch. Many others were solid A- and maybe a bit more wines, but the 1996 was a A- to A wine that was truly epic.

The rest of the wines are red, and there are many special wines there including the fantastic 2012 Recanati wild Carignan and Syrah/Viognier wines. BRAVO! There were many more French wines, but they will have to fall till next year, when I get a chance to sit down and enjoy them over a long meal. The 2012 Chateau Giscours, the 2012 Pavillon de Leoville Poyferré, and the 2012 Roches de Yon Figeac are lovely wines and may well get on the list next year. In the end, California, France, and Spain continue to be my sweet spot. There are a few exceptional wines from Israel, like the epic and insane 2000 Yarden Katzrin and others. Along with current releases from Tzora Winery, Recanati Winery, and Yatir Winery. In the end, Israel will improve by having 2009, 2010, and 2011 in their rear view mirror, all the while enjoying the new 2012, 2013, and from what I hear 2014 vintages.

The wine notes follow below:

Wines of Spain

2012 Capcanes Peraj Habib (Crazy QPR) – Score: A- to A
Before I talk about this epic wine, I must sadly say that one of the wines that was on my list last year – the 2012 Capcanes Carignan – never made it into its own bottle. Sadly, it was not deemed worthy of a leading role. Thankfully, it found its place here, in this fantastic 2012 Peraj Habib! The wine blend for 2012 is not far off from 2011, consisting of 40% Grenache, 30% Carignan, and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from very old vines.

The nose on this dark and impenetrable purple colored wine is redolent with roasted animal, intense black fruit, and mounds of dirt and mineral. The mouth on this full bodied wine hits you with an intensely inky structure, filled with layers of of rich concentrated fruit, ripe freshly squeezed black berries, cassis, plum, along with tart fruit, spice, and mouth coating tannins that may well make some people think that this is the best Capcanes Peraj Habib ever made. The finish is long and purely mineral based to start, like sucking on a salt and graphite stick, as it recedes, you sense the incredible balancing acid, which is then immediately replaced with richly roasted coffee, sweet and herbal spices, more black fruit, a sense of animal fats, leather, hints of tobacco, and finally followed by bitter notes on the long finish. BRAVO!!!!

2010 Elvi Wines Clos Mesorah – Score: A- to A
The 2010 Clos Mesorah is the 2nd vintage of this epic wine from Moises Cohen and Elvi Wines. The 2009 vintage notes can be found here, with much of last year’s wines. The blend is not defined on the bottle, but if it is anything like the 2009 vintage, it is made up of a blend of Carignan made from 90 year old vines, Grenache, and Syrah. This is the second of the Clos Mesorah wine in a kosher format and it is well worth the wait. The wine is lovely and personally edges out the Capcanes Peeraj Ha’bib and makes it the best kosher Montsant out there, by a hair. The reason why I say this is because the Clos Mesorah has a more controlled nose and mouth that is devoid of raisin and date and also does not have the overly loud toasty/burnt oak. That said, tasting this side-by-side the 2012 Capcanes Peraj Habib would be very interesting indeed!

The wine has a crazy rich and perfumed nose of ripe but controlled black fruit, black cherry, lovely blueberry, floral notes, chocolate, nutmeg, and spice. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich, crazy concentrated and layered with black and blue fruit, all balanced with still searing tannin, blackberry, black plum, root beer, along with a massive attack of spice, herbs, and good cedar that fills the mouth and makes for a rich mouth-feel. The finish is long and spicy with truly rich milk chocolate, almost mocha, vanilla, along with boysenberry, more sweet fruit, butterscotch, and herb. BRAVO!! This is a wine that will start to show lovely leather in a year or two and the chocolate will give way to more butterscotch and smoke.

2009 Elvi Herenza Rioja, Reserva – Score: A- to A
This wine is made up of Tempranillo grapes grown at the highest altitude in Rioja, Rioja Alta. The Reserva moniker in the DOC classified area of Rioja, means that the wine must be aged for at least three years, of which at least one year is in oak. This wine was aged in French and American oak for 20 months and then bottle aged till last year. The nose on this dark colored wine is filled with dark fruit, ripe plum, root beer, sweet oak, and what I can only call soy sauce. The mouth on this full bodied wine is richly layered and extracted with more dark fruit, showing a crazy inky structure, with candied fruit, dark plum, blackberry, spice, more extraction and sweet cedar. The finish is long and mature with great structure, milk chocolate, dill, spice, dark herb, and a bit more soy sauce. This is a uniquely different wine than the common Cabernet or Syrah, it is a wine that is really out there and shows the prowess of Moises and his winery – BRAVO!!

Wines of Israel

2012 Reacanati Marselan, Reserve – Score: A- (and more)
To start, I am so impressed with what Gil Shatsberg and Ido Lewinsohn have been doing with Recanati since Gil took over as head winemaker after the 2006 vintage. The fruit is moving to more control while still being ripe and Israeli, in all the right ways. According to the all knowing Wikipedia; Marselan is a red French wine grape variety that is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. It was first bred in 1961 by Paul Truel near the French town of Marseillan. The vine is grown mostly in the Languedoc wine region with some plantings in the Northern Coast of California.

In the kosher wine world – this is a first, we have never had a kosher Marselan! By the way, I do love how the name was changed from Marseillan (the name of the city the grape is named after) to the spelling we have today. Also, this combination was conceived for the hot region of Rhone, let us hope it flourishes well in Israel.

Being a partial relative of Grenache, it was expected to find lovely ripe blueberry on this redolent nose, along with bright and sweet notes, chocolate, sweet cherry, root beer, spice, and charcoal. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich and layered with ripe boysenberry, blackberry, dark fruit, all wrapped up in mouth coating tannin, and delivered with a massive and brooding body attack of sweet fruit, and balancing acid, with nutmeg, mineral, and sweet cedar. The finish is long and spicy with sweet tobacco, blue fruit lingering long with great baking spices, and chocolate covered espresso beans. BRAVO! All of this form 5 year old vines, I can only start to imagine what we hope for this wine in future vintages.

2012 Recanati Syrah/Viognier, Reserve – Score: A- to A
This wine is a blend of 97% Syrah and 3% Viognier, very much like another of the top 25 wines from Shirah Winery; Shirah White Hawk Syrah. The nose on this wine also is redolent with sweet ripe fruit, summer fruit takes a background place, but it shows beautifully with peach, apricot, mineral, spice, boysenberry, and raspberry. The mouth on this full bodied wine is layered and rich with crazy mouth coating tannin, black and blue fruit, showing ripe black forest berry, freshly crushed blueberry, along with concentrated plum, watermelon, and layers of sweet spice. The finish is long with sweet fruit, lovely tannin, balancing acidity, more sweet spice, root beer, and more layers of blue and black fruit, wrapped in leather and sweet tobacco. BRAVO!! This would be a ton of fun to taste alongside the Shirah white hawk Syrah blind, look for that soon.

2012 Recanati Wild Carignan, Reserve – Score: A- to A (and maybe more)
This wine may well be the best scoring wine of the newest releases, but each and every wine here is a unique experience indeed. This wine is no exception to that opinion. Ever since it blasted unto the kosher wine scene with its inaugural 2009 release, this wine has been, and rightfully so, making waves throughout the region. Israel, was finally shown that wines can be made New World, ripe, sweet, but controlled, with crazy unique characteristics, that may well be unique in nature to Israel, but all the while not tasting like liquid dried fruit/date.

The rest of the red wine reserve line, including the fantastic 2012 Petite Sirah (that barely missed making this list) comes from the fact that Gil Shatsberg and Ido Lewinsohn, and the Reacanati winery made a decision, one that I approve of, but one that many in Israel do NOT. They decided to make a world class set of reserve wines, from grapes that were indigenous to other hot climates throughout the world. Carignan, has been grown for many years in Israel, but it is a grape that requires serious whacking to keep its yields low. These grapes are sourced from very old vines, that are “wild” in nature, meaning that they are bush-like, similar to how Pinotage is grown in South Africa.

The nose on this dark purple wine is ripe and rich and redolent with dirt, more dirt, and more dirt, followed by freshly roasted meat, rich blackberry, and raspberry. The mouth on this wine may well be the craziest of the list, sure the 2001 El Rom is intense and unique, as was the 2000 Katzrin, but this wine is the “beast-mode” of kosher wines. Even the mad White Hawk Syrah is a step behind this beast in attack, it reminds me of the 2008 Four gates Merlot M.S.C. and the 2007 Brobdignagian Grenache when it was first released. The mouth on this wine seems to be lacking in realism, when we attempt to describe it as full-bodied, it is that and much more, with intense and crazy extraction, followed by layers upon layers of concentrated blue and black fruit, boysenberry, spice, blackberry, black currant, and more roasted notes, wrapped up in unwielding mouth coating tannin, with rich mineral, dirt, and graphite. The finish is long and rich with lovely freshly minted milk chocolate, heavy leather, tobacco, and more great graphite on the long and never ending finish. This wine is so crazy you need to open one now to truly understand the madness, and then lay it down for two years to watch all the parts come together. BRAVO!!

2010 Yatir Forest – Score: A- to A
The Yatir winery is truly one of the very best in Israel and one of the few wineries that have successfully produced great wines even in the 2009, 2010, and 2011 (from what I have heard) vintages. The US labels have sadly been affected to some extent, but the Israeli labels are rock solid and highly impressive.

The Yatir Forest is Yatir Winery’s flagship wine and this year the blend is made up of; 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petite Verdot, and 8% Merlot. The nose on this black colored wine is perfumed in a perfectly well executed Israeli wine made in a Bordelaise manner, with black fruit, mineral, graphite, dirt, sweet oak, and chocolate. The mouth on this full bodied wine is unique with layers of refined and elegant tannin, along with layers of concentrated blue and black fruit, but tempered by mouth coating tannin, soft yet searing, all the while packed with intense blackberry, cassis, roasted animal, and spice. I have stated before, that 2010 was the year in Israel of blue Cabernet Sauvignon, and though this wine is majority cab, the blue fruit is clearly emanating from the Petite Verdot, as the 2010 Cabernet has no blue fruit. The finish is long and spicy, with oriental spice, leather, green notes, chocolate, tobacco, and great spice – BRAVO!

2013 Tzora Shoresh White – Score: A- (and more)
The Tzora Winery is clearly one of the best wineries in Israel, and has been making world class wines for the past 6 years and more. The 2013 vintage, like many of the previous vintages since the late Ronnie James started the naming scheme, is named after the vineyard in the Judean Hills – Shoresh Vineyard, where the Sauvignon Blanc grapes are sourced to make this wonderful wine. The 2012 vintage may well be a tad better than this vintage, only because it was a bit more ripe, but this wine is still epic and wonderful in its own right.

The nose on this wine is redolent with quince, intense pink grapefruit, green apple, spice, and mineral. The mouth on this medium bodied wine belies the fact that it was aged 7 months in French oak, the wine is indeed round, and the hints of oak are present, but it is the fruit that takes stage – front and center. The first thing you notice is the intense acid, followed by tart citrus, rich apple cobbler, hints of brioche, pineapple, melon, all wrapped up in a rich body tyhat comes together so nicely with earth, dirt, and fruit. The finish is long and acidic, with more tart fruit, spice, cloves, roasted herb, hints of vanilla, and bitter notes. BRAVO!

2013 Dalton Viognier, Reserve, Wild Yeast – Score: A- (and more)
All I can say – IT IS BACK!!! Thank goodness for that! It has been too long without a GREAT kosher Viognier option. The 2012 was a nice wine, but it paled in comparison to the 2007-9 vintages. The 2013 is CRUSHING in comparison and is the best kosher Viognier I have ever tasted, so BRAVO!

Now to the wine notes. BEWARE this wine needs to decant or age or better yet open the bottle 6 hours ahead of time and let it breathe. Either way, I opened the wine and it was dull and somewhat flat, it then went into a comatose nap for a few hours, then it was back and ready to enjoy! PLEASE PLEASE give this wine the respect it is due and AIR it out!!!

The wine continues it heritage of wild yeast fermentation and was aged in French oak for four months. The nose on this wine shows beautiful notes of ripe melon, pear, peach, along with crazy floral notes of violet and rose. The mouth on this full bodied wine is oily and textured with layers of honeyed notes of peach and apricot, spiced melon, mango, crazy acid and intense concentration of ripe summer fruits, all balanced with bracing acidity, bitter notes, and sweet oak. The finish is long and intensely spicy with saline, mineral, slate, white pepper and hints of vanilla and lovely bakers spices. BRAVO on many levels!!!!!

2000 Yarden Katzrin – Score: A
WOW! What a wine! Clearly this was the best wine of the evening, but it may well be one of the best wines I tasted in 2013. The wine is a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. The nose on this still black with hints of garnet colored wine starts off with crazy herb, mineral, floral notes, along with lots of red fruit, and freshly shaved pencil. The wine is throwing serious sediment so be careful. The mouth on this full-bodied, rich and layered wine, starts with lovely sweet tannin, then comes at you with layers of concentrated sweet fruit, black plum, cassis, blackberry, chocolate, and more sweet cedar. The finish is long and sweet with nice vanilla, chocolate, more mouth draping tannin, black tea, and sweet herb – BRAVO!!

2001 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon, El Rom – Score: A
As I have said countless times, this may well be the best El Rom of all time (though the 2008 is looking GREAT), and is right up there with the 2008 Yarden Katzrin and other Yarden Cabernets from yesteryear. Please give this wine an hour of air time before enjoying it.
What a wine, what a lovely wine this is! The nose starts off a bit funky and with time shows barnyard and some reduction, but blessedly that blows off to show a nose of rich and expressive mineral, spice, black and red fruit, green notes, and lovely leafy tobacco. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich, layered, expressive, with insane fruit structure, silky rich tannin that linger insanely long, along with rich earthy notes, graphite, and layers of concentrated blackberry, cassis, and currant all coming together into a symphony of fruit, tannin, and mineral. The finish is long and earthy, with rich mineral, spice, oak, and tobacco that lingers long with leather, chocolate, and earth finishing the long rise. BRAVO!!!!

Wines of California

2012 Shirah Syrah, White Hawk (Huge QPR) – Score: A- to A
This may well be the best Shirah pure Syrah yet, it is as intense as the Thompson Syrah wines of the past, but it adds depth and crazy extraction that is classic Shirah! The wine is a classic Côte-Rôtie blend of 98% Syrah and 2% Viognier from White Hawk vineyards, in Santa Barbara County. The wine was aged for 15 months in French and Hungarian oak. The nose on this black purple colored wine is crazy intense with wonderful aromas of roasted animal, blue fruit, graphite, intense summer fruit notes, peach, apricot coming from the lovely Viognier, along with earth and dirt. The mouth on this massive full bodied wine is intense with layers of spice, showing a silky smooth texture yet richly extracted, one of the Weiss brothers richest and most supple expressions yet. It shows black fruit, mineral, blueberry and boysenberry, with layers of rich blue and black fruit, coupled with sweet oak, and more spice. The finish is long and mineral rich with dark chocolate, slate, smoking tobacco, insane blue fruit, wicked charcoal, root beer, watermelon, and sweet spices. The wine is so intense and layered with spices that does not stop – what a joy – BRAVO!!!

2008 Four Gates Merlot, M.S.C. – Score: A- to A
The nose on this black colored wine was insane with ripe blackberry, eucalyptus, mint, dark plum, followed by intense dark chocolate, and spice. The mouth on this full bodied wine hits you in layers of concentrated ripe and dried fruit all at the same time, raspberry, cherry, red and black fruit, followed by intense dirt, mineral, roasted herb, all wrapped up in crazy mouth coating tannin and sweet oak. The finish is so long I could not clean my palate, with acid that seems to have been born from a lemon, yet perfectly balanced within the whole, with chocolate, oriental spice, fig, and roasted notes. BRAVO! FILTHY! This is a wine that is going nowhere anytime soon, and will be at peak very soon. Enjoy until 2018 with the peak hitting soon if not already here.

1997 Four Gates Merlot – Score: A­- to A
This was Four Gates’ official inaugural release, though he made an entire line of 1996 wines as well, but they were never sold. This nose on this 100% Merlot wine is insane and filthy, in all the right ways, with crazy dirt, earth, mineral, barnyard, graphite, and black fruit. The mouth on this full bodied wine is showing layers of concentrated fruit, mouth puckering acid, lovely mushroom, black fruit, plum, cherry, and blackberry, all layered with spice and green notes and lovely mouth coating tannin. The finish is long and green/mineral with great acid and chocolate. BRAVO!!!

1997 Four Gates Pinot Noir ­ – Score: A­- to A
This was Four Gates’ official inaugural release, though he made an entire line of 1996 wines as well, but they were never sold. The nose on this 100% Pinot Noir wine showed lovely dirt, earth, mushroom, cherry, and spice. The mouth on this full bodied wine comes at you in layers, with layers of dark cherry, plum, raspberry, and currant, showing beautifully and so old world with dirt and spice a wine that is complex and rich, a hedonistic experience which can only be described as both old world and yet truly rich and ripe. The black fruit was still kicking with cherry cola, deep and freshly rooted earth, mushroom and sick tannin that were still attacking. The finish was long and mineral with more dirt and coffee expression! BRAVO!!!

1996 Four Gates Chardonnay – Score: A- to A
This was Four Gates’ un-official inaugural release, though, as his first released wine was the 2007 vintage. In many ways, the 2006 was superior, but it did not has the lasting power that the 2007 has shown for so many of his varietals. The clear winner though of his Chardonnays has always been the 2006 vintage, IMHO. The nose on this gold colored wine is pure butter, a very classic American California Chardonnay, on the nose, with lovely butterscotch, rich fruit, layers of ripe marzipan, lemon, and fig. The mouth on the full bodied wine is rich and crazy layered with intense acid and rich summer fruit, pineapple, guava, and rich extracted fruit, sweet cedar and tart notes. The finish is long and spicy with sweet dill, cedar, more butterscotch and caramel. BRAVO!

2013 Hajdu Rose, Pinot Gris – Score: A- (and a bit more)
This wine is NOT a bleed off or saignee, this is 100% Pinot Gris, it is rose from lying on the skins for a few hours. The nose on this lovely salmon colored wine is lovely and starts off with intense bubblegum and cotton candy, however, after 30 minutes the wine turns into a saline and mineral redolence with crazy floral notes. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is well structured with layers of saline, intense acid, grapefruit, cloves, and melon. The finish is long and balanced with candied orange, mineral, intensely tart fruit, candied strawberry, and more spice. This is a unique, one of a kind wine, that is serious and brooding wine – not for the faint of heart, but what a wine it is!!!

2012 Hajdu Syrah, Brobdingnagian – Score: A- to A
The 2012 Syrah is still very closed and not ready to party, that said with time or heavy decanting it is a wine that can become a superstar. This wine is classic Brob Syrah, big bold and in your face, but always with great control and good balance. The nose on this wine is slight closed now with rich blueberry, red and black fruit, root beer, licorice, earth, tar, and more earth. The mouth on this full bodied wine is inky dense and rich with layers of concentrated blackberry, cassis, candied and spiced dark plum, with loamy earthy notes, wrapped in boysenberry, sweet oak, and crazy mouth coating tannin. The finish is long, rich, and spicy with more blue and black fruit, tart fruit, great balancing acid, black pepper, nutmeg, and chocolate. BRAVO! This is a wine that can be enjoyed now, but better in a year and then till 2020.

2012 Hajdu Petite Sirah, Brobdingnagian – Score: A- to A
Like the 2012 Brob Syrah, this wine is really not ready for prime time, it reminds me of the 2007 Brob Grenache in that when we opened that bottle after release all we smelled and tasted was dirt, earth, tar, and crazy toast! The nose on this black colored wine is about at the same place; the fruit is under layers of wood, dirt, spice, and hints of root beer. The mouth on this massive, brooding, and full bodied wine is a pure attack on your senses, with deep extraction, rich layers of dark fruit, sweet oak, and tannin that does not let up. The finish is long with layers of dark fruit, leather, spice, Swiss mocha, boysenberry, and nice tart sweet fruit. With time, the fruit will start to show. This is a wine that needs time; open one if you must, but best from 2015 till 2021 and maybe more – BRAVO!!

2007 Brobdingnagian Grenache, Santa Barbara County – Score: A- to A
The name on Jonathan Hajdu’s wine comes from the colossal, gigantic, extremely tall, and giant creatures discovered by Gulliver in his travels on the Northwest coast of California and is used today (although not by anyone I know) to describe anything of colossal size. That said, the wine does in many ways follow the moniker. The wine has a 16.3% alcohol, is massive in the mouth, and in the bottle! The bottle (empty) is one of the heaviest I have ever seen, quite extreme. The name of the winery, though unpronounceable by me, is one you already know by association. The wine is made by Jonathan Hajdu, the associate wine maker for Covenant Wines, owned and operated by Jeff Morgan.

The last time we opened this wine, the wine was inaccessible for many hours. However, this time the wine was immediately accessible with concentrated dried red fruit, raspberry, toast, smokey aromas, roasted animal, sweet cedar, insane and mad milk chocolate, and spice. The mouth on this browning colored wine is super concentrated, almost laser focused, and layered with dried strawberry, cranberry, raspberry, blueberry, root beer, and plum. The attack is what makes this wine; it is clean lined with heft and power, yet focused on delivering not a single but many blows of dried fruit and oak. The mid palate flows from the mouth with acidity to balance the beast, along with still searing tannins, cedar oak, and tobacco. The finish is super long and concentrated with more mouth coating tannin, sweet herb, licorice, white pepper, cloves, lovely acidity, sweet watermelon, and more spice – BRAVO!!!!

This wine has a year or so left – but I would start drinking them now for another year – drink UP mode.

Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 – Score: A- to A
I have had this wine a few times now and in different settings. Once was a few years ago, soon after release – big mistake. Once was a year ago and with a ton of air time. This time we also gave it air. Well, the results were all over the place. The initial time a few years ago, was way too early. Far too tannic, no life, almost bland. Last year was nice, but still pretty dormant. Finally, this past time, I could see what made Robert Parker and other stand up and take notice.

The nose on this garnet red wine is crazy loaded with cassis, raspberry, and tobacco. The mouth of this full bodied and coating/velvety wine has intense layers of cassis, blackberry and a slight hint of mint, herb, and vegetal flavors. The mid palate is where this wine takes off – it is still acidic in nature, which gives it structure, and a fair bit of tannin as well. From there the oak overtakes the palate in an impressive, while not overpowering manner, and flows into a long and complicated finish of fig, tobacco and chocolate. Quite a nice showing and though much of the latter part of the evening’s festivities are a haze, the notes of this wine were well preserved in my memory. This wine rocked and BRAVO to Jeff for believing in his dream and making it such a huge success!

Wines of France

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!

2011 Chateau Moulin de la Clide St. Emilion – Score: A-
This is a wine that I was given to taste, a barrel sample that comes from an existing winery that until now did not make kosher wine. The wine is 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc. The wine took hours and hours to open up. At first all you smell is dirt and mushroom. As the wine started to open up it, the red fruits and chocolate start to make an appearance. This is a classic Saint Emilion blend, that is also a fully kosher cuvée, not just a single kosher run inside a non-kosher winery. Finally, it may well be the closest thing we will get to Cheval Blanc in the kosher wine world, so far anyway.

The nose starts off closed as tight as a steel drum, and then it opened up after 10 hours of air and crystalline double decanting (opening the wine for many hours, decanting and then rebottling). The nose starts to open with ripe fruit, loamy dirt, ethereal forest floor, and red fruit perfume – what a lovely experience of watching wine open. The mouth on this medium plus wine follows classic French style, no hammering fruit, no fruit forward issues here, but to be fair it also requires you to take notice of more subtle intonations and characteristics. Here the wine is not a wallflower, but while it is not a Cali wine – it does not lack in complexity, but it is not an extracted wine either.

The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is rich and ripe with blackberry, cassis, ripe black plum, lovely black cherry, and tart raspberry, all wrapped up in insane mouth coating tannin that does not give up – two days later! Clearly the star of the show is the tannin and loamy dirt, but the fruit and oak add to the wine’s complexity, that help round the mouth and add depth to its meaning. The finish is a bit short, but does lengthen with time, with classic French balance, great acid, mineral, graphite, chocolate, more dirt that mingles with tart red fruit, leather, and tobacco to make for a long lingering wine. Over time the wine shows even more massive size and expression with bigger and richer tannin, blacker fruit expression all still balanced well with zesty red fruit, dirt, and mineral. Look for this wine to round out more and fill in earlier on.

2011 Chateau Moulin Riche, Saint Julein (QPR) – Score: A- to A
This is a wine made by the same producer and with the same care as the famed Chateau Leoville Poyferre! The wine may be called a younger sibling or smaller sibling of the Leoville Poyferre Grand Vin, but it is not true in any way! I have now tasted this wine three times, in the short time period of a month, and this wine is ripped and muscled with deep and rich mineral notes that blew my mind along with acid and fruit that makes for a wine that will clearly be around for at least another 10 years.
This wine is a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, and 10% Petite Verdot. The PV addition adds great depth to the blend and builds the wine’s muscled earthy structure.
The nose on this black colored wine is lovely and rich with barnyard notes (interesting for such a young wine), graphite, along with fresh black fruit, lovely red fruit, raspberry, and dark cherry that comes together with perfumed sweet herb. The mouth on this crazy rich and layered full bodied wine, comes at you with layers of crazy mouth drying tannin, rich blackberry, cassis, rich minerality, charcoal, all integrated into the wine’s rich fruit structure making for a wine that can handle anything you throw at it. The finish is rich and long with crazy mineral and fruit, leather, coffee, and roasted herb. BRAVO!!!!

2011 Echo de Roses Camille, Pomerol – Score: A-
The wine starts off closed and cold shouldered as can be with medicinal funk, eucalyptus, and loamy dirt, with the mouth following the nose with medium body and good tannin. After a fair amount of decanting this wine finally came out to play. Until then the wine was hollow and empty in the middle. Once the wine opened it showed a nose of loamy dirt, red fruit, mineral, green forest underlay, and classic bell pepper. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is layered with ripe red fruit, cherry, raspberry, plum, and hints of cassis, all coming together with a nice mouth coating tannin that lingers long, with sweet cedar, and green notes. The wine is well structured with great acid and nice layered fruit. The finish is long with good balancing acid, tobacco, chocolate, leather notes, herb, eucalyptus, and lovely sweet tart red fruit that lingers long after the wine is finished. I MUST STRESS – this wine is not ready for prime time. Please let this lie in your cellar for a year. If YOU MUST open it, I mean this with all seriousness, open the bottle 24 hours before enjoying. I saw the best in this wine after 24 hours of air and no refrigeration.


Posted on January 12, 2015, in Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Rose Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Nice list.

    Elie Lowy

    Louis Newman & Company P 212-719-2626 F 212-764-4329


  2. I couldn’t get the vignobles Les masques to open up. Tasted like black ink. Had it out for an hour or two. Not enough? Got 5 more left. :).

    Elie Lowy

    Louis Newman & Company P 212-719-2626 F 212-764-4329

    • It took me a day and then it was truly showing all of its best. I agree after 5 hours black dirt, graphite, and slate. Needs a good 10 hours or four+ in a decanter

  3. Just a word for the kosher consumers who read your fine blog
    2008 was a shmittah year, as is 2015.
    So when you recommend a wine from that year, you might want note to it.

  4. oh, and I fully agree about the Recanati Wild Carignan
    we bought a first bottle and drank it, it was immense, but way too soon.
    When we went back I restocked, that bottle is tucked away for now awaiting a special simcha.
    Thanks for the rest of the list, I will be looking for several you mentioned.
    Happy tastings!

  5. A few comments:

    – What’s A­ to A? – Despite what the label says, the Moulin de la Clide is 60% Merlot and 40% CF, not 50-50 – Moulin Riche kosher has zero PV

  1. Pingback: Wines enjoyed over purim | Wine Musings Blog

  2. Pingback: My top kosher 25 wines of 2015 | Wine Musings Blog

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