The nose on this wine is crazy ripe, but also just full of earth and dirt, and loam, like smelling a roadside after a mudslide, just impressive! The nose is also filled with mounds of dark black and blue fruit, and lovely mushrooms! The mouth on this full bodied wine is bracing and full with a crazy intense structure, impressive mouth coating tannin, along with rich extraction, showing fruit that comes at you in intense layers, nonstop attack of blue, black, and red fruit, with currant and blueberry dominating, followed by blackberry, and more forrest berries, all wrapped in a cocoon of mushroom and roasted animal. The finish is long and dirty, with more insane tannin, but well balanced with more acid, and juicy tart fruit, lovely espresso coffee, and rich charcoal. WOW!! BUY IT FAST! Impressive!
My top kosher 25 wines of 2015
Well, I have posted my year in review, and now I wanted to get to my top wines for 2015. Please beware that I know I missed many wines and that this list does not include wines that I have tasted that are not available on the open market – like older Covenant Wines and the sort.
I wanted to make this post short and sweet – so the criteria are simple I could care less about price, color, or where it was made. All that matters is that it is/was available this year sometime to the public at large and that I tasted it in a reliable environment, not just at a tasting, and that it was scored an A- or higher. Anything less would not be on my list.
On an aside, there continues to be a whole mess of madness around wines notes and scores, even the Jewish Week weighed in on the matter. So, let me explain this really simply – go look at some of my recent blog posts – they talk about some nice enough wines, but wines I would not specifically buy. They have all the nice words and such, which were all true and to the point. But without the final value score, I can tell you a Cabernet is full bodied with good fruit and spice – and you may say cool I want that – but then I would say well, yeah but it was not complex or layered. You could try to reason that out of the words I wrote, because the words complex and layered are missing. However, the simple fact that it was scored a B+ or whatever, would have told you that it is not always a wine worth going after (unless it is the Terrenal or such where it gets a QPR moniker).
My point being that wine notes – without a proper context (AKA a real score) – is like looking at a wedding hall through a slit in the window. Sure you can “see” the hall, but are you really sure you want to get married there? I never scored wines to tell people to listen to my score. I score wines to set the context and to always read the notes to see if that sort of wine works for you!
OK, enough of the darn score rant for the day, back to the matters at hand, being wines of the year. The list is long – get over it. It is a list of wines that I would buy, have bought, and will buy again – simple enough I hope. I did not differentiate by another other criteria or aspect – if it was solid (A- or higher) it made the list. I hope you enjoy!
2013 Elvi Wines Clos Mesorah – Score: A- to A
This is the flagship wine of Elvi Wines (though the Herenza Reserva may have a word to say about that) and it is a blend of 50% Carignan, 30% Grenache, and 20% Syrah. Elvi Wines makes 7K of these bottles. The wine was sourced from vines that are 20 to 100 years of age. The nose on this wine is insane and intoxicating with aromas of watermelon, root beer, ripe boysenberry, blueberry, along with chocolate and black fruit. The mouth on this full bodied wine hits you with layers of concentrated fruit, with an attack of blue and black fruit, balanced perfectly, showing great elegance, along with mad mineral, graphite, slate, rich and freshly tilled earth, along with deeply concentrated black fruit. The wine is the perfect example of elegance and balance with ripe fruit that flows into a plush mouth made from mouth coating tannin and rich fruit structure. This is truly a wine speaks for itself. The finish is long and intense, showing rich roasted animal, lovely mushroom, and floral notes. With time, the wine shows mad barnyard, mushroom, and even more loamy dirt. Bravo!!!
2010 Elvi Wines Herenza Rioja Reserva – Score: A- to A
There are only 4K of these bottles made and each one is a true gift! The wine is closed and slow to open, but with time and a fair amount of decanting, the nose shows of mad soy sauce (like the 2009 Herenza Reserva), chocolate, richly tilled earth, loam, along with crazy mushroom and mad mineral. This wine is the epitome of umami, showing intense layers of umami with white summer fruit, cranberry, craisins, blackberry, pomegranate, and tart cherry in the background with mounds of earth. The finish is intensely long and dirt filled, with dark chocolate, licorice, blueberry and red fruit. BRAVO!!!!
2012 Chateau Haut Condisas, Medoc – Score: A- (and much more)
The 2011 was very nice, but the 2012 a slight step up. The nose on this wine is rich and redolent with lovely dirt, dark black fruit, barnyard, earth, and mushroom. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich, ripe, and in your face with nice chocolate, mad toast, mouth drying tannin, all wrapped in crazy acid, but bigger and riper than the 2011, almost Israeli in nature, but classically French controlled, with blackberry, raspberry, plum, with mineral and graphite. The finish is long and dirty, with hits of herb, along with layers of concentrated fruit, more mad mineral/earth/dirt/mushroom with dried raspberry, and rich garrigue. WOW! BRAVO!
2010 Chateau Fourcas Dupre, Listric – Medoc – Score: A- (and more) (CRAZY QPR)
This wine is on the list for its insane value and its goto ability above all wines from France for the price! The 2010 was a nice wine – but the 2012 is even better! The nose on this wine is lovely with rich dirt, cherry, crazy tart and juicy raspberry, followed by more dirt and mineral galore. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is lovely and still young but give it time, the acid is impressive along with nice spice, mouth coating tannin that is gripping along with lovely blackberry, cassis in the background, along with crazy mushroom, and layers of fruit and earth and forest floor that come at you and do not give up. The finish is long, with insane acid and more mouth drying tannin, more earth, dirt, tart lingering fruit, and lovely mineral/graphite. The fruit and mineral lingers long – BRAVO!!!!
2012 Domaine du Castel Grand Vin – Score: A- to A
To me this may well be there best Grand Vin, other than the 2008 (which was a Heter Mechira shmitta wine). The nose on this wine is perfumed and intoxicating, a mixed aroma therapy of mad ripe black and red fruit, wrapped in insane dark chocolate, and candied plum. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich and layered with intense fruit structure, rich extraction, ripe plum, blackberry, intense saline and charcoal with crazy mineral and currant, all wrapped in searing tannin and so young, with ripe black fruit and draping mouth cotton. The finish is long and crazy rich, with chocolate, more mineral, graphite, and lovely oriental spice! MAD PROPS BRAVO!!
2013 Tzora Shoresh White – Score: A- to A
This wine was the clear winner of the tasting, maybe one of the best whites to be released by ANY Israeli winery. When I last tasted this wine the oak did not dominate the aromas, now the fruit is slightly subsiding on the nose and exploding on the mouth. The nose starts with crazy oak, pink grapefruit, green apple, smoke, flint and vanilla. Wow wow wow what an acid bomb, ripping acid that blows my mind, some of the deepest acid I have ever tasted from an israeli wine, laced with rich quince, mad tart citrus, lovely apple cobbler, hints of brioche that are now showing very well and integrated, candied pineapple, melon, all wrapped in a crazy body balanced and complex and layered – WOW! The finish is long and acidic with rich toast and mad herb, cloves, slate, rock, hint of vanilla, and butter – INSANE!
2012 Gvaot Pinot Noir, Masada – Score: A- to A
This is the first time that Shivi decided to make a Pinot Noir in the Masada label, he thought the wine was that spectacular that it needed to be at the Hero level. The nose on this lovely wine starts off with lovely plum, dark fruit, rich mineral, slate, and more dark fruit. The mouth on this full bodied wine is not about ethereal notes – but rather about the in your face kind of characteristics that one would get from an Israeli Pinot Noir. The mouth is full bodied and rich, with layers of fruit, rich extraction, full and mouth coating fruit structure, with a soft but deep body, dark plum, nice spice, earth, dirt, rich mushroom, cherry, and blackberry. The finish is long and rich in layers with more great structure, cloves, mouth coating tannin, all wrapped in sweet but controlled fruit. Impressive!
2013 Carmel Riesling, Single Vineyard, Kayoumi – Score: A- (and more)
This may well be the best Riesling out of Israel. The nose on this lovely wine is crazy, with petrol, rich notes of honeysuckle, dried green tea, and fresh-cut straw. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is ripping with intense acid, lovely yellow grapefruit, lemon, tart green apple, sweet melon, pear, that flows into crazy mineral, spice, and garrigue. The finish is long and spicy with tart fruit, slate, and hints of bitter almonds.
2009 Yarden Rose Brut – Score: A- to A
In many ways even better than the 2008, and now this epic wine will be sold in the USA! This vintage shows more red fruit than 2008, but the insane acid is there, with mousse of small bubbles and citrus madness. The wine is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, giving it a pinkish hue.
The nose on this lovely rose colored bubbly is ripe with raspberry, plum, yeast, and spice. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is rich with lovely structure, along with layers of sweet and tart fruit, pomegranate, candied cherry, grapefruit, lemon, and strawberry, all wrapped in a small focused mousse attack and ripping acid. The finish is long with a clean attack of acid, tart fruit, lemon friache, floral notes, and yeast. BRAVO!!!
2013 Recanati Carignan, Mediterranean – Score: A- (and much more)
What can I say this may well be the best one so far. The 2013 vintage was a blessing after 10,11, and 12 for some people. The 13 was kind to everyone!
The nose on this wine is insane with lovely rich roasted animal, blue and black fruit, spice, with pomegranate, and green notes. The mouth on this rich and full bodied wine is lovely with extraction, rich fruit, that attack you with rich mineral, spice, all wrapped in a rich body and fruit structure, it is on the edge in its fruit forward approach, but it is controlled with blackberry, cassis, and nice layers. The finish is long and blue with ripe and juicy boysenberry, crazy blueberries, leather, with sweet spices, nutmeg, and sage.
2012 Mia Luce Rosso – Score: A- to A
To me this wine has a bit more mineral, spice, saline, and hedonism than the Recanati Carignan, but they are both lovely wines! this wine is a blend of 97% carignan and 3% syrah. This wine starts off with rich charcoal, mineral, earth, and dirt, followed by roasted animal notes, tar, and blackberry. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich, black, and intense, layers of black fruit, extracted with crazy coffee, intense black olives, bb, black currants, and cassis. The finish is super long with mounds of mineral, saline, tannins coating the mouth with spice, green notes, and leather. BRAVO!
2011 Flam Noble – Score: A- to A
The wine is a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petit Verdot, 11% Merlot & 11% Cabernet Franc sourced from the best plots of Flam’s Dishon & Ben Zimra vineyards (Upper Galilee) and Mata (Judean Hills). The nose on this wine needs time to open, but with time it shows ripe notes, sweet dill, lovely blueberry, candied plum, crazy graphite, mad roasted bend, rosemary, crazy mineral and earth. Wow what a mouth, full bodied, with rich acid, mineral, saline, black olives, with crazy elegance and rich chocolate and sweet dill that attacks with layer after layer of concentrated and saline driven sweet fruit with mineral that does not give up with raspberry and cherry. The finish is long and saline with tart raspberry and sweet dill and green notes with chocolate that lingers long with leather and oriental spices. Bravo!
2013 Gush Etzion Mourvedre – Score: A- (and more)
This is one of the first pure Mourvedre wines made in Israel and what a joy it was to enjoy it! The nose on this wine is truly lovely! Intense, with a classic cali nose, blueberry, raspberry, floral notes, violet, nutmeg, sweet spices, toast, smoke, and smoked meat. The mouth on this medium bodied wine with rich black olives, crazy earth and dirt, mad sweet spices, cloves, and bleak pepper. The finish was long, spicy, and richly floral juice, toasty herb, with mad kirshe cherry, candied fruit, tar, all lasting long with mineral and saline.
2014 Matar Special Edition – Score: A- (and more)
This is a special wine made for the Derech Hayain wine stores. It is mostly Chardonnay with a bit of Sauvignon Blanc added in. It is crazy because this was tasted blind like all the other wines in this tasting and we thought it was an SB – no way this was a chard! The bit of SB overpowered this wine in a very special manner. This wine has a lovely nose of wet grass, cat’s piss, gooseberry, with citrus and lemon. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is crazy with sick ripping acid, intense crazy citrus pith, nectarines, with rich sweet and tart fruit, it flows into lemon grass, pineapple and tart yellow grapefruit. The finish is long with straw and mineral finish with crazy kiwi lingering. BRAVO!!!
2012 Tzora Misty Hills – Score: A- to A
This wine is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Syrah. The nose on this wine is filled with ripe fruit but awesome control, with rich elegance, ripe black fruit, nice saline, mad roasted animal, and mineral, with rich green notes. The mouth on this flagship wine is full bodied with crazy saline, mad Kalamata olives, butterscotch, insane acidity and rich attack of layers and mad complexity of blackberry, blueberry, plum, with butterscotch and intense graphite and rich balance and green notes that come together with draping tannin and insane chocolate. Long and spicy and green, with a lovely graphite finish, showing such finesse and elegance, mixed with mad earth and mineral, and balanced with leather and spices.
2011 Teperberg Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve – Score: A- (and more)
The nose on this wine is intoxicating and rich with ripe and fresh fruit, with black and red fruit, cherry, bell pepper, spice, and blackberry. The mouth on this full bodied wine is super rich and layered with concentrated fruit, black fruit, black plum, searing tannin, along with crazy sweet oak, that lingers long with still not integrated tannin. The finish is long with great balancing acid, spicy notes, along with ribbons of blueberry, leafy tobacco, chocolate, spice, cloves, and black/red fruit lingering long. Bravo this is a fantastic wine!
2011 Yatir Forest – Score: A- to A
This wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and 35% Petite Verdot. The wine is a sheer beauty, impressive, what a lovely wine with ripe fruit, but lovely control, showing a lovely intoxicating nose of control, and mineral. The mouth on this full bodied wine shows crazy acid, draping elegant tannin, with nice saline, mineral, dried green notes, with oriental spices, ripe fruit, blackberry, blueberry, with lovely elegance of tannin structure, and extraction all balanced by wicked power and attack. The finish is long, deeply concentrated and lingering, with elegance, chocolate, oriental spice, leather, butterscotch, and vanilla. Bravo!!
2011 Four Gates Frere Robaire – Score: A- to A
The wine gets its name from Benyamin Cantz’s brother – Robert, but the name does bring a smile to my mind when I think of the other meanings. The wine is a blend made up primarily of Merlot and fleshed out with some Cabernet Sauvignon. In comparison to the 2011 cab, which was a slight step back, the 2011 FR is a freak, from its clear Merlot leanings! It may well be the best or a close second to the best of the frere robaire wines.
The nose on this lovely wine is rich with dark plum, ripe strawberry, along with crushed herb, forest floor, and ripe raspberry. Lovely medium to full bodied wine with layers of refined fruit, rich complexity, showing spicy oak with still searing tannin, along with crazy intensity, and extraction, followed by dark fruit, blackberry, intense oriental spices and forest floor. The finish is long and green with nice spice, more mouth coating tannin, green notes, barnyard, and dill, with butterscotch and tea lingering. Bravo!!
2009 Hagafen Melange, Prix – Score: A- (and much more) (mevushal)
What can I say, this is an epic wine, refined and elegant and it is mevushal – crazy! The 2004 vintage was and is legendary, and though each vintage may be a bit behind it, they never disappoint! The nose on this lovely wine is redolent with spice, ripe plum, cassis, crazy anise and dirt. The mouth on this medium bodied Bordeaux blend wine shows lovely finesse, sweet cedar, lovely dark chocolate, with vanilla, dill, crazy mouth coating tannin, all enveloped in an elegant mouth, followed by layers of plum, cherry, and blackcurrant. The finish is long and spicy with more chocolate, dill, expressive layers of spice, nutmeg, and leather followed by vanilla and butterscotch. Long and luscious, and joy. BRAVO!!!!!
Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Veeder Vineyard – Score: A- to A
Personally, this is the best wine so far ever made under the Covenant Cabernet wine label, and its fruit was also sourced from Rudd’s Mount Veeder fruit. The nose on this epic wine shows crazy intense and extracted aromas with mineral, graphite, black cherry, blackberry, and herb. The mouth on this massive and fully extracted wine shows with crazy rich fruit, an inky structure, with layers of concentrated black brooding and intense fruit, currant, cassis, and intense anise with ginger, mineral, graphite, all wrapped in rich dark fruit, along with mouth coating tannin, and rich herb. The finish is long with green notes balanced with crazy ripe fruit, lovely leafy tobacco, dark chocolate, along with pith, intense graphite, bringing imagery to mind of a leather coat with rich cigar smoke. This wine is better than the 2012 vintage, with more extraction and richness, but balanced with ripping acid, herb, pith, anise, and mad mineral. DOUBLE BRAVO!!
2011 Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon, Solomon Lot 70 – Score: A- to A
I can honestly say that Solomon wines seem to have this insane mouth coating and draping quality to them, almost like a velvet robe – very impressive. As we have stated before, the name Solomon comes from Leslie’s Rudd’s Hebrew name (Jeff’s partner in the Covenant Winery) and the number 70 is an ode to the container number in which the wine was fermented in 2008 (the first year of the Covenant Solomon). The number 70 just happened to also be the numerical value of the wine in Hebrew (Yayin)! The 2011 vintage in California was not as hot as many would have hoped, but Jeff waited for the fruit to come to him, and in 2011 he waited till the very last day – when rain would be falling, and picked it as close to its true ripeness as possible. The outcome is quite a wine! The nose on this wine is rich and intoxicating with insane chocolate, green notes, garrigue, intense cranberry, currant, black plum, and spice. The mouth on the full bodied wine is richly extracted, with great concentrated fruit, cassis, and blackberry, along with nice spice, green herb, mushroom, loamy dirt, and inky fruit structure with more black and red fruit, searing acid and tannin, but perfectly balanced with rich mineral and graphite. The finish was long with crazy good chocolate, vanilla, followed by a dollop of citrus zest – quite a nice wine.
2013 Capcanes Peraj Habib, Flor de Primavera – Score: A- (and more)
The wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Carignan. The nose on this lovely wine is quite jammy with rich toast, lovely currant, garrigue, and nice blackcurrant. The mouth on this full bodied wine is massive and it hits you with layers of concentrated black and red fruit, intense saline, olives, along with intense searing tannin that gives way to creme de cacao, blackberry, cassis, sweet herb, and highlighted by great fruit structure and spice. The finish is long and spicy with cloves, black pepper, leather, followed by mineral and graphite. Bravo!!
2013 Capcanes La Flor del Flor de Primavera, Old Vines Carignan – Score: A- to A
This is the first 100% Carignan wine from Capcanes that is kosher. It comes from vines that are 80 or more years old! They made a wine in 2012 and I blogged about it here, but in the end the bailed on it and dumped it into the Peraj Habib, which is why the 2012 PH was INSANE! The 2013 has followed that – but they saved some for a pure bottling as well.
2012 Hajdu Proprietary Red, Hossfeld Napa – Score: A- (and more)
This is the second year for this lovely wine, and it continues to impress. The 2011 was Howell mountain, this year is the impressive Hossfeld hills of Napa Valley. The percentages of the Bordeaux blend are not told, but the wine is impressive and who cares anyway! The nose on this lovely wine shows off red and black fruit, with great sweet herb and lovely coffee. The mouth on this full bodied wine is elegant and refined, but also aggressive and so Cali, with mad sweet dill, smoking tobacco, along with lovely layers upon layers of rich black and elegant fruit, blackberry, plum, currant, balanced perfectly with rich acid and lovely spice. The finish is long, green, and tart, with forest berry, foliage, crazy searing tannin, rich sweet oak, spice, green notes, chocolate and leather. Impressive!
2013 Shirah Aglianico – Score: A- to A
This wine needs a ton of time to open, it starts off very closed but with 10 hours it will be good. The nose on this wine is crazy with floral notes, ripe blue fruit, raspberry, and juicy strawberry with mad perfume of dirt and sweet spices. This is another Shirah monster wine, another wine from the Weiss brothers that live up to the heritage of crazy big, bold, aggressive Cali wines. SO AWESOME! The mouth on this full bodied wine is a purple/black colored wine with ripe blackberry, crazy acid, followed by mouth scarping tannin and mineral, with graphite followed by layers of juicy boysenberry, strawberry, with sweet tannin, sweet spices, apricots, and juicy fruit that does not stop. The finish is long and mineral with tannin that does not end, with graphite, nutmeg, sweet spices, and sweet basil. WOW What a wine, BRAVO guys!!!
Posted on January 21, 2016, in Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Wine Industry, Wine Tasting and tagged Aglianico, Brut, Cabernet Sauvignon, Capcanes, carignan, Carmel Winery, Chateau Fourcas Dupre, Chateau Haut Condisas, Clos Mesorah, Covenant Winery, Domaine du Castel, Elviwines, Flam Winery, Four Gates Winery, Frere Robaire, grand vin, Gush Etzion Winery, Gvaot Winery, Hagafen Winery, Hajdu Wines, Herenza Reserva, La Flor del Flor de Primavera, Masada, Matar Winery, Mia Luce Winery, Misty Hills, Mourvedre, Noble, Peraj Ha'Abib, Pinot Noir, Prix Mélange, Proprietary Red, Recanati Winery, Reserve, Riesling, Rose, Rosso, Shirah Winery, Shoresh, Solomon, Special Edition, Teperberg Winery, top kosher wines, Tzora Winery, White, Yarden Winery, Yatir Forest, Yatir Winery. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.