QPR Kosher wine options that I have been enjoying recently
In my state of kosher wine industry post – I lamented at the lack of QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) options in the kosher wine world. Now that is not to say that the options do not exist, as you can see by the number of QPR options on my top wines for Passover last year. Still, given the sheer number of wines in a kosher wine store (many hundreds) and the number of kosher wines on the open market (many thousands), we are left with a very small minority – sadly.
So, I thought I would list the most recent QPR wines I have enjoyed over the past 6 months. I wanted to catch up with wines I had not had till later last year and place them in a single easy to find place.
My hope is that people will enjoy the wines and demand more of them. For instance, the lack of many of the QPR wines from Elvi Wines on the open market. I can find them on Royal’s website and on Elvi’s website, but sadly I cannot find them at many wine stores. Thankfully, Kosherwine has gotten the Elvi Cava back along with the Gilgal Brut, but they have older vintages or no vintages of the Elvi options. Onlinekosherwine.com, also has many of the older Elvi wines. I have spoken with Moises and he says they exist here somewhere in the USA – only God knows where though!!! Sadly, the exact same can be said for Netofa wines – another QPR superstar! Where are the wines? I taste them at KFWE – but they are not at stores, online or at shops!
I hope to one day write a post about wine cellaring, but till I do, understand that certain wines are made to enjoy early, like Cava, most 2014 white wines, and lighter reds. The richer and tannic reds can use time in the cellar and that is normal. This list is not a list of wines that are meant for cellaring, though many can withstand a few years. The idea here is to enjoy these wines now while you let the long-term wines cellar and age. We all have that interest to drink interesting wines and while I agree with that, that is NO excuse to raid the cellar when u have a hunkering for a complex note or flavor. Many of these wines will scratch the itch while the beasts’ lie and settle.
Finally, some of these wines are hard to find and they may have different siblings – I will point out when an older one will be an issue or a newer vintage would not be on the list (like the 2011 Ella Valley Cabernet Franc versus the 2012). The 2012 Ella Valley Cabernet Franc would never be on this list. The 2011 is a fine wine for another year, after that I fear it will turn to date juice.
Also, many of the white/rose/bubbly wines will be repeats from the various posts I made, as most of the 2015 whites and rose are not coming to the USA as they are shmita in Israel. I tried to keep these wines under 30 dollars or so, some are more most are less and that is the point of this list. Of course, that means that for some wineries there will be one or no options, like Matar or Four Gates Winery. Though I could have thrown in the Four Gates Chard – which is a lovely wine, it is still far from my goal to add into this bucket. The same can be said for many more wineries. Also, 2015 Israeli wines are not on this list, actually no 2015 wines are on this list, though Hagafen Winery, has released their 2015, but I have yet to taste them and the 2014 Hagafen wines are the ones on the market anyway. Finally, wines that can only be found in Israel like the epic Tabor Rose of 2014 and the 2014 Reca Gris du Marselan and the yatir rose and the new 2014 Yatir Viognier – and so on. All of these wines are not on this list because they are hard to find, but they are on previous lists I have posted.
So, without further ado – here is my list of kosher QPR winners so far and if you have any more please tell me!! They are listed below without any real order.
2014 Domaine Netofa White – Score: A- (Crazy QPR)
I must say this is clearly the best Netofa white so far, and I hope they continue to impress! The wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from the slopes of Mount Tabor. The nose is redolent with rich and bright quince, straw, mineral, lemongrass, and wet grass. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is lovely and rich mineral bomb, with more hay, spiced quince, now dry fresh cut grass, green apple, Asian pear, along with a crazy dry and insanely tart crab apple. The finish is long – spicy, dirty, and mineral based, with dry fruit, rich ripping acid, cloves, and nutmeg – BRAVO!!!
2013 Domaine Netofa Red – Score: A- (and more) (QPR!)
This wine is a clear step up from the 2012 Netofa Red, that is not putting the 2012 down in any way, it is just that this wine is even better! This wine is a blend of 65% Syrah and 35% Mourvedre. The nose on this wine is redolent and packed with mineral, lovely smoke, flint, ripe plum, lovely blueberry, with currants in the background. The mouth on this full bodied wine is attacks you first with lovely currants, followed by layers of blueberry, floral notes, richer and more extracted than the 2012, with great mineral, dried strawberry, all wrapped in ripping acid, and lovely tannin. The finish is long, extracted, and richly mineral in style, with blackcurrant, draping tannin, while being spiced with cloves, black pepper, sweet her, and hints of pith and lovely acid. BRAVO!!!
2012 Weinstock Cabernet Franc, Cellar Select – Score: A- (Mevushal) (QPR!)
This is not the same wine as the 2011 vintage, which was crazy and great this vintage started off closed and disjointed, but is now showing far better. The nose on this wine is mad green with red fruit notes, and herb. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice and round, with green notes, well balanced with good acid, raspberry, plum, earth, more bell pepper, crazy sweet dill, mouth coating tannin, and green foliage. The finish is long with nice enough acid, forest floor, nice butterscotch, good sweet tobacco, cedar, with tannin adding weight.
2013 Celler de Capçanes Peraj Petita – Score: A- (QPR)
This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 15% Tempranillo, and 15% Merlot, and 10% Syrah. This is a wine that continues to excel at being a QPR superstar, and this vintage continues its epic streak. The nose on this wine is rich and black with loamy dirt, intense graphite, crushed herb, green notes, along with freshly paved asphalt, and earthy goodness. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is crazy with young mouth gripping tannins, leather, along with layers of blackberry, black cherry, and inky notes, all coming together with oak and green notes. The finish is long and mineral based with still gripping tannin, tar, and sweet herbs that linger long. This wine is young and is ready now with a few hours of air.
NV Gamla/Gilgal Hashmura Brut – Score: A- (crazy QPR)
This is the new vintage and be careful that the wine says extra dry – otherwise it is a previous vintage and not as fun, the wine is mostly 2011 grapes. The nose on this bubbly is sick with lovely quince, apple cider, with straw and tart citrus. The mouth is full and an attack force of small mousse bubbles, followed by year and rich unction, followed by layers of pear and madly refreshing with crazy acid and pith, and more bubbles that do not give up. The finish is long with dried fruit, nine dry mouth feel that flows into dried herb and rich white tea. BRAVO!!!!
2014 Elvi Wines Invita – Score: A- (QPR) – NOTE: 2011/2013 are also great
This wine is a blend of 60% Pansa Blanca (the fruit used in Cava) and 40% Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is as dry a wine as you will find on the kosher market, with maybe a Sancerre beating it by a hair – if that! The nose on this lovely and intoxicating wine is ripe with apple, litchi, Asian pear, peach, grapefruit, and crazy tart fruit aromas that make my mouth water thinking about what I am to taste next. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows weight from a lovely viscous and plush fruit structure, with apple blossom, lemon zest, quince, lovely straw and grass, all coming together into a insane acid attack, with mineral and saline – impressive! The finish is long, racy, and tart with gooseberry and dried fruit, with hints of bitter almond and lemon pith. A truly unique wine, showing slightly more tropical than in past vintages. BRAVO!!!
2014 Don Ernesto Rose, Beret – Score: A- (QPR) (mevushal)
This lovely rose is made from 100% Syrah. The name Beret completes the bracha line, “Beret Prix Hagafen” (tongue firmly planted in cheek of course – but hey this is Ernie we are talking about). The nose on this beautiful salmon colored wine is redolent with great cherry, raspberry, strawberry, along with lovely floral notes and sweet fruit. The mouth on this lovely medium body starts with great spice, currant, grapefruit, citrus, and cloves. The finish is very long and spicy with great mineral, saline, intense acid, tart fruit, crazy grapefruit and lemon linger long on a spicy and saline finish. BRAVO!!
2014 Hagafen Sauvignon Blanc – Score: A- (Mad QPR) (mevushal)
I tasted this wine twice recently, and the first time was right after bottling, and the wine was in clear shock. The next time was a few weeks later and the wine was insane! The acid, mineral, and tart citrus fruit was exploding! Lovely!
The nose on this insane SB is redolent with mad citrus, mineral, peach, along with lovely floral notes, honeyed grapefruit, rose hips and violet. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is so crazy, it is pure lemon/lime citrus acid – insane! The mouth continues with ripe summer fruit, nectarine, clementine orange, and white jasmine. The finish is long, acidic, bracing and refreshing with melon, and hints of saline and slate. BRAVO!!
2014 Hagafen White Riesling Dry, Rancho Wieruszowski – Score: A- (QPR) (mevushal)
It is another hit for this lovely bone dry riesling. Ernie has been making them for three years now, with the 2012 being the inaugural release.
The nose on this lovely wine starts off with crazy melon, guava, mounds of tropical fruit, peach and apricot but kiwi and honey notes dominate. The mouth on this medium plus body wine has a nice almost viscous, but clearly mouth filling mouthfeel, with nice acidity, litchi, crazy mineral, saline, and great tart fruit. The finish is long and refreshing, crisp and intense, with nice mineral, slate and spice that lingers long. BRAVO!
N.V. Elvi Wines Cava, Brut, Adar – Score: A- (QPR) (mevushal)
The notes on this wine are consistent with my last tasting. Please make sure to be getting the new bottling, which is the mevushal bottling – which is newer. The nose on this bubbly and effervescent light pink colored wine is hopping with strawberry, lemon, light char and smoky notes, and cherry. The mouth on this light to medium bodied wine is packed with small bubbles that are active and alive; that is clean and well made that mingle well with green apple, Asian pear, brioche and bracing acidity. The finish is long and tart with core acidity, strawberry, bubbles, and a lemon burst at the very tail end. BRAVO!
2013 Elvi Wines Herenza Rioja Semi – Score: B+ to A- (QPR)
This wine shows a lovely nose of dill, earth, dirt, rich herbs, with cherry and bramble. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is pushed but controlled with crazy acid, nice tannin, intense cherry, and sweet notes of blackberry, licorice, intense chocolate, and dense coffee. The finish is long, with hints of white summer fruit, citrus, more dirt, followed by vanilla, earth, and very nice mineral.
2010 Elvi Wines Herenza Crianza – Score: A- (and more) (CRAZY QPR)
This wine is what I dream of when I say that GREAT kosher wine can be made at a reasonable price! The nose on this lovely wine is filled with crazy dirt, mineral, along with floral notes, rose hip, and roasted herb. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is lovely and layered with crazy green olives, mad saline, that is followed with lovely roasted animal notes, balanced well with intense acid, mouth coating tannin, and layers of concentrated blackberry, currant, and rich spices. The finish is long and meaty, with toasty notes, chocolate, graphite, and pomegranate. BRAVO!!
2014 Gush Etzion Sauvignon Blanc, Lone Oak – Score: A- (and then some) (QPR)
The nose on this wine is classic New Zealand in style, with ripping tart fruit, insane lemongrass, gooseberry, cat pee, along with saline, floral notes, and mineral. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is crazy with ripping acid, citrus, lime, yellow grapefruit, with saline madness, crazy acid, garrigue, litchi, and even more acid that just does not give up. The finish is long and spicy with mineral, rock, slate, and green apple – BRAVO!!!
2014 Tzora Judean Hills, White – Score: A- (and more) (CRAZY QPR)
This wine is a blend of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Sauvignon Blanc. That said, if I was tasting it blind, I would have said this is 100% Sauvignon Blanc! This wine is wicked and ripe yet perfectly balanced and acidic, another home-run for the 2014 white vintage!
The nose on this lovely crispy and tart wine shows with green apple, spice, and gooseberry. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is ripe and round but tart with spice and weight with its almost viscous mouth feel, rich acid, with guava, pear, litchi, and mad grapefruit. The finish is rich, spicy, and ripe with cloves, white pepper, impressive pith, lovely slate and mineral, with hints of tannin, brioche and apple pie. With time the Chardonnay will come out with more oaky impact, but for now this wine is acid focused and Sauv Blanc all the way!
2013 Domaine Netofa Tinto – Score: A- (and a bit more) (QPR)
The wine is a Portugal dry blend, made of Tempranillo and Touriga Nacional. The nose on this wine is redolent with intense blueberry, mixed with peach, along with crazy floral aromas, and rose hips – intoxicating! The mouth on this full bodied wine is richly extracted and captivating with lovely restraint and control than the sweeter 2012 fruit, showing beautiful fruit structure, with white summer fruits playing in tandem with mineral, forest floor, garrigue, ripping acid, and more blue and red fruit. The finish is long and crazy rich, with lovely mineral, charcoal, candied quince, leather, all wrapped in mad draping tannins, with sweeter peach and blueberry fighting for dominance, with ripe blackberry in the background, all topped with a shake of cinnamon and sage. BRAVO my friends BRAVO!!
2014 Tzora Judean Hills, Red – Score: A- (and a bit) (CRAZY QPR) NOTE: 2013 is great too!
This wine is a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 20% Petit Verdot, and 15% Merlot. WOW! Another QPR home run, from maybe the best winery in Israel! The nose is filthy and redolent with dark and red fruit, with impressive elegance. The mouth on this elegant medium to full bodied wine is round, plush, and balanced with good black and red fruit, lovely mineral and dirt, with searing acid and graphite. Showing blackberry, raspberry, cherry, all wrapped with lovely spice in a plush body, with impressive fruit structure, nice tannin that comes together nicely with mad acid and spice. The finish is long and concentrated with great control and finesse, showing cloves, chocolate, fine spice, crushed herb, basil, and tarragon. Bravo!!!
2013 Carmel Riesling, Single Vineyard, Kayoumi – Score: A- (and more) (QPR)
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.
2012 Dalton Semillon – Score: A- (QPR)
To be honest there are few pure Semillon wines in Israel or elsewhere that are kosher. Midbar made some in the past, but not in 2014. Also, there was no Semillon made by Dalton in 2014 so get this while you can. The 2013 is OK, but stick with the 2012 if you can!
The nose on this gold colored elixir is beautiful with an intoxicating perfume of hay, peach, apricot, straw, and spice. The mouth on the medium to full bodied wine is rich, silky, oily, and mouth coating with a lovely attack and focus of tart fruit, citrus, grapefruit, sweet cedar, and lovely spice. The finish is long and bright, with great balancing acid, sweet quince, pear, mad tart fruit, mineral, and crisp tart citrus lingers long – BRAVO!!
2014 Dalton Viognier – Score: A- (QPR) NOTE: 2013 is also nice!!
The wine was recently bottled and is very closed, but it is far more elegant and restrained than its 2013 older brother, whom in our last tasting was showing more oak than fruit. The 13 blip could have been a bad bottle and it is the reason why it is not on this list. Still, the 2014 is very impressive and will be here in the US very soon.
The nose on this gold colored wine is rich and honeyed with lovely elegant floral notes, honeysuckle, orange blossom, honey with peach and apricot. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich, viscous, oily, and layered, less tropical than in previous vintages, more restrained, with still tropical notes, guava, melon, and sweet oak showing in the body only, where it adds to the mouth’s volume and weight and not as a spice. The finish is long and sweet with candied herb, great balancing acid, mineral, and lovely citrus/orange pith. BRAVO!!!
2013 Kishor Viognier, Savant – Score: A- (QPR) NOTE: 2014 is even better!
The nose on this lovely light gold colored Viognier, smells more like a Gewurtz because of the soap than a Viognier, but with time the honeyed notes of peach, honeysuckle, and honey come out, along with sweet apricot and lovely floral notes. The mouth on this wine is actually quite lovely, and improves greatly with time, showing candied nectarine, lemon, grapefruit, and lovely tart acid, wrapped in a textured and velvety mouthfeel, that brings both sweet and tart notes along with good complexity, lovely acid, melon notes, and crazy pith. The finish is long and tart/acidic, with honey covered fig, quinine, and sweet spices. Bravo!
2012 Roger Moreux, Sancerre, Chavignol, Bokobsa – Score: A- (and then some)
Well, the one bottle of the 2007 that I ever tasted was obviously a bad bottle. My friends who had subsequent bottles raved about it. Well, the 2012 should be available soon and it too is rocking! BRAVO!
The nose on this wine is insane, so redolent and perfumed with mad saline, earthy mineral, spice, lovely honey notes, melon, and quince. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is viscous and rich with spices galore, tart fruit, lovely acid, spiced sweet pink grapefruit, with nectarine, lemon citrus, tangerine, kiwi, gooseberry, and nutmeg. The finish is long and spicy with tart fruit, saline, mineral, slate, and endless tart fruit lingering long with hints of pith. BRAVO!!!
2010 Fourcas Dupre, Listric – Medoc – Score: A- (CRAZY QPR) – 2012 is also GREAT!
I have to say, I never add price into my notes, and to be sure, this one is no different, but a year ago I thought this wine was not ready to play, this year it was awesome! Also, the price never defines the scores I give, but it is a huge component to my QPR score – and in this case this wine is a 100% NO BRAINER!
The nose on this wine is lovely with rich dirt, nice mushroom, hints of barnyard, and lovely black dirt. Sure 2009 was the year of Bordeaux, but 2010 was still a very good vintage and this wine is a great example! The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is lovely with rich saline, nice spice, lovely blackberry, along with crazy mushroom, mouth coating tannin, and layers of fruit and earth and forest floor that come at you and do not give up. The finish is long, with balancing acid, more earth, dirt, rich dark cherry, plum, cranberry, and lovely mineral/graphite. The fruit and mineral lingers long – BRAVO!!!!
2011 Chateau Royaumont, Lalande De Pomerol – Score: A- (and more) (Mad QPR)
OK, if I could tell Miles to go pound sand, I would just hand him a glass of this wine and walk away. This is the exact opposite of what Merlot came to represent in the early Aughts!
The nose on this lovely and captivating wine is insane and very unique for such a young wine, it has all the things I love, it is rich and layered with extraction and barnyard that hits you in a weird way for such a young wine. The nose on this lovely wine shows rich dirt, barnyard, mineral, forest floor, bramble, dark fruit, and herb. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is rich and layered with crazy mouth coating, almost searing tannin, along with a nice fruit structure, tart juicy raspberry, currant, blackberry, green notes, cherry, and graphite. The finish is long with sweet and tart fruit, along with lingering tannin, leather, coffee, and lovely mineral. The mouth finishes dry and squeaky clean, with intense earth, dirt, and mushroom. BRAVO!! Great QPR!!
2011 Ella Valley Vineyards Cabernet Franc – Score: A- (QPR)
This was the winner of a blind tasting of 5 Cabernet Francs, I LOVE blind tasting wine. Anyway, it was the winner for its bold and in your face style, a very nice wine. Sadly, 2012 is not a wine I would buy.
This wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Franc., 5% Petite Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose on this wine is lovely with hints of blueberry, followed by crazy herb, with clear brett leanings, dirt, earth, and loam. The mouth on this full bodied wine starts with crazy mouth-drying tannin, lovely acid, followed by nice red and black fruit, black plum, along with intense green notes, all layered and concentrated with ripe blackberry, currant, and raspberry, mushroom and rich layers and dirt showing beautifully. The finish is long with heavy tannin lingering, along with tobacco, roasted herb, coffee, oriental spice, and nutmeg. BRAVO!
2011 Tabor Merlot, Adama, Bazelet – Score: A- (QPR)
The wine is riper than the 2010, which to me was a masterpiece indeed. The 2011 is riper and more fruity, but it is not a date bomb or anything like the stuff I dislike and rail against. 2011 was a very cold year, and wineries had to leave the fruit on the vine longer, making for a wine that could be seen as out of balance. Still, the ripeness does calm with time, and earthy notes do show with dark fruit and spice. This is still a solid QPR wine and for 18 or so dollars it is a no brainer.
The nose on this wine is rich with dark fruit, blackberry, loamy dirt, mineral, and a hint of barnyard. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows rich acid, nice tannin and good fruit structure with nice extraction, graphite, black fruit, raspberry, currant, and sweet oak. The finish is long and earthy, with roasted herb, fresh coffee, tobacco, and oriental spice, and more barnyard. Very nice.
2010 Chateau du Rocher – Score: A- (QPR)
BEWARE! This wine is still very closed and tight, it needs two to three hours of aeration. This wine is 100% Merlot, which is very unique for Bordeaux, that is more common in maybe Pomerol, but I loved the notes and did not crave the Cab in anyway.
The nose on this wine starts off closed, but with time it opens to show raspberry, nice loamy dirt, black fruit, with toast, lovely crushed herb, menthol, followed by rich mushroom and hints of barnyard, and lovely ripe and dried blackcurrant. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is really quite lovely for the price, this is a crazy good QPR, with tart and dried fruit, along with mineral, pencil shaving, palate drying tannin, crazy tart cranberry, followed by cherry, plum, all balanced well with good acid and more loam. The finish is long with nice spice, tart fruit, dark chocolate, and good spice.
In the end, the medium body on this wine is nice, but it lacks the punch and power to cut through salted almonds or much else. Yes it is fun, but – sadly, this is a nice wine that lacks the power to take it the next level. In the end, wine is more than just a condiment that is meant to be enjoyed by itself. It requires the ability to handle food as well! This wine is very fragile and is best enjoyed with lighter and less sauce foods.
2013 Harkham Shiraz, Aziza’s, Preservative Free – Score: A- to A (CRAZY QPR)
This is a 100% Shiraz wine from Hunter Valley with no added sulfites. There are of course sulfites in the wine, as they come naturally from the grape and its skins. Still, the wine is not bottled with any sulfites, so while this wine now is epic and lovely, I am not sure its long term cellaring ability, only time will tell! We have blogged before about the Aziza wines; this one may be the best so far!
The nose on this impenetrable purple colored wine shows ripe juicy blueberry, boysenberry, roasted meat, floral notes, rich earth, and tar. Wow what a wine, with great blue and black fruit, with awesome layers of mouth coating tannin, rich red and black fruit, with perfect and elegant balance of fruit and acid all wrapped in layers of blue fruit, raspberry, cherry, earth, and charcoal. The finish is long and tannic with coffee, loamy dirt, white pepper, ripe plum, floral notes, and licorice backed by sweet spices, warm pumpkin spices, root beer, and sweet herb. Bravo!!!!
With time the wine shows more earth, dirt, tar, candied fig, and candied blueberry. So elegant and expressive while also being mouth coating and rich. Impressive! This wine does have legs, but it did go through some funky state after I opened it and left it in the fridge. But it popped out of that and was lovely! This is a surprisingly fresh and ripe wine for no added sulfites. The acid pops so well that is really tastes like fresh fruit compote, bravo!
2014 Shirah Gruner Veltliner, John Sebastiano Vineyard – Score: A- (QPR)
This is a lovely wine that comes from the Weiss brothers, AKA Shirah Winery, and it is so not Cali it is wonderful!!!! This may become my goto white when I am in the mood for cold fruit and mineral. The nose on this wine starts with cold summer fruit, along with mounds of mineral and dirt. With time, the nose turns to vanilla, smoke, and flint along with floral notes of rose hip. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is rich with Alsace style approach, mineral, slate, rock, dirt, and some very cold fruit, mad quince bomb with some pepper/spice/smoke, along with green apple as well, herb and hints of nectarine. The finish is long and dirty with lovely dark fruit pith, more floral notes, straw/hay, and hints of sweet fig. Lovely and Bravo!
2014 Shirah Vintage Whites – Score: A- (QPR)
This is the Weiss Brother’s third vintage of Vintage Whites and it may well be their best, fighting for best place between the 12 and this 14 vintage. This wine is a three way Rhone white varietal blend with 70% Viognier, 12.5% Marsanne, and 12.5% Roussanne. This blend again, is very reminiscent of the Recanati White RSR, though that one is aged in oak and it shows, while this one is fresh, bright, and lovely! Anyway – this is clearly a viognier wine, being 75% of the product, but the Roussanne is felt with the earth, clay, and garrigue. The nose on this lovely wine is richly perfumed with rich honeyed notes, along with ripe melon, pineapple, honeysuckle, fresh tart peach, flint, and ripe white plums. The mouth on this full bodied and oily textured wine is pure heaven, with a lovely good and expressive conflagration of sweet summer fruit from the Viognier fruit, including ripe apricot, violet, and Asian pear, with equally clear expressions of Roussanne showing in the orange pith, straw, slate, and mineral notes. The finish is long, tart, sweet, and bitter – all at the same time, with acid, nectarine, orange pith and almond notes lingering long in the background. BRAVO guys BRAVO!!! I want to note that there lacks the ripping acid that I crave, but acid is clearly present and appreciated, but yes I could do with more. Still, the pith and mineral make up for it!!!
2014 Matar Chenin Blanc – Score: A- (and a bit more) (QPR)
This is the second kosher Chenin that I know of from Israel and it is very akin to the Netofa Chenin Blanc that we enjoyed here. The difference is that 50% of this wine was aged in oak for 3 months, while the rest was aged in steel. The nose on this wine is tart and rich with tart lemon, quince, apple pie (the pastry aromas coming from the oak), with lemon plum, and spice. The mouth on this round and full bodied wine is rich and oily textured, showing mad saline, mineral, slate, ripping acid, along with rich earth, lemon, nectarine, and spice. The finish is long and spicy with more mineral, cloves, white pepper, lemon grass, and roasted herb – DOUBLE BRAVO!! Outside of the 2014 Netofa – this Chenin is very unique and it does remind me a bit of the Netofa Latour without the oak.
2013 Yarden Chardonnay, Katzrin – Score: A- (QPR)
This wine has been getting less oaky from release, but it is still too much of an oak bomb for me at release. Normally, a Katzrin white is far more enjoyable three or so years after release – then at release itself. The nose on this wine shows creamy notes, butter, insane oak, along with a peach perfume, and apple cobbler. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is nice with good toast, intense spice, along with guava, citrus, and layers of spice, fruit, and brioche. The finish is long with sweet lemon tea, nutmeg and almond.
2007 Yarden Blanc de Blancs – Score: A- to A
The Yarden Blanc de Blancs is made entirely from Chardonnay grapes grown in the northern Golan Heights, Israel’s coolest viticultural area. The wine is made strictly according to the traditional method (méthode champenoise) including hand harvesting, pressing of whole clusters to increase acidity and fruit flavors, and secondary fermentation in the bottle. Disgorging took place after five years of bottle aging on the tirage yeast. Are u kidding me! A filthy wine with a nose of intense fruit, lemon curd, peach and apple cobbler, brioche, and nice toast that gives way to ripe green and yellow apple, and crazy insane ripe lemon curd. The medium mouth is wow in a single word. The mouth is insanely ripe and intense and ripe with ripe baked anjou pear, freakish assault vehicle of acidity and small mousse bubbles, with lovely yeast and brace for it – mouth coating tannin!! The finish is long and tart with insane grapefruit, bitter and rich grapefruit pith, and lemon zest. Bravo!!!
2013 Domaine du Castel ‘C’ Blanc du Castel – Score: A- (and a bit more) (QPR)
The nose on this wine is screaming with a very particular scent to me, the nose of the 2002 Four Gates Chardonnay that was never released, it was aged in Meyrieux barrels and it is a lovely scent indeed! The nose on this lovely nose is ripe with baked notes, toasty oak, pineapple, pear and baked Apple pie. The mouth on this lovely full bodied wine is crazy with ripping acid, rich toast, green apple peel, with rich cloves and white pepper, with crazy mineral, rich velvety mouth, with melon, peach, and guava that is hiding behind the mad acid and mineral. Long and spicy finish and toasty yeast notes with rich vanilla and brioche. Lovely!
2012 Chateau Marquisat de Binet Cuvée Abel – Score: A- (QPR)
This wine is made of 100% Merlot, and is made by the same winemaker that made the famous Domaine Camille Rose wines. Christophe likes his Merlot wines! This wine was not as extracted or complex as I was hoping, but still very nice. The weight was missing and with a chunk of meat it was lacking a bit.
The nose on this wine smells of blueberry, dirt, spice, red fruit, and nice black pepper. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is layered with a medium body and nice mouth feel, though it has not been aged in oak, showing mushroom, dirt, lovely graphite, with notes of tarragon and Turmeric, followed by raspberry, saline, and lovely acid that flows into a nice tannic structure. The finish is long green, with menthol, olives, and tobacco. A nice wine – I really wish it had more weight.
2014 Yarden Sauvignon Blanc – Score: A- (and more) (QPR)
The 2014 picks right up from where the 2013 left off, bracing acid and tart fruit. The nose on this wine is bone dry, with gooseberry, lemon, lime, cats pee, and nice green notes. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is rich, with crazy acid, bracing tart fruit that gives way to tart green apple, white cherry, and nice herb. The finish is long and tart with layers of fruit and mineral, slate, green grass, and rock. A great balanced wine with what I love, acid, mineral, and tart fruit. BRAVO!
2013 Shirah Syrah – Score: A- (QPR)
What can I say, this is what I dream of when you say Syrah. No, this is not big, aggressive, full bodied (though this is mostly), sweet and in your face. This is old school! The wine has fruit and body, but what shines is the mineral, saline, acid, earth, dirt. All the stuff that says Rhone while being in Cali!
The nose on this wine is epic, with earth, dirt, loam, mineral, along with rich roasted animal, blackcurrant, hints of zinberry, and sweet spice. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is all about the dirt and mineral, along with sweet fruit, layered with insane sweet peach, plum, blueberry, boysenberry, with more sweet spices, nutmeg, and all spice. The finish is long with chocolate, leather, cinnamon, and watermelon. LOVELY!
2013 Shirah Aglianico – Score: A- to A (Not cheap but QPR for sure!!)
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!!!
2014 Hajdu Grenache Rose – Score: A- (QPR)
This wine is a lovely rose made from 100% Grenache grapes. This wine is nice, but does not approach the mad Provence style Rose of 2013, that wine was pure saline and mineral, this one has far more fruit though it is well balanced.
The nose on this lovely pink wine shows crazy dragon fruit, notes of almond, and rose hips. The mouth on this medium bodied wine hits you with crazy mineral, along with nice spice, saline, dried herb and nutmeg, cloves, with dried cherry, raspberry, candied grapefruit, and intense spice with great slate. The finish is long and spicy with kiwi and lovely Meyer lemon. BRAVO!!
2014 Makom Grenache Blanc – Score: A- (QPR)
The nose on this lovely wine picks up from where the lovely 13 left off, with ripe melon, grapefruit, kiwi, litchi, and sweet herb. The mouth on this wine is ripe and round, with great acid, mineral, lovely peach, and mad sweet citrus. The finish is long with bracing acid, showing lovely pith, spice, lots of dried straw lingers long with mineral and cut grass. Lovely!
2012 Baron Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles – Score: A- (mevushal) (QPR)
There are some that think the green notes on this wine are a bit too much, but I do not mind it that much. The nose on this lovely wine shows blueberry, blackberry, rich spice, and sweet herbs. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine has a first attack of green notes, herb, foliage, followed by lovely mineral, heavy notes of cloves, followed by sweet plum, currant, all wrapped in good fruit structure, nice tannin, and hints of peach. The finish is long and spicy with nice sweet oak, spice, cloves, nutmeg, tobacco,, and more green foliage.
2014 Dalton Pinot Gris – Score: A- (QPR)
Nice nose of kiwi, green apple, ripe melon, pear, not too tropical at all, and lovely flint, smoke, and rock. The mouth on the medium bodied wine is ripe and tart with lovely acid, ripping mineral, saline notes, mad grapefruit, lemon friache, rich peach and cold quince fruit. The finish is long and smoky with more lovely mad saline, crazy mineral, floral notes, and crushed herb. BRAVO!
2014 Carmel Gewurtztraminer – Score: A- (QPR)
This is epic wow, a great QPR wine for sure. Another lovely ripping acid wine with good balance and sweet notes. The nose on this lovely wine has rich sweet notes, with rich honey and soap, rose hips and floral notes. The mouth on this wine is almost dry with nice structure, good acidity, rich and textured, with guava, pineapple, crazy honey notes, and honeysuckle. The finish is long with citrus pith, mineral, and rock. Lovely!
2014 Jacques Capsouto Vignobles, Cuvee Eva Blanc – Score: A- (and more) (MAD QPR)
This is the second kosher wine that I know of that is made mostly to all with Grenache Blanc, the other one being the epic Hajdu Grenache Blanc, but double or more the price!
That said, this is one of the best whites coming out of Israel, and that is a VERY long list, given the new trends there. This blend is very unique and clearly the only one that I know of with Clairette, the other grapes have been part of Recanati wines, along with Shirah, Hajdu, and others. Still, by itself – it is one of the most unique and complex blends in the kosher world – hands down!
The blend is 60% Grenache Blanc, 19% Roussanne, 14% Clairette and 7% Marsanne. These are all grapes that have been taken up by the Rhone Rangers, as they are all Rhone varietals (though some of those grapes grow elsewhere in France as well).
This wine needs air, please do not pop it and drink it, you will regret it. It does not need to be decanted, that is absurd, but please open it two hours in advance and you will enjoy it far more, IMHO. The nose on this lovely wine is redolent with straw, floral notes, orange blossom, citrus, and earth. The mouth on this light to medium bodied wine is fresh, spirited, and live, with nice acid, great mineral, slate, along with green apple, peach, apricot, pear, nectarine, all very restrained if I must, really shocking for an Israeli wine, along with spice, herb, and lovely nutty qualities. The finish is long and salty, with lovely saline, olives, great orange pith, and more refreshing aspects. This is a shocking wine for Israel a crazy QPR and a very unique blend! BRAVO!!!
2014 Terrenal Seleccionado – Score: B++ to A- (MAD QPR) (NOT mevushal)
This wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Monastrell (AKA Mourvedre). It turns out that Monastrell is quite a successful grape in Spain, actually Monastrell is the 5th most popular varietal in Spain in terms of acreage planted.
The nose on this lovely wine shows a bit hot to start but with time that balances out to show lovely floral notes, rich and dense earth, along with loam, followed by blackcurrant, roasted herb, and red forest berry. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is plush and rich, with nice mouth coating tannin, toasty notes, lovely acid, blackberry, more rich earth, lovely graphite, mineral, and green notes. The finish is long and dark, with nice rich chocolate, dark cherry, cassis, meaty notes, and black plum. BRAVO!!
NV Banero Prosecco, Veneto IGT – Score: B++ (mevushal) (QPR)
Well, I am happy to say I am wrong! The wine I had in the past must have been a poor bottle, as this wine is now really enjoyable. Sadly, I cannot track vintages or bottlings, that I can see, but this bottle and the other one I opened recently were both much better.
The nose on this wine is ripping with sweet kiwi, honey, along with a orange blossom perfume, orange rind, toast, rose water, and guava. The mouth on this rich medium bodied wine starts off with a hit of bitterness, but is then dominated by the sweet notes of candied fig, honeysuckle, sweet melon, dried apple, prolonged medium mousse bubbles, and toast. The finish is long with more bubbles, acidity that balance the wine very nicely, along with orange peel, tangerine, and dried pear. I would love it to be even more dry, but this is a lovely wine, and even better knowing that the wine is mevushal and only 8 dollars. Very Nice!!
2014 Volcanus, Tempranillo, Rioja – Score: A- (mevushal) (QPR)
BRAVO!!! Another great Spanish wine from Volcanus! Do not miss their PV! Well the wine starts off slow, this needs time to show its complexity. With time, the wine is lovely! The nose on this wine starts off slow, but once aired, it shows a complex nose of mad toast, impressive umami, a mushroom forest followed by deep rooted earth and clay, followed by lovely soy sauce. The mouth on medium bodied wine is impressive, it starts with layers of blue fruit, followed by earth, dark currant, blackberry, more dirt, roasted animal, impressive acid, and lovely layers of mouth coating tannin that flows into smoky notes and toasty oak. The finish is long and tart, with tart juicy fruit, more umami, insane roasted coffee, and lovely soy sauce coated peas and green notes. An impressive wine for the price a CRAZY QPR for sure – BRAVO!!!
2014 Terrenal Chardonnay, Curico Valley – Score: A- (QPR WINNER) (mevushal)
Another crazy hit for Terrenal and yes, it is the 5 buck kosher Chard from Trader Joe’s and it is mevushal. The nose on this lovely Chilian Chard is crazy tropical, with screaming pineapple, gooseberry, grapefruit, and fresh tart summer fruit and herb. The mouth in this medium bodied wine is very ripe and round with an almost plush feeling to it, followed by tart white cherry, peach, dried apple, and almond. The finish is long and sweet with nutty notes, a nice ribbon of pith, and green tea. Bravo!
2015 Terrenal Cabernet Sauvignon Yecla – Score: B+ to A- (QPR) (NOT mevushal)
Bravo!! Very impressive wine. Insane QPR and very lovely mouth feel, plush and tannic with good structure and fruit. Again BRAVO!
The nose on this purple robed wine is redolent with crazy blackcurrant, followed by lovely roasted herb, licorice, red fruit, and bramble. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is impressive with good concentration of blackberry, ripe and juicy raspberry, followed by cocoa, searing tannin, mouth coating plush fruit, and lovely tobacco. The finish is long with chocolate, vanilla, spice, and green notes, all wrapped in blue and black fruit, with garrigue, menthol, and graphite lingering long – IMPRESSIVE for 5 bucks to say the least.
2013 Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – Score: A- (and a bit) (QPR)
This is a solid value for the cost, the 2012 is OK too. The nose on this lovely Cabernet starts with great herb and spices, followed with chocolate and black tart fruit. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich, ripe, and bold, but controlled with impressive saline, herb, with blackberry and plum, nice tar, all wrapped in good extraction, red fruit, spices and great fruit structure. The finish is long with great acid, sweet spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and vanilla.
2013 Domaine du Castel Petite Castel – Score: A- (and more) (QPR)
This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot. The nose on this lovely wine shows with mad spice, saline, mineral, butterscotch, and dark cherry. The mouth on the this medium to full bodied wine starts with blue notes, followed by sweet dill, spicy oak, that is balanced well with searing tannin, rich blackberry, dark plum, sweet notes, and black currant wrapped in sweet notes and oriental spices and lovely acid. The finish is long and spicy with sweet dill and tobacco and nutmeg, and cloves lingering long with earth and mineral. BRAVO!!
2014 Tzafona Vidal Ice Wine – Score: A- (QPR)
This is the first real ice wine from Canada, it is made of 100% Vidal grapes that are harvested when actually frozen on the vines. The liquid that drips from these grapes are literal fruit nectar – insane stuff! The nose on this wine is like walking into a park filled with flowers and honey bees, showing great honeysuckle, Jasmine, guava, pineapple, sweet ripe litchi, and sweet honey notes. The mouth on this wine is impressively viscous, almost petrol like, with nice balance, sweet notes, honey, peach compote, with more tropical fruit, and lovely residual sugar, This Vidal Ice wine has a beautiful golden amber colour that screams for u to take a sip very slowly. Along with rich notes of dried apricots, there are notes of fresh peaches and spiced pear. The sweetness of this winter wonderland is well balanced with acid.
2014 Carmel 4 Vats – Score: B+ to A- (QPR)
This wine is a blend of 55% Marselan, 25% Carignan, and 20% Grenache. The nose on this wine is sweet, very fruit forward – a bit more than Cali sweet, with ripe notes of blueberry, blackberry, cherry, and sweet spices. The mouth on this round mouth is nice with sweet spices, nice coffee, sweet plush mouth with good soft and integrating tannin, good fruit structure with nice acid, and root beer with nice licorice. The finish is long and sweet with good cinnamon, white pepper, and tart fruit and pith. Nice. The wine is not as impressive as it is a value play. I wish more wineries followed Carmel and tabor’s lead by making wines that are 12 bux or less in Israel.
2014 Dalton Sauvignon Blanc Reserve – Score: A- (and more) (QPR)
Another GREAT example of what 2014 did for the kosher white wines in Israel – insane! The nose on this wine is smoky, rich with flint, and rich toast that is rocking with gooseberry, green apple, and tart madness. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is pure balance with rich insane happiness, that is balanced with a mineral core, followed by tart fruit of peach and tart lemon friache, crazy guava, Asian pear, litchi, and more summer fruit that has a nice weight mouthfeel, and spice. The finish is lovely and long with more flint, and acid madness. WOW!
2014 Tabor Sauvignon Blanc – Score: A- (and then some) (QPR)
The nose on this wine is a blockbuster and continues to cement Tabor as the QPR wine leader in whites and reds. The nose shows ripe gooseberry, cat piss, lovely tart fruit, lemon, and citrus creme. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is wicked tart, with ripping acid, lovely tart kiwi, summer fruit, along with crazy saline, mineral, all wrapped in tart fruit. The finish is long with green apple, straw, lemon, and more gooseberry lingering on the crazy long, slate, mineral, and acid finish – BRAVO!!!
2014 Tabor Riesling, Shahar, Adama II – Score: A- (QPR)
The nose on this wine shows lovely petrol, with bone dry tart fruit, straw, honeysuckle, grapefruit, and pineapple. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is rich and textured with great gooseberry, yellow grapefruit, intense citrus, lovely melon, honeydew, yellow apple, and nice warm spices. The finish is long with crazy acid, herb, bitter notes, intense tart fruit, floral notes, slate, orange pith, and acid lingers long. BRAVO!
2014 Tabor Zohar, Adama II – Score: A- (and more)
This wine is another unique blend from one of the QPR leaders of Israel with 40% Sauvignon Blanc, followed by 20% of Chardonnay, Roussanne, and French Colombard respectively! Sadly, the wine is not sold outside of Israel, so go to the winery and get some! The nose on this lovely wine is filled with spice, rich yellow plum, and green apple. The mouth on this wine is full bodied and plush, with great acid and body, a great attack with acid that lends the mouth a viscous quality, ripe grapefruit, floral notes, lemon, followed by tart pear, dried peach, and apricot, with quinine and pith. The long finish is lovely and spicy with cloves, white pepper, floral notes, rose, and hints of almonds on the long finish. Really well balanced wine, BRAVO!!!
2014 Les Lauriers des Rothschild Rose – Score: B+ to A-
The nose on this lovely wine is redolent with quince, cherry, mineral, slate, and lovely pink grapefruit and dried herb. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is popping with nice acid and red fruit, along with gooseberry, green apple, dried pear, and lovely garrigue. The finish is long and mineral, with a hint of sweet fruit and pith, citrus rind, all coming together nicely. NICE!
2014 Koenig Riesling – Score: B+ to A-
This wine goes for 5 Euro in Europe and goes for 3x that here in the USA! Another example of price escalation for reasons that I do not understand. This wine is the perfect example of an OK nose but a mouth popping mouth, even if it is a bit sweet with residual sugar! The nose on this wine is nice enough, with floral notes and slate and sweet notes. The mouth on this wine is refreshing and that is what matters, with mouth popping acidity, good weight from the residual sugar, gooseberry, mad citrus, candied grapefruit, with some sugar making an appearance, but insanely well balanced with great green apple, mad mineral and rock with citrus friache, and intense fruit and acid. Bravo!
Posted on February 19, 2016, in Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Rose Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher Wine and tagged 4 Vats, Adama, Adama II, Adar, Aglianico, Aziza's, Banero, Baron Herzog, beret, Blanc, Blanc de Blanc, Brut, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Capcanes, Carmel Winery, Cava, Cellar Select, Chardonnay, Chateau de Rocher, Chateau Fourcas Dupre, Chateau Royaumont, Chenin Blanc, Cuvee Eva, Dalton Winery, Domaine du Castel, Domaine Netofa, Don Ernesto, Ella Valley Winery, Elviwines, Gewurztraminer, Gilgal, Grenache Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, Gush Etzion Winery, Hagafen Winery, Hajdu Wines, Harkham Winery, Herenza Crianza, Herenza Semi, ice wine, InVita, Jacques Capsouto, Judean Hills, Katzrin, Kishor Winery, Makom, Matar Winery, Merlot, Peraj Petita, Petit Castel, Pinot Gris, Recanati Winery, Reserve, Riesling, Roger Moreux, Rose, Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc, Savant, Seleccionado, Semillon, Shahar, Shirah Winery, Shiraz, Syrah, Tabor Winery, Tempranillo, Terrenal, Tinto, Tzafona, Tzora Winery, Vidal, Vintage Whites, Viognier, Volcanus, Weinstock, White Riesling, Yarden Winery, Zohar. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.
Dude….greetings from Israel…..Coupla comments on the below:
Look for 2015 Covenant Israel Rosé in Israel this summer. I’m working on it tomorrow in barrels.
Covenant (Berkeley) Rosé 2015 will be released after Pesach. (Already in bottles tho)…
On the Capsouto Freres white front: you do not add any noticeable aeration to a wine you open and don’t decant. Maybe over night, yes…but not after 2 hours….the air just hits the wine at the top of the bottle…….Still, I’m sure it tastes great!
All the best,
Interesting – the wine here in the US needed the air – but I trust you! Looking forward to tasting the wines my man!!!
Thanks as always for your amazing and informative articles. A few questions on different vintages, what do you think of the hagafen 2015 Sauvignon blanc? Also how do the 2013 and 2014 of the baron herzog cab compare to the 2012?
Thanks for the kind words. The new 2015 Hagafen SB is as good as the 14 – and that is saying something. The new 14 Baron Cab and the new 13 Baron Pinot Noir are great QPR wines that are also mevushal! Check my blog post about KFWE NYC and LA
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