Assorted wine notes from two dinners with friends


Over the past few weeks, we have had a couple of Friday night dinners and as such, I wanted to catch up quickly with just the wine notes. Three of the wines were brought by friends, while the rest were mine. All of them are from California, and they are highlighted below in that manner.

My many thanks to AG and LG, we will miss you both as you move to the east coast, and thanks for sharing the 2 with us – a lovely wine! Also, thanks to NB and AB for sharing the 2013 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Variations four, very nice wine. Finally, thanks to Benyo for bringing the only 2013 Pinot Noir that I had yet to taste from California, the 2013 Narrow Bridge Pinot Noir. It is made by Joshua Klapper, who also makes the kosher 2013 La Fenetre Pinot Noir, which we also opened side by side the Narrow Bridge. They are both made in Santa Maria, CA and are handled by the Weiss brothers and Rabbi Hillel. While both 2013 Pinot Noir (the La Fenetre and the Narrow Bridge) were nice, and almost identical twins, sharing commonalities like sourced fruit and winemaker, the Narrow Bridge surprised me! I thought it showed more acid and accentuated the green notes more than the fruitier La Fenetre. Sadly, the 2006 Falesco Montiano was corked, made me cry!

I also tasted two wines from the new 2015 Contessa Annalisa Collection, which are being sold on They are the 2015 Contessa Annalisa Collection Gavi di Gavi and the 2015 Contessa Annalisa Collection Minutolo. These two wines are both a first in the kosher wine market. They are nice wines but lacked a true character that I craved, though air helped them a bit.

Well, there you go, I will be posting soon on a bunch of French wines, but for now, these wine notes will have to do. My many thanks to friends who shared our table with us.

The wine notes follow below:

2010 Shirah Coalition – Score: A-
I have said this before – we need the I LOVE Button for some of these special wines, and this one is in that camp, the first Coalition and wow what a GREAT wine still!!

This wine is a blend of 45% Touriga Nacional, 30% Syrah, and 25% Petit Verdot. The crazy part is that after 6 years this wine has changed and not at all. The wine has changed from its early days when the finish was shallow. But it has changed little in the past 4 years. The unique qualities of the Touriga come screaming in the nose with another crazy Shirah special blend. Once again, the red, white and blue nose of Shirah wines come from this unique and crazy blend! The label’s unique styling, styled after the constitution – is perfect for a wine whose essence is red, white, and blue.
The nose starts off with ripe and screaming blueberry, boysenberry, followed by loamy earth, herb, dirt, peach, apricot, pomegranate, lychee, and citrus fruit. The mouth on this medium+ bodied wine is layered with extracted red, white, black, and blue fruit, black cherry, plum, raspberry, peach, ripe apricot jam, rich tannin, boysenberry, watermelon, root beer, and lovely oak. The finish is balanced and rich with great acid, more tannins on the rise, more white and red fruit, chocolate, insane and crazy spices, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, and so much more that it could fill a spice cabinet, finishing off with freshly baked raspberry jam pie. WOW BRAVO!!!

2010 Château Trigant – Score: A-
What a lovely old world wine! The nose on this wine is dark and brooding with earth, mineral, lovely mushroom, hints of barnyard, and green notes galore. The mouth on this wine is draping with lovely tannin, rich concentrated blackberry, currant, followed by layers of green and mushroom, all wrapped in acid driven focus, with mounds of pencil shavings. The finish is long and green, with great extraction, mineral, graphite, and lovely menthol. Bravo!!

2012 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard, Napa Valley, Saint Helena – Score: A- (NOT Mevushal)
As much as I really like this wine, the set of labels and designations coming out of Herzog need to be streamlined, which is something that both Joseph and Joe have both promised me is happening. The nose on this wine is classically American oak focused with screaming sweet dill, dark cherry, hints of black notes in the background, and green notes. The mouth on this nice medium bodied wine starts off with impressive acid, followed by nice black plum, currant, and strawberry, followed by spice, sweet herb, sweet oak, and nice ripe blackberry. The finish is long and complex, with concentrated fruit, chocolate, and cinnamon. Bravo!

2013 Baron Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Variations Four – Score: B+ to A- (Mevushal)
Wow, this nose scream dill juice and green notes galore, with cherry, bell pepper, and oak. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice enough, with good effort, a very clean and professional wine, showing nice extraction, lovely balance, with mouth draping tannin, black plum, blackberry, currant and herbs galore, nice elegance, followed by sweet oak, pencil shaving, tobacco, chocolate and more green notes on a long and lush green garden. Nice and elegant.

2011 Four Gates Cabernet Franc – Score: A-
The color on the wine is beautiful, I do not normally comment on color but the blue bright color is quite appealing! The nose on this wine is starting to evolve, now showing mushroom, along with rich herbal notes, eucalyptus, bell pepper, rose hip notes, perfumed with oak nuances, tart red fruit, and smoke. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is far more fruit focused than its younger beast of a brother, the 07 CF. The body is filled with red fruit, nice spice, sweet cedar, plum, tart raspberry, cherry, and hints of currants, all wrapped up in lovely mouth coating tannin, bramble, and forest floor. The finish is long and tart with green foliage, chocolate, tobacco, mushroom, and tannin that lingers long. Elegant, focused and lovely. BRAVO!

2013 Covenant Pinot Noir Landsman – Score: A-
The nose on this lovely wine is intoxicating with crazy blueberry, strawberry perfume, and sweet wood. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is rich and layered with spice and coffee, followed by layers of fruit and nutmeg, candied kirsch cherry, blackberry, and really nice tannin. The finish is long and spicy with rich dirt and mineral. With more time the wine opens to still layered and concentrated fruit, with sweet white chocolate and sweet spices – BRAVO!!

2011 Tura Estate Winery Merlot Mountain Heights – Score: A-
This wine is on its edge – drink up but still nice! The nose on this wine is old world and lovely, showing lovely mushroom, with freshly tilled earth, loam, graphite, and lovely black cherry. The mouth on this full bodied wine is lovely, with mouth coating tannin, mineral, with graphite taking center stage. Showing so old world it makes me smile, with layers of concentrated blackberry fruit, followed by plum, green notes, and foliage. The finish is long and dirty, showing barnyard, followed by chocolate, and more green. DRINK UP!

2013 Narrow Bridge Pinot Noir – Score: A-
This wine starts off really wrong, like flawed. However, with time it comes around and loses the obvious heat and brett.

The nose on this wine is ripe showing Kirsch cherry, strawberry jam, nice spice, and mad toast – lovely! The mouth on this medium bodied, is packed with lovely acid, well-integrated tannin, nice spicy oak, good smoke, toast, with dirt, rich red berry, and spiced plum. The mouth is silky smooth, spicy, and juicy with good acid! The finish is long with more toast, coffee, and juicy red fruits and sweet spices – NICE! The wine needs and hour of air and drink by 2018.

2013 La Fenêtre Pinot Noir, Riverbench Vineyard – Score: B+ to A-
The nose on this wine is really ripe with mad candied strawberry jam, lovely toast, garrigue, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied, is packed with dirt, mineral, rich red berry, crazy sweet spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves, with rich toast and spiced plum. The mouth is silky smooth, spicy, and juicy with intense acid! The finish is long with great acid, nice coffee, and juicy red fruits and sweet spices – NICE! Drink by 2017

2013 Herzog Wines Petite Sirah Moving Forward – Score: B+ to A- (QPR) (Mevushal)
This wine is a crazy mevushal QPR wine. The nose on this lovely wine is filled with smoke and spice, that has rich heady spices, violets, along with blue notes. The mouth on this medium bodied wine went well with a burger and with pasta sauce, the tannins, and acid work very well for this purpose. The mouth shows nice fruit structure with mouth draping tannin, roasted meat, nice concentrated blueberry, spice, and blackberry with roasted herb. The finish is long and spicy, with great focus and tart fruit, lovely mineral, and more tannin giving way to chocolate and herb. Bravo!

2012 Château Marquisat de Binet, Montagne-St. Émilion, 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. Shockingly the wine is not aged in oak. Christophe likes his Merlot wines! This wine is showing a bit better – but while it shows a bit more weight, there is a hole in it that is wrapped and covered up by a bunch of mouth coating tannin.

The nose on this wine smells of blueberry, dirt, spice, ripe blackcurrant, along with lovely floral notes, rose, red fruit, and nice black pepper. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is layered with a medium body and nice mouthfeel, with crazy mouth coating tannin that seems to hide a hole in the middle. The mouth shows nice 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 think this will improve over time, so wait a year to open your next one.

2013 Shirah Syrah the Saint & Barbarian – Score: A-
I must say that I liked this wine, but while this wine is fruity and jammy, it is not showing the body and weight of the previous vintages. Sure, it has the blue and black notes of other Shirah Syrahs, but it was missing what I need – viscous body. If I was asked blind, the blue notes and roasted meat would not allow for a Pinot Noir, but it is close.

The nose on this wine is redolent with roasted meat, smoky notes, cedar, along with black pepper, cherry cola, and dark fruit. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice with mouth coating tannin, good balance of acid and fruit structure, with nice dried strawberry, mineral, graphite, blackcurrant, with good roasted herb, and spice. The finish is long and herbal, with nice vanilla, roasted coffee, followed by tar, asphalt, tobacco, and eucalyptus. Nice – old world, but wish it had more. The blue labeled Shirah Syrah shows a bit more of what I like for me, also old world but more body and structure.

2015 Contessa Annalisa Collection Gavi di Gavi – Score: B+ to A-
Very ripe nose of grapefruit, floral notes of night jasmine, with peach and good grass. The mouth on this light bodied wine is nice with good acid, nice mouthfeel, and not much in terms of complexity, with pith lingering long. This is a nice summer wine to quaff and would pair well with seafood, which is what it was made for in Italy.

2015 Contessa Annalisa Collection Minutolo – Score: B+ to A-
The nose is beautifully aromatic and intoxicating with focus, showing nice apricot, honeydew, orange, orange blossom, mad honeysuckle flowers, and honey, very much akin to a Viognier. The nose is incredible, and while the mouth is nice, it is missing the focus and intensity that is needed to bring this all together. That said, the wine is nice, another nice quaffer that has incredible acid, but missing a front, but that flows into a nice acid core, with flint, mineral, grapefruit, and pith finish that lingers very long.

2014 Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc – Score: A- (QPR) (Mevushal)
Lovely aromatic nose of rich cat pee, intense gooseberry and lovely grass and straw. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is ripping with absolutely insane acid, peach, pink candied grapefruit, spice that is so fresh and tart, nectarines, and lime ices. The finish is long and acidic, with orange notes, white pepper.and pith. Nice!

2015 Odwyer’s Creek Sauvignon Blanc – Score: B+ to A- (QPR) (Mevushal)
This wine is exactly what people think in terms of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, tropical and almost on the edge of tart and ripe fruit characteristics. The nose on this wine starts with cat pee, gooseberry, with grapefruit, followed by guava, and passion fruit. The mouth is nice with medium body, great acid, bracing citrus, with great control, green notes, ripe lime ices, and pineapple. The finish is long with good focus, nice spice, good viscous mouth, flint and more tropical notes. Nice but a bit too tropical for me.

2015 Covenant Red C Sauvignon Blanc – Score: A- (QPR)
This wine is very slow to open, it starts closed and shows sour apple, grapefruit, and spice, with time it opens to show gooseberry, cat piss, and guava. Nice round mouth, with great saline, flint, mineral, showing tart fruit, refreshing with good acid, sour peach, almost candied citrus, good mouthfeel and lovely focus. The finish is long, extra tart, ripe citrus, lemon Fraiche, with nice menthol notes, and good cloves on the finish. Overall, a very lean and mineral driven Sauvignon Blanc, that while it may have some of New Zealand’s characteristic notes, it is not tropical in that sense at all. Nice!!!

Posted on September 9, 2016, in Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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