My top kosher 25 wines of 2016

wall of wineWell, I have posted my year in review, and now I wanted to get to my top wines for 2016. 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.

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- to A or higher. Also, there are a few lower scoring wines here because of their uniqueness or really good QPR. I also included some of the ebst wines I tasted this year – they are at the bottom.

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!

I posted this about my scores – and what they mean, so I hope these are useful to 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 hope you enjoy!

2014 Elvi Wines EL 26 – Score: A- to A
This wine is a blend of 45% Carignan, 35% Grenache, and 20% Syrah. This wine is showing far more accessible than previous vintages. The 2014 vintage in Spain makes fro wines that are easily approachable now and yet has the power to last a long time. The nose on this wine is fruit forward with dark candied raspberry, blackberry, and spiced boysenberry, with root beer and earth, showing spice, anise, and cranberry. The mouth is beautiful and controlled, with great mouth coating tannin, sheer elegance, with great sweet and focused fruit, lovely extraction, showing ripe and tart strawberry, raspberry, and boysenberry all mixed together into a compote, with black fruit and earth. The finish is ridiculous, some of the best of the evening, with sweet fruit and ripe structure, yet balanced and focused, with coffee, leather, and sweet spices, nutmeg, and mineral galore, with scraping graphite, BRAVO!!

2014 Capcanes Peraj Habib – Score A- to A
This wine is a blend of 45% Grenache, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Carignan. This wine is showing far more accessible than previous vintages. The 2014 vintage in Spain makes fro wines that are easily approachable now and yet has the power to last a long time. The nose on this wine shows nicely, with chocolate and oak, along with crazy red fruit, roasted animal, toast, graphite, and lovely smoke, with floral notes galore. What a lovely wine, full bodied with great extraction, ripping acid and great crazy tannin that gives way to blueberry, blackberry, lovely cherry, and insane fruit focus that is backed by intense graphite, and mineral, scraping mineral, with mouth drying tannin all coming together into a far more accessible wine than any year before. The wine is really young but accessible, with insane fruit and mineral all coming together. The finish is long and epic, with leather, and rich extraction lingering with coffee and sweet spices coming together beautifully. Bravo!

2013 Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon, Solomon lot 70 – Score: A- to A
Really lovely but pushed nose, with ripe black fruit, tar galore, with garrigue, earth, and rich blackberry. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich and extracted, showing an impressive attack with rich focus of blueberry, intense gripping tannin, spicy oak, sweet dill galore, with massive almost tactile mouth showing black fruit focus, with impressive inky structure that gives way to black and blue fruit. The finish is long and spicy, with green notes, foliage, good dirt, all wrapped with dark chocolate, leather, tobacco heaven, more green notes, and rich Asian spices.

2014 Elvi Clos Mesorah – Score: A- to A
This wines a blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Carignan from vines that are 105 years old, and 15% Syrah. Wow what a California Syrah nose, with intense root beer, watermelon, crazy how this smells like Shirah Syrah, with blueberry, and boysenberry, and spiced plum punch. The mouth on this full bodied wine wow, the mouth is full bodied, extracted, and crazy rich, with layers of extraction and concentrated fruit, showing searing tannin, ripping acid, that gives way to black and blue fruit, blackberry, plum, with crazy chocolate and coffee coming together to show mouth drying tannin, with earth, spice, cloves, black pepper, and spicy, with heady spice and blue fruit. The finish is long and spicy, with sweet spice and fruit that gives way to chocolate, roasted meat, and graphite. Really impressive wine bravo!

2010 ELvi Wines Rioja Reserva – Score: A- to A
Wow what a glass of umami, pure hedonism, bravo! The nose on this wine is pure joy, with root beer, blueberry, roasted meat, black pepper, mushroom, dirt, smoke, and toast. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is far more accessible than the 09, with sweet fruit, earth, dirt, sweet blue fruit, crazy candied and juicy blue fruit, that gives way to cherry, candied and spiced raspberry, with mouth coating and drying tannin, rich juicy and concentrated fruit, with insane focus and attack. The finish is long and juicy, with sweet fruit, nutmeg, sweet baking spices, milk chocolate, smoke, and crazy spices, anise and licorice. Bravo!

2014 Carmel Riesling, Kayoumi – Score: A- to A
This wine screams Alsace – CRAZY!! The nose is crazy, pure funk, petrol, flint, mineral, WOW! Cannot find much fruit on the nose to start but with time peach shows, but who cares! The mouth on this full bodied wine is insane! Layered and complex with rich acidity, dried fruit, dried apple, litchi, floral notes abound, with rich elegance, followed by nectarines, orange, orange zest, bravo! The finish goes on forever, and I mean not stopping with crazy petrol and floral notes lasting all along – WOW!!! One of the best 6 whites in Israel for 2014!

2012 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 of 66% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Cabernet Franc. This wine is still too young to be enjoyed out of the bottle. If you must drink this wine at this point, it can use a good decanting for a few hours.

Once the wine is open, it shows a nose green, with ripe red fruit, herb, garrigue, followed by tar, earth, rich loam, with nice spice and black fruit in the background. The mouth on this full bodied wine is sheer and utter elegance, layered and rich, with spice, mushroom, green notes, lightly extracted, showing beautiful control, with a focus that is perfectly balanced between fruit, mineral, and terroir, one that makes me think of French wines, Chateau Malartic coming to mind. The finish is long and elegant, with blackberry, mouth draping tannin, rich green foliage, tar, mushroom, and earth, giving way to chocolate, red and black fruit, showing elegance and focus with years left in the tank. Drink 2019 – 2026

2014 Domaine Netofa Latour red – Score: A- to A
This wine is lovely and truly another proof that old world wines can be produced in Israel! The nose on this wine is truly impressive, showing crazy mineral, with great spice and herb, rich tar, boysenberry, blackberry, currant, with great herb and roasted animal. What a mouth of layers of concentrated but controlled, with classic currant and blue fruit, but great control and balance, with sweet spices, showing mouth coating and draping tannin that gives way to blueberry and raspberry, but mineral galore with strawberry in the background. The finish is long and juicy tart with great control, smoke, coffee and spice.

2014 Hajdu Proprietary Red – Score: A- to A
Wow what a nose with crazy spice, earth, and ripe cherry, with blackberry in the background, earth and cherry, showing smoke and toast. Lovely full body wine with layers and concentration with great focus and showing such great spice, intense saline, black olives and great warm spices with dirt and mushroom, along with boysenberry, blue fruit, dark cherry, forest berry, and mint. Long and spicy and earth with chocolate and leather, smoke galore and pepper, licorice, and cloves.

2015 Roubine Rose, Cru Class – Score: A- (QPR)
This may well be America’s rose saviour, an honest to goodness knockout wine at a very reasonable price. This wine is from Provence but the Cru Class designation is really a joke – read here. But this particular wine may well be worthy of this insignificant designation.

The nose on this wine is straight up filthy, a nose that is intoxicating with its sheer elegance yet core strength. The nose starts off with crazy rich flint, followed by rose hips, mineral, graphite, graphite, and an interesting hit of vanilla and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine has great acid, showing a refreshing and tart attack, with herb and peach, balanced well by slate, gooseberry, grapefruit, and apricot. The finish is long and lingering with orange pith, yellow plum, intense citrus joy, and nectarine lingering long with rich acid. BRAVO!!!

2013 Four Gates Cabernet Franc – Score: A- to A
It is back!! The Franc is classic, with lovely floral and feminine notes, showing rose, floral notes, with green notes, earth, raspberry, and red fruit. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is lovely, old world, and expressive, with ripping acid, wrapped in lovely mouth coating tannin, showing red fruit, with black currant, rich earth, lovely garrigue, earth, and green foliage abounds, all with epic focus and bright fruit. The finish is long and green with spice, mint, lovely saline, graphite, mineral galore, with coffee notes and roasted herb. BRAVO!

2012 Domaine Roses Camille – Score: A- to A
Sheer elegance in a glass, this wine is so young it should not be looked at for at least another 4 years. The nose is rich and earthy, with hints of mushroom, and rich dirt and deep fruit. The mouth on this full bodied wine is filled with great currant, candied strawberry, along with nice dirt, spice, oak, and rich layers of green foliage and blackcurrant, black cherry – they give way to mineral, pencil, and great focus all underpinned by a core of acid and more mineral. The finish is long and spicy with great acid, mouth draping and elegant tannin, cocoa, tar, charcoal, and tobacco, wrapped in leather and spice. Bravo! Drink from 2020 till 2026.

2015 Shirah Furmint – Score: A- (QPR)
This too needs a good two hours of air. This wine is more intoxicating than the MR/SR, with crazy straw, dry grass, with dry apple/pear compote, peach, honeyed notes, honeysuckle, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied is ripping acid, with great honeysuckle, peach, almost apricot in nature, with great spices, cinnamon, crazy rich mineral, tart fruit, dry grass, and impressive straw. The finish is long and layered with hints of oak, almonds, and nice tea. This is very akin to the Dalton Semillon in some ways and in many ways much drier. BRAVO!!

2012 Beaujolais Cotes de Brouilly – Score: A- (QPR)
Nice earthy nose with good spice, cherry, with dried raspberry, tobacco, and spice. Nice medium body with simple body but firm attack, with great acid, though there is a slight hollow, but showing nice fruit, but gives way to nice extraction, boysenberry, graphite, mineral, and great spice. The finish is nice with cloves, smoke, and earth that mingles well with great acid and cherry fruit, dark plum, and more spice. Nice!

2014 Chateau Montroc – Score: A- (mevushal) (QPR)
This is a nice wine that shows what France can make for 15 dollars a bottle. The nose on this wine is old world, with red fruit, earth, mineral, and nice fruit focus. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is balanced, and really good for a menu wine, showing nice spice, earth, red fruit, all wrapped in blackberry, black fruit, with dirt, mushroom, and acid galore. The finish is long and green with foliage, nice smoke, toast, and rich spices. Nice!

2015 Hajdu Picpoul Blanc – Score: A- (QPR)
This wine is VERY slow to open, at first it smells of peach and apricot with hints of petrol and sweet quince jam – with time the nose explodes with floral notes, pineapple, and coconut. Lovely mouth filling wine, with lovely acid focusing in on grapefruit and pineapple juice that is really impressive followed by rich citrus, intense saline, mad acid, dried apple and pear and lovely mineral that shows slate and gooseberry galore. The finish is long and spicy with great citrus and herb and rich mineral that finishes with spice, cloves, white pepper and floral notes.

2012 Pacifica Pinot Noir – Score: A- (QPR)
The nose on this wine is ripe, with intense spice and cherry, roasted herb and toast. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is really nice, with more good toast, showing nice extraction, and a lovely attack of layers, with good complexity, saline, mineral, dirt, nice graphite, and great all spice, showing intense black pepper with cherry. The finish is long and well balanced, with good acid, tar, rich loam lingering with good tannin. Nice!!

2013 Chateau Piada – Score: A- to A
Wow what a wine, this is a beautiful Sauterne, a wine that is not a big seller normally in the kosher wine world, but given how very little of it was made, it sold out quickly. The nose is insane, lush and bright with intense tropical fruits, followed by a rich nose of honeysuckle, honey, orange blossom, guava, pineapple, and ripping sweet funk. The mouth on this full bodied wine is perfectly balanced and abundant with ripe banana, sweet notes, sweet honey notes with peach, apricot, more stone fruits, showing a zesty and juicy center, nice green tea, honey, and rich acid that keeps the wine in its place. The finish is long and lush, showing a rich viscous mouth, with summery fruit, including graphite, charcoal and mineral galore, bravo impressive and really a joy in the glass!!

2013 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Ink Ranch, Single Vineyard – Score: A- to A
This wine is the most old world version of the single vineyards I have enjoyed, outside of the oakville, which I had again recently and was crazy good! Lovely dirty and tar nose with crazy roasted herb, blackcurrant, and spice. The mouth on this full bodied wine shows rich extraction, layers of concentrated fruit, blackberry and cherry, with searing tannin and great acid balance, with mad chocolate and dirt, mushroom and forest floor with garrigue and crushed herb. The finish is long and spicy, showing nice oak, with great leather, cloves, and Asian spices, with mouth draping elegance and persistence. Bravo!!

————- Great wines you can find if you look hard —————

2002 Chateau Haut Condissas – Score: A- to A
This wine is a blend 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, and 20% Petite Verdot (“according to the label”). What a pretty wine, bravo, so elegant, lovely with great mushroom, controlled, with green notes, herb, spice, white pepper, barnyard, and black fruit. The mouth on this full bodied is layered and crazy spiced, with layers of mushroom, mineral, and spice, with loads of green notes, foliage, with blackberry, cassis, raspberry, and herb. This wine is at its perfect level, with great spice, green notes galore, herb, and red fruit galore. Lovely! 2022

2009 Capcanes Peraj Ha’abib – Score: A- to A
What a nose, intoxicating and redolent with smoke, toast, roasted animal, rich blue fruit, loamy earth, and tar. The mouth on this full body wine lives up to expectations, with rich mouth coating tannin, draping and elegant, with rich extraction and lovely pencil shavings. The mouth shows rich mineral that gives way to charcoal, mushroom, hints of barnyard, with layers of concentrated dark fruit, blackberry, dark cherry, currant, and rich black tea. The finish is long and extracted with tobacco, more mouth-coating mineral, and focus that really shows the impressive potential of Spanish wine to be as old world as French wine with a new world twist, bravo!!

2005 Chateau Valendraud, Saint Emilion Grand Cru – Score: A
To start this was the best of the tasting and the score is not one I give out very often. What a rich nose, bravo, green and black and barnyard all wrapped in sheer elegance and foliage with mint and basil. The wine is intense and insane with extraction galore, that gives way to a full-bodied and rich wine with ripe fruit, and layers galore that are balanced and ripe with blackberry, cassis, incredible mineral graphite, complex and rich with much more mineral and charcoal that show in the 05 over the 03, with complexity that is incredible, and lingers long with graphite, earth, that is based deeply in earth and barnyard and green notes that are perfectly balanced, impressive. BRAVO!!

2005 Elvi Wines EL26 (magnum format) – Score: A- to A
This is a wine I crave, smoke, earth, mushroom and barnyard with green notes and deep black fruit. The mouth starts off with crazy mineral and intense acid at the start but the wine is a bit off balance for me as the wine is pure mineral to start with unbalanced acid, then ripe fruit and searing tannin, and then crazy ripe fruit at the end that is in the end nice but all over the place. However, I tasted it again later in the night and then the next day, and that wine had come into perfect balance. It needs time to open in it magnum format. The finish is long with blackberry, mineral, charcoal, tar, and ripe fruit with tannin and crazy acid. Bravo!!

2000 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan – Score: A- to A
Wow, what a focused nose, insane, with dark fruit, blackberry, cherry, vanilla, and herb. Wow what a dark fruit wine, without being close to ripe, rich and herbed, black currant, with chocolate and mouth drying tannin, rich mineral core, the most ripe of the lineup bit you cannot notice it, with focus that is mind blowing, but gives way to oak and ripping mineral focus. Long and mineral finish that is impressive and power that is followed by chocolate and vanilla and oak. Incredible!

2009 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan – Score: A
Let me be clear, after two days+ of tasting wines, this was the clear winner, and it turned out to be the last one (well almost last one)! This wine is so bonkers, it is crazy, it starts with blueberry and boysenberry but gives way to cherry and chocolate, with rum flavored blackberry. Wow, what a wine, layered with fruit, lavender, and layers upon layers of earth and chocolate, blackberry, with blue fruit melding with rich extraction and concentration, impressive wine that is insane, massive and focused, but showing immense balance with mineral, graphite, and earth, followed up with black and blue fruit, wow. Long earthy, and tannic finish that is earth, dark fruit, leather, and rich tobacco. Bonkers! The price is insane but so is the wine.

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Posted on January 29, 2017, in Israeli Wine, Kosher Dessert Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Rose Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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