2017 Bokobsa Wine Tasting in Paris

mbokobsa-tasting-in-parisWell, if you read my previously posted notes of my one day at Sommelier in Israel, you may be wondering why I am posting about Paris France? The apropos answer to that question can be summed up with this beautiful pasuk from Psalms “Shomer petaim Hashem,” literally “God protects the foolish,”.

So, let’s start from the beginning. As I posted here, about the coming wine events of 2017, there were many options for you to get out and taste great wines almost across the globe. Well, this year I finally wanted to put more focus on France, so I was in Bordeaux later last year, and now I wanted to get to Paris again to taste through the new 2014 wines. My desire was to get to one day at Sommelier, and the Bokobsa wine tasting in Paris, but skip the epic Zur wine tasting this year, the first time since its inception 😦

Thankfully the plans worked out, and for that I thank God and my wife. Last year I was in Israel a total of 6 times, including a stop over in Bordeaux, where I tasted some of the best wines from the 2015/2016 vintage, thanks to Royal Europe. So, this year, we had to keep the number of round trips to Israel to a more reasonable number, and staying home a bit more was also on the table. That meant doing crazy things to get an elephant of activity, squeezed into a thimble sized amount of time. A total of five days, including travel both ways, to squeeze in a trip to Israel, a Monday in Israel for Sommelier, then a day trip to paris for the Bokobsa tasting (Tuesday), returning at 4AM on Wednesday back to Israel. Then going north to visit 5 wineries (Kishor, Matar, Adir, Lueria, and then Netofa part 1 of 2017). Then return back to sleep (preferably not in the car while driving). Get up Thursday, drive to a bris, then to my beloved sister (GREAT hanging with her), then to Tzora, Flam, and then flying home. So yeah, I have lots of posts coming soon, but for now, this is about Paris and France’s wines!

It started Saturday night, with a dash out the door to catch the 8PM direct flight to Israel. Thank God the plane was not packed and I arrived in time. We landed in Israel, and found my way to the hotel, where I would stay for two days. The next day was Sommelier, then dinner with friends, and then a half attempted night’s sleep. Then Tuesday, go to the airport and take the El Al flight to paris France for the Bokobsa tasting at the Intercontinental Hotel. By the way, charging 8 Euro at the hotel bar, for a cup of coffee is crazy, just an aside!

On the plane ride to Paris, I flew with Gilad Flam (a row ahead of me), from Flam Winery, and Justin Kohn from Tabor Winery, the next row over to my left. Justin had cell reception in Europe, so he was able to get us an Uber, and we made our way to the hotel. We arrived early, so I did some work on my laptop, while being ripped off for coffee and water! That was all OK, because the purpose of this trip was to taste the 2014 and 2015 Royal and Bokobsa wines!

I had already tasted the barrel samples of the 2015 Grand Cru wines of Bordeaux, but there are some already released Bokobsa 2015 wines, and many new 2014 wines from Royal and Bokobsa. Now, many of these wines will be at the NYC KFWE, but I wanted to see if there was a shipping issue with French wines – like there is with Israeli ones. Also, some of the wines I tasted in Paris will either not be coming to the USA, or coming later, and I wanted to get a heads start.

Bokobsa Tasting in Paris 2017

First I must say many thanks to Clarisse and Lionel Bokobsa, and the entire Bokobsa family for allowing me to join their event and getting me a trade pass as well. Overall the event was quite impressive. The only real issue I had with it were the glasses. I would really wish I could have smelled Grand Cru wines from a proper sized glass. Besides that small issue, the event was great. The space was respectful to the number of people who joined. The place was buzzing all night, it was never over crowded, and I always had room to taste the wines, even the crazy grand cru wines! I so badly wanted to take them home – damn the consequences (joking of course, I did not even have a bag – only a backpack, my bag was in the rental car in the short-term parking at Ben Gurion airport)!

The wine selection was all I cared about and it was spot on! The only real missing wines were the Spanish wines, that Bokobsa does not import, i.e. Capcanes and Elvi Wines. The Israeli wines were even well-chosen, other than a few that shall go unnamed! Overall a very well run and executed wine tasting. Many thanks and an event I hope to return to as well.

Also, it was great catching up with a bunch of the French facebook wine group. Now I have a face to go with the names! Nathan, the madman from Strasbourg (we had already met in Israel previously), Cedric, the classic Frenchman, David N, the black hat wine lover, Malkiel the english speaking frenchman, and Benjamin – sadly I think missed talking with, or I talked with – but from behind my phone as I was swyping like a madman on my way out!

I really had very little time to enjoy the food, by the time I was done tasting the wines I came to taste, it was time to bolt and go back to Charles De Gaulle Airport for my 10:30 PM flight to Israel! However, from what I saw, the sushi looked great, and I did grab a few bites of those on the way out. The charcuterie looked nice as well, as did the rest of the food. There was some type of bar with wrapped bottles in the middle of the room, but sadly I had no time to inspect those – next time!

In the end, the event was rocking and the wines were great! Long live French wine and my God, I am sure Bordeaux is screaming happy that 2013 is behind them!


State of French Bordeaux wines

Now, let us talk about the 2014 wines. They are lovely, they are a huge step up from 2013, and that is obvious. HOWEVER, they are NOT the same quality as the 2015 or 2016 wines that I tasted from barrel, they are a step behind those epic vintages. Please think about this before you start stocking up on the 2014 vintage wines like a drunken sailor, and then you bemoan the fact that you have no room for the bevy of STUNNING 2015 and 2016 wines to come. If I had room for just one vintage, and I had the CASH, I would go with 2015, hands down. Why? The 2014 vintage is nice, very nice, but it is NOT the 2015 vintage. However, the prices escalate with the vintages. As I stated in my Bordeaux post, 2014 was a 25% increase from 2013. Same for 2015 and 2016, each escalating up, from the 14 and 15 vintage prices compounded!!! Now these are for the Grand Cru, but still, it is not cheap.

So, if I have money for ONE vintage, and you can check my Bordeaux post for which wines were made in what vintages (at least from Royal anyway). All else being equal, meaning the wine in question was made in 14, 15, and 16 then I would shoot for the 15 vintage. Why? Because that is the best bang for the buck. If you can buy them all – GREAT! Royal and Bokobsa will be very happy! Personally, I will be doing a bit of 2014, a lot of 2015, and some of 2016 as well.

Now, let me make this as clear as it can be said, 2015 is a crazy good year. It is not like the 2009 vintage, the pumped up Arnold Schwarzenegger of Bordeaux wines. NO! The 2015 vintage is the perfect vintage! It is ripe, but with insane control, no green and no over ripe. It is the vintage where the aphorism “a rising tide lifts all boats” literally come to life in Bordeaux. Even wines that I could not drink from France were lovely in 2015, though, it was also related to the fact that Pierre Miodownick, was the winemaker for those wines, more on that below.

The 2016 vintage is so freaking young at this point, that I cannot speak for its virtuosity, but if it is anything like what we are seeing from its incubation stage, it will also be an epic year with capabilities beyond 2015!

Wine notes from the 2017 Bokobsa Wine Tasting in Paris

I was not impressed at all by the rose wines at the Bokobsa tasting, other than the fontlaure. So, I will wait to taste them again in NYC before I make my final post on them. Till then I am only posting the fontlaure rose.

The wine notes follow below, in the order they were tasted, and using the scores as they are defined here. One side note on the scores – this tasting once again opened a very sensitive wound/subject – should we have a score in between A- and the next score A- to A? So far the answer has been no, and will continue here as well. But, there are clear differences in the A- minus wines, sadly I have no way to denote them for now, notes follow:

2015 Chateau Pouyanne Graves Blanc – Score: B+
Pretty nose of gooseberry, dry fruit, with quince and white cherry. Nice mouth, but lacking in bracing and nice body, but a bit hollow.

2015 Chateau Le Caillou, Pomerol – Score: A-
WOW! This wine was released early, like 6 months early, this was not a barrel sample wine. Lovely nose of mineral and black currant with crazy mushroom and dirt. Nice medium body, with enough complexity, though nice but a drop hollow, with good fruit focus and nice acid, showing great mineral and terroir, with dark cherry and draping tannin. The finish is long and green with foliage and coffee, nice saline and acid, and earth.

2015 Chateau Hauteville, Saint Estèphe – Score: B+ to A-
WOW! This wine was released early, like 6 months early, this was not a barrel sample wine. Lovely nose with great dirt and wet soil, forest floor and cherry. Lovely light to medium body with good spice, earth, great mouth drying tannin, lovely black currant and mushroom that gives way to notes of spice and green notes. Long and earthy finish with spice and dark chocolate.

2015 Chateau Pouyanne Red – Score: B+
Very interesting nose, almost tropical, juicy tart red guava notes, with strawberry, showing dark fruit, with accessible notes of cherry and sweet fruit notes. Nice medium body with simple attack, but nice tannin and extraction, with earth and mushroom and green notes.

2014 Chateau Malmaison – Score: A-
Nice elegant nose of green notes, rich foliage, with dark cherry, earth and good red fruit. Lovely medium to full-bodied wine, with great focus, elegance, nice structure, with dark red fruit, and hints of black fruit, blackberry with dark cherry, good terroir, with mushroom, draping tannin and soft loam. The finish is long and green, showing a lovely mineral focus, with graphite galore, awesome saline and ripping acid. Lovely!

2015 Gran Malbec Flechas De Los Andes – Score: A-
The nose on this wine is super rich, with toasty oak, ripe but impressively controlled blue and black ripe fruit, crushed herb, and plum. The mouth on this richly extracted and full-bodied wine is impressive to me because no matter how new world this wine is, it is beautifully controlled, with really impressive elegant and mouth coating tannin, rich and toasty followed by blackberry, blueberry fruit, and nice raspberry. The finish is long and spicy with massive tannin, chocolate, tobacco, and lovely roasted meat. Bravo, this wine used to be an out of control beast running in all different direction freaking out most people who had it. However since the 2014 vintage things have gotten far more controlled.

2015 Domaine Tremouredre Rose, Cotes de Provence – Score: B
A too sweet rose for me, with tropical notes, guava and sweet fruit. The mouth has good enough acid but the middle is flat with nice grapefruit, gooseberry, melon and sweet honey notes. Lacking a solid finish.

2015 Domaine Fontlaure Rose, Cotes de Provence – Score: B+ to A-
This wine shows a lovely nose of grapefruit, dry raspberry, strawberry, with currant and herb. The mouth is nice with just enough acid to make it work, with nice sweet peach and apricot, followed by sugared lemon and spice. Nice finish, with great guava.

2015 Tavel Domaine Lafond Rose – Score: B+
The nose on this wine shows notes earth, strawberry, and dried raspberry. Sadly, this wine was too basic and hollow with nice dark fruit and pith, maybe a bit more weight than I like on a rose, lacking the right amount of acid, with earth and red fruit, followed by quince, and good spice. Long and spicy finish with nice acid and spice, green notes, dried red fruit, cloves, and pepper linger long.

2015 Domaine Pradelle Crozes Hermitage, Bokobsa – Score: A- (QPR)
This is one of the three wines that Pierre made for Bokobsa in 2015. Normally these wines are not really my cup of tea, but these were really nice! Lovely ripe but controlled nose with great acid, saline, with blackberry and blueberry. Nice medium body with good acid, great draping tannin that will last three plus years with nice pepper and cloves with dried raspberry and currant. The finish is long and spicy with great earth, mineral, and graphite galore. Bravo!

2015 Cotes du Rhone Lafond – Score: B+ to A- (QPR)
This is one of the three wines that Pierre made for Bokobsa in 2015. Normally these wines are not really my cup of tea, but these were really nice! Nice bright nose of dried red fruit, with great spice and pepper, with mineral galore. Nice acid core for this medium bodied wine with great focus and earth, good dry raspberry, with dried strawberry and rich spice, Asian spices and spicy oak. Long and spicy finish with loads of violets and spice, with great graphite, roasted herb, and espresso.

2015 Chinon Le Rosiers – Score: A- (QPR)
This is one of the three wines that Pierre made for Bokobsa in 2015. I do not remember seeing this in the USA, but this was really nice! Super spicy Cabernet Franc with great raspberry and dark cherry, hints of forest floor, loads of floral notes, with rosehip, and great spices. Nice light body with great acid, more floral notes, with great raspberry and rich green notes, bound in oak and floral and tart juicy strawberry. Long and tart fruit finish, with flowers, mushroom, and earth lingering long. Nice!

2014 Domaine de Boissan Gigondas – Score: A- (QPR)
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. To me this is what Rhone should taste like, mineral, dirt, graphite galore, with blue and black fruit, and a hint of red. Lovely.
The nose on this wine starts off with blackberry, tar, earth, blue fruit, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is rich with lovely coffee, scraping mineral, mouth coating tannin, that gives way to blackberry, blueberry, dark cherry, cranberry, with lovely loam, and roasted meat. The finish is long and mineral rich, with espresso lingering long, tobacco, with chalk and slate. However, the wine lacks the acid I crave, and while the tannins are nice, the body lacks the punch to enjoy this wine with many foods. Still nice, drink to 2022.

2014 Chateau Leoville Poyferre ‘Pavillon de Poyferre’ – Score: A-
Nice tart wine with tart and bright red fruit, with great spice and herb, showing raspberry, currant, lavender, with hints of mushroom, and more spice. Nice medium bodied wine with great focus and attack, showing acid and mineral core with draping tannin and rich mineral, mounds of graphite, saline, with great mushroom and rich spice. The finish is long and green, with crazy acid, red fruit, rich pith, and mushroom lingering long.

2014 Chateau Marsac Seguineau, Margaux – Score: A- to A
Lovely rich black fruit, so young with crazy mineral, saline, with mushroom and hints of barnyard, with crazy elegance and green note that are in your face, more than I expected, but epic elegance. The mouth is layered and extracted and crazy good and rich acid, with blackberry, ripe currant, with layers of elegance and complexity, showing draping tannin that dries the mouth, rich and epic, mineral takes center stage with spice galore, wow. Long and crazy dry finish, ripping acid, mounds of mineral, rich leather, tobacco leaf, espresso, and rich saline, with lots of foliage lingering long. Bravo!

Champagne Vranken Charles Lafitte – Score: A-
Lovely nose, more red than white with lovely mineral, cherry, with yeast, and nice spice. Lovely attack of medium mouse, with lovely light tannin, rich mineral, brioche, with focus of acid and tart cherry, raspberry, with grapefruit and lovely lemon. Long, mineral, slate, and tart citrus finish, that is focused and rich with pith and more brioche. Nice!

Champagne Demoiselle Vranken – Score: A-
This is another great Champagne from Bokobsa, showing lovely yeasty notes, with a restrained nose, showing flint, straw, orange blossom, white flowers, and quince. The mouth on this lovely bubbly is dry, with a great attack of small bubbled mousse, with green apple, intense acid, pear, apricot, balanced well with tart citrus, grapefruit, with intense mineral, and brioche. The finish is long and tart, with more mineral, crushed fruit, and lovely honeyed notes on the long finish.

2014 Chateau Royaumont Lalande De Pomerol – Score: A-
Spicy and pushed for a French Merlot but lovely, with lots of fruit, mineral, and more fruit, blackberry, juicy raspberry and earth. Lovely medium mouth, with nice attack and good focus, with nice green notes, with black and red fruit focus, with loads of sweet dill, sweet oak, with lovely tannin and earth. The finish is long and earthy, with mineral and good green notes. Most pushed 2014 so far, but very nice.

2014 Les Roches de Yon-Figeac – Score: A-
Lovely nose of black and green notes, with rich earth and mushroom. This medium bodied wine shows classic and lovely elegance in a glass, with great acid and mouth coating tannin, that gives way to rich graphite, rich toast and charcoal, that is under a bed of dark fruit, that is backed by blackberry, green notes, foliage, dark cherry, and more mushroom. The finish is super long, spicy, and focused, with earth, rich tobacco, and spice lingering long. Bravo!

2014 Chateau Malartic Lagraviere – Score: A- to A
Up till this point I had tasted many lovely wines, but this one is on a different level of the 2014s I have tasted so far, it is the best, with Giscours a slight step behind.
Lovely, insanely elegant, truly special, crazy impressive nose, rich red and black fruit, with mushroom and earth. Crazy young full-bodied wine, it is richly extracted, layered and intense, out of this world focused attack, with concentration and elegance, with chocolate and mineral, scraping graphite, toast and smoke, crazy rich and dark with both black and red brooding fruit, blackberry, dark cherry, and dried raspberry, controlled like a raging bull in a cage, with crazy mineral and mushroom. The finish is long and green, with rich earthy and mushroomy notes, with tobacco, leather, and mad foliage on a never-ending linger. Bravo!!

2014 Chateau Giscours – Score: A- to A
Lovely dirty and earthy nose with mushroom juice and great black fruit. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is rich and crazy extracted, with rich elegance and impressive saline, showing lovely hints of blueberry, with lovely blackberry, lavender, and rich herb that give way to dark cherry, with mounds of charcoal and crazy spice, that is never-ending, showing layers of complex fruit. Long, spicy, and green finish with intense concentration of rich green notes, with leather notes, mushroom, foliage, and graphite lingering long. Impressive, but a slight step behind the epic Malartic. BRAVO!

Posted on February 5, 2017, in Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Industry, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

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