The French are coming the French are coming
By now it should no surprise to you at all that I really like old world wines and controlled new world wines, like California, Spain, and some top wineries in Israel. The wines from Italy, like Terra de Seta’s wines, are all old world in style, though they have a couple of new world wines as well, and they are a bit too much for me.
So, I thought it was time to update the notes on all the 2014 and 2015 French wines that are here in the USA. Yes, the 2014 wines have been here for some time, but I am shocked to see that they did not sell out yet like the 2014 Chateau Montviel, which flew off the shelves and essentially disappeared within a month. Much akin to the 2013 Chateau Piada Sauterne, that also disappeared within a month or so, a great wine with a very good price tag. Of course, both of them were made in too small of a run, which we can all complain about to Royal. However, as I stated earlier, in my post of the 2015 and 2016 Bordeaux wines, Royal will do whatever it needs to never see a wall of wine sitting in its warehouse again, even if that means we all lose out. The saying, “Less is more”, is a perfect ideal by which Royal runs its French wine business. Please do not get me wrong, we are all indebted to the Royal wine company and its Royal Europe division for making us wines we all adore. That said, they made a small run of the two aforementioned wines and having less, while painful for the consumers, is more for Royal, as the memories of 2003 and on, where walls of wine sat unsold, is one that will not be forgotten anytime soon.
I have already posted about some of the whites and the Sparkling wines from France, and I will add the two 2014 Sauterne that I enjoyed below.
So, that sets us up for the state of French wine in the USA, the 2014s are all here including the 2014 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, which is made by IDS, and I will leave it at that. However, the 2015 wines from France, are already starting to arrive on our shores. The 2015 wines from Royal, that I tasted last year in Bordeaux from the barrel and posted on here, will be here in bottle format, before the end of the Gregorian calendar year. As I stated in my post, the prices will shock you, the Grand Vin from Leoville Poyferre will top the $200 range retail, and they will be priced alongside older vintages of Leoville that are being sold in NYC and soon on Kosherwine.com. That will be fun to watch.
The 2014 vintage in comparison is actually very reasonably priced, and while it is not the monster 2015 vintage, it is still a very good vintage and one that will not give you the heartache and sticker shock that the 2015 vintage will give you. The superstar wines of the 2014 vintage are still very reasonably priced, Chateau Giscours, Chateau Malartic, Chateau Soutard, Chateau Marsac Seguineau (in France only sadly). Along with the very good 2014 Pavillon de Leoville Poyferre, and Les Roches De Yon-Figeac Saint Emilion Grand Cru. The latter two wines are wines that should be laddered into your wine list as they will drink earlier and not last as long. That gives you wines that will be ready soon and help to keep you away from the Grand Vin wines which need a TON of time. Of course, you should buy as much of the 2015 Fourcas Dupe that you can find when it arrives along with the other QPR shocker – the 2015 Chateau Larcis Jaumat – which I think will be priced at the same range as the Fourcas Dupre. But remember, the Fourcas from 2015 will be priced a good 15 to 25% higher than in previous vintages and maybe the 2015 Chateau Larcis Jaumat will be priced at the higher tier as well.
Recently, I have been tasting other 2014 superstars, and a new one is here now, the 2014 Chateau Tour Saint Christophe – a lovely wine that we tasted side by side the 2014 Chateau Soutard, two wines that are very different in style but which are located very near to each other. They are both A- to A wines and the Christophe is actually cheaper than the Chateau Soutard.
We also enjoyed a fair number of new 2015 wines and some are downright awesome and some are nice, but their costs are already getting out of hand. Like the 2015 Domaine Condorcet Chateauneuf du Pape. It is a very nice wine, but for 75 dollars retail, it is not worth it. A lovely wine that is super bright and tart and very nice, but is you kidding me! Trust me when I say, this is JUST THE START, of a bunch of wines that may well price themselves out of the market – which would be scary, given the sheer number of 2015 wines made!. What if these 2015 wines are just very nice – why would I pay 75 dollars for that? It is a very important question that will be answered over time. Sure, people will take a shot on one of them here and there, to see what it tastes like. However, soon enough the word gets around and then what? Will it sit there? Only time will tell.
The prices went up, and the costs of producing them as I explained in my Bordeaux post has either stayed the same or gone up as well. So, what happens if the importers do not have enough money to keep them on the market? Only time will tell!
There is another 2015 Domaine Condorcet Chateauneuf du Pape, the other one has the label of Cuvee Anais of Condorcet – but I did not find it the day I bought its “cheaper” little brother. The Cuvee Anais of Condorcet is meant to be a bolder wine while the Domaine Condorcet is the lower label.
Below please find all the 2014 and 2015 red wines that I have tasted so far. Some of them are not easy if at all available, like the 2014 Chateau Pape Clement, but they are worth the search.
The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:
Available in France Only
2015 Chateau Le Caillou, Pomerol – Score: A- (will be here eventually)
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. Drink by 2021.
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 a simple attack, but nice tannin and extraction, with earth and mushroom and green notes. Drink now.
2014 Barons Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild – Score: A- (will be here eventually)
This wine is a lovely fruit and herb driven wine, very spicy, with cloves and all-spice, showing black fruit and herb. Very different mouth with spice, but you can see where this wine will look like the older brothers with time, showing a full body with crazy spice and searing tannin, a mineral core of graphite, and spice with great acid balance, black and red fruit with time showing a draping tannin velvet. The finish is long and herb, with chocolate, leather, tar, and smoke.
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! Drink 2020 till 2030.
2014 Chateau La Tour de Mons ‘Marquis de Mons’, Margaux – Score: A-
This wine is a blend of 65% Merlot, and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine does not open quickly, it took three hours for it to really start to show its abilities. This wine is the 2nd label of Chateau La Tour De Mons. This is the same winery where Bokobsa made the beautiful Château Marsac Séguineau – that I had in Paris.
Wow, what a nose, lovely, old world, a crazy perfume of herb, intense raspberry, lovely currant, not pushed, controlled, in deep dirt and earth, with forest floor, mushroom and foliage. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is rich with saline, tar, vanilla, crazy mushroom structure, showing blackberry, with nice extraction, epic, really lovely with red fruit, dirt, terroir, and great mineral. The finish is long and green, beautiful, elegant, with dark chocolate, mushroom, red tart juicy fruit, and mouth coating elegant tannin. A wine that really demands another score above A-, but sadly none exist for me at this time. Bravo! Drink by 2022.
Available in the USA
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 blackcurrant and mushroom that gives way to notes of spice and green notes. Long and earthy finish with spice and dark chocolate. Drink by 2020.
2014 Chateau Malmaison – Score: A-
Nice elegant nose of green notes, rich foliage, with dark cherry, earth, and good red fruit. A 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! Drink 2019 till 2024.
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. Drink 2019 till 2026.
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. Drink 2019 till 2024.
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! Drink 2019 till 2027.
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!! Drink 2020 till 2030.
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 an 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! Drink 2021 till 2031.
2015 Chateau Tour Des Agasseaux – Score: B+ to A-
A lovely young nose, with mineral, green notes, with impressive vanilla, tar, and roasted meat. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is dill driven, with tobacco, and green foliage, with loads of currant, cranberry, and draping mouth drying tannin, well balanced, but sadly not as elegant or complex, with hints of black fruit that give way to menthol, mint, and herbs galore. The finish is long and herbal, with nice spices, earth, hints of leather, and spices, cinnamon, and rosemary, with tar and graphite galore. Drink 2020 to 2026.
2014 Chateau La Patache – Score: A-
This wine is super young, with initial notes of truffle, dirt, lovely earth, violet, with ripe fruit, cherry, raspberry, and nice fruit. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is well balanced, with mounds of dill, earth, red fruit, with juicy strawberry, nice mouth coating tannin, and green notes of foliage, straw, and lovely mineral. The finish is long and juicy, with juicy tart fruit, lovely herb, showing rich mineral, earth, foliage, and mineral/graphite galore. Bravo! Drink 2020 to 2027.
2014 Chateau Tour Saint Christophe – Score: A- to A
The wine was slightly corked, and that was really sad. The nose is dirty and earthy, with rich black and red fruit, with lovely menthol, and green notes galore. The mouth on this full bodied wine is crazy rich, layered and richly extracted, with intense acid, mouth coating tannin, lovely blackberry, raspberry, with crazy rich mineral, scraping graphite, and lovely earth and mushroom, that gives way to green notes and lovely vanilla and hints of butterscotch. The finish is long and earthy with green notes galore, foliage, and tannin and elegance that is truly impressive and elegant that lingers long with mushroom, mineral, graphite, and green notes galore – bravo!! Drink 2020 to 2030.
2014 Chateau Pape Clement – Score: A- to A
Lovely dark and ripe nose with rich notes of smoke, rich dark fruit, rich tiled earth, mushroom, fresh earth, and lovely forest floor. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich and layered, extracted and ripe with rich mineral, all wrapped in a dark and inky structure, with rich forest floor, blackberry, dark raspberry, with insane mouth coating tannin that makes for a rich unctuous wine, showing green notes with herb and ripe fruit. Long and rich finish with green notes, lovely foliage, tobacco, chocolate, herbs galore, with mineral and spice on the long finish – Bravo!!! Drink from 2022 to 2033.
2014 Chateau Soutard – Score: A- to A
Lovely insane nose of tobacco, smoked meat, rich earth, with crazy tart fruit and dark brooding black notes, with black olives, and earth. The mouth on this full bodied wine is impressive, richly extracted, with rich layers of concentrated fruit, dark blackberry, with red fruit, sitting on a bed of pure forest floor and mushroom, showing dark fruit in the background, with great tart and yet earth notes, with rich layers of crazy fruit, green notes, foliage, and lovely elegance. The finish is super long and dirty as black with a touch spice, dark fruit with mad earth and draping tannin. Licorice and good green notes, showing tar, and juicy fruit. Drink 2020 to 2030.
2014 Chateau Montviel – Score: A-
While I love Merlot, a red and green one is not one that I jump up and down for normally, still, this wine had the added value of being plush, green, tart, with juicy fruit and great mineral.
The nose on this lovely wine starts off with mounds of green notes, juicy red berry, with hints of black fruit, followed by lovely earth and herb. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is, for now, red fruit dominated, with green notes, showing ripe and juicy raspberry, along with dark cherry, and herb, wrapped in a good elegance, showing a plush almost mouth coating tannin structure, that gives way to mineral, graphite, and lovely acid core. The finish is long and green, with more earth, loam, and tobacco, followed by coffee notes and great fresh herbs. Nice! Drink 2020 to 2025.
2014 Chateau Peyrat-Fourthon La Demoiselle d’Haut-Peyrat – Score: A-
This wine was decanted for a few hours and even then it was still not ready to enjoy. Lovely nose of dark rich fruit, dark currant, with rich tar, ripe fruit, with freshly tilled soil, loam, cardamom, dark cherry, forest floor, licorice, and foliage galore. The mouth on this medium bodied wine needs tons of air and time to open, with lovely dark red fruit, with forest berry, that gives way to mouth coating tannin, with lovely smoke, good layers of earth and nice spice. The finish is long and tart, with good red fruit, tobacco, and nice fruit. Drink 2020 till 2025.
2015 Chateau Trijet – Score: B+ to A- (QPR)
Lovely nose on this wine with dirt, earth, licorice, mushroom, and loads of red fruit with green notes and herbs. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is fun, with great attack and focus, showing black pepper, blackberry, dark Kirche cherry, with good dirt, loam, garrigue, with more green notes, foliage, and mineral. The finish is long and mineral-driven and green, with lovely red berries, forest floor, and graphite. Nice!
2014 Chateau Les Riganes – Score: A- (mevushal) – NOTE the 2015 vintage is boring
Nice nose of cherry, cinnamon, and lovely licorice, with earth, and menthol. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice and layered, with big aggressive tannin, for now, that is backed by nice acidity and a coat of mineral and charcoal, with good fruit structure, followed by blackcurrant, with dark cherry, nice earth, and foliage. The finish is long and spicy, with green notes, earth, and dry red fruit.
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! Drink by 2021.
Two superstar Sauterne
2014 Chateau Rayne Vigneau – Score: A- to A
What a crazy nose of funk and rich luscious apricots, with crazy young and sweet nose of honeysuckle, rich honeyed melon, honeyed notes, orange blossom, with ripe fruit that is balanced by intense bright fruit. The mouth on this full body wine is rich and layered, with impressive concentration, with rich layers and complexity that is mind-blowing, with ripe guava, orange, nectarines and honeydew melon that are all balanced by lovely acid that is ever present but well balanced, followed by epic sweet notes and more lovely funk. The finish is insane, absolutely crazy long, lingering in the mouth for minutes, with perfectly balanced fruit and acid and funk that is rich, concentrated, but augmented with slate, mineral, and capable of handling any sweet dessert or foie gras. Bravo!! Drink from 2023 till 2035.
2014 Clos Haut-Peyraguey, Sauternes, Magrez – Score: A-
Funk city with great spice, floral notes abound, Jasmine, and fruit galore. The mouth is rich, layered, ripe and intense, with great acid, funk galore with great citrus, lovely honeyed notes with honeysuckle, rich spice, white pepper, with lovely sweet notes make the grapefruit, honeydew, and melon all work well together. The finish is long and sweet with great balance and weight that gives way to some tart and sweet notes of guava and mineral and slate. Nice! Drink from 2022 to 2030.t
2014 Domaine d’Ardhuy Ladoix “Les Combottes” – Score: A-
This wine is crazy tight and needed two hours to get it to a place where you can understand its potential, but it is not a wine for drinking for 3 years at least. The nose on this wine is pure elegance, jammy, pure confectionery spices, showing like a cherry cinnamon bun, with dark fruit, rich earth, candied cherry, and lovely roasted herbs. The mouth is rich and layered, ripping with crazy mouth drying and puckering tannin, with rich layers of mineral, graphite, earth, with mushroom blooming in the background, with nice blackcurrant, cloves, and nice spice. The finish is long and earthy with dirt, spice, and mouth coating tannin that lingers long with green notes, mushroom, and spice. BRAVO!!! 2019 to 2024
2015 Domaine Condorcet Chateauneuf du Pape – Score: A-
Wow, what a nose, right from the open, bright, vibrant and filled with blueberry, boysenberry, juicy fruit, raspberry, and juicy ripe and dripping strawberry, with crazy spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and God knows what else. The mouth is vibrant, what a true joy, not a warm weather Syrah in any way, this is cold weather, showing dark fruit, but with impressive finesse and control, the fruit is not super ripe, with blackberry, dark cherry, and more spices all coming together with crazy acid, mouth coating and drying tannin, all wrapped in a cocoon or mineral, graphite, and tar. The finish is endless and crazy joyful, with mineral focus, followed by ripping acid, tart yet controlled fruit, spices galore, and leather, coffee, and lovely herbs as well. Bravo!! Drink 2018 to 2026.
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.
This wine showed bubbles to start, but that blew off after a few hours. The wine has changed slightly since my last tasting, it now has a bit less mineral and more fruit, but all very controlled, but I think the drinking window I had on it was too long, I lowered it to 2020. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is rich with lovely coffee, nice 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. The wine now shows the acid I like, it has improved since my last bottle. Nice! Drink to 2020.
2014 Louis Blanc Crozes Hermitage – Score: A- (Good QPR)
This is a lovely black fruit Syrah, with hints of blue fruit in the background. The nose on this wine is lovely, with roasted meat, rich licorice, with blueberry notes in the background, along with earth, loam, mineral, and spice galore! The mouth on this medium bodied wine is balanced and well-focused, with a mineral core, followed by sweet boysenberry that comes alive with time, followed by blackberry, spiced plum, and rich loam, that is wrapped in spicy oak, rich mouth coating tannin, and fig. The finish is long and spicy, with leather, chocolate, lovely charcoal, and bitter almond notes that give the wine its edge. The sweet fruit shows quickly and really is a nice wine, I hope it turns more French with time. It is ready now and will be at peak in two years. Drink till 2021.
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! The wine shows a lovely ripe, but a 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! Drink by 2020.
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!
Posted on August 29, 2017, in Kosher Dessert Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged Bordeaux, Burgundy, French Wine, Kosher French, Rhone. Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.
Interesting! thanks for sharing. A wealth of tasting notes!
I think overall 2015 wines from France are of higher quality.
What do you call ‘controlled new world wines’?
I know Old World Vs New World is always an arguable concept. But I’ve always heard Spainb being classified in the old world, since they’ve been make wine at least since the ancient Greece era. And Israel (or at least this area) must have been making wine for a while as well. So curious to understand what you call ‘controlled new world wines’.
California is a new world wine style, and some of Spain is new world as well. Israel is also new world, but sometimes they make it too new world and too ripe and it tastes overcooked, over ripe, too fruit forward and I call that date juice. California is ripe and new world, but they rarely push it like in Israel, for the most part. France is far more old world in style, meaning far less ripe, but there are kosher riper Spanish wines for sure.
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