Tasting of Royal’s 2015 French wines in France
As I stated recently in my original post about my most recent trip to Israel, France, and Germany, I had the opportunity to sit with Menahem Israelievitch and taste through all of Royal France’s new 2015 wines in France. So, I am going to take a break from my Israel wine trip posts and skip to the France portion (chronologically speaking) to post my notes on the French wines that are slowly making their way to the market now.
2015 Royal Europe French wines
Last year I was given the opportunity to taste these wines from the barrel at each of the wineries in Bordeaux. Since then, some have changed, with some improving, and some not so much. The wines were only recently bottled and I am sure they will change more now, and of course, as the wines evolve and age they will change in very different ways along the way, mostly for the positive.
In my last post about the most recent French wines that were arriving on the market – I already spoke about pricing and supply, so there is no need to talk that over again in this post.
The interesting changes this year for these wines is that more of them will be coming to the USA in mevushal format. Will that be an issue? You will see below that there are two notes for the 2015 Chateau La Crock – one was tasted from the non-mevushal 750ml bottle and one was from a 375ml mevushal bottle. Clearly, they are not an apple to apple comparison, as bottle format affects the aging of wine, as I described here. However, these wines were only recently bottled and as such, it was far more of an apple to apple comparison than it may seem at first blush. The mevushal wine was clearly different, but it did not taste flawed, it was just further aged than the non-mevushal bottle. We have found so far from history, that Royal wines know how to do mevushal well already. The perfect proof of that is the wonderful 2010 Rothschild Medoc wine that was luscious and beautiful and mevushal.
Now does mevushal impede the long-term viability of aging in regards to the wine? Well, that too is not something that we have scientific proof on. I have tasted a mevushal 1999 Herzog Special Edition wine that wine was mevushal and it was aging beautifully! So, would I buy the mevushal versions of the wines I tasted below – absolutely! Would I age them? Yes, but one of the byproducts of the mevushal process is to make them more accessible earlier. So, when the mevushal wines come to the USA, I will taste them and post the notes – then you can make your own opinions after that.
Other than the mevushal aspect, there are no differences between the European version of the wines and the USA version of the wines. Which should be obvious, but just stating it here. The wines will be shipped now and the temperature issues that clearly affected Israel’s wines of old, have not been a factor here, at least based upon the 2014 wines I tasted in France and in Here in the USA.
I landed in Paris, got showered and the such, and then made my way to lunch with Menahem Israelievitch. After lunch, we went to a lovely home to do the tasting. The wines were all laid out in the order for the tasting, and one by one we went through the 20 wines. The only wine missing was the 2015 Rothschild Haut Medoc. It was a lovely wine from the barrel and it was a shame that it was not available in time. The real shame is that I will not get to taste that wine for a long time still. Why? Because of what I explained already in my previous post of French wines and Bordeaux. The 2013 vintage was a mess and there is still far too much of the 2013 vintage left for them to start selling the 2014 vintage here in the USA. So before we see the 2015 vintage, the 2014 vintage would need to be sold out. That is two full vintages that need to disappear before I will get to taste the 2015 vintage. The 2014 vintage, which I tasted last year was lovely, and it has very little to do in comparison to the half bottles of 2014 that are available here in the USA. The 750ml version of the 2014 vintage was lovely, the half bottles of the 2014 vintage that is available here in the USA, felt flat and hollow.
My many thanks to Menahem Israelievitch for going out of his way to help me to taste all the current French wines from Royal Wines before they were publicly released. The labels on the pictures may not all have a kosher symbol, but that was because they rushed some of the bottles to Mr. Israelievitch before they were properly labeled with supervision symbols attached. As in Israel, the wineries all around Europe were deep in the throes of harvest and it was really very kind of Mr. Israelievitch to make them available in the first place, and secondly, to make time to taste the wines with me. The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:
2016 Les Marronniers Chablis – Score: 92 (mevushal)
Finally! A reasonably (not cheap but reasonable) priced white wine that is more mineral than fruit focused – nice! The nose on this wine is lovely, with green apples, ripe melon, green notes, with nice mineral and lovely herbs galore. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is lovely, it is really well balanced, showing lovely mineral, nice grapefruit, nice acid that is citrus in nature, as it gives way to a lovely round and yet tart mouth with yellow plum and good herb. The finish is long and really tart, lovely citrus pith, with lemon fraiche, lemongrass, with slate, saline, tart fruit, and nice floral notes lingering long. Bravo! Drink by 2021.
2015 Ramon Cordova Rioja – Score: 88 (mevushal)
The nose on this wine is ripe, very ripe, with ripe blueberry, nice red berry, garrigue, menthol, green notes, roasted notes, and lovely herb. The mouth is medium bodied and round with good sweet oak, sweet dill, tobacco, mint, eucalyptus, that gives way to mouth coating tannin, good spice, mounds of earth, sweet raspberry, mineral, and nice graphite. I just wish it had more acid. The finish is long and salty, with rich saline, nice spice, pepper, and mineral that lingers extremely long. Nice. Drink by 2019.
2015 Chateau Trijet – Score: 88 (nice enough 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 feels ripe, it feels like it has gone more fruit forward over the past few months, but still with a nice 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! Drink by 2019.
2015 Herzog Selection Les Lauriers des Rothschild, (not mevushal) – Score: 89 (nice enough QPR)
A lovely nose of rich mushroom, turned earth, red fruit, and lovely mineral. The mouth is nice with black and inky notes of saline, earth, tar that gives way to rich earth and red fruit, with some black fruit, roasted herb, not overly complex, with nice mouth coating tannin, dried currants, and good spice. Long and green finish with foliage galore and tobacco and mint, oregano. Drink by 2021. (In the USA this wine is mevushal)
2015 Chateau Larcis Jaumat – Score: 91 (QPR)
This is a wine that really reminds me of what I tasted in the barrel last year. This will be the new Fourcas-like QPR no-brainer. The nose on this wine shows ripe, with ripe blackberry, earth, nice mineral, good spice and green notes galore. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is lovely, with nice mouth coating tannin, searing mineral, great acid, with rich black olives, saline galore, that is almost tart, with cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and intense spices. The finish is long, spicy, and green with red berry and mineral that lingers long. Drink by 2025.
2015 Chateau Yon-Figeac Les Roches de Yon Figeac – Score: 92
This is a wine that really reminds me of what I tasted in the barrel last year. This is the real smoke monster, showing intense smoke, toast, with great herb and rich red fruit and blackberry that is based on mineral and mushroom. The mouth is rich and really well balanced, with mushroom, slightly more round than I was expecting, but showing a lovely complexity still, with rich saline, dried plum, and cranberry with crazy spice, pepper, and lovely roasted herb. The finish is long and spicy with charcoal, tobacco, and rich mineral. Bravo. Drink from 2019 to 2027.
2015 Chateau Fontenil – Score: 90
This wine changed a lot over the past year, and it shows far riper than when I tasted it from the barrel. This wine is very fruity, with ripe blackberry, a mound of ripe blueberry, with really ripe fruit, spice notes, showing strawberry, and sweet green notes. The mouth is full bodied and round with intense fruit focus, showing a nonclassical French characteristic of oak monster, with heady spices, black pepper, incredibly ripe cassis, blackberry, with super and almost too much extraction and rich earth, with a palate that is backed by searing tannin, and sweet spices. The finish is long and spicy, green and mouth coating, showing intense tobacco, impressive leather, sweet foliage, sweet oregano, and earth. Drink from 2020 to 2028.
2015 Chateau Gazin Rocquencourt – Score: 90
The wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot. It is another chateau that is owned by Malartic and processed in the winery sometimes, depending upon production and such.
This is another wine that has changed a lot since I tasted it from the barrel last year. This wine is showing riper than when we had it from the barrel, and very ripe like the Fontenil, with crazy blueberry showing at this time, with nice herb and spice. The mouth is medium bodied with a rich and fruity body, showing an inky structure that is not overly extracted, showing a clear ripeness bit nice control still with great mushroom, saline, with mouth drying tannin, with good green notes, and great blackberry, with ripe fruit, earth, and great roasted herb. The finish is super long and green with rich mineral, graphite, freshly tilled earth, foliage, with sweet fruit that lingers. Drink from 2019 to 2027.
2015 Chateau Greysac – Score: 92 (not mevushal)
This is a wine I did not taste from the barrel. This nose is crazy fun, with rich toast, earth, with mounds of green notes, blue fruit, and lovely red berry. The mouth is medium bodied with rich spice, great focus, earth, with a plush mouth that is nicely balanced with lovely acid, and showing nice extraction, with black pepper, and lovely red fruit, strawberry, raspberry, with black forest berry, wrapped in mouth-searing tannin, and lovely herb. The finish is lovely and green and blue, with rich saline, graphite, green notes, foliage galore, leather, and tar. Bravo! Drink from 2021 to 2028. (In the USA this wine is mevushal)
2015 Cuvee Hautes Terres, Chateau Fourcas Dupre (not mevushal) – Score: 90
The nose has changed since I had it at the winery from the barrel, it shows a chemical nose at the start that goes away and shows more of a classic fourcas nose with rich tar, controlled green notes, earth, smoke, and tobacco. The mouth is nice, but a bit too fruit forward for me, on this medium bodied wine that is ripe and round, making for a much more accessible wine from the start, with great spice, green notes, dark cherry, raspberry, black forest berries, that gives way to mushroom and gripping tannins and nice focus with foliage galore. The finish is long and green, with herb, tobacco, and graphite galore. Drink by 2024 (In the USA this wine is mevushal)
2015 Chateau Fourcas Dupre, Listrac – Score: 91 (QPR) –
EDIT: Charged score after tasting again here in the USA. The wine is very akin to what we at the winery from the barrel. The nose on this wine is lovely with tar, dirt, black fruit and hints of blue fruit that show, with herb. The mouth is more focused than the Hautes Terres with great precision showing blackberry that is not ripe with dried currant, well balanced and truly impressive with green foliage that is rich and extracted, with incredible mouth coating tannin, nice incredible spice, black pepper, and tar. The finish is long and earthy with great saline, mineral, and spice that goes on forever with tobacco lingering long and coffee espresso. Bravo! Drink from 2020 to 2027.
2015 Chevalier de Lascombes – Score: 93 (QPR though the price will be high)
WOW, how this wine changed from when we tasted it in the barrel. This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot. It is the second label of Chateau Lascombes. What a crazy nose, incredibly different than the Listrac, with a unique nose of soy sauce with mushroom and rich black fruit. The mouth on this full bodied wine is richly extracted, with raspberry, cherry, blackberry, and blueberry in the background, with a lovely ripe but well-controlled fruit-forward style, that is mouth drying and hedonistic. The finish is long and green and blue with rich saline, charcoal, and earth. A lovely unique and fun wine. Bravo for the price! Drink from 2020 to 2027.
2015 Chateau Lascombes – Score: 94.
WOW, how this wine changed from when we tasted it in the barrel. This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot, and 3 to 4% Petit Verdot. It is the flagship wine of Chateau Lascombes. The nose on this wine is even crazier than the Chevalier, showing more umami and soy sauce if that is possible, with incredible finesse, showing massive power, but great mineral and concentration, with black and red fruit, foliage galore with tar and roasted animal. The mouth is full bodied and incredible with the same style as the Chevalier, but with more finesse, mouth coating soft tannin that is extracted with blue fruit, earth, rich concentration, with more saline and power, yet showing incredible precision that is coating and impressive. The finish is long and lovely, with saline, mineral, tobacco, refined dark chocolate, and rich mushroom. Incredible! Drink from 2022 to 2032.
2015 Chateau Giscours – Score: 95
This wine was very close to what we tasted from the barrel. The nose on this lovely wine is super dry, with more of a classic Bordeaux nose, less ripe than some of the previous wines, with the ever classic blueberry notes of Giscours, with black and red fruit galore backed by roasted herb, rich mineral, and lovely saline. The mouth is rich, incredible, massive, full-bodied and incredibly extracted with rich saline, with layers of unstoppable concentrated fruit, with blackberry, raspberry, with blueberry, rich spice, mushroom, and herb. The finish is never ending with green notes, roasted herb, incredible drying tannin, with a deep fruit base followed by the mineral, black fruit, earth, graphite, and rich spice, cloves, and dark chocolate. BRAVO! Drink from 2023 to 2035
2015 Chateau Leoville Poyferre ‘Pavillon de Poyferre’ – Score: 92
This wine was very close to what we tasted from the barrel. The nose on this lovely wine shows dark chocolate, rich blackberry, dirt, tar, and nice mushroom. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is rich and layered with nice extraction, rich layers of blackberry, dark cherry, cranberry, with incredible mineral, with mouth draping and elegant tannin, that gives way to saline, graphite, foliage, green and red fruit. The finish is long and green with great focus and attack, tar, mineral, leather, and tobacco. Drink from 2020 to 2027
2015 Chateau Moulin Riche – Score: 93
This wine was very close to what we tasted from the barrel. This wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. The Cabernet is taking center stage, for now, showing great control with rich black fruit, dirt, herb, tar, smoke, and great spice. The mouth is rich and layered, with a lovely rich mouthfeel, showing incredible rich blackberry, cassis, dark cherry, and lovely green notes, with foliage, tobacco, menthol, dark chocolate and lovely rich espresso. The finish is long and the tannin is mouth coating and drying, incredible with butterscotch and rich green notes. Drink from 2022 2030
2015 Chateau Le Crock – Score: 92 (not mevushal)
This wine was not as close as the other Leoville wines because the barrel sample was not the final blend. This nose on the wine showed a bit too much floral notes for me, but it is a very made wine with rich black fruit, with red fruit and mineral. The mouth is full bodied and crazy rich and mouth coating with so much extraction and focused attack that it is close to no fun, this needs tons of time to come together, with crazy mouth drying tannin, backed by rich blackberry, raspberry, dry currants and rich mineral and earth and tar. The finish is rich and dark and mineral driven with chocolate, rich spice, and green notes that linger long. Drink from 2024 to 2030. (In the USA this wine is mevushal)
2015 Chateau Le Crock – Score: 90 (mevushal) (375ml format)
The nose is a bit stunted with dark fruit, blackberry, and rich mineral. The mouth is more accessible, less astringent than the non-mevushal, with still screaming mouth drying tannin that lingers, but the front is nice with dark fruit, earth, mineral, graphite, green notes and dark cherry. The finish is long and green with chocolate and dark fruit. Drink from 2019 to 2025
2015 Chateau Grand Puy Ducasse – Score: 94
This wine was very close to what we tasted from the barrel. What a nose, this wine is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and a drop of merlot. This nose is green and red and really mineral focused with dark but red fruit focused, showing lovely elegance, dirt, and herb. The mouth is medium bodied with rich extraction, rich currant, red fruit, with dirt in the background, wrapped in rich and searcing tannin mouthfeel, with roasted herb, and rich tobacco that is backed by elegance and control, blackberry, plum, that gives way to dark chocolate epic control, foliage, and oregano that lingers long with graphite, pencil shavings, and rich leather. Drink from 2024 to 2034
2015 Chateau Leoville Poyferre – Score: 95
This wine was very close to what we tasted from the barrel. The nose on this wine is rich and black, with floral hints, smoke, mineral, and really pushed for now, but incredible and redolent with a perfume of ripe fruit, chocolate, and green notes. The mouth is rich and layered with an incredible finesse of perfection, richly extracted and incredible with rich mineral and saline that is so perfectly hedonistic it is impressive, with chocolate heaven, showing earth, loam, finesse, and elegance beyond explanation, showing soft yet focused and tight mouthfeel, with rich raspberry, blackberry, ripe plum, all focused and concentrated with perfection. The finish is long and rich and paired with an acid and mineral that is never-ending, almost ripe and tart at the same time, with draping tannin, graphite, and charcoal with expressive and focus. Drink from 2022 to 2040.
Posted on October 27, 2017, in Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged Chateau Fourcas Dupre, Chateau Giscours, Chateau Larcis Jaumat, Chateau Le Crock, Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Chateau Montviel, Chateau Moulin Riche, Chateau Pavillon de Leoville Poyferre, Chateau Yon-Figeac, Château Grand-Puy Ducasse, Château Lascombes, Cuvee Hautes Terres de Chateau Fourcas Dupre, Les Marronniers Chablis. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.