My top 25 kosher wines of 2017 including wine of the year and best wine of the year awards

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 best wines I tasted this year – they are at the bottom.

This year I am adding the “wine of the year”, and “best wine of the year”. Wine of the year will go to a wine that distinguished itself in ways that are beyond the normal. It needs to be a wine that is easily available, incredible in style and flavor, and it needs to be reasonable in price. It may be the QPR wine of the year or sometimes it will be a wine that so distinguished itself for other reasons. This year, it is not the QPR King of 2017, that went to the 2016 Chateau Les Riganes. No, this year “the wine of the year” is indeed a QPR superstar, but not the king, it is the 2014 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, Alexander Valley. The best wine of the year, well that was easy, it is the 2015 Chateau Leoville Poyferre. So, yes, that means that the top wines of the year are both made by Royal wines, such is life, and I could care less for the most part.

Again, the list is missing wines I have yet to taste, like the 2015 Chateau Pape Clement, which I am sure would have been on this list if I had tasted it, or the 2015 Hajdu Proprietary Red. There are also interesting wines below the wines of the year, think of them as runner-up wines of the year. There will be no rose wines on the list this year – blame that on the poor crop or rose wines overall, they did not even crack the interesting list. Also, this year, we were given a bounty of top wines and finding the list this year was really a task of removing then adding.

The supreme bounty comes from the fact that Royal released the 2014 and 2015 French Grand Vin wines within the same year! The 2014 vintage wines were released in 2017 and the 2015 wines were released (in France in 2017 as well)! Throw in the incredible number of kosher European wines that are coming to the USA and being sold in Europe and this was truly a year of bounty for European kosher wines.

Now, separately, I love red wines, but white wines – done correctly, are a whole other story! Sadly, in regards to whites all we had this year that were exceptional, were epic Rieslings from Germany (Von Hovel) and the fantastic sweet wines from Sauterne and Yaacov Oryah. But dry white wines from elsewhere in the world was sadly lacking. There were a few exceptions, and they were all Chardonnays, but to me, the winner in that story (dry white wine that was not a German Riesling), was the 2015 Herzog Chardonnay, Reserve, Russian River. It does not rate in the wine of the year list, but it is in the interesting wines below. The new Chablis is also nice, as is the Shirah Whites.

Some of these wines are available in the USA, some only in Europe, and a few only available in Israel.

Finally, some of these wines are hard to find and they may have different siblings – but they are worth the effort. The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:

The 2017 kosher wine of the year!

This one was a no-brainer to me. The 2014 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, Alexander Valley is a crazily affordable wine that got rave reviews from me and from the press. Congratulations to Herzog Winery and Royal Wines.

2014 Herzog Cabernet SauvignonSpecial Reserve, Alexander Valley – Score: 92 to 93 (QPR Superstar)
Lovely nose, impressive elegant and old world nose, peaking with a blackcurrant showing blackberry and lovely smoke and tar. The mouth is old world, wow, give me a break, in ways the wine is crazy better than the Warneke (Special Edition), but with years the Warneke will pass it. The mouth on this medium body, is great layered and rich, green, spicy, and rich with concentration, with sweet oak and sweet dill galore, with green notes, loads of foliage, showing dried strawberry, ripe raspberry, black forest berry, all wrapped in mouth coating and drying tannin, with earth and spice. The finish is long, and richly green, with nice spicy notes, leather and scraping mineral, showing bright and ripe fruit that is impressive, elegant, rich, and layered, with licorice, graphite, and forest floor that lingers long. Bravo!! Drink from 2020 till 2030.

The 2017 best kosher wine of the year!

This one was really tough. First of all, the one I chose is not available yet for purchase in the USA. Also, in terms of score, it did not beat out the Von Hovel Rieslings of 2014 or the 2014 Tour Blanche Sauternes, or the 2015 Chateau Giscours, or the 2014 Chateau Smith Haute Lafitte. In the end – for its sheer awesomeness it beat out a very crowded field. In the end, the winner of the BEST kosher wine of 2017 goes to the 2015 Chateau Leoville Poyferre, and it deserves the crown – bravo!!

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 with a 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.

Rest of the top 25 kosher wines of 2017

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 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 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.

NV Four Gates Cabernet Franc – Score: 93
This is a blend of 2014 and 2015 vintages. This wine is a classic Benyo special, what a wine, this is crazy fun, what a rich floral, raspberry nose, with violets, rich tart fruit, with cherry, chocolate, mushroom, and foliage galore. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is really fun, rich, layered, with a real mouthfeel that gives way to mushroom, rich tilled earth, with red fruit, plum, raspberry, vanilla, and lovely focus, that gives way to great acid and sweet forest floor. The finish is long and green, with bell pepper, foliage, with vanilla, leather, and heather. Bravo!!! Drink 2020 to 2027

2013 Four Gates Merlot, La Rochelle – Score: 94
The nose on this wine is plum heaven, with crazy truffle, mushroom, and rich tart raspberry, followed by black fruit, and rich dirt. The mouth on this full bodied wine is crazy, rich, layered, with layer after layer of concentrated fruit, nice extraction, and intense acidic, with tannin galore, perfectly balanced, with sweet red raspberry, plum, sweet currant, black forest berry, and dark cherry. The finish is long and green, with foliage, mushroom, vanilla, sweet oak, spice, with menthol, mineral, graphite, sweet red fruit, and acid plays well together. Bravo!! Drink from 2020 to 2030.

2013 Four Gates Cabernet Sauvignon, Monte Bello Ridge, Betchart Vineyard – Score: 94
Lovely nose of earth, dirt, green notes, caraway seeds, coffee grinds, with black fruit hiding behind good bright notes, and mineral. The mouth on this full bodied wine, is rich and layered, showing lovely extraction, rich blackberry, blackcurrant, with impressive fruit structure, showing elegance and attack, with great focus and spice, spicy oak wrapped in earth and mouth coating and expressive tannin, with so much tar that it feels like road work in the mouth, and green notes galore. The finish is long and green with focus and power, showing dark chocolate, foliage, with scraping mineral, graphite, and mounds of earth lingering long. BRAVO! Drink from 2021 to 2031.

2013 Four Gates Frere Robaire – Score: 94
Another stunning wine, come on, this wine will and always reminds me of Chateau Malartic, and depending on how long you age it, the Malartic vintage compares well. The nose on this wine is lovely, as it opens, it is ripe to start with loads of fruit, mounds of finesse, and sweet oak, with rich mineral, herb, black fruit, with a bit of red in the background, and lovely graphite, and spice. The mouth on this full bodied wine is ripe and opens slowly with rich layers upon layers of sweet fruit, followed by earth, tilled loam, with green notes galore, sweet blackberry, plum, with concentration and rich extraction that gives way to layers of mouth coating tannin, vanilla, and spice. The finish is long and earthy, with foliage, green notes, anise, earth, leather, rich sweet milk chocolate, mushroom, and loads of forest floor. Drink from 2021 to 2030.

2014 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan, Grand Cru Classe – Score: 95
This is incredible, insane, far too young to imagine, and a wine that makes me want to just smell it all day, it is a truly perfumed and richly complicated nose, with incredible smoke, richly roasted animal, pure hedonism, and rich black and blue fruit that linger far in the background. The mouth on this full bodied is truly closed, sadly a wine that we have killed for the sake of knowledge, the tannins are beautiful, truly soft and caressing that is based on rich minerality, graphite, espresso, with blackberry, rich dark cherry, raspberry, that is caressing while also being richly tannic, giving way to soft and sweet garrigue, rich graphite, leather, and incredible refinement. The finish is long and green, with rich tannin, lovely tobacco, leather that is soft and saddle, and an extraction that is so incredible as you do not even realize that the extraction is slowly coming expressing itself more and more, in pure elegance, with green notes, foliage, and pure perfection coming through slowly. Bravo!!!!! Drink from 2024 till 2034.

2014 Chateau La Tour Blanche Sauternes, 1er Cru classé – Score: 95
This is the fourth 1er classé that has been made kosher. This is a clearly sweet wine with lovely balance though, showing sweet leanings but balanced well with mineral, bright fruit, showing bright dry fruit, lovely funk, showing fresh fruit notes, with honeysuckle, orange blossom, followed by sweet orange marmalade, with incredible sweet notes and fruit focus. The mouth on this full bodied and richly expressive sweet wine is incredibly focused and balanced and sweet, with ripping acidity, that is also balanced with lovely hints graphite with incredible expression, concentration, and impossible complexity that is truly impressive, a wine that never stops with rich grapefruit and citrus in the far background with sweet honeyed notes, candied lemongrass, and rich mineral and slate. The finish is incredible and never ends with honey, spice, nutmeg, and sweet stone fruit. Bravo!!! Drink till 2035

2014 Von Hovel Riesling, Hutte Oberemmel, Kabinett – Score: 94
The Scharzhofberg vineyard may be world-famous, but the Hutte Oberemmel is no slouch, it too has wide sweeping temperatures between day and night, and it is a monopoly (owned solely by) of the estate.Interestingly, the label reads Mosel, but it is really the Saar subregion of Mosel. Kabinett originally meant reserve wine, now it means light, fruity, that by law (if you use the word Kabinett) does not have chaptalization. The wine must also have a must density of between 67 to 82 degrees Oechsle, (148–188 g/L sugar). Kabinett wines range in style from dry to off-dry.
A wonderful Riesling wine, great funk, with rich petrol, honeysuckle monster, with great spice, dried flowers, heather, lavender, with yellow apple, and yellow plum. The mouth is rich and layered and rich acidity that is insane, with layers of rich blossom honey, and layers of never-ending oily texture that is dripping with acid and white peach, dried pineapple, lovely funk that gives way to minerality, wonderful control with nice oxidation, and intense lovely saline. The finish is crazy long, sweet, and yet incredibly balanced, with the sweet notes but impeccably balanced, with dripping honey, candied guava, minerality that is bracing, slate, rock, and incredible tart citrus, grapefruit, and tart lime. Bravo!!! Drink from now till 2028.  (available only in France – wish it was here)

2014 Von Hovel Riesling, Scharzhofberg, Kabinett – Score: 95
Scharzhofberg needs little introduction. It’s one of the most famous vineyards in the Saar with incredibly steep slopes of slate, and a microclimate that has one of the largest diurnal temperature swings in all of Germany. Interestingly, the label reads Mosel, but it is really the Saar subregion of Mosel. Kabinett originally meant reserve wine, now it means light, fruity, that by law (if you use the word Kabinett) does not have chaptalization. The wine must also have a must density of between 67 to 82 degrees Oechsle, (148–188 g/L sugar). Kabinett wines range in style from dry to off-dry.
The wine starts off with lovely notes of tropical fruit, petrol heaven with a light hand, showing incredible elegance and style, slightly oxidized with incredible rich pineapple, hints of mango, and sweet notes. The mouthfeel is incredible with rich layers of rich sweet fruit, showing a guava infused oily texture that is wrapped in rich acidity and perfectly balanced with rich spices and incredibly sweet notes of peach, sweet apricot, with acid that gives way to rich candied grapefruit, candied lemon drop, candied green apple and rich mineral and saline. The finish is long and super spicy with rich mineral, slate, incredible candied fruit that is rich and never-ending with sweet honeyed notes, and sweet spices. AWESOME!! Drink from 2020 till 2035. (available only in France – wish it was here)

2015 Tzora Misty Hills – Score: A- to A (shmita wine)
This wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah. The wine’s name is a tribute to the morning mists that often lie upon our vineyards. These mists form as warm air from the Mediterranean collides with cool air descending from the mountains. This wine is aged 24 months in French barrels and it is not the oak that impresses you, it is the elegance and makeup of the wine that makes you take notice.
The wine is now in the bottle and it still tastes like no other Misty we have ever tasted, even than the 2011 Misty. The grapes for this wine were pulled a bit earlier than Mr. Pick dreamed, but given the choice of rain and dust or cleaner grapes, he chose to pull them when he did. The wine is leaner and drier than anything he has ever made and will be a fascinating experiment for the oenophiles out there that crave his wines. Will they like this style of wine more than the rich, draping, and yet fully controlled 2014 Misty? Only time will tell! This wine tastes like a 2012 Saint Emilion still, 2012 was a riper and more accessible vintage in France and this wine is almost accessible now as well.

The nose on this wine is incredibly old-world, with impressive notes of cherry and earth, with red fruit, lavender and lovely roasted animal, licorice, with herb galore, and mineral. This medium-bodied wine really shows like a merlot, and nothing like a 75% Cabernet wine, showing with crazy earth, elegant and yet rich, not showing ripe still at this time, actually the fruit is tart and expressive with currant, dry raspberry, all wrapped in an impressive and lovely mouth draping tannin, true elegance, with an expression that says Bordeaux with class, followed by forest floor, rich saline, mineral, and mushroom. The finish is long and green finish, with foliage, truffles, tobacco, menthol, mint, and dirt. BRAVO!!! Drink from 2018 to 2024. (available only in Israel – I think)

2015 Domaine Chantal Lescure Pommard – Score: 93
Wow, what a wine! This wine starts off showing very red berry fruit, with insane mineral, rich charcoal, smoke, roasted meat, and lovely dirt. With more time the nose turns blue and red, showing more like a Syrah than a Pinot Noir, with intense smoke and animal, in the end, the wine moves back to its red fruit, but slightly darker in nature, with more mineral and dirt, and less of the smoked animal. Tons of fun. The mouth on this medium bodied wine follows the nose and turns from red to blue and then to darker red, with rich loam, always in full control, with incredible mouth coating tannin, that gives way to scraping mineral, with menthol, red currant, all balanced with lovely acidity and incredible elegance. The finish is long and super balanced showing epic control, lovely spices, with green notes, foliage, and lovely Italian herbs. Bravo!!!! Drink by 2028. (available in France)

NV Yaacov Oryah Old musketeer – Score: 94 (Shmita wine)
This is a maybe the most unique dessert wine I have ever enjoyed. No, it is NOT a sauterne and it does not have any of the botrytis funk, but what it lacks in terms of terroir and environmental impact, it has in spades with regards to technical makeup and impressive patience. This wine was made in the sherry wine style, using the solera technique (a fractional blending system from different age-scales of stacked barrels), which takes forever to get to its full potential. As the wine ages in the barrels its slowly consumes the oxygen and oxidizes the wine slowly, this slow oxidation also makes sure that the wine itself will never further oxidize and makes for a wine that is close to indestructible.

This wine is made from a blend of late harvest Muscat of Alexandria and 2015 chardonnay that was added in later on to give the wine its incredible balance and acidity. The nose on this wine is almost worth the cost of admission (which I must say is high indeed) showing a crazy nose of caramel, dried nuts, candied walnuts with white chocolate, dried flowers, candied grapefruit, and yellow peach. The mouth is richly balanced and lovely with really intense mouth coating sweetness that is both incredibly oily in nature and one that glistens in the glass with legs that go on forever, But it is also perfectly balanced by great acid with rich spices, spicy oak, with candied pear and lychee, really nice. The finish is long and never ending with a sweetness that is perfectly balanced and NOT cloying. Bravo!! (available only in Israel from Yaacov)

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. (available only in France – why? I do not know)

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.

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. (officially only available in France)

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 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 Capcanes la flor del flor de primavera Samso – Score: A- to A
This wine is made of 100% Carignan. The nose on this wine is old-world all the way, with great tar, asphalt, earth and black fruit. The mouth is richly old-world, showing a denseness yet elegance at the same time, with dirt, earth, crazy roasted animal, rich spice, dark fruit, with rich acid giving the wine a nice balance, wrapped in crazy mouth drying tannin, with intense extraction, ripe blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry. The finish is long and earthy, with tar showing richly, along with scraping mineral giving way to earth, loam, and forest floor with barnyard in the background, coffee, and leather. Bravo!! Drink from 2021 to 2028.

2014 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Limited Edition, Clone Six, Chalk Hill – Score: A- to A
This wine proves that you can make an old-world style wine with new world fruit, all you need it skill and interest. This wine to me is the bigger brother of the wine of the year, the 2014 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley. Of course, they are nowhere near each other on the map (fruit wise of score-wise), but they channel the same core philosophy, a beautiful old-world wine in a new world region – Bravo!

The nose on this wine is rich and redolent, really impressive, with green notes galore, foliage, true elegance, ripe black fruit, with mineral, graphite, and lovely earth. The mouth is full body, earthy, inky, and richly extracted, showing new world can impress like the old world, with crazy earth,  impressive acid and green notes with foliage, balance, and elegance that really blows me away. The mouth is backed by ripe blackberry, cassis, ripe raspberry, and crazy rich earth and forest floor, with fruit structure and focus and elegance that truly impresses. The finish is lovely, long and green, with tobacco, dark chocolate, green notes, menthol, and licorice! Bravo! Drink from 2020 to 2029.

Interesting Wines

2016 Les Marronniers Chablis – Score: 92 (mevushal) (QPR)
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, showing 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 Herzog Chardonnay, Special Reserve, Russian River – Score: A- (QPR)
This wine is ripe, no denying that but by far the most balanced of many years with a far better control on the “Oak Monster”. The nose on this wine is under control, with great buttery notes, sweet apple, pear, hints of guava, and nice quince, but balanced well with herb and spice. The mouth on this wine is nice and full bodied, but it needs time, with nice saline, mineral notes that are unique for this wine, well balanced with screaming acid, nice butter, showing a creamy and almost oily texture, nectarines and orange, with sweet quinine and white chocolate. Nice and elegant with grapefruit and citrus and oak. Drink by 2024.

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 Moulin Riche – Score: 93
With the last one being 2011 (ignoring 2013), I added this one here. 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

2014 Domaine Chantal Lescure Pommard – Score: 93
Fruity but stinky and lovely with roasted meat, lovely earth and rich mineral with dirt and rich green notes, with red and blue notes with rich herb and rich green notes. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is really crazy rich dirt and rich extraction showing lovely green olives, saline, rich coffee all wrapped in inane mouth coating tannin and rich mouth that is never-ending, green and rich with foliage, sweet herb, with raspberry, currant, and dark Kirsh cherry and rich tannin. The finish is long and green with lovely cloves sweet spices, leather, more meat, and tannin that linger long with elegance and style. Bravo! Drink from 2020 to 2028. (available in France)

2016 Nik Weiss Riesling, Ockfener – 92 (QPR)
To me this wine is really not ready – but it will be ready in a few months to start enjoying. It took a long time to open for me. The nose starts off closed but with time it opens with hints of petrol (which will come with more time), with sweet lovely notes of coconut, ripe peach, honeysuckle, floral notes, with bright and ripe guava, tart melon, and mineral, and slate galore. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice and round, with good saline, but now the acid is even crazier than when first opened, with a still rich round mouth but now it is perfectly balanced with the ripping acid, crazy candied grapefruit, lime galore, with kiwi, and sweet gooseberry notes, all wrapped in an oily texture and rich tart fruit. The finish is long, tart, yet very sweet, but not cloying, very refreshing, with mineral, slate, rock, and hints of flint that will expand with time, along with nice sweet spices and sweet dark tea. Bravo!!! Drink from 2019 to 2028.

2015 Shirah Carignan – Score: 92
This is Shirah wine’s first Carignan, and it is a very nice wine. The nose on this wine is quite unique and lovely, screaming with lovely Brett, and great root beer, with ripe black fruit, rich blue fruit mingling with fun dark currant and rich baking spices. What a lovely medium bodied mouth with rich extraction, nice mineral with lovely dark blackcurrant, ripe boysenberry, with lovely mouth drying tannin, rich saline, great graphite, with black and white pepper, showing green fruit and foliage with white stone fruit, and lovely spice. The finish is long and spicy with earth and mineral lingering long. Bravo! Drink from 2019 to 2024. (will be released soon, if not already out)

2014 Shirah Bro.deux – Score: 93
This wine is a blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon. 18% Cabernet Franc. 18% Malbec. 18% Petit Verdot. 10% Syrah. The blend is unique, and definitely NOT Bordeaux legally, but in style and mouthfeel, this wine is a California dead-ringer for a Semi-Parkerized Bordeaux wine.
Wow! What an old-world nose, with crazy green notes, and rich earth, with foliage and lovely mint, with ripe red fruit. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows classic Shirah rich extraction, showing nice notes of Brett, giving way to foliage, and rich fruit body and Cali texture, with rich green old-world notes that are phenomenal,  nice mushroom, graphite, dark candied raspberry, currant, Kirsh cherry, and lovely blackberry all coming together beautifully. Wow, this wine is really coming together with tannin, mad fruit, and rich green notes, foliage that gives way to mineral, graphite, and rich earth and red fruit, dark chocolate, licorice, tobacco, and leather. Bravo! Drink from 2019 to 2025.

2016 Domain Netofa Tel Qasser, White – Score: A-
This wine is 100% Roussanne that was fermented in steel and then aged 10 months in French oak. The wine has changed since we tasted it from the barrel. The nose on this wine is lovely with impressive funk,
Lovely funky nose with smoke, walnuts, pine nuts, with mad straw, dry mineral, and lovely with dried pear, and dried yellow apple. The mouth is lovely, rich and layered and crazy fun with layers of yellow plum, lovely white peach, rich acidity, with dried and roasted herbs, showing lemongrass, with dried and Smokey notes, earth, and lovely spice, with dry preserved lemon, orange zest, and lovely sweet baking spices. Drink by 2022. (sadly for now still only available in Israel)

2016 Shirah Vintage Whites – Score: A- (QPR)
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache Blanc and 30% Viognier. The nose on this wine is screaming Viognier and far less Grenache Blanc, with epic peaches and creme, showing rich notes of honeysuckle, honeyed notes of fruit, a truly perfumed nose that is a joy to smell. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is layered and rich, with great acid, lovely fruit pith, that is both unctuous and yet lithe at the same time, with nice summer fruit focus, showing apricot and hints of the Grenache Blanc with green apple, and lovely mineral. The finish is rich and lovely with joyous fruit pith, lovely spices, and lingering green tea. Bravo!!! Drink by 2021.

Posted on January 3, 2018, in Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Did the samso 14 get better than initial impression?

  2. Yosef Gottdiener

    David could the 2016 Nik Weiss Riesling, Ockfener be compared to either Hagafen’s Lake County Riesling or Napa Valley White Riesling Wieruszowski Vineyard (or another widely available Riesling) ?

  3. No they do not compare at all! While the Hagafen Rieslings are nice, they do NOT have the minerality and intense funk that the Von Hovel or Nik Weiss wines have. You cannot replicate Mosel in Northern Cali, though they are nice wines.

    • Yosef Gottdiener

      I finally experienced the 2016 Nik Weiss Riesling over Shabbos (finished the bottle last night), I see what you mean, my new favorite white, Yum, all aspects of the wine are so perfectly balanced.

  4. Yosef Gottdiener

    How does the 2015 Von Hovel Saar Riesling Kabinett compare to the 2016 Nik Weiss Riesling ?

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