Four new French wines from IDS here in the USA

The year in regards to French wines has been nothing short of epic! From crazy 2014 wines that started the reboot of a full line of Royal wines from France, to the 2015 and 2016 vintages from Royal that essentially completed the full reboot of Royal’s French wine lineup.

With that said, shockingly, not all French wines are marketed through Royal or its friends (Taieb, Bokobsa, Rivière, and Rollan de by). has also brought in some French wines, more on that in a subsequent post soon. As has Red Garden (two of their wines is posted here as well, as I tasted them at the same time), as has Rashbi wines, which shockingly is NOT predominately French, Andrew Breskin and Liquid Kosher, which brings in the DRC wines, and Victor Wines (maybe the first to bring in French wines outside of Royal of course).

So, who is importing IDS now? That would be M & M Importers. I must say that IDS does not control a large number of wineries, but the amount they do control, are some of the most vaunted kosher French wines around! The granddaddy would be the epic, Smith Haut Lafitte! I have tasted almost all of the kosher vintages, 1995 and 2000 were brought in by Royal, with the 1995 vintage being made by Bokobsa. 2002 and 2009 – was never quite clear to me (wink wink). The 2014 vintage was brought in by M & M Importers. The only one of that list I have yet to taste is the 1995 vintage. I actually did “taste” it, but sadly it was corked.

IDS also makes the kosher runs at the fantastic Chateau Lafon Rochet, which has been made kosher so far in 2001, 2003, and 2010, and again in 2017. I have tasted them all, besides the 2017 vintage of course, and to me, the 2010 vintage is in a league of its own.

IDS also controls the relationship with Chateau Valandraud, to me maybe the most vaunted Grand Cru in the Saint-Émilion appellation. No, it is not Angelus or Cheval Blanc, but it is a very big win for the kosher wine drinking public. As an example, here were the top 10 wineries for the 2014 vintage, of the Grand Vin from the Saint Emilion wineries, scored by Decanter.

Sadly, the last kosher Grand Vin made from Valandraud was in 2005, and what a wine it is! Since then, they have made the second label of Chateau Valandraud kosher, the Virginie de Valandraud ( a 2nd label for the vaunted winery, that was started in non-kosher in 1992). This wine has been made kosher in 2004, 2011, and 2015. I have not tasted the 2004 Virginie, but I have tasted the 2011 and 2015, and it is a consistently impressive wine, but a bit richly priced, which is what you get when you talk about Valandraud.

Finally, there is Chateau Labegorce, a wine that used to be a killer QPR wine when it was first released. Now, the price here in the USA is a bit elevated, but the 2015 vintage is quite the winner, IMHO! There have been two wines from this winery, the Labegorce ‘Zede’ and the Labegorce Margaux, both are Margaux wines, with the Zede winery closing in 2008. Its fruit was merged into the Labegorce Margaux in 2008.

IDS has made other wines, but they have not produced more vintages, like the Chateau Matras (2002 and 2004), Chateau L’Hermitage, and Chateau Rauzan – Gassies, and others. Chateau Haut Condissas was originally made by IDS, but after 2005, it went under the control of Rollan de By, that also was made by IDS until 2003.

Essentially, after the 2005 vintages, IDS now fully controls four wineries, Valandraud, Labegorce, Smith Haut Lafitte, and Lafon Rochet. The rest has stopped being produced or is handled by Royal and others.

On top of those four wineries IDS has started making some rose and sparkling wines. They made a sparkling wine in the past called Lilian Renoir, I never tasted it. But now they have made a new Brut and Rose Champagne from Janisson & Fils.

The tasting of the new IDS wines was quite enjoyable and my many thanks to M&M for the opportunity to taste the wines and a wonderful dinner to go along with them! I have also included the two wines from Red Garden, the 2011 and 2012 Siurac wines, as they were part of the tasting. Many thanks to RM for letting me taste these, as I had yet to taste them up till that point.

The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:


NV Janisson & Fils Champagne Brut Rose – Score: 90
This wine is beautifully packaged. The nose on this wine is sexy and ripe, with ripe raspberry, strawberry, with rich bright fruit, grapefruit, lovely yeast and mineral. The mouth on this wine is fun, tart, but lacking that rich yeasty style, more fruit than bubbles, with fruit showing well from the nose, with medium acidity, lovely medium sized bubbles, and mousse. The finish is long showing nice sweet fruit, with mineral, slate, and fun limoncello. Nice. Drink by 2021

NV Janisson & Fils Champagne Brut Blanc – Score: 92
This wine is also beautifully packaged. The nose on this wine is beautiful and captivating, showing impressive elegance, with mineral, yeast, lovely brioche, with rich saline and yellow grapefruit, green apple, and rich pear. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is layered, with great acid, complexity, with rich saline, bright tart fruit, lemon, with hints of limoncello, and lovely tart summer fruit. The finish is mineral, small mouse bubbles, with great fruit focus, lovely lemon brioche, and toasty notes with tart fruit being the focus and the brioche being really nice. An impressive effort, drink by 2023.

2015 Virginie de Valandraud – Score: 93
This wine is 100% Merlot and the first kosher release from Valandraud in this proportion, at least from what I have seen from the first and second label wines from this winery.
The nose on this wine is nuts, showing rich salinity, ripe blackberry, with tons of green notes, with raspberry, and rich menthol, and sweet dill, with rich herb and tar, and smoke. The mouth on this full bodied wine reminds me of the 2013 Four Gates Merlot, with rich acid, lovely spicy fruit, showing rich layers of chocolate, red currant, cassis, with spicy oak, mint galore, rich dark plum, and earth, with layers of dirt, loam, and green notes galore, all wrapped in mouth coating tannin and a plush yet tannic mouthfeel. The finish is long, green, earthy, and fruity, with chocolate, fat Cuban cigar, and forest floor, with hints of mushroom and more green notes lingering. Bravo! Drink from 2022 till 2030.

2015 Chateau, Labegorce, Margaux – Score: 92 to 93
This wine is a blend of 60% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Petit Verdot. Wow, what a ripe nose, showing ripe blackberry, black plum, with rich fruit, graphite, and lovely black fruit. This wine is young, too young, it needs 8 hours to open properly, with time the wine’s mouth opens fully, showing a full-bodied wine that is ripe, green, with good menthol, tobacco galore, good earth, the acid does show eventually, but I wish it had more, with a nice weight, good fruit, lovely layers, and mouth coating tannin, that make the wine show plush, but again, this wine really needs to be left alone for a long time. The finish is long, green, and earthy, with tobacco, chocolate, and rich green notes. This is a Parker style wine and one that really is pushed but has potential. My guess is that this wine will get a higher score in 5 years, right now it is crazy young. Drink from 2022 to 2030.

2014 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac–Leognan, Grand Cru Classe– Score: 95 (tasted in France but from IDS)
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.

————————- NON – IDS wines I tasted when tasting the other wines —————-
2011 Chateau Siaurac Plaisir – Score: 87
This wine is a ripe and smooth second wine of Château Siaurac. This wine is made from 100% Merlot. The nose on this is the best part of the wine, with nice green notes, red fruit, and raspberry, with earth, and loam. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is green and red but it lacks the acid to bring it all together. The finish is green and long with tobacco, chocolate, and raspberry with currant and spice. Drink till 2020.

2012 Chateau Siaurac – Score: 90
A nice solid all around wine, with great green fruit, rich green, red and black fruit, with nice earth, lovely tobacco, and rich menthol. The mouth on this medium bodied wine, shows lovely fruit, with nice mouth coating tannin, great mineral, lovely graphite, with rich saline, green notes, mushroom, and scrapping mineral, backed by lovely earth, and really nice red fruit and currant. The finish is long and green, it shows ripe yet balanced with great graphite, dirt, and tobacco galore. Drink by 2021.

Posted on September 21, 2018, in Kosher French Wine, Kosher Rose Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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