Top Grenache wines available now
Well, I just posted by Pinot Noir post, and as I have stated before, Grenache is the Pinot Noir of the Rhone Valley.
So, there we are – I hope we understand the dearth of options that exist in the kosher Pinot Noir landscape. With that in mind, I thought it was high time to have a Pinot Noir tasting, along with the fact that a guest who came to our house said he liked Pinot Noir and Grenache! In a way, it was the perfect wine combo! Grenache is called the “Pinot noir of the Rhone Valley” for its finicky growing style as well, so the combo was chosen.
Now if good kosher Pinot Noir is a pain to find – forget about Grenache!! Here is the list – the TOTAL list that I know of (whether I would or would not drink them):
- Hajdu Winery (much epic Grenache including 2007, 2010, and 2012, 2014)
- Capcanes Winery
- Ramon Cardova (undrinkable)
- Galil Winery (last I had was OK)
- Shirah Winery
- Vitkin Winery
- Dalton Estate (Last I had was really sweet)
- Kos Yeshuous (only in 2016)
After those – the rest are blends, including the lovely Elvi, Netofa, and onwards:
- Vignobles David (The last Vignobles I had were not fun, I hope to taste them again soon) – he has many wines with Grenache in them, in varying degrees of percentages.
- Elvi Winery (Great wines indeed)
- Netofa Winery (they recently added Grenache to their famous SM wines).
- Capsouto Winery (they too only have 30% or so from Grenache)
- Capcanes Winery (yes again because they make the famous Peraj Ha’Abib with Grenache as part of the blend)
- Yaacov Oryah Wines (he makes a Blanc de Noir from Grenache and a few GSM as well). Sadly, I have not tasted his new wines. I hope to be doing that soon.
Sadly, in the world of white – there are only TWO full Granche Blanc wines:
Also, like the Noir, there is a winery that uses the Grenache Blanc in a blend:
- Capsouto Winery (they use 60% of it or so in the Eva)
- Vignobles David (The last Vignobles I had were not fun, I hope to taste them again soon and new ones as well) – he has a wine or two with Grenache Blanc in them, in varying degrees of percentages.
- Shirah Winery made a Vintage White in 2016 that was mostly Grenache Blanc, but this year, they went back to using Viognier as the major varietal in this white blend.
There is also many who make a Rose made from the Grenache Noir, and again it is all about percentages. I know of only one makes it from 100% Grenache, though I can guess many others do so in France’s Rhone area and even Israel. The one I know about:
- 2017 Capcanes Peraj Petita (not a winner this year, sadly)
Besides that, many make rose from a percentage of Grenache Noir (in the order of Grenache percentage, that I know of anyway):
- Sadly, I have not tasted the Matar Rose again, since my quick tasting at Matar winery early this year, but it is made from 90% Grenache and 10% Counoise from Mr. Capsouto. I never knew he had those grapes, Hajdu made a wine from Counoise in 2014.
- 2017 Shirah Rose – Score: 90 to 91 (QPR) (66% Grenache)
- 2017 Hajdu Rose – Score: 90 (a large percentage, maybe 33% or so)
- 2017 Vitkin Israeli Journey Rose – Score: 88 (unknown, but a large percentage)
- 2017 Domaine Netofa Rose – Score: 89 (30% Grenache)
- 2017 Domaine Netofa Latour, Rosado – Score: 91 (10% Grenache)
- 2017 Kishor Rose – Score: 88 (also unknown percentage, but lower)
The Rhone Rangers are a group of California winemakers who in the 80s started an association to promote Rhone varietals in California. They have single-handedly pushed Rhone Valley varietals into the wine buyer’s subconscious. In 2011, Mr. Capsouto planted a subset of the 22 official varietals (9 in total) that make up the Rhone Rangers list of promoted grapes. In doing so, he became Israel’s first and ONLY truly 100% Rhone varietal winery, in other words, Jacques is all-in on the Rhone Valley in the Galilee!
Look around Israel for those betting on the Rhone varietals, there is, of course, Netofa Winery (who planted Rhone and Loire Valley grapes), Recanati Winery (which has access to Bordeaux grapes for the reserve series and Rhone grapes for their Mediterranean Series), Kishor Winery, and Vitkin Winery, and most recently, Covenant Israel (who makes wine with ONLY Rhone varietals, which are so far Syrah and Viognier). Still, no one has staked their boutique winery in the Galilee, featuring some of the most obscure grapes to ever grace Israel! The 9 varieties planted are Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah for the reds and Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Roussanne for the whites. Carignan is nothing new in Israel, I have posted about that grape in the past, in an article about Carignan wines from Israel. Cinsault is not one I know of in Israel, or anywhere else in the kosher wine world. Grenache is slowly making its way around the country and has been in Israel for some time now. Same with Mourvedre and Syrah of course. Clairette and Grenache Blanc are new to Israel, though Vitkin also has Grenache Blanc. While Marsanne and Roussanne are in the Golan and other places as well.
In regards to the scale of Rhone varietals in Israel, the number is growing, and quickly. Sadly, the wines are still underwhelming, they taste very much the same, without any unique qualities. I know, I keep hammering, but what I search for is abundant, even in California, while it is very hard to find in Israel. I know that Israel is still young, and it has a crazy climate that winemakers need to work around, but so does Spain, the Rhone Valley, and California (though not this year in Cali, which has been shockingly cool).
Still, the best Grenache are coming from Europe (for now REALLY Spain with a bit of France), followed by Cali and Israel. So, with that, I will leave you with my continual dream, that we all wake up one day, and demand more from Israel than what we are getting. We demand more for what we are paying for. We need to put our money where our mouth is, at least I do, maybe one day we can all affect change by joining me on my crusade to improve the wine coming out of the holy land.
If you want a sure bet, for now, I would triple down on Capcanes Grenache and Elvi Clos Mesorah – they are the two hands-down winners in the kosher world of Grenache options that we have.
The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:
I did not post the roses again – you can go here to see my latest rose post.
Grenache Blanc Wines:
2017 Hajdu Grenache Blanc – Score: 90
Beautiful nose with ripe pink grapefruit, grass, straw, with lemongrass, citrus peel, and peach. The mouth is medium and ripe with great acidity, refreshing, tart and really fun, with great mineral, rich sweet yellow plum, and melon with green notes. Really fun. Dry quince lingers. Bravo! Drink now!
2017 Vitkin Grenache Blanc, Collector’s Edition – Score: 90
This is not as minerally focused as the 2016 vintage was, but it still a fun wine. The nose on this wine shows good spice and really good focus, tart fruit, floral notes, violet, with yellow pear, and peach. The mouth is nice, showing rich acid, lovely weight, with great pith, showing grapefruit, guava, with tart gooseberry and straw, hay lingers with scrapping mineral, slate, and more pith. Nice! Drink by 2020.
2016 Vitkin Grenache Blanc, Collector’s Edition – Score: 90 to 91
I had the chance to taste this wine again and it is showing far better than when I had it at the winery last year. The nose on this wine is lovely, with pink grapefruit nose, but balanced well with slate, mineral, green apple, nectarine, and straw. The mouth of the medium body starts off slowly, but with time really pops with great acid, that acid does fade a bit but stays consistent with core acid as the day progresses. The mouth is nice with a nice weight, good fruit focus with fruit pith, nice orange, nectarines, tart fruit, with great fruit zest and slate. The finish is long, tart, and zesty, with good restraint and nice spice, more grapefruit, citrus, cloves, and tart fruit lingering. Bravo!
2016 Jacques Capsouto Cuvee Eva, Blanc – Score: 91
The wine is a blend of 60% Grenache Blanc, 20% Clairette, 15% Roussanne, and 5% Marsanne. The nose on this wine really takes you to the Rhone Valley, dried fruit, old world, so unique a wine for Israel that is truly impressive. The nose on this wine is really fun, old world, with straw, tilled earth, with green apple, white peach, and quince. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows like the rose with nice weight that belies its true weight, with impressive presence, showing a ripe and dried fruit melange with great acid, lovely finesse and balance with good dried fruit, awesome pith, and stone, with tart yellow plum, ripe quince, tart melon, and hints of dried guava. The finish is long and really fun, with slate, rock, pith, and mineral, all lingering long wrapped in lovely tart stone fruit. Bravo!
Grenache Noir Wines:
2014 Capcanes La Flor Del Flor De Primavera – Score: 93
What a wine, truly impressive in every way. The nose on this wine is a smoke monster, with great fruit focus, earth, and really lovely currant, and cherry. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is lovely, well-balanced, showing rich acidity, incredible mouth-drying tannin, while being fruit focused, richly extracted. The mouth comes at you in layers, upon layers, of intensity, showing rich red fruit, dark raspberry, plum, and earth, with mineral, graphite, scraping mineral, rich spice, and mad herb, all with great red fruit. The finish is long and green, showing its hand with a deeply mineral-based focus, with red fruit leather, spice, green notes, roasted herb, with coffee galore and tart red fruit. Lingering long. Bravo!!! Drink from 2021 to 2028.
2015 Shirah Grenache, Talbert Vineyard – Score: 88
Yikes, this one is ripe. I was so excited when I saw that the brix on the grapes were 23.8, sadly the fruit is still too intense for me. The nose on this wine is ripe, with creamy notes of blueberry, raspberry, and lovely ripe cherry, with vanilla, and tar. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is ripe, the fruit is hot and pushed with nice mouth coating tannin, red forest berry, and nice acid, with time the heat subsides, but the mouth is still warm. The finish is long and hot, with nice mineral, graphite, and bitter notes of almonds.
2016 Hajdu Grenache – Score: 91
Classic hajdu Grenache nose with blueberry, boysenberry, and black fruit with chocolate and earth. This wine is a classic expression of California Grenache, showing rich cherry notes, while competing with blue and red fruit, that was 50 percent whole cluster. The outcome is a mouth that is richly extracted, but elegant with mouth coating tannin, that shows ripe fruit, but well balanced with green notes, and ripe blackcurrant, with scrapping mineral, graphite, and rich cherry. The finish is long, ripe, and yet green, red, and blue, with good loam, spice, foliage, and menthol. Bravo! Drink from 2020 to 2026.
2016 Vitkin Grenache Noir, Collector’s Edition – Score: 91
Nice! This wine is a blend of ripe and sweet fruit, while also showing control and dry notes on the nose, with lovely dark cherry, ripe raspberry, lovely mineral, and literal dirt, and fresh loam, nice! With time the nose starts to show lovely mineral, roasted animal, and more earth. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is ripe, controlled, but also like the nose showing dry notes, of white pepper, lovely balancing acid, that shows nice weight, wrapped in ripe strawberry, with more earth, lovely mineral, hints of saline, black fruit emerges with time, with wonderful ethereal but persistent mouthcoating tannins. The finish is long and green, with red fruit, backed by black plum, rich minerality shows later, with lovely graphite, pith, tobacco, citrus notes, and lovely sweet baking spices. Nice!
2016 Kos Yeshuos Grenache, Mokelumne River, Lodi – Score: 90
I have tasted this wine recently, and it is sadly in drink now mode faster than I had thought. The nose is really fun and feminine, with vibrant fruit, juicy strawberry, hints of blueberry, with intensely floral notes showing rose hip and nice sweet baking spices. The mouth on medium bodied is fun, vibrant, and zesty, and with a great backing of good acid that makes it a fun food wine, with good fruit focus showing tart cherry, with a good tannin that carries the wine, with lovely strawberry, and cinnamon at the start that gives way to cloves, allspice, and then great almond pith. The finish is long and spicy, with earth, really fun saline, floral notes, and a backbone of acid that really carries this wine well. Nice! Drink NOW!
———– Grenache Blend Examples ——————–
2015 Elvi Clos Mesorah – Score: 93
This wine is a blend of 40% Carignan made from 90-year-old vines, 30% Grenache, and 30% Syrah. Lovely nose not really ripe, with dark fruit, earth, chocolate, blackberry, dark plum, mineral, lovely green herb, and roasted notes. The mouth on this medium bodied is lovely with mounds of sweet dill, showing layers of ripe black fruit, with lovely blueberry, nice bright fruit, all wrapped in a plush and mouth coating intensity, with rich mineral, graphite, dark black fruit, rich herb, and lovely tobacco. The finish is long and green with foliage, smoke, mushroom, and ripe blue fruit that is balanced with great acid and leather. Bravo!! Drink from 2021 to 2029
2016 Domain Netofa Tel Qasser, Red – Score: 91 to 92
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. This is the second new wine for the new Tel Qasser line. The nose is lovely and intoxicating, with great spice, intense minerality, smoke and spice that gives way to graphite and garrigue that is green and red at the same time, along with lavender, and violet. The mouth on this lovely medium bodied wine is rich and layered with nice balancing acidity and mineral, scraping graphite, rich blueberry that is wrapped in rich plum and blackberry and lovely sweet spices. The finish is long with lovely rich leather, heather, and spices that are sweet but dry and black tea lingers long. Bravo!! Drink by 2022.
2017 Domaine Netofa red – Score: 91 (QPR STAR)
This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache, and 20% Mourvedre. This wine was aged in oak for 6 months. The wine is really fun, and a crazy QPR, though sadly, it is available only in Israel.
What a lovely nose, a real joy, with great control and precision, showing black cherry, spice galore, crazy floral notes, and hints of black currant with blue hints as well. The mouth is back, like the older Vintages, with great gripping tannin, mineral galore, and lovely blueberry, and cherry, followed by graphite and tar. The finish is long and really a joy with great acid, tannin, dark fruit, and pith. Bravo!! (Only available in Israel)
2016 Jacques Capsouto Cuvee Samual, Rouge – Score: 90
This wine is a blend of 40% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 15% Counise. The nose on this wine is really ripe and filled with massive blackcurrant, but with time the fruit that really shows is the blueberry, currant, and lovely mineral, with spice, and earth. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is really well balanced and fun, with good acid, with lovely ripe and tart fruit, with blackberry, boysenberry, with lovely dirt and green notes, followed by fun fruit, with a blue fruit focus with lemongrass, and lovely garrigue. The finish is long and spicy, with lovely leather, and really fun graphite, roasted herb, cumin, allspice, and lovely fruit. Nice!!!
2016 Jacques Capsouto Cuvee Marco, Grand Vin, Rouge – Score: 91
This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, and 30% Syrah (classic GMS). This wine is really fun, it shows elegance, with impressive fruit and mineral focus, with really fun graphite, blue notes, black fruit, eucalyptus, and menthol. The mouth on this full bodied wine is focused with good acidity, nice mineral notes, butterscotch, and lovely foliage, that gives way to layers of blueberry, cassis, blackberry, and lovely elegance that is wrapped in nice sweet tannin and spice. The finish is long and green, yet tart and ripe, with sweet notes, balance, with mineral, graphite, and ripe blue fruit, that gives way to tart red fruit, earth, allspice, and vanilla galore, with tar, lovely saline, olive, and hints of meat. Bravo!
2015 Hajdu Besomim – Score: 90
This wine is a blend of Cabernet, Grenache, and Counoise. The nose on this wine is a mish-mash of notes much akin to the grapes, showing lovely and unique zaatar spice, ripe blue notes, with red fruit, hints of cherry, and cumin powder. The mouth on this wine is blue, black, and red, with ripe but well-controlled blueberry, blackberry, and juicy strawberry, with nice spice, earth, and rich tannin, rich extraction, followed by lovely mineral, rich garrigue, and roasted meat notes (almost salami). The finish is long, green yet ripe, with black pepper, and rich spice, with heavy smoke, and rich spices. Bravo! Drink by 2022.
2015 Capcanes Peraj Ha’abib – Score: 90
This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Carignan. This wine is sweet – it is 15% ABV, there is no hiding from that fact, it is a classic new world wine in old-world wool clothes. The nose is ripe, sweet, with intense mineral, lovely mushroom, rich loam, and earth, with black fruit, but fronted with ripe strawberry, and red forest fruit. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is fun, rich and layered, with good fruit focus, showing ripe blackberry, plum, spice galore, anise, tar, roasted meat, with hints of dark brooding almost overripe fruit, showing lovely hints of blueberry, with undeniable hints of darker and scary fruit, with lovely earth, mineral, graphite, and rich earth. The finish is long, sweet, scary, and ripe, with leather, and hints of date lingering long. Sorry, there is a huge push and promotion of this wine, but I am not sure I would pile on this wine personally. I have personally tasted this wine three times, and I am not a huge fan. Drink from 2018 to 2022.
2014 Domaine de Boissan Gigondas – Score: 90 (QPR) (the 2016 Gigondas is NOT fun)
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.
This was my last bottle, and I am happy with my 2020 drinking window. The wine starts with a very mineral stance, and tannic, but that quickly integrates within two hours of opening and then it shows nicely. The nose on this wine starts off with blackberry, tar, earth, blue fruit, and spice.
The wine has returned to its old stance, with the mineral focus, with lovely tar, blueberry, and earth. 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. Nice! Drink to 2020.
2017 Capcanes Peraj Petita – Score: 87
This is the 2nd year in a row where the Peraj Petita has gone off the deep end, and I do NOT like that track record. I pray, 2018 will bring this QPR superstar back to the fold, a wine that is balanced and well made, while being a QPR winner.
The wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Tempranillo, 15% Merlot, and 15% Syrah. The nose on this wine is ripe, with ripe blackberry, crazy juicy ripe blueberry, hot notes, with raspberry, hints of mushroom, and earth. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is fully ripe, with Cali-ripe style, showing ripe blackberry, with juicy strawberry, and nice blue fruit, with nice tannin, but overall the wine is ripe, fruit-forward, and will be appreciated by those that love California centric wines, with tobacco, and rich earth. The finish is long and ripe, and sweet, with hot notes, and not much else.
Posted on October 8, 2018, in Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Rose Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine and tagged besomim, Capcanes, Capsouto Winery, Clos Mesorah, Domaine Netofa, Elviwines, Grenache, Grenache Blanc, GSM, Hajdu Wines, Kos Yeshuos, La Flor del Flor de Primavera, Peraj Ha'Abib, Shirah Winery, Tel Qasser, Vitkin Winery, Yaacov Oryah Winery. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.