My top 25 kosher wines of 2018 including wine of the year and best wine of the year awards

Like last year, 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 a 93 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.

We are returning with 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 one of the QPR Kings of 2018. Yes, last year, we had a single QPR King, this year, there are a few. Why? Because as I will discuss in my year in review, 2018 was about having more solid wines than having GREAT wines. Sure there is a clear Best wine of the year, which is revealed below, but 2018 will be remembered for having MANY very enjoyable wines, rather than a few GREAt wines.

Also, yes, the Wine of the year and the Best wine of the year, 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 2015/2016 Chateau Pape Clement, which I am sure would have been on this list if I had tasted them. 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 2015 and 2016 French Grand Vin wines a bit early! 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, we had no new wines from Germany. Thankfully, we had Domaine Netofa and Yaccov Oryah Wines to come to the rescue. On top of that, we had another EPIC year for 2016 Herzog Chardonnay, Reserve, Russian River. This year, quite deservedly, it cracked the top 25 wines of the year! The new Chablis is also nice, but the winner in the “very close” section has to be the 2016 Koenig Riesling – Bravo guys!

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 2018 kosher wine of the year – we have a TIE!

This one was a NOT a no-brainer to me this year. It was really hard. I wanted to give it to the 2016 Chateau Larcis Jaumat, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, straight up, but it is already sold out, between me and Gabriel Geller, we sold that wine out in no time. So, instead, we will share the winner with the almost impossible to find, aforementioned Larcis Jaumat, along with another from Europe, the 2015 Cantina Terra di Seta Chianti Classico, which is also QPR superstar as well! Congratulations to Cantina Terra di Seta and Royal Wines, and to Chateau Larcis Jaumat, along with an elevated nod of the chapeau to Menahem Israelievitch for finding and curating this wonderful QPR winery tucked into a corner of Saint-Emilion! Bravo!

2016 Chateau Larcis Jaumat, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Score: 92 (Crazy QPR)
This wine starts off open and then closes so tight like an oil drum, this thing is nuts. The wine is made of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, a classic right bank wine from Saint-Emilion. The nose on this wine is really bright, ripe, and intense, with rich intensity, mushroom, earth, but so much redolence, the nose is far more open than the mouth, showing rich blackberry, dark plum, and rich vanilla, followed by herb, mint, rosemary, and green notes galore. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is crazy rich, it does at times remind me of Benyo’s Merlots with a fair amount of blackcurrant thrown in, which is never found on Benyo wines, but the mad acid, rich mouthfeel, closed tight fruit structure has me reminded often of a Four Gates wine, with intense notes, they scream because of the acid, that gives way to rich tannin structure that is searing and yet inviting, with rich cranberry, cherry, and crazy earth, that will give way to mushroom and forest floor with time. The finish is long, really long, lingering, and intense, with gripping tannin, acid, tobacco galore, mounds of blackcurrant, vanilla, herb, foliage, and green notes, that give way to a gripping mouthfeel that will crush anything, with tar, menthol, and more earth. OMG, this Benyo in France! Wow!! Drink from 2021 to 2030.

2015 Terra di Seta Chianti Classico – Score: 92
The nose on this wine is ripe, at first, the wine starts off with heat, but that blows off, but it is also well balanced, with lovely earth, mineral, dirt, with dark cherry, coffee, and lovely dark fruit. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is beautiful, complex, well layered, with rich concentration, nice extraction, all balanced and plush, with rich blackberry, currant, lovely mouth draping tannin, with lovely foliage, and some nice earthy and fruit bite. With time, it shows its ripeness, but also intense minerality, saline, graphite galore, and lovely tannin structure. The finish is long, green, and ripe but balanced, with lovely acid, great texture, that gives way to more coffee, graphite, scarping mineral, and light almond bitterness on the long finish. Bravo!! Drink 2019 to 2023.

The 2018 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 2016 Chateau Giscours, 2016 Chateau Lascombes, 2016 Chateau Du Tertre, Margaux, 2016 Chateau Montviel, or 2014 Chateau Tour Seran, Medoc (NOT Mevushal), or the 2014 Chateau Cantenac Brown, which I somehow missed from last year’s top wines. 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 2018 goes to the 2016 Chateau Malartic, and it deserves the crown – bravo!!

2016 Chateau Malartic Lagraviere, Pessac-Leognan, Grand Cru Classe – Score: 94
The 2016 Malartic-Lagraviere is a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot (at least in the non-kosher version). Wow, the nose is really ripe, not what I expect from a Malartic, but still lovely, with chocolate, black fruit, earth, and lovely hints of umami, with sweet oak, earth, and sweet blue fruit. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich, layered, and concentrated with nice control, expressive, with blackberry, blueberry, and what a change, Malartic with blueberry! Showing more raspberry, earth, and rich fruit, with a truly incredible plushness, that gives way to a rich mouth coating tannin that drapes and lifts the mouth, showing a precision, and an incredible professional touch, with plush fruit, loam, and lovely saline. The finish is long, and plush, with more blue, green, and red fruit, with leather, and power that belies its youth, a wine that will push long into its life, with tannin, licorice, and graphite/mineral that lingers long, Bravo!! Drink from 2025 until 2035.

Rest of the top 25 kosher wines of 2018

2015 Chateau Cantenac Brown – Score: 94
This is the first vintage ever made kosher from this hallowed and esteemed chateau. The nose on this wine shows ripe fruit, with dirt and earth, rich bramble that shows its ripeness, rich green notes, mushroom, and lemongrass, red fruit, with tar and herb. The mouth on this massive and full-bodied wine is richly layered and incredibly extracted, showing incredible precision and elegance, followed by rich truffle, blackberry, raspberry, currant, and plum, all wrapped in incredibly tart fruit, rich earth, mouth draping elegant tannin, with forest floor and mineral galore. The finish is lovely, elegant, rich and layered with rich earth, chocolate, dark sour cherry, currant, with sweet vanilla, mineral galore with green notes running rampant, tobacco, foliage, and really lovely earth. Bravo! Drink from 2022 – 2040

2016 Les Roches de Yon-Figeac, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Score: 92 to 93 (QPR)
Lovely nose, really rich with salinity, unique, and loads of roasted herb, followed by tar, and lovely smoke with blackcurrant, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is rich and layered, with classic stylings, showing loads of oregano, cloves, and tobacco, followed by layers of cranberry, blackberry, dried plum, and rich spices, all wrapped in rich herbal structure and mouth-drying tannin that gives the wine a lovely fruit focus and rich acidity and lovely olives. The finish is long and tart and rich, with acid, tannin, and crazy salinity lingering long, with loads of herb, leather, tobacco, and spice. Bravo!! Drink from 2022 till 2030.

2016 Chateau Montviel, Pomerol – Score: 93 to 94
The nose on this wine is lovely, red, with hints of black, far more controlled than the Royaumont, and wow this wine is what shows the potential of 2016. This wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.
The nose on this wine is crazy with rich green and red fruit, not overripe, nicely controlled, with green notes galore, raspberry, dark cherry, mint, and sweet herb. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine has rich layers of concentration and rich lovely extraction, with mineral madness and mouth coating tannin that is incredible, with foliage, mushroom, loads of saline, green olives, and lovely mint with menthol and tobacco galore. The finish is long and green and rich with rich herb, lovely pencil shavings, graphite, mineral, with tobacco and chocolate and sweet dill that lingers with mineral and tannin that still needs many years to integrate. Bravo. 2024 to 2032

2016 Pavillon de Leoville Poyferre, Saint-Julien – Score: 92 to 93
This wine is the greenest and red wine of the tasting to start, showing impressive control along with loads of fruit, earth, green notes, herb galore, foliage, and spice, with time the wine changes totally, with rich blueberry, blackberry, and dark cherry, with loads of earth, and loam. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is impressive, rich, layered, and concentrated, yet in total control, with great finesse, rich acidity, lovely tobacco madness, and a tactile and mouth-drying mouthfeel that makes you stand up and take notice, with more black and blue fruit, followed by the red fruit of the nose, with dark cherry, dried currant, and roasted herb, followed by rich salinity, The finish is long, green with loads of foliage, herbal, and backed by leather, lemongrass, and rich coffee. Bravo!! This may well be the best Pavillion ever. Drink from 2022 till 2031.

2016 Chateau Clarke, Baron Edmund de Rothschild, Listrac-Medoc – Score: 92 to 93
This was also done with the new consultant team, Eric Boisssenot. Yeah, this wine is ripe. I saw this wine first in October 2016 when they were putting together the first of many blending trials. This wine is ripe, but it is also a Merlot-driven wine, made of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet, and Merlot comes in at higher alcohol, normally in Bordeaux.
The nose on this wine is ripe, controlled, but ripe, with clear leanings of blueberry, blackberry, ripe and juicy plum, with mineral galore, earth, and forest floor. The mouth on this full bodied wine, is a mineral bomb, with masses of tobacco, sweet dill, anise, sweet oak, but in the background is a core of acid, and incredible mineral, graphite, pencil, and intense layers of concentration that are like waves of sweet and ripe blue, black and red fruit, with mounds of blueberry, that is both tart and juicy fruit, with rich extraction, creamy notes, but what really grabs you is the wine’s seductiveness, it is sexy, polished, and refined, with a plush mouthfeel, truly a very professionally made wine. The finish is long, and while it is shockingly accessible now, this will last long. The finish lingers long with mad Tobacco, dark chocolate, leather, black olives, and tannin that really never leaves. Impressive. Drink from 2022 – 2032.

2016 Chateau Le Crock, Saint-Estephe – Score: 93  (NOT mevushal)
I tasted the NON-mevushal European bottle, the wine in the USA is mevushal. This wine is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc. This is a lovely nose of blueberry, and loads of red fruit, with a bit of blackberry, with lovely grass, licorice, and loads of herb. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is lovely, truly the best Chateau Le Crock, that I have tasted, The mouth is rich, layered, extracted, and intense, and truly insane, truly bonkers, it has it all, concentration, finesse, extraction, while being plush, and truly tannic with mouth-drying tannin, showing impressive control and richness, with more blackberry, blueberry, lovely dark juicy raspberry, and tart fruit all over. The finish is long, with crazy acidity, leather, foliage, loam, forest floor, and massive tobacco, all wrapped in loads of roasted herb that lingers long and forever. Bravo!!! This is the best Chateau Le Crock, I have ever tasted! Drink from 2022 until 2031.

2016 Chateau Du Tertre, Margaux, Grand Clu Classe – Score: 93 to 94
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. This wine is not the same old same old Margaux, it is really a unique one, with crazy smoke, tar, and blue fruit that is ripe but super controlled with lovely red fruit, herbs, and crazy foliage that gives way to dirt, and more smoke. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is crazy, finesse and elegance, with loads of blueberry, cassis, raspberry, all wrapped together with green notes, massive extraction, and rich salinity, that gives way to layers of extraction and concentrated fruit, that is both juicy and tart, with foliage, showing lovely foliage, with more turned loam, earth, and cigar tobacco. The finish is long, green, herbal, and smoky, with more leather and spice. Bravo!!! Drink from 2023 till 2032.

2016 Chateau Giscours, Margaux, Grand Clu Classe – Score: 93 to 94
The nose on this wine is crazy blue and black, with loads of blackberry, dark plum, and herb galore, with licorice, and mineral. The mouth on this full-bodied Margaux is lovely, rich, layered, and controlled, better than the 2015 vintage, with rich fruit, showing layers of fruit, earth, lovely control, and impressive tart fruit, showing chocolate, coffee, and earth that gives way to mushroom, spice, layers of concentrated fruit, all wrapped in incredible elegance and control, showing layers of dark and red fruit, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, and incredible mouth-coating tannin, with earth, mushroom, and forest floor, with foliage, and licorice. The finish is long, green, herbal, with tobacco, showing leather, and mint. Bravo!! Drink from 2022 until 2032.

2016 Chateau Lascombes, Margaux, Grand Cru Classe – Score: 94
The 2016 vintage continues the soy sauce madness of the 2015 vintage, with more power, loads of umami, with salinity galore, with blue fruit, and rich herb, with coffee, and spice. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is a powerhouse, showing incredible control, unbelievable, with rich saline, layers upon layers of concentrated blueberry, blackberry, dark cherry, and red currant, that give way to earth, spice, green notes galore, with chocolate, and deep concentration and depth. The finish is long with layers of mouth-draping tannin, rich earth, and chocolate, with mushroom, forest floor, foliage, cigar, and sweet dill lingering long. Bravo!!! Drink from 2021 until 2032. Bravo!!!!

2016 Chateau Tour Saint Christophe – Score: 93
This wine is made by Vignobles K, Peter Kwok’s properties. The Non-kosher bottling is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc and again it shows akin to that with clear Merlot leanings, and even more pepper/foliage from the Cabernet Franc, but also more bulk from the Franc as well. This wine has ZERO blue fruit on it, it is all red with hints of black, but primarily it is smoke, tar, with lovely pepper notes, followed by herb/mint, with rich salinity, mineral, and balance. The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine shows rich elegance, more controlled than the Haut-Brisson, less power, more finesse, with more of that dirt, earth, and juicy red fruit, showing well with an incredible fruit structure and supple mouth coating tannin, that envelopes sweet and juicy raspberry, dark cherry, blackberry, and green notes take center stage. The finish is long, green, and elegant, with tobacco, rich leather, heather, followed by graphite, tilled earth, hints of mushroom, and all the things that bring a smile to my face. Bravo!!! Drink from 2021 till 2033.

2016 Chateau Guimberteau, Lalande de Pomerol – Score: 92 to 93
The nose on this wine is lovely, richly expressive, redolent with blue fruit galore, backed by black and red fruit, lovely dirt, earth, and lovely licorice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is lovely not overly ripe, with lovely smoke, with layers of blue and black fruit, with blueberry, blackberry, with lovely dark cherry, and red currant, that gives way to lovely smoking tobacco, with tart/juicy fruit, and mouth coating/drying tannin. The finish is long, tannic, tart and green, with graphite and rock, giving way top coffee galore, and leather. Nice!! Drink until 2024. (Available in the USA and France).

2014 Chateau Tour Seran, Medoc (NOT Mevushal) – Score: 94
This wine is the European bottle that is NOT mevushal. This wine is a blend of 65% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Petit Verdot. The nose on this wine is lovely, with rich redolence showing green and red fruit, beautifully balanced, with cranberry, raspberry, and dark cherry, that gives way to forest-floor, and dirt. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is lovely, really rich, layered, and impressive with layers of saline, salt, black olives, that give way to rich green foliage, and lovely red fruit, that is rich and concentrated, with incredible acid and rich mouth-drying and draping tannin, that gives this wine an incredible mouthfeel, and layers upon layers of red fruit. The finish is long, green, and beautiful with richness and leather followed, by tobacco, licorice, and earth galore. WOW!!! Bravo!!! Drink from 2023 until 2030. (This is only available in France)

2015 Chateau Peyrat-Fourthon, Haut-Medoc – Score: 93
The nose on this wine is closed, showing very little, but with time, many hours, it opens to show lovely blackberry, cranberry, rich mineral, loam galore, and lovely roasted herb. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is lovely, well balanced, not jammy, with layers upon layers of super-concentrated and well-balanced fruit, that is super tannic, so tannic that my mouth puckered long, but super balanced, with currant, dark cherry, with dark plum, and earth galore, that gives way to a mouthfeel that is impossible to comprehend, with layers of complexity and punch, while all being balanced with incredible mushroom, and intense forest floor, with massive loam, and foliage galore. The finish is long and green, with incredible power, yet incredible finesse, with elegance, and power that gives way to dark chocolate, red fruit galore, and tilled earth, and more mushroom. Bravo!!! Drink from 2023 until 2032. (This is only available in France unless someone sees it here)

2017 Yaacov Oryah Silent Hunter (הצייד השקט in Hebrew) – Score: 92 to 93
From what I have tasted so far, this may well be the best white wine of 2017 from Israel, and maybe around the world, though I have others still to taste from Cali and France. This wine is a blend of 60% Semillon and 40% Chenin Blanc. This wine’s name is a nod to Hunter Valley in Australia, and its ability to create Semillion based wines that last forever.
The nose on this wine is a crazy flint bomb, with dry quince, sweet and spicy ginger, rich saline, and paraffin, with rich yellow plum, apple, lemongrass, honeydew, honeysuckle, followed by rich floral notes, and rich mineral. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is an oily texture with rich fruit, showing lovely mineral, with a mouthfeel of rich earth, straw, and crazy grapefruit with lemongrass and rich pear, all balanced by an acidity that is off the charts. The finish is long, mineral-driven, with more floral and green notes, with incredible acid, dry quince, and floral notes lingering long. Bravo!! Drink by 2030.

2016 Domaine du Castel Grand Vin – Score: 92 to 93
This wine is a beast, decant it forever and it will still not change much! I am still tasting it 2 days after being opened and nothing much has changed about it. It is crazy closed and big.
The wine is a blend of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 11% Petit Verdot. The nose on this wine is filled with dark fruit, black and red, with ripeness abounding, showing rich mint, menthol, and hints of blue fruit, with ripe juicy cherry, and ripe blackberry, with inky notes of tar, and mineral. The mouth is incredible and richly extracted, showing an elegance that is both expressive and yet elegant with mineral and richly expressive blackberry, dark plum, fruity and expressive with chocolate notes that give way to mouth drying tannin and rich fruit. The finish is long and tannic and green with dark fruit, intense dark chocolate, rich tobacco, and lovely earth and sweet spices like nutmeg and green herbs. Bravo! Drink from 2022 till 2027.

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

2014 Chateau Haut-Brisson, Saint-Emilion, Grand Cru – Score: 93 (mevushal)
No, the word mevushal on the line above was not a mistake, this wine is indeed mevushal, but done well. The nose is fun, rich and mushroom-laden, with green notes galore, showing mint, rosemary, with lovely hints of barnyard. The mouth on this wine is well balanced, really layered, and elegant, and is really closed to start, it needs tons of air, with time the mouth shows rich raspberry, cassis, and green notes galore, with chocolate, and concentration that is elegant and complex, giving way to mushroom, and smoke. The finish is long, with lovely licorice, anise, green notes, rich tobacco, with mineral galore, graphite, earth, loam, and spice, that is backed with elegance and forest floor. WOW! Bravo! Drink from 2022 till 2030.

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.

2013 Terra di Seta Chianti Classico Assai – Score: 92
Wow, what a lovely nose, it smells like a bucket of pure roasted animal, with rich violet and floral notes, with rich dirt, earth, and crazy tar, that gives way to loam, and red fruit. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is epic, bravo, so awesome, with layers of rich and concentrated fruit, with extraction that is epic, showing red fruit, dark raspberry, black fruit, with rich earth, pencil shavings galore, with layers of mouth coating tannin and coffee galore. The finish is long, green, and mineral-based, with rich green notes, foliage, and rich tobacco, with mineral galore, Bravo. Drink by 2024.

2016 Herzog Chardonnay, Reserve, Russian River – Score: 92 (mevushal) (QPR WINNER)
What a joy! Wow! This nose is steely clean, with lovely peach, apricot, and pear strudel, with rich mineral, and heady spices, lovely controlled oak, and butterscotch. The bottle notes state tropical notes, and while I am not about to deny Joe Hurliman his due, the only real tropical notes you may find, and it takes effort, is pineapple. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is lovely, showing impressive weight, with great acid that gives the wine an even more impressive showing, with bitter almond, dirt, green notes, all wrapped in sweet summer fruit, green apple pie, with such elegance and lovely fruit focus, giving way to layers of fruit, mineral, and rich salinity. The finish is long, green, toasty, and richly mineral, with more summer fruit, quince pie, brioche, and almonds, with mounds of vanilla, giving way to rich spices, showing cloves, cinnamon, and sweet herbs. Bravo!!! Drink until 2024.

2017 Jean-Pierre Bailly Pouilly-Fume, Sauvignon Blanc – Score: 92 (QPR)
WOW! This wine has quite the nose, screaming with fresh orange blossom, ripe yellow grapefruit, with hints of nectarines, cat pee, and lovely citrus. The mouth on this unoaked Sauvignon Blanc is dry, bone dry, not quite a Sancerre, but impressive, with lovely weight, and great fruit focus with a crazy core of acid that keeps going long after the wine is gone, followed by rich mineral, slate, saline galore, and a lovely core of lie and lemon that mingle well and play with each other. The finish is long, crazy long, with more mineral, floral notes, lovely bitter notes of citrus pith, and just fun, tart citrus that lingers forever. BRAVO!!! Drink until 2021

Interesting Wines

NV Koenig Cremant d’Alsace, Brut – Score: 90 (Mevushal) (QPR)
This is a nicer wine than the Ribeauville, with smaller more refined bubbles, equal attack, no sweet notes to be found, and dry fruit. The nose is dry with nice quince, rose, floral notes, with licorice, yellow Apple, and yeast. The mouth on this light to medium bodied wine is lighter than the Ribeauville, but more refined, with a rich smaller bubble mousse, more quince, Asian pear, and lovely lemon/lime and nice acidity. The finish is long, green, and tart, with lovely tart fruit, mineral, and brioche. Nice! Drink until 2020. (Available in the USA and France)

2016 Koenig Riesling, Alsace – Score: 92 (mevushal) (Crazy QPR)
The nose on this wine is lovely, showing ripe peach, apricot, with great grapefruit, followed by petrol funk, lovely honeysuckle, more floral notes, and nice mineral. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is an acid bomb, and thank god, we really needed a dry, well priced, acid bomb, with petrol notes, and this one is mevushal to boot! The mouth is dripping with acid, followed by rich lanolin, with a nice weight, followed by sweet guava notes and tart Asian pear, impressive. The finish is long, tart, crazy acid, with wax, petrol, honeyed fruit, and more sweet notes lingering long! Bravo!!!! Drink by 2020. (Available in the USA and France)

2017 Domaine Netofa Tel Qasser, White – Score: 91 to 92 (tasted blind in November)
Lovely wine, sadly I knew what it is, lovely Roussanne, showing earth, mineral, rich brightness, with loads of heather, lovely floral notes, with straw, yellow plum, and apple. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is layered, rich, and nicely extracted, showing rich oily structure, with layers of green apple, quince, lovely richness, with mineral, grass, straw, and lovely acidity showing long with flowers, and rich lemongrass. Lovely!! Drink until 2022. (Sadly this is only available in Israel).

2016 Jacques Capsouto Cuvee Albert, Grand Vin, Blanc – Score: 92
This wine is a blend of 65% Roussanne, 30% Clairette, and 5% Marsanne. The nose is even lovelier than the Cuvee Eva blanc, showing more ripe tart and rich fruit, and perfectly balanced with mineral and stone galore, with tart peach, tart apricot, and tart summer fruit, all coming together beautifully. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is really fun, really takes you to a place with rich acidity, but glorious fruit focus and rich saline and minerality, that comes to a point with melon, tart green apple, and tart yellow plum all following behind it, with straw and dirt. The finish is long and tart with great acidity, minerality, with rich pith, with lovely elegance, and impressive finesse, that comes from its clear fruit focus, with graphite, slate, and hints of tannin that are really impressive, all wrapping the tart and rich fruit. The mouth lingers forever, with straw, mineral, saline, slate, and tart fruit – BRAVO!!!

2017 Yaacov Oryah Light from Darkness (אור מאופל in Hebrew) – Score: 91 to 92
This wine is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Tempranillo. This is a classic Blanc du Noir using beautiful Rhone Valley grapes.
The nose on this wine shows beautiful and crazy aromatics, with great notes of tart lemon, yellow Apple, with straw, mineral, and lemongrass. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is joy, showing great acid and a tactile mouthful with screaming tart peach, fun and tart lime, with screaming grapefruit, tart, and juicy nectarines, and mineral galore. The finish is long, green, and joyous with more citrus, rich salinity, slate, and rock. Bravo! Drink until 2020.

2017 Chateau Guiraud ‘G’, Sec – Score: 92
Finally, a French white I can really appreciate! This is really fun, the wine is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, showing notes of pure funk, wax, green notes, with cucumber, mineral, old-world notes, showing honeysuckle, and floral notes, with green apple, quince, lovely straw, and rich minerality. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is fun, with more funk, nice complexity, with rich salinity, followed by rich dry and tart Asian pear, with nice gooseberry, and graphite. The finish is long and green, with lemongrass, stone, rock, with more wax and flint. Bravo! Drink by 2021.

2014 Chateau Grand Barrail, Prestige, Red – Score: 91 (Crazy QPR)
These guys continue to produce solid wines, great prices, and really fun stuff. This wine is better than the lower wine, the non-grand wine. This is the Prestige versus the baseline of Grand Barrail. This was aged in barrels, while the baseline wine was not.
This wine is a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Malbec. The nose on this wine starts off with ripe notes, of cranberry, pomegranate, with lovely forest floor, and mushrooms, and tilled earth. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows less fruit with a lovely texture, showing lovely mouth coating tannin, loads of dark cherry, green notes, foliage, with raspberry, dry plum, and lovely acidity that is core to this wine, with black olives, salinity, and great dirt and earth. The finish is long, green, and dirty, with graphite, herbs, earth, and loads of dark chocolate, with forest floor and more mushroom. Lovely! Drink until 2023. (This is only available in France)

2015 Chateau du Grand Barrail, White – Score: 91 (Crazy QPR)
The nose on this wine shows smoke, flint, with lovely dry fruit, showing rich honeysuckle, white flowers, with honeyed apples, and lovely Asian pears. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows riper fruit than the nose, showing more sweet fruit, with sweet melon, with a richer mouthfeel than I would expect, with rich acidity that shows a bit further in the mouth, with intense honeydew, melon, and lovely grapefruit, and Meyer lemon. The finish is long, truly searing with acid, and rich with more honeyed fruit, and lovely citrus fruit. Bravo! Drink now till 2023. (This is sadly only available in France)

2016 Carmel Kayoumi Riesling – Score: 91 to 92 (Crazy QPR)
This is why I love tasting wines blind! When I tasted this wine, I thought it was European, with its mineral and lovely Funk, only to be pleasantly surprised that it is an Israeli Riesling! It is not quite as good as the 2014 vintage, but it is still very good indeed! The nose on this wine shows a crazy fun riesling, stinky, smelly, with loads of stink, showing sweet fruit, apple, mineral. The mouth is layered and full in the mouth with nice apple, peach, and dry apricot, showing crazy petrol notes, floral notes, loads of honeysuckle, white flowers, with good mouthfeel, and richness. The finish is long and green and petrol notes. Bravo! Drink until 2023.

2017 Ramon Cardova Albarino, Rias Baixas – Score: 91 (QPR)
Lovely nose of rich mineral, with loads of straw, with which salinity, and lovely peach and dry apricot, with honeysuckle, lemongrass, with green notes galore. Lovely! The mouth on this lovely green and acid-driven wine, showing rich salinity, green olives, with lovely dry quince, green apples, but also with lovely lime and grapefruit, with a bit of sweet fruit of guava and rich acid that comes at you in layers. The finish is long and green, with gooseberry, passion fruit, and lovely round and tart with freshness and orange pith, and incredible acidity lingering long. Drink until 2021.

Interesting note on this wine, there is a thermosensitive logo on the label that shows ONLY when the wine is at the correct temperature, on the bottom right-hand corner of the front white label. This is a lovely wine and one that is worth the effort to enjoy at the correct temp. Cool!

Drappier Brut Nature, Zero Dosage – Score: 92 to 93 (Mevushal) (QPR)
This is the second wine being released with what is called Zero or Nature dosage. Meaning that at the time of bottling most Champagne adds a bit of sweetness to the wines to balance out the extreme tartness of Champagne’s base wine. However, recently the market has clamored for more acid, more tart fruit, and with that demand comes Zero Dosage Sparkling wines. This wine has 2G of RS (Residual Sugar), and it makes for a truly enjoyable experience. Think of this as the Big Boy’s pants of kosher Champagnes out there right now! Also, Drappier has dropped their Brut Blanche, so to me, this is the GO TO Champagne on the market right now! WOW! This wine is made from 100% Pinot Noir Blanc de Noir (meaning the juice of the Pinot Noir is crushed and pressed like white wine and the liquid that comes from it is white/clear-ish)
This wine shows so much better, in comparison to the Bonet Ponson Zero (the other Zero dosage on the market), which while nice, tastes old already.
The nose is very much like the normal Drappier, with rich dry quince, rich mineral, with dried grapefruit, intense yeast, with brioche, and green Apple. The mouth on this wine is different, very different, and crazy, with a very effervescent mousse, showing a crazy attack of small mousse bubbles, with rich tart fruit, slate and lovely pith, with layers upon layers of Apple, citrus, gooseberry, with rich tart summer fruit that gives way to the mousse attack, followed by lovely notes with rich brioche and almost key-lime pie. The wine is so fresh, young, tart, and super refreshing, WOW! The finish is long and green, with more mineral, yeast, and tart notes, making for a super refreshing finish. Bravo!! Drink from now till 2023.

2017 Petit Guiraud, Sauternes – Score: 92
There have been many Sauternes being released in the past few years, but this is the first kosher Guiraud since 2001, though it is the Petit Guiraud, which is the Chateau’s 2nd wine. The Chateau Guiraud will be released later this year.
The nose on this wine is ripe, with lots of orange curds, orange blossom, melon, loads of honeysuckle, honeyed fruits, peach, mango, botrytis funk, and floral notes. The mouth on this full bodied and sweet wine, is ripe, sweet, and honeyed, with loads of sweet fruit, with a plush and easy mouthfeel, though folks at the table were put off by the bitterness of the orange pith, which I like, and it is a note, I find on other wines and like, along with loads of sweet tropical notes, grapefruit, orange marmalade, and hints of pineapple. The finish is long, tart, sweet, well balanced, with a nice weight and fruit focus, with ribbons of bitter notes, graphite, and slate, all wrapped in more sweet fruit and lovely funk. Nice! Drink until 2035.

2017 Les Marronniers Chablis – Score: 91 to 92 (mevushal) (QPR)
The nose is lovely, this is the second vintage and really lovely. The nose is not marred with Oak or yeast, all natural. The nose is tart and lovely, not round, bright and rich, with peach, apricot, and lovely tart and dry quince. The mouth is not round and filled with good tension and fruit focus with great mineral focus and rich salinity that gives way to great acid and layers of lovely green and yellow apples that are layered in lemongrass and foliage and mineral. The finish is long and tart filled with crazy acid, hints of smoke and flint and loads of mineral and rock. Bravo! Drink until 2023.

Posted on January 2, 2019, in Israeli Wine, Kosher Dessert Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the wealth of useful information!
    It’s very frustrating that he Larcis Jaumat is sold out.
    Any explanation why this happened especially so early in the season?
    I had a similar issue with the 2014 Herzog Alexander Vally last year.
    Is it caused by too little supply, or by people in the know grabbing everything before the rest of us find out?
    Is there a remedy (perhaps alerting your readership earlier in the game)?
    Thanks again.

    • Good news is that onlinekosherwine and kosherwine still had stock

      • onlinekosherwine was out of stock for the past 2 weeks (or so) and ran out in the past 48 hours.
        I think that in addition to the scores and tasting notes (which I love), a guide with some good strategies and techniques for purchasing wine (and not missing opportunities) would be very beneficial to many.
        What do you think?

  2. My comment on the blog was that Royal has run out of stock in USA, but stores have some still

  3. Any notes on the new four gates wines?

  1. Pingback: Top QPR Kosher wine winners of 2018 | Wine Musings Blog

  2. Pingback: Four Gates Winery’s January 2019 new releases | Wine Musings Blog

  3. Pingback: 2018 kosher wine year in review | Wine Musings Blog

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