Top QPR Kosher wine winners of 2018

I continue to lament the lack of QPR wines. This past year, saw us with a better list of wines overall, but they are not actually QPR. I mean that 2018 saw fewer top wines and more wines at the next level down, but even those wines were not reasonably priced.

Take for example the lovely 2016 Montviel, it is a superstar wine, but it is not a pure QPR, given its 50+ dollar price. While the 100+ dollar wines abound, the 95+ score wines are nowhere to be found this past year.

So, I thought I would list the most recent QPR wines I have enjoyed over the past year. I wanted to catch up with wines I only had recently and with ones that are finally here in the USA.

My hope is that people will enjoy the wines and demand more of them. For instance, the lack of many of the QPR wines from Elvi Wines on the open market. I can find them on Royal’s website and on Elvi’s website, but sadly until recently, they were not available on the internet. Thankfully, Kosherwine.com has gotten the Elvi wines back, but Netofa wines are still not available here in the USA.

This list is not a list of wines that are meant for cellaring, though many can withstand a few years. The idea here is to enjoy these wines now while you let the long-term wines cellar and age. We all have that interest to drink interesting wines and while I agree with that, that is NO excuse to raid the cellar when u have a hunkering for a complex nose or flavor. Many of these wines will scratch the itch while the beasts’ lie and settle.

This year, the list came to a total of 20 names, which is a large number, but then again, the number of options have grown.

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:

QPR KINGs of 2018

The wines of the year, from my top 25 wines of 2018, are also the QPR kings of 2018.

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 (Crazy QPR)
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.

QPR top 10 Winners (in no particular order)

2016 Elvi Herenza Semi (blue label) – Score: 90 (mevushal) (QPR)
Lovely nose with great spice and lovely oak and with dark fruit, tart and refreshing while also being elegant. Really nice attack and really tart and tannic but accessible with great tart red fruit, classical in style with spice, green notes, and nice acid that gives way to coffee and nice cherry and tart and zesty currant. The finish is long and tart with great foliage, tart fruit, and earth. Bravo! Drink by 2020. (Available here in the USA, France, Israel, and other locations)

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 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 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! (Available here in the USA, France, and other locations)

2015 Peraj Ha’abib Flor de Primavera Pinot Noir – Score: 91 (QPR)
The nose and mouth are not a Pinot Noir, it is more akin to a Bordeaux or a Rhone style wine. The nose starts off with ripe fruit, mushroom, forest floor, with ripe blackberry, earth, and nice red fruit. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is well balanced, with good acid, showing nice dirt, fresh loam, earth, and rich mushroom, that gives way to more great acid, ripping tannin focus, with great layers and nice concentration, a new world take on an old world wine, with great vanilla, cedar, lovely coffee, and spices, warm spices, cinnamon, cloves, with more rich barnyard and mushroom, and nutmeg. Bravo! Drink by 2021. (Available here in the USA, France, and other locations)

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. (Available in Israel only for now, until the 2014 stock runs out here in the USA).

2016 Chateau Lamothe-Cissac, Cru Bourgeois, Haut-Médoc – Score: 91 (QPR)
This wine is a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 8% Petit Verdot. This is a fun wine, remember that we have not yet seen the big wines of 2016. As I have said many times on this blog, the 2016 vintage in Bordeaux may well be better than the 2015 vintage! For now, the few 2016 reds we have seen from Bordeaux are showing nicely.
The nose on this wine shows very nicely with rich loam, dirt, green notes, followed by bright and big black fruit, with hints of mushroom in the background, lovely mint, and menthol notes abound as well. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is fun and alive, with screaming acid, that gives way to intense tannin that is soft and yet rich and mouth coating, with great fruit focus, showing black currant, blackberry, with red cherry, and olives, that give way to green notes, mouth scraping mineral, foliage, and tobacco. The finish is long and green, at the start it is a bit too astringent and green to truly enjoy, with time it comes around with nice spice, earth, graphite, sour notes, more red and black fruit, and nice coffee/chocolate mix. Nice! It can be drunk now, but to really appreciate it, I would decant it for a good 3 hours, to cut some of the green and astringent notes. Drink now (with decanting) till 2027. (Available here in the USA, France, and other locations)

2017 Chateau Lacaussade Saint-Martin, Vieilles Vignes – Score: 90 (QPR)
The wine is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is very slow to open, it may need a quick decanting, for an hour or so. The nose is slightly tropical in nature with lovely with melon, guava, and hints of passion fruit to start, over time it recedes to show lemongrass, straw, mineral, grapefruit, citrus, and honeysuckle notes. Just like the nose the mouth also starts off with crazy tropical notes that also recede with time, to show a very different wine. After some time, the mouth on this wine is not complex, but very nice, with rich acidity, showing a good balance of fruit, green apple, heather, tart pear, and mineral. The finish is long, super long, with southern tea, and rich acidity, and lovely pith. Drink by 2021. (Available here in the USA, France, and other locations)

2017 Shirah Vintage Whites – Score: 91 (QPR)
Another winner from Shirah with a blend of 55% Viognier and 45% Chardonnay. The nose on this wine starts off really fun and funky, showing straw and rich mineral, with sweet peach, rich ripe guava, and apricot. The mouth on this wine is really fun, rich, layered, well balanced, oily and textured, and so professionally made, with lovely smoke, oak, with rich apple, dried quince and with fresh focus and lovely weight and viscosity. The finish is crazy and dry, with sweet notes of fig, sweet lemon tea, with intense mineral and lovely pith with a citrus background. Bravo!! (Available here in the USA)

2016 Flechas De Los Andes Gran Malbec – Score: 90 to 91 (QPR)
The nose on this dark and brooding wine is ripe, and rich, with dark plum, lovely roasted animal, blueberry, with dark raspberry, with mounds of black pepper, and sweet spices. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is really nice, plush, round and rich, with lovely acid, and mouth-draping tannin, that is ripe and concentrated with blackberry, blueberry, plum, and rich earth, mineral, unctuous and extracted, really fun, a wine that can age, but one that is nice now. The finish is long, ripe, balanced, and rich, with lovely milk chocolate, sweet fruit, and more roasted animal, and roasted herb. Nice! Drink now till 2023. (Available here in the USA, France, and other locations)

N.V. Dalton Anna – Score: 91 (mevushal) (QPR)
After having really enjoyed Yaacov Oryah’s Musketeer, I was afraid to try another Solera wine made from Muscat, as all would pale in comparison. I am happy I did buy a few of these. First of all, this wine is not made from Shmita grapes and the wine is more reasonably priced. Still, as nice as this wine actually is, it pales in comparison to the Musketeer. This wine needs an hour from opening to start to enjoy it. Also, once opened, it is close to indestructible, as it is a Solera wine.
The nose on this wine is sherry-like, that is what comes from the Solera approach, the hint of oxidation, that when balanced well comes through like salt on a slab of meat, you taste it but it defines the flavors rather than overpowering them. This nose continues with honeysuckle, rich honeyed notes of guava, pineapple, and melon, with hints of coconut, with sweet notes of apricot, peach, and more flowers. The mouth on this full-bodied monster is sweet, get over it, it is proud of that and shows it clear as day, with layers of oily textured fruit, showing with dried nuts, caramel, sweet oak, and almonds, that give way to sweet fruit that is balanced well with good acidity. The finish is long, creamy, oily, and well textured with more sweet peach compote, and almond paste. Nice! (Available here in the USA, Israel, and other locations)

2012 Yarden Rose Brut – Score: 92 (QPR)!
Yes! Lovely, rose nose, yeasty, earthy, and lovely with juicy red fruits, not overripe at all, beautiful control, tart, and juicy raspberry, lovely grapefruit, lychee, and Yellow apple. Lovely! The mouth on this medium bodied wine is ripping with acid, incredible, with richness and lovely small to medium sized mousse, with incredible lime, passionfruit, and hints of cherry, and tart juicy strawberry. The finish is never-ending, it stops for a second, and then picks up with tart notes lingering forever, with lovely mineral, slate, and earth. Bravo!! Drink until 2026. (Available here in the USA, Israel, and other locations)

2017 De La Rosa Gruner Veltliner, Taryag – Score: 89 (mevushal) (QPR)
The nose on this wine is almost similar to the only other Gruner I have tasted – Shirah Winery’s Gruner. The nose on this wine is cold stone fruit, akin to the Shirah, with peach, apricot, and lovely funk. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows lovely weight, rich with mineral, slate, rock, with nice tart and dry quince, and a lovely lime and lemon combination, but its flaw is the lack of complexity and a bit of a hole in the middle, with nice green apple, and good enough acid to balance the weighty mouthfeel. The finish is long and smokey, with herb and hints of nectarine, lovely floral notes, straw, and a lingering tart summer fruit finish. Fun! By the next morning, the wine was feeling flat. Drink UP! (Available from kosherwine.com, maybe other locations)

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. (Available here in the USA, and other locations)

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. (Not yet released here in the USA)

2017 Jean Philippe Marchand Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Nuits – Score: 92
The nose on this wine is lovely a pure Menthol forest, with pine sap, truffle, tilled earth, with lovely red and black fruit, with forest floor, meaty notes, and foliage. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is layered and rich, with dried currant, wrapped in powdery tannin, but showing lovely earth and dirty mouthfeel, with junipers berry, capers, and salinity, all backed by more dirt, forest floor, and mushroom. The finish is long, green, foliage, but really dirty, with herbal notes galore, mint, oregano, chocolate, and saddle leather. Bravo!! (Available in France and from onlinekosherwine.com)

2012 Louis Blanc La Gravelle Chinon, Cuvee Terroir – Score: 90 (QPR)
This wine has changed since the last time I had it. It is showing far better than the clearly bad bottle I had in Israel. This wine is made from 100% Cabernet Franc. The nose on this wine starts off a bit funky, with time it opens to show lovely barnyard, mushroom, with a rich garden of green notes, earthy, foliage bomb, with crazy raspberry, red fruit, showing loads of floral and tart notes. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice and layered, and restrained, with nice elegance, showing green notes, soft tannin, and bell pepper, lovely with lovely balancing acid! The finish is long and green, with hints of leather, tobacco, and rosemary. Nice! Drink now through 2019! (Available in France and from kosherwine.com)

Posted on January 5, 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. 1 Comment.

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