My latest round of both new and old winners and some more losers for 2019

After my long hiatus, I am happy to say that this post brings me current to wines I want folks to know about, both good and bad. Thankfully for you, it does not include at least 45 roses, white, and red wines that were so horrible that I see no value in posting their NA scores here.

However, two wines that need warning are the 2017 Chateau Lacaussade Saint-Martin
and any wine from Capcanes Cellars made from 2015 and on, other than the 2015 Capcanes Pinot Noir and the lovely 2015 Capcanes Samso Carignan. To me, this is truly sad Capcanes was a rockstar and a perennial goto and QPR wine, other than there roses. Now, they have soldout to Parker’s view of wine and I cannot fathom for even a second what they gain from this. Their wines sold perfectly well so sales cannot be the reason. Yes, there is a new winemaker, Anna Rovira, who recently won the prestigious female winemaker of the year for the 2019 award from Selection magazine! Congratulations! She replaced the longtime winemaker of Capcanes Angel Teixidó. Sadly, from my perspective, the wines are far riper than they used to be, they also show less acid and less balance. They are wines that I no longer buy, the last Capcanes I bought was from the 2014 vintage. With that said, I hope this shift is a byproduct of some rough years and that the 2017 vintage will return to its old self, one can always hope!

On another aside, please folks – STOP drinking 2017 whites and 2018 roses – they are dead! I have had loads of 2018 roses recently, they are dead or on the way down from jumping off the cliff. Sure, there are whites that are still young from the 2017 vintage, like full-bodied Chardonnays or white Bordeaux, other than Lacussade. Sadly, many of the 2018 whites are on their way down as well. The 2018 Tabor Sauvignon Blanc is already losing its acid and so many others as well. Please be careful, taste before stocking up. The simple whites are like roses, drink them by fall.

On the good news side, the 2017 vintage from Bordeaux is so far so good! The much scorned 2017 vintage from Bordeaux so far is holding up very well. I really liked the 2017 Chateau Mayne Gouyon, which is simple and mevushal, and very tasty. The 2017 Chateau Moulin Riche was lovely, maybe even better than the 2016 vintage. I hear the 2017 Chateau Le Crock and the 2017 Chateau Royaumont are also showing very well, all-around great news for the much pooh-poohed 2017 vintage.

Finally, bravo goes to Herzog Wine Cellars, they continue to impress with their number one grape – Cabernet Sauvignon. They are predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon heavy, which makes sense given the current kosher wine market. When you go to KFWE and other wine events, just listen to people, their number one desire is the best Cabernet Sauvignon on the table or just whatever wine you have that is Cabernet Sauvignon-based. It is both sad and totally hilarious at times. So, sure Herzog goes where the money is. The accolades, at least from me, anyway, is for the raising of the bar and for the sincere effort that they put into making world-class Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Bravo!

I wanted to keep this simple, so the wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:

2014 Chateau Haut Condissas – Score: 91
This wine is ripe, and really oaky, with nice mineral, green notes galore, but front and center is mounds of dark fruit, sweet oak galore, and lovely garrigue. The mouth is lovely, and rich, with medium-bodied structure, showing with lovely sweet fruit, earth galore, and lovely extraction, that gives way to green notes, layers of sweet but balanced fruit, with blackberry, cassis, dark raspberry, and rich forest floor. The finish is long and mineral-based, with intense tobacco, mineral, pencil shavings, and sweet fruit that gives way to dill, earth, forest floor, mushroom, and sweet oak. Drink from 2023 until 2028

2013 Chateau Grand-Puy Ducasse, Pauillac – Score: 91
To me, the 2013 Moulin Riche and 2013 3 De Valandraud were two of the best wines from the poor 2013 Bordeaux vintage, though this one always held potential.
This wine has evolved now to show even more tertiary notes than when I had this two years ago. The nose on this wine is lovely but still stunted, with clear and lovely notes of mushroom, dirt, and loam, followed by ripe fruit, showing red and black, with floral notes of heather and English lavender, with foliage and sweet notes. The mouth is nice on this medium-bodied wine but it is thinner than the younger 2015 (which is a superstar), with a balanced mouth, showing nice acidity, followed by cherry, raspberry, blackberry, with more foliage and forest floor, lovely garrigue, graphite, sweet tobacco, sweet dill, nice mineral, and mushroom. The finish is long, tart, yet very fruity, with great balance and attack, though showing little complexity, more like a dirty and green/garrigue/foliage and herb-infused fruit-forward wine, with mineral, acidity, and nice mouth-coating tannin bringing it all together. Drink by 2024.

2017 Chateau Moulin Riche, Saint-Julien – Score: 92
This wine is another superstar which is saying a lot for the quasi-poor 2017 vintage. Of course, the price would not tell you that 2017 was a somewhat off year, yes the wine does not show it, and I guess the price does not either.The nose on this wine is lovely, ripe, rich, well balanced, with really fun, blue, black, and red fruit screaming for attention, with crazy brightness, followed, by loads of smoke, tar, and earth, lovely. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lovely, with layers of velvet coated fruit, showing blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, all at the same time, with the complexity of fruit focus, finesse, and power, that brings with it spices, cinnamon, cloves, and earth, wrapped in mouth-draping tannin, bracing acidity, and loads of graphite. The finish is long, green, extremely well balanced, plush and juicy, with sweet but incredible fruit, showing a rich luxurious wine, with sweet tobacco, green notes, garrigue, drying tannins, and chocolate-covered coffee beans, with sweet fruit peeking out from under the crazy acid, graphite-based wine. Impressive. Drink this wine from 2024 until 2032.

2016 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Chalk Hill, Special Edition – Score: 94 (Mevushal)
If the Alexander valley is a mineral bomb, this is even more mineral if that is possible. The nose starts off with crazy notes of intense graphite, crazy pencil shavings, with lovely black fruit galore, anise, and tar. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is a step up from the Alexander Valley, with rich elegance, screaming tannin, yet plush and rich, with blackberry, cassis, earth, mouth draping and elegant tannin, with rich saline, pencil shavings, with sheer elegance, sharing less Oak, more mineral, with great balance, followed by crazy blackberry, with more loam, mineral, earth, and elegance. The finish is long, green, sweet dill, tobacco, foliage, and well-balanced fruit. Bravo!! Drink from 2022 until 2031.

2016 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Chalk Hill, Clone Six – Score: 95
Tasting this side-by-side the Chalk Hill, it was a real pleasure, thanks so much to Herzog Winery! The nose, is less green and less foliage-driven than the Chalk Hill, with even more crazy mineral, pencil shavings, with loads of smoke, licorice, tar, and black fruit. Wow! The mouth on this full-bodied is richly extracted, with layers upon layers of blackberry, raspberry, with crazy layers of mineral, graphite, crazy pencil shavings, with incredible structure, loads of earth and loam, with lovely black and red fruit, with crazy acid core, followed by more mineral, and forest floor, awesome! The finish is incredible, searing acid, off the charts, with incredible tannin, mineral, tar, roasted herb, and layers upon layers of graphite, pencil shavings, and earth. Bravo!!! Overall, Clone Six is more mineral-driven, less green, a bit more fruity, and far more elegant than the Chalk Hill Special Edition. Drink from 2022 until 2032.

2016 Eagle’s Landing Pinot Noir, Herzog Wine Cellars – Score: 92 (QPR)
The nose on this wine is smoke, cherry, and loads of mineral, with raspberry, mushroom, and herb, lovely rose petals, and earth. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is first and foremost mushroom-driven, wow, with fruity notes, earthy, smoke, and mushroom, followed by raspberry, dark cherry, loam, and drying mouth tannin, with lovely controlled fruit, smoke, and red fruit galore, with searing acid, and forest floor, lovely! The finish is long, green, red, and toasty, with smoke, and earth, and mushroom lingering long, with floral notes, and herb. Bravo!!! Drink by 2026.

2017 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake County, Special Reserve – Score: 91 (Mevushal)
This is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon, in all the right ways, screaming mineral, insane graphite, pencil shavings, with ripe green, black, and lovely red fruit, with tar, loads of roasted herb, and classic garrigue. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is richly extracted, with crazy acidity in the middle, wrapped by intense tannin, extraction, and blackberry, juicy raspberry, and loads of minerality, all coming together quite nicely. The finish is long, green, mineral-driven, but black and blue, with leather, sweet spices, with mineral lingering long, with tobacco, and juicy boysenberry staying long. Bravo!!! Drink from 2021 until 2027.

2016 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Kabb Ranch, Single Vineyard – Score: 92 to 93
The nose on this wine is perfectly balanced with lovely licorice, tar, mineral, and lovely green notes, and foliage, roasted herb, basil, mint, and oregano, with garrigue, and earth galore. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine, and perfectly balanced, with screaming acid, lovely elegant tannin, followed by lovely extraction, and blackberry, with blackcurrant, dark raspberry, tart, and dry fruit, with mineral, and herb. The finish is long, green, creamy, with green notes, foliage, raspberry galore, sweet fruit, and earth, followed by milk chocolate, and smoke, with licorice, and garrigue lingering long with sweet fruit. Bravo!!! Drink from 2021 until 2028.

2016 Carmel Kayoumi Riesling – Score: 91 to 92 (Solid 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. (Only available in Israel, it never made it to the USA)

2016 Chateau Saint-Corbian, Saint-Estephe – Score: 91 (QPR)
This is the second time I have tasted this wine, and not much has changed, but the blackcurrant continues to dominate. This wine is a blend of something like 50/50 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The nose on this wine is screaming blackcurrant, with rich black fruit, loads of roasted herb, licorice galore, with dark chocolate, and mounds of loamy dirt. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, with good extraction, showing rich fruit, more dark raspberry, rich earth, cranberry, more blackcurrant, followed by crazy roasted herb, oregano, rosemary, nice Menthol, and dried mint, with nice cloves and salinity. The finish is long and simple with good herb, spice, and currant lingering long with saline and tobacco. Nice. Drink from 2022 to 2030.

2016 Chateau Le Crock, Saint-Estephe  – Score: 91 (Mevushal)
This is the USA version of this wine which is mevushal. For the European version of this wine please find my notes here. The nose on this wine is ripe but it shows a nice balance, showing lots of black and red fruit, with less dirt than its not-mevushal version. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is rich, layered, and beautiful, with searing acid and crazy mouth drying tannin, that is layered in blackberry, currant, cassis, raspberry, with rich loam and dirt that is screaming with graphite, scrapping mineral, and lovely mouthfeel, with plush notes, that are rich and really tannic. The finish is long, green, with rich foliage, mineral, and lovely elegance that belied the mevushal process, with great tar, smoke, licorice, and earth galore, with forest floor and more mineral lingering long. Drink from 2020 until 2025.

2012 Terra di Seta Chianti Classico, Riserva – Score: 92 to 93 (QPR) (fun “older” wine tasting)
The nose on this wine is crazy fun, ripe, and controlled, but with time, the fruit blows off and shows more of the incredible smoke, flint, and chocolate, with great blackberry, black fruit, and loads of red fruit behind it. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is really exceptional, layered, complex, and richly plush, with loads of mineral, fruit, blackberry, dark plum, garrigue, green notes, backed by a mouth coating tannin that is both rich and expressive, backed by a beautiful fruit structure, with lovely cedar, more smoke, and graphite. The finish is long, green, ripe, plush, and smokey, with toast, cigar smoke, coffee, and rich elegant dark chocolate. Bravo!!! Drink from 2020 until 2026.


2017 Chateau Lacaussade Saint-Martin, Vieilles Vignes – Score: 89
The wine is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is not as good as it used to be, it has lost its acid but has retained its minerality, though it is also showing a riper side, with more tropical notes than previously. The nose is more tropical in nature than in the past, with lovely with melon, guava, and hints of passion fruit to start, over time it recedes to show lemongrass, straw, mineral, grapefruit, nice vanilla, citrus, and honeysuckle notes. Sadly, the mouth is staying tropical now, gone is the tart lemon, it is still close to balanced, but less linear than before. The mouth on this wine is not complex and has lost a step, with green apple, tart pear, tropical notes of guava, with more vanilla, and sweet fruit. The finish is long, with sweet southern tea, nice mineral notes, slate, and lovely pith. Drink up!!!

2015 Capcanes La Flor Del Flor De Primavera, Grenache – Score: 89
This wine is riper than the 2014 vintage and while it is drinkable it is not a wine I need to stock up on. The nose on this wine is riper than the 2014 vintage, with black and blue fruit, with black pepper, roasted animal, with mushroom base, forest floor, and ripe dark fruit. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, with ripe juicy blackberry, blueberry, and hints of boysenberry, with dark cherry, with dark fruit, with tobacco, dark plum, and sweet spices. The mid-palate has grainy tannin and is easily accessible, but the tannin is gripping. The finish is long, sweet, and ripe, with sweet milk chocolate, tobacco, with lovely graphite, mineral, and sweet spices galore. The fruit, mineral, tannin, and chocolate linger long. Drink by 2023 if you have some.

2016 Jacques Capsouto Cuvee Eva, Blanc – Score: 88
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 a really fun, old world, with straw, tilled earth, with green apple, but it is losing steam. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is slowing down, showing a ripe and dried fruit melange with acid that has all but disappeared since the last tasting a year ago, nice pith, stone, with tart yellow plum, and hints of dried guava. The finish is still long but without the acid, it is failing, rock, pith, and mineral. Drink NOW.

2016 Jacques Capsouto Cuvee Albert, Grand Vin, Blanc – Score: 90
This wine is in its decline, it is still nice, but drink NOW! 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 acidity that has started to fall off or disappear altogether, melon, tart green apple, with straw and dirt. The finish is long and tart with less acidity than I like now, minerality, with rich pith, still showing an elegance, clear fruit focus, slate. Drink up! Sadly, I was off by a year on my previous drinking window.

2017 Avi Feldstein, White – Score: 88
This wine is a blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Roussanne. The nose on this wine is flat, boring, with green notes and mineral, and not much else. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice but has little to show, with peach and apricot and hints of grapefruit, with loads of pith, hay, and rock. The finish is long, green, and pith driven, the best part of the wine by far. It came around a bit more with time but for the price, it is a pass.

2017 Avi Feldstein, Red Blend – Score: NA
I had this wine twice and both times all I wrote was a pass. Really ripe, really pushed, far too fruit-forward and unbalanced for me.

2018 Chateau Trijet, Bordeaux – Score: 87
This is another 2018 wine and I had high hopes, it is NOT Mevushal, and sadly, it is boring. The fruit is OK, but the wine overall is a move on. Average tannin.

2018 Tabor Sauvignon Blanc, Adama – Score: 89
Falling apart, the acidity is falling off, but the pith is still lingering nicely.

Louis de Vignezac Champagne, Grand Cru – Score: 90
Classic notes of Champagne, clearly an aged Champagne, but it is quite solid, showing notes of green apple, pear, dried melon, with yeast, green notes, and herb. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is fun, the acidity is quite solid, well-focused, with crazy grapefruit, tart lemon/lime, and incredible yeast, with a lovely attack of small mousse bubbles, which die off quickly, but still quite nice. What really shines on this wine is the finish, it is incredible, forever, with loads of tart fruit, saline, mineral, quince, straw, rock, and searing acidity that lingers forever. Bravo! Drink UP!!

Frerejean Freres Champagne, Premier Cru – Score: 87
This is a sweet and oxidized nose, showing far older than the Louis de Vignezac, with nuts, walnuts, along with garrigue, melon, and yeast. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, still oxidized, but less so than the nose showed, with layers of melon, dry fruit, peach, apricot, and apple, with a better mousse attack than the Louis de Vignezac, showing old, with not much else that follows. The finish is flat, the acid from the front lingers but the finish is empty and the bubbles show with quince and not much else. Drink NOW!!!

Posted on November 15, 2019, in Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. At the beginning of your post you mention that you are not including reviews of some lower end wines that did not rank on your rating. I think that adding those in (without any other negative comment) would be helpful for me. As a wine drinker who needs to spend less than $25/bottle its good to know what wines to avoid so I don’t waste precious wine budget on a wine that isn’t worth buying.

    • That sounds fair but wow that is a lot of wines. I will try to get to them soon, I guess I can call it my worst wines of 2019 🙂

  2. At the beginning of your post you mention that you are not including reviews of some lower end wines that did not rank on your rating. I think that adding those in (without any other negative comment) would be helpful for me. As a wine drinker who needs to spend less than $25/bottle its good to know what wines to avoid so I don’t waste precious wine budget on a wine that isn’t worth buying.

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