My top 30 kosher wines of 2019 including wine of the year, Winery 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.

We are returning with the “wine of the year”, and “best wine of the year” while adding in a new category called “Winery of the Year”, and another new category, the best White 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. The wines of the year are a type of wine that is severely unappreciated, though ones that have had a crazy renaissance, over the past two years. The Best Wine of the year goes to a wine well worthy of the title, especially with its 2016 vintage.

This past year, I think I am pretty sure about my statement. In the past, I had not yet tasted the pape Clement or other such wines. However, over the past year, those have been covered, and they were a serious letdown. As stated in the article, I truly believe the entire kosher production of the Megrez wines, following the EPIC 2014 vintage of the Pape Clement and others, to be below quality and seriously overpriced and without value in every category, which is a true shame. The 2015 reds are all poor quality and the whites are not much better, in 2015 and 2016. The 2016 Pape Clement, while better, is a total ripoff for what it is.

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, it was, by far, the worst kosher Rose vintage. Thankfully, the task of culling the bounty of great wines to come to these top wines was really more a task of removing then adding. I may have stated the obvious in my last post, about the state of kosher wine in general, and not all of it was very good. Still, as I stated, we are blessed with more QPR wines and more top wines, while the core pool of wines, which are horribly poor, continue to grow larger and larger.

The supreme bounty comes from the fact that Royal released the 2017 French 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’s Orange and white Wines to come to the rescue. Throw in Vitkin’s good work, and more great work by Royal Europe, including the new Gazin Blanc, and others, and you have quite a crop of fun white wines!

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 2019 kosher wines of the year – we have a four-way TIE all from Yarden!

Yes! You have read it correctly, the wines of the year come from Golan Heights Winery (AKA Yarden Winery), the 4th largest date juice producer in the entire world! The top date juice honor belongs to Barkan Winery, but I digress.

So, why is Yarden here, because albeit’s deep desire to throw away years of work creating very nice wines, at a reasonable price, with its wines from the early 2000s and before, it still makes the best kosher sparkling wines, and it is time that it receives its due.

As I stated in my year in review, the kosher wine public has finally awoken to the joy of sparkling wine! Last week I told a friend I popped a sparkler for Shabbat lunch and he replied in a sarcastic tone, “Oh only a sparkler”, like that was a crazy thing to do. I replied that the Gamla (AKA Gilgal) Brut costs less than most white wines do! Why not pop one with lunch on Shabbat??? Others tell me, yes there is more a public appreciation for Sparkling wines, but it is a different wine category. I do not agree! Sure, sparkling wine has bubbles, so yeah, it is different. However, that is EXACTLY what is wrong here, Sparkling wine is just white or rose wine with bubbles. Who cares? When it is well made, it is a wine like any other wine.

Whether we are talking about the N.V. Gigal/Gamla Brut, the 2011 Yarden Blanc de Blanc Brut, 2007 Yarden Blanc de Blanc, Brut, Late-Disgorged, or the 2013 Yarden Rose Brut, you are sure to enjoy some great sparkling wines!

N.V. Gilgal Brut (Gamla in Israel) – Score: 91 (QPR)
This wine is not one for the ages like its bigger brothers, the vintage Blanc de Blanc. Still, this wine has evolved and is finally coming into its own. It is no longer lemon juice with bubbles. It is now lovely and evolved sparkling wine.
The nose on this wine is lovely with yeast and citrus, with heather, and lovely floral notes. This wine is nice, and it finally is showing complexity, with the obvious citrus now calming down, and instead, we get a balance of quince, nuts, yeast, with sweet pear, all backed by citrus, grapefruit, dried lemon, with herb, with great small bubble mousse, with a full-throat attack of fruit and mousse. The finish is long, tart, and green, with great citrus, and loads of yeast, and a nice creamy mouthfeel, nice! Drink by 2021.

2007 Yarden Blanc de Blanc, Brut, Late-Disgorged – Score: 93
Tasting this side by side the late disgorged is a home-run, it is not only a late disgorged wine, but it is also brut nature, see my blog post about zero dosage wines.
The nose on this wine is lovely, really rich, layered, with intense brightness and acidity, with screaming lemon curd, peach and apple cobbler, brioche, and nice toast that gives way to ripe green and yellow apple, and crazy insane ripe lemon curd. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is crazy, it is so vibrant, so freaking fresh, and so alive, in comparison, to a lovely 2007 Sparkling wine, with baked Anjou pear, crazy acidity, and small mousse bubbles, with lovely yeast and apple compote that goes on forever!! The finish is long and tart with insane grapefruit, bitter and rich grapefruit pith, and lemon zest. Bravo!!! Drink within the next year or so, as most zero dosage, Brut Nature wines that we have enjoyed so far die after a year, in comparison to the 6g/L sparkling wines, like the 2007 BdB that is not late disgorged. Drink by 2020 or 20204? What? Exactly! No one knows. If you want to play it safe, drink it now and be happy. I will be tasting mine year over year and will post accordingly.

2013 Yarden Rose, Brut – Score: 93 (QPR Superstar)
The nose on this wine is showing beautifully, with big bright fruit, lemon, lime Fraiche, with creamy notes of strawberry, and herb, withy loads of mineral, and rock. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is slow to open, but with time is shows searing acidity, with the elegance of dried pear, tart green apple, tart raspberry, with layers of fruit, acid, green notes, with herb, showing rich saline, melon, with layers of acidity, with grapefruit, lime, and rock. The finish is long, green, tart, with crazy acidity, and mineral, hay, and slate galore. Bravo!! Drink until 2028.

2011 Yarden Blanc de Blanc – Score: 91 to 92 (QPR)
This is less sharp than the 2010 or the 2008 vintage. This is a bit more fat but the acidity is bracing and it does come together nicely. The nose on this sparkling wine is tart and ripe, with beautiful notes of peach, apple, and citrus, with brioche. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine has a big upfront mousse of small bubbles, with lovely citrus and grapefruit, backed by apples, and gooseberry, and more citrus, with lime backing slate, more brioche, and lovely saline that lingers long, with lemongrass, and a lovely tart, refreshing mouthfeel, with lemon/lime, saline, and mousse lingering long. Bravo!! Drink by 2025.

The 2019 kosher Winery of the Year

Well, this will not come as a shock to anyone, I have been touting them for many years now, the award goes to the well-deserved Cantina Terra di Seta. Last year their wine was a co-wine of the year. This year, they take the first-ever honor of Winery of the Year! Congratulations to Cantina Terra di Seta and Royal Wines for importing them.

This winery continues to pump out winner after winner. Sure, the 2017 Chianti Classico was a miss, get over it! Same with the recently tasted 2012 Chianti Classico Assai, too sweet for me, it changed quickly over the past year or so. However, those are just bumps in the road for a winery that continues to pump out winners. Last year alone, they sold out of the 2015 Chianti Classico, then the entire production of the 2016 Chianti Classico, and then most of the 2017 production! These were not small productions. The product sells because it is a perennial QPR winner, look at last year, the year before that, and so on.

Now, I get it, I am sure many of you are asking, what about Domaine Netofa Winery, or Elvi Wines, or Royal Europe for their crop of crazy good wines this past year, or Taieb Wines for producing so many HUGE QPR winners for those that live in France, and so on?

Well, my answer is simple, those are great options, but for a pureplay winery, Terra di Seta is the closest thing to a sure bet, and that is why they deserve the first-ever Winery of the Year award from my blog. Bravo!!! Still, with that said, each and every one of those wineries/distributors have wines on the top wines of the year.

The 2019 best kosher wine of the year!

Last year was tough as there were so many GREAt 2016 wines to choose from. This year, we are blessed with many great wines, but none scored above a 94, except for ONE, one and ONLY one. That honor goes to the 2016 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Chalk Hill, Clone Six. It is a wine for now if you are ABSOLUTELY stark raving mad (meaning it can actually be enjoyed now), but truly it is a wine built to go decades. Bravo and well deserved for the hard work and tireless efforts of the entire Herzog Wine Cellars team!

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. (I am always light on drinking windows, but given what I have been tasting over the past couple of years, like the 1997/1998/1999 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon Chalk Hill wines, this wine may well go another decade after this.)

The 2019 best kosher White wine of the year!

This award is being given to two wines from two different styles of wine, and one may not “officially” be called a white wine, but that is OK, I am a rebel!

The first of two white wines is the 2018 Chateau Gazin Rocquencourt, Blanc, Pessac-Leognan. Wow, what a wine! We finally have a white Bordeaux that is built to last. The 2017 Château Guiraud ‘G’ Sec was nice, but this is at an entirely different level. The 2014 Chateau Fombrauge Blanc, Bernard-Magrez, Saint Emilion, Grand Cru classé, is close, but even that is a step behind. This is a special wine, a really special one! We probably have not had such a class of white Bordeaux wine made kosher since the 2004 Smith Haut Lafitte. Sadly, I have never had a good one of those, but such is life.

The other “white” wine of the year is the 2018 Yaacov Oryah The Anthology of Spice, Alpha Omega. A more pure-play white wine from Yaacov Oryah that comes in at a slight – second mention is the 2018 Yaacov Oryah Silent Hunter. Both of these wines show the potential of Israel when the wine is made by a person who is deeply passionate and precise, and where he is given absolute control and freedom to do as he sees fit. Only in that circumstance can these two wines come to life – Bravo Yaacov Oryah!

2018 Chateau Gazin Rocquencourt, Blanc, Pessac-Legonan – Score: 93
This wine is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc. The wine was made from the middle of the press, not at the start or the end. Battonage was done twice to three times a week. The nose on this wine is an oak city, with so much oak that I can barely smell fruit, under the oak you can find green apple, quince, lemon Fraiche, and loads of smoke. The mouth on this wine is nuts, with layers upon layers, of pure oak, rich extraction of oak and fruit, smoke, toast galore, with baked Anju pear, yellow apple, fresh-baked pie of lemon and creamy whipped creme, with butter-laden brioche, with loads of acidity that balances it all out. The finish is long, oaky, creamy, with quince, toast, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger with lemongrass, and more smoke. This is certifiably nuts wine. Drink from 2023 until 2028. Wow!

2018 Yaacov Oryah Silent Hunter – Score: 92 to 93
The play here is that the Semillon “Hunter is a play on words within the play on words, as Hunter Valley, Australia is home to some of the best Semillon in the world) is silent now behind the Chenin Blanc. The wine is a blend of 60% Semillon and 40% Chenin Blanc. The nose on this wine is lovely, and very unique, with elegant funk, rich mineral, showing great smoke, flint, and slate galore. The mouth on this is lovely with more of the mineral, incredible slate, intense saline, lime, lemon Fraiche, fruit focus, backed well with piercing acidity, screaming rock, and lovely layers upon layers of mineral, grapefruit, citrus, pear, and gooseberry, with passion fruit hiding out. The finish is long, with more slate, mineral, acidic, and crazy tart citrus lingering forever! Bravo!! Drink until 2024.

2018 Yaacov Oryah The Anthology of Spice, Alpha Omega – Score: 93
This wine is a blend of 50% Gewurztraminer, 40% Chardonnay, and 10% Roussanne. The 50% Gewurztraminer found here is the fruit that I spoke about above, fruit that was going to be wasted for just being itself, heady and spicy. As an Homage of an Homage, yeah more play on play on words, the wine talks to the original AO of old, while also staking this epic spicy fruit to two sturdy partners that add so much, while letting the Gewurtztraminer by itself, without being offensive.
This is not a pineapple juice wine, this wine is more about the Gewurztraminer’s spice, with control, floral notes, blossoms galore, with rosehip, and jasmine-like notes, with apple, and earth. The mouth on this wine is beautifully tannic, great structure, showing a crazy fruit/spiced/mineral structure, with smoke, funk, with crazy layers upon layers of the spices, tannin, with rich extraction, with even more tannin structure than the previous wines, showing spice, nutmeg, cloves, crazy allspice, and floral notes, that give way to roasted herb, dry hay, straw, and green/yellow apple lingering long with melon, more grass, lemon, and spice galore lingering long. WOW!! Drink by 2025.

Rest of the 22 top kosher wines of 2019 (in score order)

2017 Domaine Chantal Lescure, Pommard – Score: 94
This is a crazy barnyard wine is super slow to open, showing a wine with notes of foliage, menthol, barnyard, mushroom, loam, and wet soil, showing red fruit, with toast, mineral, and loads of earth, lovely. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is incredible, showing ripe and sweet fruit, that is layered with layers upon layers of dark cherry, raspberry, blackberry, plum, and earth, with loads of dirt, menthol, with loam, that is so tannic that it is crazy, with loads of saline, olive, black and green fruit, and foliage galore, backed by mushroom forest floor. The finish is long, green, black, tannic, with dark chocolate covering coffee beans, earth, and smoke, that shows incredible leather, smoke, and foliage, with gripping tannin and earth/barnyard galore, with graphite and charcoal lingering long. Bravo!! Drink from 2024 until 2033. (I hope this will soon be in the USA, for now in Europe)

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.

2015 Domaine D’Aurdruy Aloxe-Corton – Score: 94
The nose on this wine is crazy black, with incredible red fruits in the background, with loads of fruit, oak, and mineral, with hints of mushroom, and earth galore. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is crazy, richly extracted, with incredible layers of fruit, followed by more extraction and dark fruit, with this wine, it is black, blackberry, dark cherry, with crazy gripping tannin, showing cassis, that gives way to mushroom, earth, richly tilled earth, and crazy tannin that is unstoppable, with earth and mineral, graphite, and green notes galore. The finish is long, tannic out of its mind, with chocolate, coffee, and menthol, crazy!! Bravo!!! Drink from 2025 until 2033. (available in USA and France)

2014 Elvi Wines Rioja, Herenza, Reserva – Score: 94
The nose on this wine is lovely and ripe with blue and red fruit, with hints of black fruit with crazy notes of soy sauce, root beer, and crazy smoke and lovely roasted meat. The mouth on this rich and layered full-bodied wine hits you with crazy sweet oak, sweet dill, with rich blueberry, ripe and juicy raspberry and strawberry with lovely extraction, layers of sweet and controlled fruit, showing sweet herb, lovely black Forest berry, and menthol, with mushroom and garrigue. The finish is long green, sweet, and really fun, with tobacco, roasted espresso, rich dark chocolate, with mint, menthol, and sweet herbs. Bravo. Drink from 2020 until 2032.

2017 Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Saint-Julien – Score: 93 to 94
The nose is beautiful and well-controlled with crazy pencil shavings, with ripe fruit, with ripe and juicy red fruit. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is closed to start with layers upon layers of red fruit, with blackberry in the background, with mouth draping tannin, crazy mineral, pencil shavings galore, and plush elegance, mouth-coating, yet the ripeness in the background is ripe and scary, but hedonistic and voluptuous, with layers of tar, earth, licorice, pepper, and loads of tannin galore, showing an elegance and plushness, with clear hedonistic leanings and graphite/acid core that makes it all work. The finish is long, black, green, and tannic, with plush fruit and smoke, with tobacco, chocolate, and earth galore. Bravo!! Drink from 2025 until 2033.

2017 Chateau Giscours, Margaux – Score: 93 to 94
This is the elegant call-girl in comparison to Lascombes. The nose on this wine is black, almost purely black, with loads of blue fruit, and foliage/garrigue in the background, with black pepper, smoke, and loads of pencil shavings. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is layered, rich, plush, elegant, and so beautifully elegant, with a wonderful fruit-structure, showing a roundness that belies its mineral and acid core, which is plush, and tannin that is draping and not searing, with a presence that demands your attention and screams for focus, with a creamy texture and freshly tilled earth bringing it all together. The finish is long, green, smoky, with earth, sweet ripe fruit, with dark chocolate, tobacco, garrigue, and mineral that really is impressive. Bravo!! Drink from 2024 until 2032.

2017 Les Roches de Yon-Figeac, Saint-Emilion, Grand Cru – Score: 93 to 94 (QPR Superstar)
This is great, the Royaumont is mushroom and soy sauce and the Les Roches de Yon-Figeac is mushroom and barnyard heaven, it is insane. The nose on this wine is crazy barnyard, mushroom, forest floor, with freshly tilled earth, followed by a stick of graphite right in the eye, with crazy salinity, and loads of black fruit, wow! The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is really fun, layered, with squid-ink notes, with layers upon layers of plush and rich fruit structure, with incredible acidity, salinity, and graphite core, with crazy blackberry, blackcurrant, with dark berries, and smoke, with graphite taking center stage, followed by intense acid, and more mineral, with layers of earth, and lovely roasted herb, and screaming tannin structure that will last for a long time. The finish si long, green and ripe, with mineral at its core, followed by more squid ink, plushness that belies the searing tannin, and a fruit structure that lasts forever. Incredible! Bravo! Drink from 2023 until 2030.

2012 Domaine Roses Camille, Pomerol – Score: 93 to 94
Sheer elegance in a glass, this wine is almost there but still not ready. The nose is rich and earthy, with now loads of mushrooms, followed by red and green fruit, with hints of black in the background, with loads of sweet and ripe fruit, sweet dill, cedar, and rich dirt and deep fruit. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is riper than I would have wished for, but it is beautifully layered with incredibly concentrated dark fruit, with lovely extraction, showing candied strawberry, along with nice dirt, spice, more cedar, and rich layers of green foliage and ripe and juicy cassis, black cherry – that gives way to mineral, pencil, and great focus all underpinned by some nice acid, but I would have loved more acid, the other two wines that I tasted beside the big brother showed more acidity, and more mineral, all wrapped in elegant and mouth-draping tannin that is plush and elegant. The finish is long and green, with sweet notes of juicy and tart fruit, with more great acid, cocoa, tar, charcoal, and tobacco, wrapped in leather and spice. Bravo! Drink from 2020 till 2029.

2017 Chateau Royaumont, Lalande de Pomerol – Score: 93 (QPR Superstar)
The wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. I liked the 2016 vintage but this one may be better! The nose on this wine is pure hedonism, with incredible soy sauce, mushroom, and loads of umami, with crazy smoke, blueberry, earth, mineral galore, and black fruit, with herbs. WOW!!! The mouth on this wine carries the umami madness, with a richness in the mouth that is plush, and layered with less mushroom and more truffles, with loads of blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, smoke, mineral, all wrapped in a rich, layered, umami madness, with tobacco mineral, graphite joy, wow!! Incredible. The wine is ripe, and the voluptuous mouthfeel comes from the combination of oak, ripe fruit, mushroom, and mineral, it will be fun to see this one in three years. The finish on this wine is nuts, layered and ripe, with smoke, mushroom, and tobacco, graphite, charcoal, and more mushroom. Bravo!! Drink from 2021 until 2028. This can be drunk almost now, but it needs time to really be appreciated.

2017 Chevalier de Lascombes, Margaux – Score: 93
This is a classic slutty Margaux, with clear notes of mushroom, earth, but upfront it is ripe, really ripe, with a classic hedonism bent, showing soy sauce, umami, and clear tar. The mouth on this wine is ripe, with clear control, lovely balance, and crazy mushroom and umami, with dark raspberry, plum, boysenberry, and hints of strawberry, with loads of juicy ripe fruit, balanced with acid, saline, mouth coating tannin, and loads of earth, incredible. The finish is long, green, and yet ripe, with more juicy ripe fruit, soy sauce, mushroom sauce, forest floor, and a tannin structure that really hurts to taste, with graphite, pencil, tar, and loads of tilled earth. Bravo!! Drink from 2023 until 2030.

2017 Chateau Gazin Rocquencourt, Pessac-Leognan – Score: 93 (QPR shocker)
This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot. The nose on this wine is truly lovely, showing notes of pure mineral, with umami, smoke, soy sauce, milk chocolate, and mushroom notes, lovely! The mouth on this full-bodied wine is lovely, with loads of mushroom, forest floor, with blackberry, cherry, raspberry, licorice, and pepper, followed by a core of mineral and saline, with a mouth draping tannin structure and lovely fruit structure with complexity and earth. The finish is long, green, complex, mineral-driven, and tar loaded with earth, tobacco, leather, and graphite. Bravo!!! To me, this could have been Malartic 2017 and I would have said sure. Wow! Buy this up!! Drink from 2023 until 2028.

2018 Les Marronniers Chablis – Score: 93 (QPR madness) (Mevushal)
This wine is made with native yeasts and as little manipulation as possible. The nose on this wine is beautiful with orange blossom, yellow apple, and rosehip, with lemon curd, and yeasty and creamy notes. This is so much better than the 2016 or 2017 vintage, this is so much fun! The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is crazy fun, intense acidity, incredible salinity, piercing, almost painful, with lovely layers of lemon, grapefruit, with quince, and pie crust, with Anjou pear, and quince. The finish is long, crazy long, almost oily, mostly creamy, with baked pear and apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, and loads of mineral, with slate, rock, and saline. Bravo!! Drink until 2023 maybe 2024.

2015 Chateau Tour Seran, Medoc – Score: 93 (QPR)
Lovely nose of mineral, roasted herb loads of mushroom and forest floor with elegance and control. The mouth on this full-bodied wine starts off very slowly with loads of sweet fruit, closed, with layers of blackberry, cassis, with great acidity, showing mineral, graphite, with crazy loads of green notes, foliage, and scrapping and mouth coating tannin, with tart fruit focus and tension, showing a wine that is beautiful yet so very young, with bell pepper, truffle, and smoke. The finish is long, tar and tart fruit, with great control elegance and mineral and foliage that linger forever. Drink from 2023 until 2030.

2015 Peyrat-Fourthon, Haut-Medoc – Score: 93
The nose on this wine is now open, really beautiful, showing screaming bright fruit, with perfume or pure heaven, showing 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. With a mushroom and graphite farm lingering super long, wow! Bravo!!! Drink from 2022 until 2031. (This is only available in France unless someone sees it here).

2017 Jean-Phillipe Marchand Nuits Saint Georges, Aux Herbues – Score: 93
The nose on this wine moves to much darker fruit, with crazy dark black and red fruit, with dark currant, rich cherry, pure elegance, followed by dark chocolate, with beautiful sweet oak, and mushroom. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is rich, extracted, layered, and beautiful, with rich elegance of still the rich and deep tart fruit focus, but then layered with the elegance of the darker fruit, dark cherry, blackcurrant, with crazy draping and richly extracting tannin, but so elegant, followed by sweet notes of fruit, but so well balanced with crazy tart red and black fruit, rich salinity, and impressive acid, followed by earth, and crazy mineral. The finish is long, green, red, and well layered with chocolate, coffee, and tobacco galore. Bravo!! drink from 2023 until 2031. (available in France)

2016 Château La Tour de By, Heritage Marc Pages, Médoc – Score: 93
This wine is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot. The nose on this wine is ripe, big, and bold, with clear black fruit leanings, but well balanced, with black pepper, tar, sweet black fruit, with red berry, and lovely spice. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is well balanced, layered with a lovely mouthfeel of blackberry, cassis, rich sweet fruit, but balanced with lovely acidity and green notes, with crazy garrigue, menthol, mint, and cinnamon, followed by roasted herb, mouth-draping tannin, and a lovely fruit-focus, with an incredible mineral backbone. The finish is long, green, rich, layered, and well balanced with lovely graphite, rock, spice, roasted herb, black and red fruit, and dark chocolate. Drink from 2021 until 2026.

2012 Domaine Netofa Late Bottled Vintage (LBV), Port – Score: 93
This classical sweet wine Portuguese style wine uses the classic grapes, but instead of them being sourced in Portugal, they came from the foot of the Tabor Mountains; 80% Touriga Nacional and 20% Tempranillo. The wine was aged for 48 months in oak and it shows in the wine.
WOW! To me, this is slightly better than the 2010 Domaine Netofa LBV. The nose on this wine is crazy good, beautiful, with much more complexity and rich concentration, showing incredible redolence, with more controlled and elegant ripe fruit, fig, date, and caramelized fruit, with crazy spices, nuts galore, with chocolate, walnut, and sweet spices on the front. The mouth on this wine is rich and unctuous, full-bodied wine is a beast, with layers upon layers of rich acid, rich chocolate, showing lightly oxidized notes of sweet fruit, intense nuttiness, rich and lovely dark chocolate, with lovely candied plum, ripe blackberry, with less dark fruit than the 2010 vintage, showing elegance and sheer force, all coming together in an intense and extracted experience. The finish is long and richly extracted with chocolate, dark fruit, almonds, walnut, and marzipan! BRAVO!!! Drink from 2020 until 2030.

2018 Les Marronniers Chablis, Premier Cru, Cote de Jouan – Score: 92 to 93 (QPR)
The nose on this wine is closed, but it shows lovely notes of mineral, slate, blossom water, and loads of citrus, with apple, and smoke. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is rich, layered, and impressive, with a rich oily mouthfeel, showing a lovely weight, with yellow apple, tart citrus, Asian Pear, and beautiful acidity that is well integrated with a strong mineral core, showing Orange pith, with tart citrus and slate and yellow plum, with saline, and more earth and hints of nectarines and orange. Lovely! Drink from 2020 to 2024 may be longer.

2015 Terra di Seta, Riserva, Chianti Classico – Score: 92 to 93 (QPR Superstar)
The nose on this wine is pure heaven, showing floral notes, dried mint, oregano, with more herbs, mushroom heaven, forest floor, and earth, with red and black fruit galore, wow. The mouth on the beautiful full-bodied wine is what I want from all wines, a clear game plan, fruit-focus, rich acidity, clear fruit, and an overall mouthfeel that is draping, elegant, and yet breathtaking, with so much acid it will take your breath away, with blackberry, dark cherry, cassis, and hints of currants and raspberry, with loads of more mushrooms, all backed by gripping tannin that is a bit harsh to start, with smoke, and bramble. The finish is long, green, earthy, mineral-driven, and acid backed, with crazy tobacco, herb central, and coffee all working together, with green notes that linger forever. Bravo!!! Drink from 2021 until 2028.

2015 Clos Lavaud, Lalande de Pomerol – Score: 92 to 93 (QPR madness)
The nose on this wine is lovely, far more controlled than the 2014 vintage while also being richer and brighter, showing notes of dark fruit, followed by loads of incredible mineral, with saline, graphite, forest floor, and mushroom, with dark red fruit, and loam that goes on forever. The mouth on this wine is ripe, but in such an old-world manner, with rich loam, bright fruit, great acidity, mouth-draping tannin that is elegant, well-structured, and a focal point for the layers of elegant blackberry, smoke, blackcurrant, dark ripe cherry, wrapped in plush tannin, sweet cedar notes, with incredible saline and mineral, with a plush forest floor that will give way to mushroom madness in the future, with an elegance that is really impressive, and a wine that is now just starting to show its potential. The finish is long,m green, with garrigue, foliage, more forest floor, with a plush yet velvety structure that is vacked with core-acidity and mineral, dark chocolate, licorice, leather, and fine spices. Bravo!! Drink from 2021 until 2028.

2018 Domaine Netofa Latour, White – Score: 92 to 93 (Super QPR)
Wow, what a lovely wine, this wine is 100% Chenin Blanc aged 10 months in oak barrels. The nose on this wine is pure heaven, but it is slow to open, once it does, the wine is lovely with loads of floral notes, yellow flowers, orange blossom, rosehip, and lovely white fruit, pear, peach, and smoke/toast. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lovely, with great acidity, clear and present, with layers of sweet and dry fruit, with candied and toasted almonds, hazelnuts, with hay and straw, followed by floral notes, tart melon, lemongrass, citrus galore, yellow apple, quince, baked apple, and dry grass and earth, lovely! The finish is long, dry, tart, and butterscotch-laden, with toast, smoke, ginger, and marzipan, Bravo!! Drink from 2021 until 2025.

2015 Chateau Haut Condissas, Prestige, Medoc – Score: 92 to 93
This wine is mushroom cloud heaven, the nose is far less open than previous vintages with crazy mushroom, smoke, crazy mineral, with black and red fruit galore, showing mint, oregano, Menthol, and roasted herbs, with brightness all over the nose. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe but controlled with red and green notes, showing screaming tannin, with mouth-drying structure, backed by ripe blackberry, menthol, green notes galore, with loads of fruit, menthol, and graphite, backed by cassis, and currants. The finish is long, green, ripe, and slightly over the top, not perfectly balanced, with milk chocolate, earth, and smoke, with tobacco, cedar, tannin, and menthol lingering long. Drink from 2022 until 2027.

Interesting Wines

2017 Jean-Phillipe Marchand Gevrey-Chambertin – Score: 92 to 93
The nose on this wine follows the rest with the common now rich red fruit, with crazy herb, roasted herb, mint, and green notes galore, with more mushroom, and lovely elegance, and sweet dill. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is beautifully elegant, not as richly extracted as the Georges, but lovely with elegance with lovely acidity, red fruit, raspberry, tart ripe green fruit, tart cranberry, with dark cherry, and raspberry, all red fruit here, with still gripping tannin, but more drinkable than the Georges, with sweet fruit, roasted herb, and rich mushroom, and mineral. The finish is long, green, mineral, with crazy acidity rich mineral, and earth. Bravo!! What an elegance and attack, bravo!!! Drink from 2022 until 2030. (available in France)

2013 Eccelenza, Bianco Umbria – Score: 92 to 93
This wine is a blend of 70% Verdicchio, 30% Malvasia. WOW!!! This is a wine that was produced by Ricardo Cotarella for his own usage and usually not commercially available, yet this one is and for the first time kosher. What a wine, the nose on this thing is out of this world, so old school and old-world it is crazy. The nose is incredibly redolent with loads of peach, rich herb, mint, oregano, along with freshly peeled almond, walnut shells, with crazy wildflowers, white flowers, honeysuckle, and loads of hay and straw. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is beyond unique, it is layered, rich, and oily, almost unctuous, with sweet peach, apricot, ginger, pepper, cloves, and white cinnamon, with rich orange, mandarin, nectarines, all wrapped in a cocoon of funk, mineral, sweet yellow plum, and loads of roasted herb. The finish is long, green, sweet, herbal, oily, with saline, honey, almonds, and sweet notes lingering forever long. Bravo!!! Bravo!!! Drink now! It was still nice a day later, but it had lost its verve and tension, so drink up now to enjoy the wine at its max.

2018 Yaacov Oryah The First Anthology, Alpha Omega – Score: 92 to 93
The play on words here is slightly dependant upon the Hebrew Language, which is a large part of Mr. Oryah, of course. First Anthology in Hebrew is האסופה הראשונה, with Asif and Asufa being base in nature. The components of first skin macerated white blend, made in the אסיף winery, Chardonnay, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc. This wine is a blend of 40% Chardonnay, 40% Viognier, and 20% Chenin Blanc. This wine is an homage to Yaacov’s first Orange blend at Asif.
The nose on this wine is a smoke and funk monster, with lovely Viognier nose, showing honeysuckle, honeyed notes, with yellow apple, white pepper, and sweet herb. The mouth on this medium+ bodied wine is incredible, layered, rich, unctuous, and extracted, with crazy saline, acid, with sweet herb, elegant, and precise, wow, so well balanced with nice tannin structure that gives way to pear, apple, and fruit structure that flows into lemongrass, and citrus. The finish is long, green, lime, limoncello, and foliage/garrigue. Lovely!!! Drink by 2024.

2015 Chateau Cheval Brun, Saint-Emilion, Grand Cru – Score: 92 to 93
The nose on this wine is red, really red fruit, with bright fruit, showing hints of black fruit in the background, with barnyard, forest floor, and licorice, and floral notes of Violet, and nutmeg showing elegance on the nose. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is far better than the Menuts, it is less black and not nearly as ripe, with lovely green notes, lovely raspberry, dark cherry, currants, with layers upon layers of fruit, tannin, smoke, and tar, with screaming acidity, mouth coating tannin, with dark chocolate covering forest floor, dry tobacco, and lovely saline, olives, and loads of mineral. The finish is long, green, with foliage, tobacco, earth, loam, roasted herbs, and graphite lingering long. Bravo! Drink from 2023 until 2030.

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.

2017 Domaine Netofa Tel Qasser, White – Score: 92 to 93 (QPR Superstar)
This wine has changed, and so much more for the better, bravo as usual to Pierre! Please be careful, this wine is not ready for showtime, the acidity does not come put until at least 8 hours of bottle air time, please do not be careless with this wine! Also, do NOT drink this wine from the fridge, please let the wine come to almost room temperature, much akin to red wine.
After many hours, the nose on this wine is showing beautifully, a lovely Roussanne, showing earth, mineral, rich brightness, lovely floral notes, with straw, yellow plum, lanolin, almonds, walnuts, and apple. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is layered, rich, and nicely extracted, with piercing acidity, showing a 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. The finish is crazy good, showing lovely acidity, rich heather, hints of smoke, and loads of mineral, straw, dry grass, and quince lingering super long, with acidity, and loam!! BRAVO!!!! Drink from 2021 until 2025.

2018 Vitkin Late Harvest Gewurztraminer – Score: 92+
YEAY!!! This is the first naturally occurring botrytis wine since the 1988 Yarden Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. It came in at 85% natural botrytis. This will need time to come around.
The nose on this wine is funk and really elegant, wow, with pineapple, melon, redolence galore, with apricot compote, and crazy sweet orange blossoms, wow!! The mouth on this wine really needs time, really lots of time, with great richness, with crazy acidity, so young, so tasty at this time, who knows how much more this will evolve over time, with rich sweetness, with ripe melon, guava, and balance galore. The finish is long, sweet, and rich and well balanced, bravo. Drink from 2022 until 2030.

2018 Joseph Mellot Sancerre, La Graveliere – Score: 91 – 92 (QPR for France)
The nose on this wine is pure heaven, honeysuckle, gooseberry, with crazy loads of orange blossom, passion fruit, and rich saline, lovely! The mouth on this medium-bodied wine has lovely weight, showing crazy pith, screaming grapefruit, with citrus and layers of rich slate, spice, nutmeg, and lovely lemon curd, and herbs. The finish is long, green, and mineral-driven, with loads of pith and orange blossoms lingering long Lovely! Drink by 2022.

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.

2015 Domaine Condorcet, Chateauneuf du Pape, Cuvee Anais – Score: 92
The nose on this wine is funky, ripe, yet so old-world, with intense roasted animal, showing incredible smoke, mineral, black and blue fruit, and loam that goes on forever, with incredible licorice, anis, and white pepper, with time that nose shows anise galore, and crazy sweet cinnamon and allspice, with roasted sage. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is layered, with lovely saline, smoke, acidity, followed by blackcurrant, blackberry, and dark plum, and boysenberry, with rich loam, and racy tart and juicy strawberry that lingers long, under a mushroom cloud. The finish is long, green, ripe, tart, and juicy, with blue fruit haze of tobacco, smoke, earth, graphite, and sweet tannin. Bravo!!! Drink from 2021 until 2028.

2018 Ramon Cardova Albarino, Rias Baixas – Score: 92 (QPR Superstar)
The 2018 vintage of this Albarino, in its second vintage, shows less tropical and ripe than the first vintage, 2017. This bottle also had the thermal active label, and it shows up when the bottle is at the proper drinking temperature. My only REAL and serious complaint is the cork, why would Royal waste the money and my money of a real cork? Use a Diam or any other amalgamated cork, like almost everyone else is. I really hope I do not hit a bad cork for the wines I have.
The nose on this wine is better than the 2017 vintage, Lovely nose of rich mineral, with loads of straw, with which salinity, and lovely peach and dry pear, with honeysuckle, gooseberry, along with green notes galore. Lovely! The mouth on this lovely green and acid-driven wine has a more oily mouthfeel than the 2017 vintage, showing rich salinity, green olives, with lovely dry quince, green apples, more peach, green apple, but also with lovely lime and grapefruit, no sense of guava or melon-like on the 2017 vintage, with a tinge of orange notes. The overall mouth is lovely and it comes at you in layers. The finish is long, green, with gooseberry, tart fruit, with an incredible freshness, and orange pith, slate, rock, and incredible acidity lingering long. Incredible!! Bravo!! Drink until 2022.

2018 Vitkin Insight, Macabeo – Score: 91 (if it is as good when bottled)
Lovely nose of yellow and white blossoms, with great and crazy green notes and apple galore, with yellow plum, and Asian pear galore, so French and so absurd, with redolence galore. The mouth on this wine will blow people away, this is not an Israeli wine palate wise, with great salinity, acid, slight tannin, incredible Asian pear pith, and lovely orange and lemon body with pear apple and tart and dry fruit galore. The finish is long and dry with fruit galore and lovely light notes of melon, lovely. (tasted before bottling). Drink by 2022.

2019 Kos Yeshuos Falanghina – Score: 91
This may well be the first kosher Falanghina every made. The nose on this wine is unique and very much akin to a Roussanne and Chenin Blanc, showing green notes, pine, menthol, with waxy notes, showing loads of citrus, with hay, Orange blossom, and ginger. The wine is a very cool acid bomb, none added, all of this is clearly natural, with a clear leaning to lemon/lime, orange notes, with lemongrass, clementines, with great mineral, with the acid overpowering, with chalk and flint, followed by straw. The finish is long, green, crazy tart, with fun notes of almond, honeyed notes of lemon, and more mineral, with citrus acidity still dominating. Drink by 2022

 

Posted on February 6, 2020, in Israeli Wine, Kosher Dessert Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Industry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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