Kosher Mid-Range aging red wines may well be the sweet spot for the kosher wine market – lots of WINNERS.

We are working our way through the QPR 2.1 and 2.0 wine categories and so far, outside of simple white wines, there has not been a lot of love or WINNERS to talk about. However, things start to change with the 2nd red wine category.

These wines are drinkable now but will improve a bit with time. They are not the undrinkable wine category, which will be next, but rather these wines are good now and may garner some of those tertiary notes we all love so much, with a bit of time in the bottle. These kinds of wines are normally more expensive, but this is where the QPR (Quality to Price ratio) sweet spot exists, IMHO.

As explained in my last post, the wine categorization is impacted by what I think the wine will last. Meaning that a poor wine will not be more enjoyable in 5 years if it is a painful date juice now. Nor will the wine be more ageable depending on the price of the wine. The length of time wine can live in the bottle is not scientific in any manner, it is subjective, much like the wine’s score, still, it is based upon this that the wines are judged for their QPR.

Mid-range aging Reds (4 to 11 years) – cellar saviors

As I have stated enough times now, the fact that a wine can “live” for 10 or so years, tells you that the wine is good to start with, or at least professionally made. Still, the next level up, High-end Red wines (11 and more years), come at a much higher price range. Yes, there are sweet spot wines there as well, but there are more here in the mid-range options. Also, these are the wines that will save your cellar. Look, I like wines like the 2019 Chateau Les Riganes, or the 2017 Chateau Mayne Guyon just fine! But when you want something with a bit more polish or elegance and you do not want to raid your high-end wines early, THIS IS the category to go to!

If you want that next level is quality but not the next level in price, per se, this is the category to hit. Here you will find wines like the 2017 Chateau Greysac, Medoc, the 2015 Louis Blanc Crozes-Hermitage, and the 2018 Terra di Seta Chianti Classico, which all scored 92 or higher and are all priced at 30 dollars or lower. While I would say these wines will improve with more time, they can at least be enjoyed now, without robbing the cradle of wine like 2015, 2017, or 2018 Chateau Fourcas Dupre.

On a Facebook post, I and many others were asked over and over about this wine or that wine, wines that were still far too young to be appreciated now. My response was the same over and over, stop opening bottles so early! I opened a bottle of 2007 Four Gates Cabernet Franc, 2 weeks ago, it was an absolute joy but also, a wine that was so young it was truly a crime! STOP opening wines early folks. Let the wines come to you! This wine category is where you will find the richer, more complex options, for a higher price than the Simple reds, but still at a lower price point overall than the higher-end reds. There are 20+ WINNERS here, between USA and France, BUY them and SAVE YOUR CELLAR!!!

Shirah Wines Post

If one takes even a cursory look at this post and the wine notes below, the predominant winery/producer you will find is Shirah Wines. I got all the current wines in May of this year. It took me a bit of time to finally post them. As I stated last year, in my year in review, California had indeed turned its direction towards riper fruit and wines. Shirah contacted me and I bought the current wines to make 100% sure that my notes were in line with my comments, you can make your mind up from the notes.

I will stress THREE points here AGAIN, as I have done over a long time already:

  1. I crave the 2010 (AKA NV) /2012/2013/2014 Bro.Deux and the 2013 Syrah, and I FONDLY remember the old days of the One-Two Punch. Those were and still are VERY different wines than what is being sold now. I have had all of them recently and still have some bottles. They are wonderful, but they are not what the 2016 or 2017 Bro.Deux is like today.
  2. I strongly believe in Shirah Wines, I think the wines they produce are professionally made and are perfect for the bigger/flashier/riper palate that is the cornerstone of today’s kosher wine-buying public. They are just not the wines I want.
  3. Finally, there has been a clear and very big shift in the palate of the wines being made in California, today. Even Four Gates wines are getting riper. The issue here is all about balance. If I feel fruit is overripe and sticking out, to a point where I do not enjoy the wine, but rather think about the ripe fruit, I will move on. I understand this is a subjective way of seeing wine. I get that, and that is what makes wine so fascinating. Like all of art, it is not what is true or false as much as it is what one likes or dislikes.

WINNERS and other demarcations

As stated above, some wines will be winners in France/Europe and others will be WINNERS in the USA. I do not know the pricing in Israel or the wines or really anything about Israel for the last year+. Maybe Avi Davidowitz of Kosher Wine Unfiltered can make a post or two on this subject! HINT HINT!

Also, there are strange prices, distributions, and edge cases throughout Europe, and as such what is a good price in Paris may not be in London. Worse is wine in Belgium may be a better price than in Paris or London. The idea of “Europe” being a single country for commerce is a MASSIVE sham in the kosher wine market, in Europe anyway. In the USA it is equally messy, in regards to pricing throughout the states, L.A.’s wine prices are either non-existent (because there is no wine) or it is sky-high. I have seen better prices for California wines in NYC than in California! Like what now??? So, yeah, pricing is not as crisp, all the time, as I make it out to be here with my QPR posts, but I do the very best I can.

So, WINNER means USA (sorry this is a USA dominant blog), WINNER (F) means a WINNER in France. I will denote as well, in the wine post if the wine is only available in France or Europe, which is the same for me here, as London is the main outlier and it is not part of Europe anymore – sorry London! Enjoy the train!!! On a total aside, I did love taking the train from London to Paris, a few days AFTER they left the union! Moving on now.

So, without too much more delay – let’s get to it! Here is the list of cellar saviors and mid-level red wines. There are many WINNERS for buyers here in the USA and those in France! The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:

2018 Terra di Seta Chianti Classico – Score: 92 to 93 (QPR: WINNER)
This is a fantastic wine, and with my new QPR scoring it is still is not as expensive as the median and its score is also above the median, so it is a GREAT QPR. This is a no brainer GREAT QPR wine and will sell out quickly BUY NOW!
This wine is incredible, it is better than the 2016 vintage and much better than 2017. It is even a bit better than the massively epic 2015 vintage. Bravo Daniella and Maria!!!
The nose on this wine is ripe, but the balance on it is incredible, the fruitiness exists but it hides behind a redolent garden of fresh mushroom, grass, dirt, loam, and lovely earth, with hints of barnyard, forest floor, and dark fruit, with balsamic vinegar, and roasted herbs galore. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is incredible, layered, rich, extracted, and so balanced, with incredible acidity, intense saline, dark sour cherry, coffee, all balanced and plush, with rich blackberry, cherry, strawberry, salami, with lovely mouth draping tannin, with minerality, graphite galore, and a lovely tannin structure. The finish is long, green, and ripe but perfectly balanced, with lovely acidity, roasted coffee, graphite, scarping mineral, loads of smoke, and sweet tobacco on the long finish. Bravo!! Drink until 2027 maybe longer.

2017 Tassi Aqua Bona Toscana Rosso, Bettina Cuvee – Score: 92 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is meant to be bottled under the D.O.C.G. Rosso di Montepulciano, but because of some strange requirements that were not met to meet the body’s requirements it only has the I.G.T. Toscano Rosso moniker.
This wine producer/winery is quite famous in the non-kosher world. The wine is made from 100% Sangiovese.
The nose on this wine starts with a crazy cedar box, followed by a mound of fresh Cuban Cigar tobacco, followed by loads of anise, licorice, smoked meat, followed by black and red fruit, foliage, forest floor, and more sweet cedar/oak. The mouth on this medium-bodied to full-bodied wine is not as extracted as I expected though this wine is richly expressive with loads of smoke, earth, rich tannin, nice green notes from what I can imagine is what I would get from whole-cluster and stems fermentation, with loads of rich spice, heady roasted herbs, and lovely blackberry, dark cherry, rich umami notes of balsamic and mushroom, with loads of mineral, graphite, and rich fruit-structure and focus with lovely elegance and control. The finish is long, rich, layered, and smoky, with nice control, lovely acidity, and smoke, roasted herbs, smoked meats, and soy sauce followed by more cigar smoke, and freshly tilled earth. Nice!!! Drink from 2021 until 2026. 

2017 Jean Philippe Marchand Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Nuits – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER (F))
Sadly, this has been long sold out here in the USA, but you can buy it in France and it is a GREAT QPR WINNER!
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 dirty, with herbal notes galore, mint, oregano, chocolate, and saddle leather. Bravo!! Drink until 2026.

2016 Chateau Guimberteau, Lalande de Pomerol – Score: 92 (QPR: EVEN)
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 2025.

2012 Chateau Cru Ducasse, Haut-Medoc – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER (F))
Sadly, this wine is not available here in the USA anymore, but those in France would be well advised to enjoy this one!
Lovely nose of dirt and earth, with rich loam, red fruit, with licorice and tar. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, with dark fruit, rich layers, and extraction, showing great acid, blackberry, and plum, earth, showing mouth draping and drying wine with charcoal, tar, scrapping mineral, impressive. Mushroom finish with really nice fruit, red sour cherry showing well with herb, loam, and graphite. Nice! Drink until 2023.

2012 Chateau Serilhan, Saint-Estephe – Score: 92 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is not mostly sold-out here in the USA, there is a drop of it in strange stores, here and there. It is not cheap in either the USA or France.
The nose on this wine is reminiscent of a smokehouse, with rich toast, cherry, raspberry, and mounds of great dirt. The mouth on this full-bodied wine has still searing tannin, great acid, heavy graphite, and rich mouth drying tannin, with loam, rich herb, blackberry, with currant, lovely foliage, and green notes. The finish is very long, and green, with raspberry, menthol, tobacco, dried fruit, tar, and loam. Drink by 2023.

2015 Louis Blanc Crozes-Hermitage – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine checks all the boxes, reasonably priced, well made, and hey it has a diam cork for a wine that will be around for less than 8 years, good! We now have had a few Crozes-Hermitage wines, the 2014 Louis Blanc, this wine, and the 2014 Pradelle. The 2018 Signac is a Cote-du-Rhone. Of them all this is the best, it is denser,  blacker, and less ripe, more old-world than the others. There are some new options in Crozes-Hermitage as well, but they are 3x the price, if not more.
The nose of this wine is dense, black, earthy, muddy, with garrigue, tar, roasted animal, and smoke galore, that is well balanced and dare I say elegant. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is juicy, rich, unctuous, and layered, with still-gripping tannin, loads of smoke, blackberry, lovely juicy boysenberry, dark currant, loads of mineral, loam, and mushroom, with green notes, and gripping tannin that does not let up, and nice acidity. The finish is long, really long, with tar, tobacco, but the focus is the mineral, graphite, rock, loam, roasted animal, and loads of toast. Bravo! Drink until 2024.

2018 Domaine du Castel Grand Vin – Score: 92 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot. The nose on this wine is ripe, To be a bit fair, it is not fair to taste this wine after two BEAUTIFULLY elegant wines, this is a ripe wine, not a Date Juice monster, but ripe, controlled at the start, with notes of milk chocolate that hit you first, followed by loads of oak, sweet dill, smoke, black fruit, earth, mushroom, and did I say ripe fruit? Just Checking! The mouth on this full-bodied wine is a bruiser, there is no elegance here, at this point, with more milk chocolate, more oak, smoke, tar, blackberry, plum, hints of cassis, and loads of ripe and juicy fruit, with layers of concentration, followed by more oak, earth, graphite, and yet more milk chocolate, with green notes and foliage in the far back with menthol. The finish is long, ripe, milky, chocolaty, and ripe, with more oak, loads of sweet tobacco, tar, along with an impressive mouth-coating and sweet oak tannin structure.
The wine does mellow out with time showing a far more calm and less milk-chocolate profile. The ripeness is still there but it is controlled, what falls off, a bit, is the acidity, still a very nice showing and one that will be well appreciated by all. I love the tar, fruit, balanced, and rich, layered and concentrated, to me, this is showing better than 2013 and 2016. I would buy a few of these. As always, my fear is ever-present, so a few! Drink from 2022 until 2026. I am not sure in what direction this wine will go, but it is ripe now and if it follows previous vintages it has a very short leash.

2014 Famiglia Cotarella Montiano, Lazio – Score: 91+ (QPR: EVEN)
This is from the same winery that used to be called Falesco. They have renamed the wines to Famiglia Cotarella.
Wow, this is ripe, scary, showing dark fruit, smoke galore, with loads of blue and black fruit, with air that opens to less fruit, with herb, blue, black, and red fruit, and forest floor. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is sweet, ripe, with layers of sweet fruit, lovely acidity, loads of mushroom, forest floor, with crazy tannin, sweet oak, and layers of tart juicy raspberry, searing acid, and mouth-drying tannin, with chocolate, and sweet tannin galore. The finish is long green, dark, earth, with incredible black and red fruit with mineral and sweet toast. Drink from 2021 until 2026 (probably longer).

2018 Chateau Signac, Pliocene, Cotes du Rhone – Score: 91+ (QPR: WINNER)
I have heard rumors that this wine was in decline. I am happy to report that the only thing in decline, in regards to this wine, is the ability of many, sadly in this case, to appreciate good wine.
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, with indigenous yeats. This is a nice wine, smoky, earthy, with loads of roasted meat, strawberry, dark plum, cherry, and more mineral notes. The mouth on this wine medium-bodied is loaded with blackcurrant, crazy smoke, more roasted animal, with lovely saline, rich tannin structure, with graphite, mineral, and lovely floral notes, well balanced with loads of spice, nutmeg, and cumin, with fruit, and more earth. The finish is long, sweet, super balanced, with smoke, earth, licorice, and root beer. Nice! Drink until 2024.

2016 Maison Roy & Fils Shai Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley – Score: 91+ (QPR: EVEN)
This wine still takes time to open up, still, it needs to be decanted for an hour or so. After the wine fully opened it was still a bit shy, but is lovely with dark plum cake, showing lovely rose, and floral notes, with anise, white pepper, and mounds of milk chocolate. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine fills the palate with layers of dark plum, pomegranate, dark cherry, blackberry, with red fruit galore, all backed by lovely mouth coating tannin, and nice balancing acid, lovely campfire smoke, with sweet notes that abound, rich earth, mineral, and hints of lovely saline. The finish is long and green/lemongrass with caramel, milk chocolate, and a nice viscous feeling that gives way to tart fruit, mineral, slate, saline, and lasting floral notes. Nice! Drink from 2022 until 2027.

2016 Barons Edmund Benjamin de Rothschild, Haut-Medoc (M) – Score: 91+ (QPR: WINNER)
This is the first vintage with a new consultant team, Eric Boisssenot. This vintage is the 30th anniversary of this wine being made by Royal in conjunction with Barons de Rothschild. This wine is a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose is bright and dark, with brooding dark fruit, backed by tart red fruit, very professional and stylistic of the 2016 vintage. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is lovely, well made, round, and yet complex, with layers of blackberry, dark plum, tart raspberry, with searing mouth-drying tannin, and still plush in the mouth, with a great balance of acid and tannin, with dark fruit, and earth and loam galore. The finish is long and tart and a mineral monster, with loads of black olives, nice control of foliage, tobacco, and rich salinity, with graphite, pencil shavings, and lovely dirt, and hints of the forest floor. Bravo! This may be the best Rothschild since the 2010 vintage. Drink from 2020 till 2027.

2017 Chateau Greysac, Medoc (M) – Score: 91+ (QPR: WINNER)
This is the third time I have tasted this wine and the first time I had it, I was not impressed. The 2nd time I had it I liked it enough to try it again, and I do like this wine. This wine is a blend of 65% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot. This wine was reclassified under mid-range red wine and such it went from a GOOD to WINNER.
The nose on this wine is quite nice, showing some fruit, but also showing some elegance and loads of control, with another hit after the good 2016 vintage, with the fruity Merlot coming out more at this point, with nice red fruit, followed by the spice and dirt of the Cab, and the lovely green notes of the Cab Franc, along with hints of lovely blue notes from the Verdot, with time the saline and graphite emerge nicely. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied is fun, layered and expressive, and slightly extracted, with a bit of oak for now, with ripe and fruity fruit profile, nice fruit focus, with rich mineral, saline, graphite, and earth galore, with smoke, tar, blackberry, blueberry, and toast with green notes. The finish is long, green, toasty, and spicy, with nice black fruit, earth, leather, tobacco, and licorice, with spicy notes, and good herbs. Drink until 2028.

2012 Chateau Siaurac, Lalande de Pomerol – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER (F))
This wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. This is the fifth time I have had this wine, and I found it at the peak if not over. This one was hand shipped by JR from South Africa and it was still very nice. A nice solid all-around wine, with great green fruit, rich green, red and black fruit, with nice earth, lovely tobacco, and rich menthol. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine, shows lovely fruit, with nice mouth coating tannin, great mineral, lovely graphite, with rich saline, green notes, mushroom, and scrapping mineral, backed by lovely earth, and really nice red fruit and currant. The finish is long and green, it shows ripe yet balanced with great graphite, dirt, and tobacco galore, black olives, cloves, herb, and leather – nice! Drink NOW!

2016 Shirah Carignan, Templeton Gap – Score: 91 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine started so ripe and fruit-forward that I had to put it aside for a day. However, by the next day it had lost a fair amount of the baby fat, but what was left was unidimensional, though nice. The nose, once it had calmed down, showed bright red and blue fruit, candied pomegranate, and root beer, a bit of Brett/barnyard, and smoke galore. The mouth on medium-bodied wine is nice, it is still sweet, candied cherry and blueberry, with loads of spices and boysenberry liqueur, but it is controlled enough, with a nice mid-palate of soft tannins, and sweet spices. The finish is a bit short, with more smoke, sweet spices, ripe fruit, lovely graphite, and dark black roasted coffee, and enough acidity to bring it all around. Nice. Drink by 2024.

2017 Les Lauriers de Rothschild, Montagne Saint-Emilion (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
The wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. This may be the first red Lauriers wine that I like.  The nose on this wine is violet, night flowers, with a rich perfume of red fruit, berries, forest floor, and earth galore. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine has a slight hole in the middle, with lovely layers of fruit and tannin, showing good extraction, with smoke, tobacco, toast, and loads of roasted herb, followed by cranberry, hints of pomegranate, dark cherry, and loads of roasted herb, foliage, and more green notes. The finish is long, green, herbal, with smoke, toast, lovely smoking tobacco, and nice graphite, with mineral notes, and herbs. Bravo! Drink until 2025.

2014 Chateau de Lamarque, Marquis d’ Evry, Haut-Medoc – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER (F))
This is the second time I am tasting this and it is far improved. The nose is green, with red fruit, and herb galore, that gives way to menthol, crazy smoked lamb, and garrigue. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is rich, layered, but green, with more smoked game meat, with raspberry, dark currant, and nice roasted herb, that gives way to dark cherry, crazy gripping tannin, showing dark fruit in the background, with earth, mineral, pencil shavings, and fun fruit, with nice layers and complexity, with lovely garrigue, menthol, tar, green notes, and red fruit lingering long, with crazy tannin, and loads of earth. Bravo!!! Drink by 2025. (Available in France)

2017 Flechas de Andes Gran Malbec – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
Wow, this only has an ABV of 14%, pretty low for Argentina Malbec, and it shows. There are no ripe and fruit-forward sweet notes, new-world for sure, but well controlled for such a region. The nose on this wine is ripe with lovely notes of loam, tar, earth, ripe black and blue fruit, with loads of roasted and smoked meat, followed by green notes, and forest floor. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is lovely, solid control, with finesse, showing ripe blackberry and plum, followed by blueberry flowing in layers of fruit, followed by a great acid core, with lovely sweet tannins, and sweet spices. The finish is long, green, with meat, earth, tobacco galore, and sweet plum, with vanilla, and smoke lingering. Lovely! Drink until 2025.

2016 Chateau Lamothe-Cissac, Cru Bourgeois, Haut-Médoc – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
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 blackcurrant, 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 a nice coffee/chocolate mix. Nice! It can be drunk now, but to 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.

2016 Verdeto, Umbria – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER (F))
This wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc. This is ripe, pushed, black, with hints of blue fruit, with crazy tannin, structure, and loads of spice, really big wine. With time, this crazy bold, aggressive wine calms down, thankfully. The nose on this wine, with 10 hours of an open bottle, shows a wine that I can handle, with notes of foliage (really!), ripe fruit of black and red, with loads of mushroom, earth, and lovely new world/old-world style leanings, which is incredible for a wine that started so ripe! The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, layered, with good fruit focus, showing good concentration, ripe and brooding but balanced fruit, after lots of airing out, with lovely loam, dirt, mineral, forest floor, and smoke, that shows an overall plush and extracted mouthfeel, with graphite and flint in the background. The finish is long, dark, but balanced with nice acidity, still, the issue I have is that dark and brooding fruit is out there and when you finish the glass it lingers long. Nice, but for me, this is a drink soon wine. Drink before 2023.

2018 Domaine Netofa Tel Qasser, Red – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
The wine is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. This is fun, super controlled, which is what I was hoping for at 13.5% ABV. The nose on this wine truly talks to Grenache, the Pinot Noir of South France AKA Rhone, with loads of lovely red fruit, and Syrah also, from the Rhone adding in the blue fruit notes, it does not have the intense mineral of a Hermitage or even a Cote du Rhone, but it is close in all other aspects.
This wine is as feminine as previous vintages with dried flowers, violets, rose petals, with nice notes of root beer coming out as the wine opens more, along with loam, dirt, and loads of spices, and roasted herbs, mint, oregano, and nice toast. There continues to be a big bold and ripe shot of fruit that scares me, with really ripe and jammy bold blackberry, blueberry, with lovely acid, a core of mineral, showing graphite, and smoke, with nice rock, loam, and a nice mouth-coating tannin structure, with a good fruit focus, along with lovely saline, and crazy green olives. The finish is long, and salty, with good minerality, dirt, toast, and dark coffee, nice!
With time the wine really opened, it took some 7 hours in the bottle, and then the wine was past its fruity makeup and became a really elegant feminine wine, gone was the bolt or two of big jammy fruit, and now it was a lovely sweet yet well-controlled Grenache. The nose shows more root beer now, with much more minerality, this is still ripe, but controlled. The mouth is now layered and sweet with a great acidic backbone, more graphite, more saline, and sweet red and blue fruit. Drink by 2025.

2016 Chateau la Tour de By, Medoc – Score: 91 (QPR: EVEN (F))
Wow, this wine is hot showing ripe and bold with brooding black fruit, with loads of chocolate, oak, spice, and ripe fruit, with hints of green notes and herb. With time the nose cools down showing fruit without all the crazy heat, with loads of them and black fruit, with spice, smoke, tar, and earth, lovely. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is richly layered and black with hints of raspberry, loads of blackberry, smoke, rich and dense and plush mouthfeel with incredible extraction and earth galore, with a whole in the middle, that gets hidden over time with a lovely tannin structure. The finish on this wine is rich and layered and smoky with milk chocolate, leather, and loads of sweet spices, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Nice! Drink until 2026. This wine may be far too fruit-forward at this point, but with time may improve greatly.

2011 Chateau de Valois, Pomerol – Score: 91 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is a pure mineral bomb, dark candied cherry, with mushroom heaven, loads of smoke, and herb, with roasted meat, and herbs. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is a mineral lick, balanced, with crazy smoke, forest, dirt, with mushroom, and barnyard, not much fruit left, with cherry, and currant. The finish is super long, green, mineral, graphite, with mushroom, and earth, lovely! Drink up!

2016 Chateau La Tonnelle – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot. The nose on this wine is lovely, with loads of mineral, sweet fruit, with smoke, mineral galore, and roasted herb, with forest floor, funk, sweet fruit, and loam, nice! The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is layered, smoky, with layers of fruit, mushroom, sweet fruit, blackberry, with mouth coating tannin, blackcurrant, with dark cherry, raspberry, and green notes galore, garrigue, and earth. The finish is long, green, garrigue, screaming mineral, graphite lick, with saline, earth, mushroom, and rock, with garrigue, and mineral lingering long. Bravo! Drink by 2024/2025.

2016 Chateau Hauteville, Saint-Estephe – Score: 91 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine starts chunky and green, but with time, the wine turns smoother and rounder with lovely tannin and extraction. In previous vintages this wine was OK, but nothing great, this vintage is truly another step up and makes it a 90+ wine. This wine needs a good 6 to 8 hours in an open bottle or maybe 5 hours in a decanter. After the wine fully opens the nose on this wine is redolent with dark cherry, black fruit, followed by lovely loam, earth, with green notes galore, tobacco, foliage, and hints of the forest floor. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is rich, layered, and extracted with good complexity, showing nice earth, blackberry, cassis, with loads of mineral, graphite, tar, all balanced well with mouth draping tannin, great acidity, and rich saline. The finish is long, green, earthy, and black, with raspberry notes on the finish, with more tobacco, mineral, and earth. Bravo! Drink from 2021 until 2027.

2015 Chateau Roc de Boissac, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER (F))
The nose on this wine is barnyard, floral, and herbal, with smoke, purple fruit, and violet. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is nice, showing a bit rounder than the Pavillon Du Vieux Chantre, with loads of tar, smoke, ripe and juicy boysenberry, dark raspberry, and crazy mouth-drying tannin, with a fruit structure that is incredible for the price. The finish is long, green, herbal, with loads of graphite, screaming charcoal, and sweet tobacco, that is based in acidity, tannin, leather, and sweet spices that linger long. Bravo!! Drink by 2025. (Available in France)

2017 Domaine Netofa, Red – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is now exclusively imported by Kosherwine.com and I hope they are selling well. This has stabilized now. It is a bit fruity still, but it also has some nice old-school style and swagger. The nose on this wine is nice and smoky, with great control and roasted animal. The fruit is blue and black and lovely. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is layered and with nice blueberry, blackcurrant, great acid, and great control showing earth, raspberry, root beer, that give way to spice, vanilla, and loads of dirt. The finish is ribbons of mineral, charcoal, graphite, and bitter coffee, Solid!! Drink by 2023.

2017 Les Vin de Vienne Saint Joseph, L’Arzelle – Score: 91 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is made up of 100% Syrah from the famed region of Saint-Joseph, another first for kosher wine. The wine was aged in barrels for 16 months and was fermented with 30% stems. The nose on this is richly earthy, with crazy smoked lamb, with grilled onions, menthol, and garrigue, licorice, lovely blue and black fruit, with rich red fruit, fresh mint, and mineral. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is rich and layered with soft and plush, sadly a bit rounder than I would like, with soft tannin and mouthfeel, with blackcurrant, blackberry, with sweet fruit, with elegance, showing blueberry and ripe boysenberry with sweet fruit. The finish is long and sweet and ripe with milk chocolate, and ripe blueberry and tart juicy strawberry lingering long.
L’Arzelle refers to the unusual and diverse terroir of the Saint-Joseph appellation. Originating from the Massif Central, the granite easily decomposes over time. In the local dialect, Arzelle refers to the wearing away of the parent rock. Drink from 2020 until 2025.

2014 Chateau Grand Barrail, Prestige, Red – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER (F))
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 with ripe notes, of cranberry, pomegranate, with lovely forest floor notes, 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 notes, and more mushroom. Lovely! Drink now. (This is only available in France).

2018 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Variation Four (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
After the ripe 2017 vintage, it is great to see the Herzog wines back to where I expect them to be. This is another winner, showing lovely fruit and control again, this time, more black – less red than the previous wines we have had, almost nothing red to smell or taste.
The nose on this wine is different than what we have had until now, showing a bit more black fruit than the previous two, with lots of green and red fruit in the background, along with loads more smoke, oak, toast, and mineral. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is even more elegant than the Lineage, but still very fruity, and yes it is controlled, with rich minerality, dirt, earth, more smoke, tar, but backed well by loads of rosehip and violet, with blackberry, cassis, and hints of red in the far background. The finish is long, green, floral, and black, with smoke, vanilla, earth, foliage (more than in the other 2), and vanilla, with tar and graphite coming together with mouth draping and light extraction lingering long. Bravo guys!! Drink until 2026.

2018 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Variation Five (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a bit better than the Variations Four, but also a bit bulkier and fatter, and richer while staying true to its core. The nose on this wine is beautiful, with loads of mineral, tar, licorice, and floral notes, with black and red fruit, and smoke, nice. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, well-balanced, fruity, but controlled, with nice acidity, blackberry, raspberry, cassis, and rich saline, with green olives, earth, smoke, and nice chocolate, with good extraction, sweet oak, and green foliage. The finish is a bit shorter than I would like, green, sweet, and showing more oak than #4, and it shows worse as it opens/ages, also showing more extraction and richness, but still well balanced, with smoke, toast, green notes, slightly less elegance more brut, earth, graphite, and black tea. Very nice. Drink until 2024.

2018 Gvaot Pinot Noir, Gofna, Reserve – Score: 91 (QPR: GOOD)
I will be honest, as I am always, and even though I saw this wine had an ABV of 13%, I had the Segal Whole Cluster Pinot Noir, which was at 13.5% ABV, and yeah, I am done with being an ABV whore. What matters to me is balance and this Pinot Noir has it. I do not yet see the complexity I wish from a Pinot Noir, but it is still very good and one that I would buy again.
The nose on this wine is old-world in style, there is no date-juice, no ripe fruit, this is balanced Pinot Noir fruit, showing lovely notes of smoke, bacon, sweet oak/cedar, dark brewed espresso, red fruit, and loads of forest floor, and wet earth. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lovely, I would like more acid, much punch, but it still shows a great fruit-focus, with nice balance, smoke, toast, dark cherry, sweet oak, cranberry, hints of pomegranate, with lovely sweet spices, and with time, roasted herb, rosemary, cloves, more texture and herbs, and lovely mouth coating tannin and complexity. The complexity and texture get better with time. The finish is long, green, red, herbal, smoky, and dirty, really dirty, toasty, and herbal, with mushroom, hints of truffle, and more mouth-coating tannin, and sweet fruit. The sweet fruit does pop up its head a bit but it calms down just as quickly. Drink until 2026.

2017 Domaine Netofa Latour, Red – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
This is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Mourvedre. The 17 is less austere than the 16, it is more accessible now and will still hold. The nose on this wine is nice with rich black currant, blackberry, and blue notes that give way to smoke, oak, toasty notes, and lovely tar. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is super tart and bright, with great acid, blackberry, blueberry, black currant, with garrigue, sweet but well-balanced note, with mouth-coating elegance and layers of concentrated fruit and earthy, with chocolate and sweet spices. The finish is long, bright, tobacco, mineral, pencil shavings, with tar, and root beer. Lovely! Drink now until 2024.

2015 La Demoiselle D’Haut-Peyrat, Haut-Medoc – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER in France and USA)
This is a wine I use often when talking about kosher wine pricing. This wine has been consistently solid, throughout the vintages it has been made kosher, but the real shocker is the price. It sells in France for the same amount in stores as its non-kosher counterpart. That fact alone makes me love the wine, throw in the fact that it is a solid wine, consistent, and highly enjoyable, and you have a winner in my mind. I JUST WISH more wines were made kosher in this manner, AKA, pricing equal to its non-kosher counterpart. Here in the USA, the price is something like 2x the price in France. Hilarious!
This is the third time I have had this wine and I can say it is better this time maybe there was some variation in the bottles I had before. The nose shows notes of pure mineral, a fair amount of smoke, flint, earth, dirt, wet loam, black cherry, and graphite galore. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine starts off a bit short in the front, but with an hour in a decanter, the mouth fills out showing more smoke, blackberry, dark cherry, earth, ripe and tart red fruit, raspberry, lovely mouth coating tannin, and green notes of garrigue and foliage. The finish is long, green, tart, with sweet juicy red fruit, with mineral, graphite, and green notes lingering long with leather, and tobacco. Nice!
I would open it for an hour or two max before enjoying it and then drink it within the next 2 hours. After the 3rd tasting I can say that this has another 4+ years left, so drink until 2024, maybe 2025.
Strangely, this wine needs a bit of time to fully open but also has such a short life left in the tank – but this is one of those kinds of wine. It threads a fine needle and it is why I scored it a 90 a few months ago. I will get a few and no more, but for those who live in France – this stuff is a no brainer!
The pricing here in the USA is good enough but in France, it is so cheap it is not normal. In France, I would use this wine to eat with me Cheerios or whatever cereal they eat in France! Still, because this wine is a mid-range red kosher wine it is a WINNER in that category, even in the USA, with close to 2x the price of what they charge in France.

2016 Chateau Tour du Bosquay, Bordeaux Superieur – Score: 90+ (QPR: GREAT (F))
The nose on this wine starts with blackcurrant, green notes, earth, and smoke, with garrigue, and foliage galore, with loads of roasted herb, Oregano, and loam. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, not overly complex, but nice with layers of raspberry, blackberry, currants, crazy roasted herbs, and lovely acidity. The finish is green, red, and mineral, with herb and graphite, and nice tannin. Nice! Drink until 2024.

2016 Chateau Tour du Barail, Bordeaux Superieur – Score: 90+ (QPR: GREAT (F))
Lovely nose, much more mineral than the Bosquay with lovely black and red fruit, with green notes, and earth. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, not overly complex, with more loam and more elegance, with loads of fruit, but well-controlled, green and red fruit, with smoke, and roasted herb, with lovely tannin, and loam. The finish is long, with nice acidity, great fruit, and tobacco, and herb. Nice! Drink until 2024.

2018 Pavillon Du Vieux Chantre, Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion – Score: 90+ (QPR: GREAT (F))
This wine is a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. The nose on this wine is another of those who are crazy redolent with screaming brightness, showing rich herbs, candied and spiced red fruit, but well balanced, with smoke, tar, licorice, and lovely dirt. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is super young, showing a crazy unique mouthfeel, with intense acidity, showing a lovely balance of candied strawberry, tart raspberry, with cherry, wrapped in intense spices, green notes, lovely earth, sweet oak, and milk chocolate, and mouth-coating tannin. Bravo!! Drink until 2024. (Available in France)

2016 La Chenaie du Bourdieu – Score: 90+ (QPR: GREAT (F))
The nose on this wine is lovely, with great notes of blue fruit, along with red and black fruit, that gives way to cherry, sweet oak, foliage, and nice garrigue. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lovely, balanced, well made, with sweet oak, tobacco galore, with great acidity, gripping tannin, that give way to blackberry, sweet blueberry, cedar galore, and dark cherry, that is mixed with milk chocolate, and menthol, with tar, and pith lingering long. Nice! drink by 2024 (available in USA and France)

2017 Aura di Valerie Amarone Della Valpolicella – Score: 90 (QPR: POOR)
This wine should be drunk cold and while this wine is unique there is nothing here that makes me want more. The mouth is OK, no tannin, and there is no date juice. A nice enough wine.
The nose on this wine is ripe, very fruit-forward, with prunes, plums, dark chocolate, crazy cherry Kirche, violets, essentially a fruit bomb with sweet oak. With more time, the nose opens to schist, tar, dirt, menthol, herbs, and smoky notes. With time, a day later, the nose does open up more, showing nice earth, dirt, and mushroom, with hints of barnyard. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, with crazy sweet oak, with not much tannin, the first thing that hits you is candied/dried rosehip, followed by yellow flowers, after that the nice acidity comes in, but then the RS (residual sugar) and alcohol hits you followed by an attack of the fruit bomb comes into phase, with layers of fruit that are just over the top, with absurd ripeness, dried plum, boysenberry, blackberry, and loads of dark candied cherry lifesavers, with almonds and spice. With time, a day later, the mouth opens up, nice acidity, and mouthfeel, with loads of spice and rich tannin and really nice acidity, a tannin structure that did not show at all last night, today it is mouth-puckering and searing from both the crazy tannin and rich acidity. The finish is super long, very sweet, almost overripe, almost balanced with the acidity, not date juice, with nice vanilla, nutmeg, sweet tobacco, and loads of dried fruit and flowers linger very long. Drink until 2022 – 2026. This will live longer, but at that point, the acidity may drop off and you will be left with a very expensive date juice. The next day, the empty glass, a great trick to smell wines, show clear date notes, this is a wine that has a very clear death date, be careful, but enjoy!

2016 Shirah Power to the People – Score: 90 (QPR: POOR)
This is a Syrah from two different vineyards. The wine starts ripe, but with time it opens and comes around. The nose on this wine starts hot and all over the place, but with time it shows lovely blue and black fruit, with great graphite, dried flowers, dried rosehip, candied jasmine, and lovely star anise, with cardamom, and smoke. The mouth on the full-bodied wine is a beast, showing layers of blackberry, boysenberry, candied strawberry, rich and dark fruit that is ripe, and on the border for me with dark pomegranate, sweet oak, cedar, nice layers of fruit and smoke and dirt, with candied fruit and green notes. The finish is long, sweet with milk chocolate, nice mouth coating tannin, with sweet tobacco, earth, and loads of smoke and sweet grey earl tea, and root beer. Nice. Drink from 2022 until 2026.

2015 Shirah Syrah, Alder Springs – Score: 90 (QPR: POOR)
This wine is a blend of 94% Syrah and 6% Viognier. The nose on this wine is pure heaven, it shows control, ripe blue and red fruit, and lovely white fruits from the Viognier. The nose on this wine starts with clear notes of peach and apricot but finally gives way to lovely blue and red fruit with hints of black fruit, lovely floral notes, and roasted animal aromas. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, but the viognier helps calm down the ripeness with lovely blueberry, along with ripe and juicy boysenberry, with lovely blackberry, and lovely juicy strawberry, with black tea, and sweet spices like cinnamon with nice mouth coating tannin, and lovely mineral and forest floor, and barnyard. The finish is long and sweet with ripe fruit, lovely blue, and red fruit, with sweet spices, chocolate-covered coffee bean, and sweet spices linger long, with tobacco and oregano. Drink until 2024.

2011 Chateau Siaurac, Plaisir de Siaurac – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT (F))
This wine is made from 100% Merlot. This wine is a ripe and smooth second wine of Château Siaurac. The nose on this is the best part of the wine, with nice green notes, red fruit, and raspberry, with earth, and loam. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is green, with loads of red fruit, dark currant, raspberry, dark cherry, with lovely acid, showing much better than the other bottle I had last year, with mouth draping tannin, lovely salinity, earth, great loam, mushrooms, and a plushness that belies its age. The finish is green and long with tobacco, chocolate, and more red fruit, with currant, and spice. Drink now!!

2016 Ramon Cardova Rioja, Old Vines, Limited Edition – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
I tasted this 3 years ago when it was made, in an early release, and just like then, this wine was slow to open, I was off on my window by maybe a year. The wine starts with intense oak, insane sweet dill, and loads of sweet ripe fruit. With time, like 4 years ago, the fruitiness calms down, and the notes are very much the same.
This is the first-ever special edition for the Ramon Cardova wines. The nose on this wine starts with just blue fruit and lovely roasted animal, after time, the wine turns to crazy umami, with rich salinity, and mad soy sauce, followed by incredible boysenberry, juicy blueberry, and mad dark fruit. The mouth on this rich full-bodied wine is layered and rich, with mad dark fruit that is pushed a bit for me, showing hints of a fruit bomb with a candied fig, and candied cranberry that gives way to blackberry, and layers of concentrated fruit. The finish is long and sweet, with really ripe fruit, loads of terroir, dirt, loam, and tar, that has potential, with crazy leather and cigar smoke. The wine is riper, at this time than I would like, we will see if it opens more with time tonight or tomorrow.
OK, tomorrow has come, and yes, the wine has calmed down significantly, it is now not a fruit-bomb, but it is also not much of anything. It feels like it fell off the cliff. The nose is far more muted, all it has now is the uni-dimensional note of tar, graphite, loads of blackcurrant, bramble, and ripe blue fruit, both on the nose and mouth. The mouth is not layered or complex, it has highly ripe and candied blueberry and blackberry fruit, with some of that tar and graphite/charcoal, and not much else, other than bitter notes from the charcoal. Drink from 2020 till 2025.

2017 Herzog Cabernet Franc, Baroque Series Reserve, North Coast (M) – Score: 89 (QPR: EVEN)
Look, I have been honest and upfront, 2017 SUCKS for California fruit, it was a hot year and impossible to control with the Jewish Holidays and mother nature’s ruthless and unending assault on the vines. This wine may be the best of the 2017 wines I have had so far!
The nose on this wine is perfectly varietal in regards to Cabernet Franc, meaning fruity, controlled, earthy, spicy, green, yes nice green notes! The nose on this wine is incredible, the fruit, earth, dirt, loam, and yes mushroom, is wrapped in layers upon layers of spice aromas, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, cumin, and lovely oregano, with nice green notes of menthol and foliage, with sweet and jammy fruit in the background that comes to the fore with time. The mouth on this controlled but fruity and somewhat worrying medium to full-bodied wine is ripe, even at 13.5% this wine starts ripe, with ripe blackberry, dark currant, with pomegranate, ripe raspberry, ripe and juicy plum, with nice acidity, lovely velvet mouthfeel, with an impressive tannin structure that gives weight and attack to the wine, with a clear spike of sweet oak and scary ripe fruit, but hopefully, it will balance out. The finish is long, green, with foliage, but also fruity and sweet, with lovely tobacco, chocolate, and sweet spices galore. With time the wine gave way to the 2017 fruit and it became very ripe and fruit-forward. Drink by 2026.

2014 Shirah Pinot Noir, John Sebastiano – Score: 89 (QPR: BAD)
This Wine was a crazy brett bomb and it turned into VA after 30 minutes. Drink FAST!
The nose on this wine hits you to start with barnyard/Brett hard, straight up smelly stuff, after that, it is quite fun, with great kirsch cherry, dark currant, and green notes galore with rich herb, mint, and hints of floral notes. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lovely to start, with nice tart red fruit, earth, mint, and lonely cranberry and red fruit berry with beautiful white pepper and rich spice, all wrapped in still attacking mouth-coating tannin, with a lovely fruit-focus. The finish is long, green, red, and tart, with loads of barnyard, black coffee intensity, and garrigue galore. Bravo! Sadly, with time, the wine slides and Brett gives way to VA and blows up the mouth. It was great for good 30+minutes. Drink now!

2018 Domaine du Castel Petit Castel – Score: 89 (QPR: POOR)
This wine is a blend of 55% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Petit Verdot. I heard a lot about this wine and at the start, to me, this wine is too ripe. It is not enjoyable out of the bottle, and that is fine, maybe it will improve. For now, the nose on this wine is ripe, not date-juice ripe, but very ripe, and more than I like, with rope black and blue fruit, with loads of roasted herbs, smoke, and dirt. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is ripe, and it comes in layers at you with good extraction and concentration, but again, too ripe, with searing tannin, nice enough acidity, with good graphite, but the ripe blackberry, plum, and cherry are too ripe, showing hints of date, along with olives, vanilla, and more roasted oregano and mint, too much oak for me, it shows as really sweet cedar. The finish is long, really ripe, with hints of green from the roasted herbs, tobacco, and cinnamon. We will see where this wine goes over the Shabbat, but for now, this one needs time, or just move on. Over Shabbat, this wine did indeed improve and the large spot of sweetness did mellow, what impressed me the most was its ability to last over the Shabbat and only get better. Maybe this is a wine that can last for more than a few years – only time will tell. Drink from 2022 until 2025.

2018 Chateau le Caillou, Pomerol – Score: 89 (QPR: BAD)
The nose is less interesting than previous vintages with darker fruit, earth, dirt, and rock. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine shows lovely acid as great tannin focus, with green and red fruit, nice earth, and overall enjoyable, but not as interesting as previous vintages. Drink from 2023 until 2026.

2017 Cuvee Hautes Terres, Chateau Fourcas Dupre, Listrac-Medoc – Score: 89 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose on this wine is smoke with red fruit, hints of herb and earth, and loads of mineral aromas. The mouth on this wine is nice, showing tar and earth, and mineral, but the complexity falls off and is a bit flat, with nice tannin, and OK fruit structure, and uni-dimensional. The finish is long, green, earthy. Nice. Drink until 2023.

2015 Chateau du Courneau, Margaux – Score: 89 (QPR: BAD)
This is the second wine of Chateau Haut Breton Larigaudiere. The blend is made of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. The nose on this wine is closed with leather, earth, smoke, mushroom, and nice fruit in the far background. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is good, it is well made, but the green notes are a bit too harsh with good raspberry that gives way to nice tannin that is wrapped in more foliage, mineral, and nice fruit focus that is nice and improves as it opens, with the green notes that do calm with time. The finish is long and green with good floral, showing nice mineral, graphite, and more earth and mushroom, but the green notes do hinder this wine. Drink from 2019 to 2023.

2018 Tzora Shoresh, Red – Score: 89 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of the same 4 varietals as the Judean Hills wine, but with different percentages, and I am sure plots. It is made up of 60% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot. This wine is as ripe if not riper than the Judean Hills and without the balance needed to make this work, but it has a drop more restraint. The nose of this wine is ripe, with loads of sweet oak, sweet spices, here the spices are more dominant, with cloves, sweet cumin, and cinnamon, with sweet baked goods, and mineral. The mouth on this full-bodied ripe and sweet wine is oaky, a true oak-monster, with sweet blackberry, plum, boysenberry, and smoke, with roasted animal, and roasted herbs, a serious weight, with an elegant mouth draping tannin structure, yet it is a fruit-bomb and an oak-bomb, and is not my cup of tea. The finish is spicy, oaky, and sweet, with crazy spices, of cumin, coriander, tarragon, with sweet and ripe fruit, saline, leather, sweet tobacco, and loads of oak, loads of it. Drink from 2022 until 2026, if this is your kind of wine.

2018 Matar Cumulus – Score: 89 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Franc. This one is far more elegant than the Elima, and the 14.5 ABV, on this bottle, I think is close enough.
The nose on this wine is nice enough, but it is ripe, and this is the theme of 2018 in Israel, better than 17 but not by much, with notes of sweet oak, nice baking spices, milk chocolate, creamy notes, with anise, cloves, and loads of ripe black and red fruit. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is a brooding fruit-bomb beast and loaded with oak and tannin, and only the elegance is what is getting the score, meaning this is an elegant ripe fruit bomb, with loads of overripe blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, smoke, with tar, and more spices. The finish is long, sweet, earthy, and oaky, with more milk chocolate, sweet smoking tobacco, and spice. With time, aka the next day, the wine comes together, calms down on its ripeness, and overall is an OK wine, but again, not one I would like. Still, for those that like ripe wines this is a nice Israeli red. Drink until 2024.

2018 Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – Score: 89 (QPR: BAD)
Nice for using the Diam – thanks! Another joins the ranks.
The nose on this wine continues with floral notes of 2018, with lovely rosehip, star anise, smoke/toast, with tar, red and black fruit, followed by menthol and garrigue. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is less absurdly fruit-forward than the other two, but it is still very fruity and not as balanced as it could be, with really ripe blackberry, plum, dark cherry, with a nice plush mouthfeel, loads of tannin, and smoke The finish is long, green, and red, with more menthol, oregano, and fruit. Drink from 2021 until 2027.

2017 Herzog Eagle’s Landing Syrah – Score: 89 (QPR: POOR)
While I fell in love with the 2016 vintage of this wine, the 2017 vintage is a step back, sadly, like much of the 2017 vintage overall, a poor year for California. The nose on this wine is ripe, almost controlled, but ripe, and with too much sweetness and not enough brightness, with loads of ripe black and blue fruit, herbs, nice smoked meat, with smoke, and sweet spices. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is ripe, but more out of kilter than the nose, showing clear sweet fruit on the finish, with notes of blackberry, dark currant, milk chocolate, dark plum, with a nice mouth-draping mouthfeel and tannin, followed by more smoke and blackcurrant. The finish is long, with sweet fruit, loads of sweet blackcurrant that sticks out, with more chocolate, sweet herbs, cloves, tarragon, and ripe fruit lingering long. Drink until 2026.

2018 Herzog Zinfandel, Forebearers, Napa Valley – Score: 89 (QPR: BAD)
This is classic Napa Zin, big, bold, in your face, and no, not controlled. This thing weighs in at 16.5 ABV, so yeah, you have a good idea of what you are up against!
The nose on this wine is fruity, ripe, and juicy, with classic notes of juicy ripe strawberry, blueberry, plum, smoke, with sweet spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, sat anise, and bold black pepper. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe and is a bit too pushed for my tastes, with bramble, blackberry, dark plum, boysenberry, strawberry, and loads of earth, cinnamon, smoke, pepper, and dirt. The finish is long, with bold tannin structure, draping your palate, but the fruit is front and center, and commands all your attention, with bacon notes, and more bramble, along with a strong sense of vanilla, gingerbread, and toast/oak. Drink until 2025.

2018 Domaine Ouled Thaleb MD Excellence Kinor, Zenata, Morocco – Score: 88 (QPR: GOOD)
The wine is a blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 30% Syrah, and 30% Arinarnoa. This wine is one crazy ripe wine! At 14% ABV, I had hope for this wine, but sadly, this wine is a blend of simple rustic French wines while being also amped up with very fruit-forward stylings!
The nose on this wine is the best part of this wine, at this point, with lovely saline, tar, black and green fruit, and what seems like a sense of control, that is until you taste it. The mouth is indeed a blend of the fruit components, with the Cab Franc allowing for some hope here, with lovely spices, rich green notes, foliage, and herbs, but the body is full and truly bruising from, my guess, the Arinarnoa, which is from the Languedoc and Provence regions of France and has the DNA of a blend of Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon. The grape is bruising in style and has loads of leather, tannin, black and brooding fruit, with lovely lilac and violets, followed by intense alcohol, heat, with loads of candied and jam-like blackberry, blueberry, and goji fruit. The finish is insanely long, and there the wine shows some finesse, with saline, tar, mineral, spice, herb, and dark fruit that is controlled. Overall, not a bad first try, I hope we can get more control in the future. Drink from 2022 until 2026.

2017 Elvi Wines Herenza Rioja, Crianza – Score: 88 (QPR: GOOD)
Nice wine but too oaky for me. The nose on this wine is oak-influenced, with loads of sweet oak, sweet dill, with loads of spice, black pepper, and sweet spices. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is ripe, but well-controlled, with loads of sweet oak, blackberry, nice sweet strawberry, sweet tannin, and loads of smoke, with cloves, more pepper, and earth. Drink until 2026.

2016 Shirah Pinot Noir – Score: 88 (QPR: BAD)
I wanted to like this one, 14.1 ABV Pinot look about right for Cali, but sadly, this is too ripe or fruity or whatever it is that really strong date shows on the start with shockingly apparent heat for a 14.1% ABV.
The nose on this wine starts hot and redolent with date, maybe this will blow off, with nice notes of freshly ground coffee, toast, tar, burnt notes, with ripe fruit, and some red fruit in there somewhere. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is really fruity, with more heat, loads of sweet oak, sweet dill, with some elegance in the oak profile, with searing acid, nice mouth-coating tannin, a good fruit focus, albeit ripe, with nice smoke, ripe strawberry, raspberry, and rhubarb, with root beer, and smoked currants. The finish is long, dark, sweet/ripe, with more oak, chocolate-covered espresso beans, and green notes with ripe strawberry/raspberry coulis lingering long. Over time, say 5 hours, the date and overly sweet notes do fade and the sweet Cali Pinot notes come into full view, still even at that point the wine is uni-dimensional and not very interesting, but a nice enough Cali Pinot. Drink by 2025.

2017 Shirah Nebbiolo – Score: 88 (QPR: BAD)
I tried this wine a few times and each time that I did the fruit showed big and bruising, a kind of aroma and flavor that is too fruity for my palate. The wine is professionally made and it would be a very nice wine for those that like this kind of wine. This was aged for 22 months in a mix of Terracota and neutral French barrels. The nose on this wine is less Nebbilllo and more jammy and overly fruity Califonia Pinot Noir. The nose on this wine is red and ripe, with jammy pomegranate, licorice, black tea, and sweet spices. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is fruity, jammy, with dark plum, dark cherry, with mouth draping tannin, all wrapping the jammy fruit with oak influence, and loads of smoke, crazy graphite, mineral, and lovely leather. It is a nice wine, but man the jamminess and fruitiness are just not for me. Drink by 2025.

2015 Shirah Syrah/Tannat – Score: 88 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Tannat. The nose on this wine is ripe, sweet, and will appeal well to those who like a well made full-bodied wine with loads of blue and black fruit, with anise, barnyard (AKA a bit of Brett), and smoked meat, with hints of watermelon, and loads of sweet spices. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is a beast, it is not overly extracted, and it is not overly ripe, it is ripe, with blackberry, dark plum, blueberry, and with lovely tobacco, all wrapped in an elegant tannin structure, with cardamom, with cinnamon, and smoke. The finish is long, sweet, and tight, with more ripe notes starting to show, blackcurrant, licorice, white pepper, and almond paste on the long finish. With time the wine loses its baby fat and it shows even better, with less fruit and more mineral, control, and sweet spices. Drink by 2023.

2016 Shirah White Hawk – Score: 88 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of 98% Syrah and 2% Viognier. The nose on this wine is ripper than the 2015 vintage from alder spring, this wine shows with black and date like notes. The nose on this wine is super ripe with little blue fruit as the black fruit overpowers the red and blue fruit with sweet notes and date like notes. The nose on this wine shows blackberry, black fruit, with dates and sweet fruit aromas, and spices. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is too ripe for me with blackberry, super-ripe boysenberry, with rose and cranberry tea, showing mint and sweet herbs, with smoke and earth, wrapped in sweet tannin and Oak, with smoke, and roasted animal. The finish is long, super ripe, and sweet, with sweet rolled tobacco and sweet herb, with leather and sweet tea. Drink until 2023.

2013 Shirah Aglianico – Score: 88 (QPR: BAD)
This wine has changed a LOT since I last had it, gone are the floral notes, showing the same ripeness, with loads of blue fruit, but now there is also a fair amount of really ripe and dark fruit, along with raspberry, and juicy strawberry, with a mad perfume of dirt and sweet spices. This is another Shirah monster wine, another wine from the Weiss brothers that live up to the heritage of crazy big, bold, aggressive Cali wines. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is a purple, black and blue, with crazy ripe and juicy blackberry, nice acid, followed by mouth scarping tannin and mineral, with graphite followed by layers of juicy boysenberry, strawberry, with sweet tannin, sweet spices, apricots, and juicy fruit that does not stop. The finish is long, with crazy graphite, tannin that does not end, sweet nutmeg, sweet spices, and sweet basil. Sadly, this is a wine that is built for those that are into the big, bold, and fruit-forward style. To me, I can truly appreciate the love and dedication that went into this wine. Drink NOW!

2018 Chateau de Grand Barrail, Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux – Score: 88 (QPR: EVEN(F))
2018 Chateau Gardut Haut Cluzeau, Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux (same wine different name)
This is not as exciting as the 2014 vintage was 3 years ago. The nose on this wine is simple, green, red, and hints of blue, with bramble and garrigue. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice enough with blackberry, plum, dark cherry, nice mouth-coating tannin, and graphite, with loads of earth, dirt, and garrigue. The finish is a bit short but nice enough, a nice simple wine that is dirt cheap in France. (This is only available in France).

2016 Chateau Tour Seran, Medoc (M) – Score: 88 (QPR: BAD)
Another ripe wine, I cannot handle this, better than the Rollan, but still riper than it should be, but a red wine that is a total mess and not worth writing more about it.

2017 Chateau La Tonnelle, Haut-Medoc – Score: 88 (QPR: EVEN)
I was hoping for another home run after the very good 2016 vintage, sadly, the 2017 vintage is not that good. The nose on this wine is all over the place, with hot peppers (something I have seen a few times now in 2017 Bordeaux), along with red fruit that is cold and black fruit that is hot, not a fun combo. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine does not help the cause, showing too much heat and ripe fruit, while also being a light to medium body and not showing a coherent profile, with ripe black fruit and tart and unripe almost green red fruit, just all over the place. Sad. Drink until 2025.

2015 Shirah Geshem – Score: 87+
This wine is a GSM blend of 58% Grenache, 28% Syrah, and 14% Mourvedre. The nose on this wine is riper than the Grenache with loads of big, ripe, bold, and jammy fruit, AKA Shirah, but yeah, not for me. The nose is ripe, with loads of black, blue, and red fruit, all candied and jacked up with sweet notes of figs, baking spices, and toast. The mouth on this big, bold, and fruit-forward and jammy full-bodied wine is too ripe for me, showing clear date and ripe fig, along with crazy ripe and bold blackberry, plum, blueberry, and mineral, with very little else I can taste outside of the layers of ripeness and concentration that I can not see past. The finish is super ripe, long, jammy, and too much for me. If this is your Jam, drink until 2027.

2016 Chateau de Mole, Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion – Score: 87 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is ripe. The mouth is ripe, not round, with acidity, but too fruit-forward for me. Well made, with loads of fruit, graphite, smoke, and mineral. Drink by 2024. (Available in France and the USA)

2016 Chateau Rollan de By, Medoc (M) – Score: 87 (QPR: BAD)
This is ripe, with juicy red fruit, followed by menthol, earth, spice, and smoke. The mouth on this Mevushal wine is cooked, sorry, it is not a fun wine, it is full-bodied but wow is it pushed, fruit-forward, and yes, has hints of date, with loads of tannin, structure, and not much else.

2016 Chateau Haut Condissas, Prestige, Medoc – Score: 87 (QPR: BAD)
This is another miss, I have no idea what happened, the nose is ripe, hot, all over the place, and I really cannot understand what happened. So sad, move on.

2017 Shirah Vin de Bro.Deux – Score: 87 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Petit Verdot. What can I tell you this wine starts without much, the nose is pure oak, sweet dill, with loads of juicy and ripe black and blue fruit, with hints of red berries, along with heat, and fruit-forward notes that start to emerge as it opens. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, layered, and while it seems complex, it has far too much oak, insane, Vanerchuck would have called this an Oak Monster, no question, the fruit-forward notes are ever-present, with juicy blackberry, boysenberry, and raspberry, followed by tar, still, the ripe and juicy fruit overpowers. The finish is long, fruit, oaked, and overpowering, with loads of milk chocolate, all wrapped in sweet tannin and toast, sweet oak, black tea, and earth. As much as I hoped for good, this is another 2017 disaster, professionally made, and if you like that oak monster fruit-forward wine, good for you, but for me, this wine is too much. I waited three days for this wine to come around, all it did was show its oak, fruit, and then all it did was finally fall apart. Drink from 2022 until 2027, if you like this style of wine.

2017 Shirah Monastrell/Mourvedre – Score: 87 (QPR: BAD)
The nose on this wine is a sweet fruit, initially, it starts with raspberry, sweet plum, candied rhubarb, sweet anise, and some nice floral notes of rosehip and red flowers, and lovely blue fruit. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine showed enough control of fruit, earth, sweet spices, and nice enough acidity, but there is no tannin and the mouth is flat. The mouth ends in boysenberry pie, and sweet blueberry liqueur with sweet baking spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, and hints of coffee. Drink up!

2015 Shirah Pinot Noir, Alder Springs – Score:87 (QPR: BAD)
While this wine is more varietally true than the Nebbiolo it is even riper than the Nebbiolo. The wine shows a riper fruit concentration with an almost date-like style with jammy and fruity notes of pomegranate, notes of rhubarb, ripe plum, and blue fruit. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, with dried figs, blackberry, plum, dark cherry, with mouth draping tannin, and coffee, that is wrapping sweet oak, earth, and mineral. The finish is long, ripe, black, and sweet, with milk chocolate, ripe fruit, and sweet spices. Drink by 2025.

2017 Chateau Haut Corbian, Saint-Estephe – Score: 87 (QPR: EVEN)
This reminds me of the Bordeaux of old, green, red, and not over the top. The nose on this wine is green with loads of mineral, herb, black fruit, and red cherry fruit notes. The mouth on this light to medium-bodied wine is lightweight with good acidity, showing cherry and currant fruit, with mineral, nice tannin, and not much else. Drink now until 2023. (Only available in France)

2018 Weinstock Cabernet Sauvignon, Cellar Select – Score: 87 (QPR: EVEN)
The labels are all new and I kind of like them, just confused why the varietal is not front and center on the label as much as the others. Tasting this Paso Robles wine next to the Lineage, also a Paso Cab and you can see they were treated very differently. I am not saying they are the same fruit, I am simply saying the outcome is vastly different.
The nose on this wine is oaky, but not from a classic oak-bomb profile, but rather from the dense impact and effect it has on the fruit, showing a creamy and smoky aroma profile it has, with not much fruit coming out from under that haze. The mouth continues with that overly oaked profile, with a far riper fruit profile than the others until now, with much riper cassis and blackberry, followed by loads of milk Hershey chocolate, with some nice tannin, ripe plum, and more dark and brooding fruit. The finish is over the top, for me, with crazy chocolate, fig, and good balance with acid and nice tannin. Sadly, this is too much for me. Drink until 2024.

2017 Chateau de Parsac – Score: 87 (QPR: EVEN)
Like much of 2017 this Bordeaux shows the classic notes of 2017 bords, jalapenos peppers, green notes galore, bell pepper, and green beans, with red fruit, loads of earth, and a bit simple, sadly. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine has a simple style, with a nice-enough mouthfeel, nice tannin structure, with raspberry, loads of dirt, earth, loam, peppers, but it has a hole in the middle of the palette, maybe this wine will open up more and change. The finish is not so long, with more earth, good tannin that covers up the hole, with graphite, loam, cherry, currants, and smoke, nice enough. With time it opens but overall, the wine feels hollow still, and the green is too much. Drink until 2025

2016 Capcanes La Flor del Flor de Primavera – Score: 86 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is so sad, it used to be so wonderful and now it is pure date juice, with some amount of elegance still, which is what makes this all the more so sad. The nose on this wine is ripe, notes of prune, cooked plum, but a bit balanced with earth, smoke, and yet more ripe fruit. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, so sad, so much oak, ripe blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry, and smoke, with loads of oak, smoke, and roasted animal, all wrapped in a sweet tannin and fruit structure. The finish si long, ripe, and not for me, with milk chocolate galore, oak, smoke, blue and black fruit, and hints of elegance in the background. Drink until 2026.

2018 Razi’el, Haute Judee – Score: 86 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Carignan. This wine reminds me so much of what Montefiore tried to do with their Syrah and Carignan blends, very ripe, very Blackcurrant, and very oak-driven, without the elegance I crave from Domaine du Castel.
The 2017 Razi’el was a fruit-bomb and not my cup of tea, this wine is slightly more restrained, but still too ripe and unbalanced to make it work for me. The nose on this wine is ripe, with clear leanings of ripe Syrah with the Blackcurrant, blackberry, plum, and boysenberry notes, followed by roasted meat, licorice, and smoke galore. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, too unfocused, with no real point to the fruit, the tannin and oak are OK, not over the top, with loads of sweet and ripe fruit from the nose, along with spice, roasted herb, and hints of green notes. The finish is long, ripe, with tobacco, leather, and more sweet spices. Drink by 2026.

2017 Capcanes Peraj Ha’abib – Score: 86 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of 35% Grenache, 35% Carignan, and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose on this wine is not horrible, it has a clear ripe and out of balance profile, but it is also good enough, with black and blue fruit, mixed, with smoke, tar, root beer, and Garrigue wrapped in a mound of dirt and loam. Sadly, with time, the date juice monster along with oak come screaming through, and yeah, this wine is exactly what I was expecting. The mouth is richly extracted, but man is it ripe, with date, sweet fig, blackberry, dark and candied plum, with rich oak, nice tannin, and loads of ripe and unbalanced fruit, though the acidity is nice. The finish is long, dark and brooding, smoky, and earthy, with rich smoking tobacco, earth, and leather. Drink from 2023 until 2028, if this is your kind of wine.

2016 Shirah Geshem GSM – Score: 86 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of 57% Grenache, 28% Mourvedre, and 15% Syrah (GSM). The nose on this wine is fruity, this is a Cali GSM, with clear fruity notes that as much as I want to like this wine, it is not for me. The notes start slowly and then the dates come out, clear and present with incredible heat and an overall unpleasant approach. However, with time, the notes of heat and dates blow off. I ran it through the Venturi twice, but you could decant it for two hours. Even still, it is ripe, but now it is a wine I could enjoy with the correct food, in my case, wine braised flanken. The nose on this wine even after the Venturi has date juice, I tried, I hoped it will get better, but for now, it is too much for me. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, showing dark blackberry, date, juicy and tart boysenberry, nice acidity, and still over-the-top fruit that makes for a tough time getting to enjoy this wine. This is a wine that will work for those that like very fruity and tannic wines, with nice blue and black fruit. Drink by 2025.

2016 Shirah Syrah, Murmur Vineyard – Score: 86 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of 97% Syrah and 3% Viognier, a blend I normally like very much! The nose on this wine is ripe, a theme we understand, given the 14.7 ABV on this wine. The nose on this wine is another professionally made wine, but it is again a wine that is too ripe for me. The nose is ripe with notes of ripe black and blue fruit, with heather, leather, ripe and brooding fruit, with loads of smoke, roasted animal, and earth. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, showing the kind of notes that remind me of date, followed by ripe blackberry, dark plum, juicy and jammy boysenberry, followed by concentrated ripe fruit, a nice mouth-draping mouthfeel, and tannin structure, and some white fruit in the far background. The finish is super long and very ripe, jammy, juicy fruit, with cloves, cinnamon, and dark chocolate, loads of oak, and more sweet fruit that lingers long. Drink from 2021 until 2027.

2015 Chateau de L’Anglais, Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux – Score: 86 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is ripe, fruit-forward, with loads of black and red fruit, showing hints of blue fruit, and loads of dirt, with menthol. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, rich, and layered, but the ripeness throws me, it has nice acidity, but the balance is off, with saline, earth, and tart juicy fruit, this is just too much, searing sweet fruit. (Available in France and maybe here in the USA)

2016 Binyamina Cabernet Sauvignon, Tarshish, Aquamarine – Score: 86 (QPR: BAD)
This is another of those ripe, very ripe wines, with some control, showing classic notes of Cab on the nose, anise, smoke, tar, with black fruit galore, and earth. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is plush and rich, layered, with good earth, and loads of fruit, date notes in the background, and ripe notes abound. Drink until; 2025.

2016 Chateau La Clare, Medoc (M) – Score: 85 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is an oak bomb with a hint of date and no balance, with menthol, smoke, and not much else. This wine is worse than the other two wines and that is saying something, it has no balance, tannin all over the place, and no elegance. Next.

2016 Chateau Meilhan, Medoc – Score: 85 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is red and black with green notes, with lovely earth, terroir, and smoke, nice, sadly it is the best part of the wine. The mouth is ripe, sweet, round, with searing acid, tannin, and much else. Drink soon! (Available in France)

2015 Servitude Volontaire de La Tour Carnet, Haut-Medoc – Score: 85 (QPR: BAD)
The nose on this wine is even riper than the Tour Carnet if that is even possible, with so much vanilla, oak, sweet fruit, smoke, and mineral, not fun. The mouth on this wine is oakier, showing more elegance, but the wine is round, flat, and not interesting, move on. Drink soon!

2016 Tabor Marselan, Single Vineyard – Score: 85 (QPR: BAD)
This wine says it clocks in at 13% ABV, and while I believe it, I would have thought it was higher, still, that is not over the top for Israel, in any manner. The nose and mouth tell me this is a ripe wine, with loads of blueberry, blackberry, dark and brooding plum, smoke galore, roasted animal, and loads of oak. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is ripe, with fruit bordering on date-juice, if not actually date-juice,- in style, with nice enough acidity, but the fruit is so over the top, it cannot hide it. The finish is long, sweet, ripe, with sweet tannin, overbearing fruit, and loads of oak. Drink until 2024. if you must.
So, you could tell, this wine was highly disjointed when I opened it, over two days the wine has finally moved into what I consider a Marselan wine. After two days the wine leaves whatever issues it had, and becomes a wine I could appreciate, with a nose of ripe fruit, with notes of rich tar, crazy rubber, roasted animal, blue and red fruit, and smoke galore. The problem is the mouth, it is still a flower pot, with loads of sweet and ripe fruit, followed by blueberry, violets, rosehip, followed by tannin, and too much oak/smoke for my liking. The finish is long, sweet, with the rubber and tar, green notes, and sweet tobacco. Drink by 2024.

2018 Padis Brilliance Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA (M) – Score: 85 (QPR: BAD)
The nose on this wine screams fruit, very fruit-forward, loads of oak, a classic Napa Cab, with floral notes of rosehip, waxy notes, toast/charcoal, black and red fruit, and not much more. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is not subtle in any manner, an oak-monster, with loads of blackberry, raspberry, black plum, earth. A very mouth-filling wine, plush, oaky, sweet/ripe, with loads of fruit, super full and slightly extracted. The finish is long, sweet, ripe, and oak, with milk chocolate, tobacco, graphite, and sweet notes. Simple but very plush and mouth-filling. Drink until 2026.

2016 Tabor Malkiya – Score: 85 (QPR: BAD)
WOW, we have wine! I am so happy, an Israeli red that is drinkable, nice! The color on this wine is dense black, crazy, with a nose of classic controlled cabernet! The nose is ripe, but well-controlled, with green notes, earth galore, raspberry, blackberry, and then the dates arrived! REALLY? I had such high hopes, but yeah another example of elegant date juice, with loads of dates, anise, menthol, smoke, and tar. Drink from 2021 until 2025.

2016 Tabor 1/11.000, Limited Edition – Score: 85 (QPR: BAD)
The nose on this wine is ripe, and yet the ABV is 13.5%, the nose on this Cabernet Sauvignon is ripe, and shows heat, with anise, smoke, and more earth, black and red fruit, and not much else. The mouth on this wine is straight date juice and sad, it showed some hope, but wow that ended when I tasted it! Drink until 2025.

2017 Tzuba Cabernet Sauvignon – Score: 85 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is ripe but not as over the top as the Tesara. The nose on this Cabernet Sauvignon is ripe, with notes of blackcurrants, smoke, tar, licorice, and more black fruit. The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine is ripe, with ripe notes of blackberry, dark plum, sweet pomegranate, jammy and ripe notes of dark berries, sweet tannin, sweet oak monster, and sweet spices. The finish is long, ripe, sweet, and tannic, with sweet notes overpowering the finish, with hints of tobacco, spice, and some earth. Overall another fruit bomb. Drink by 2024.

2016 Tzuba Metzuda – Score: 85 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 5% Syrah. Another fruit bomb, with crazy oak, sweet spices, ripe fruit, and sweet tannin. The nose on this wine is ripe, showing ripe black and red fruit, with notes of blackcurrant, tar, licorice, earth, and smoke, with loads of toasted oak, and sweet dill. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, layered, and well made, and is a wine that many may like, if they like this kind of wine, with absurd over the top fruit, ripeness, concentration, and extraction, all wrapped in extracted and ripe blackberry, raspberry, plum, and saline. The finish is long, ripe, and the saline is the saving grace on this finish, with hints of menthol, graphite, and smoke. WOW, it is ripe. Drink until 2025.

2016 Tabor Tannat, Single Vineyard – Score: 84
I had more hopes for this wine, being a Tannat with a 14.5% ABV, sadly, it is yet another Israeli wine, out of control and unbalanced. The nose on this wine is burnt rubber, floral notes, dark cherry, rich herbs, smoke galore, and roasted animal. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is ripe, unbalanced, and date-juice, with sweet medicinal cherry saver notes, overripe currants, figs, and nice oak, with good spices, and a hint of elegance. The finish is long, red, sweet, with green notes of tobacco, milk chocolate, and more smoke, and some mineral. Sadly, it had potential, just got away. Drink until 2024.

2016 Carmel Shiraz, Kayoumi Vineyard, Single Vineyard – Score: 84 (QPR: EVEN)
The only thing I liked about this wine was that they used a Diam cork on this wine, otherwise, not my cup of tea. This wine is what I point to when I say date juice – straight up and so painful. Honestly – I cannot even write notes to this, it is futile, the wine is enjoyable to those that like very fruit-forward, over the top wines, and enjoy! Otherwise, move on! Drink until 2025, if this is for you.

2017 Yatir Forest – Score: 84 (QPR: BAD)
The only thing I liked about this wine was that they used a Diam cork on this wine, otherwise, not my cup of tea. This is a slightly more elegant date juice wine than the Shiraz – but not really. The fruit and the style of this wine do not blast your head off but you are in deep pain either way. Again, not a wine I care for. Drink from 2023 until 2027 if this works for you.

2017 Shirah Grenache – Score: 84 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache from Murmur vineyards and 50% from Luna Matta Vineyard. The nose on this wine is far fruitier and riper than the 2017 Netofa Tel Qasser, showing bid and bold fruit, still with much of the same kind of floral notes, though here more rose and jasmine, with root beer, toast, smoke, and hints of a roasted animal. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is far richer and bolder than the Netofa and it is too jammy for my tastes, showing ripe fruit, fig, hints of date, with jammy notes of boysenberry, plum liqueur, with some minerality, some saline, graphite, but not nearly enough to balance out this full fruit attack, with some nice mouth draping tannin, and overall mouthfeel. The finish is super long, really ripe, with loads of milk chocolate covered bitter coffee beans, and tobacco, with loads of baking spices, cinnamon, cloves, and turmeric. Drink by 2024.

2016 Tzuba Terasa – Score: 83 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Syrah. This wine is ripe, classic Israeli date-juice ripe, another wine that makes me cringe. It is very professionally made, it has no other flaws, other than being absurdly unbalanced and ripe. I love the Diam corks – that is good!
The wine starts ripe and stays that way, but with a bit of air, the nose at least shows more than just over the top fruit profile, with notes of licorice, red and overripe black fruit, ripe blackcurrant, blue fruit notes, and sweet herbs. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, as you can imagine, with a lack of balance, overripe blackberry, blueberry, blackcurrant, and aggressive fruit-forward profile, with sweet tannin, smoke, some earth, hints of mineral behind that wall of overripe fruit, and spice. The finish is long, overripe, and painful, sadly. Drink by 2025.

2015 Chateau Tour des Agasseaux, Lussac Saint-Emilion – Score: 82
The nose on this wine is nice, green, with red fruit, with green notes, and loads of oak. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is OK, but not much is there, showing acidity, tannin, and earth, and ripe fruit. The finish is long, green, too green, with loads of dirt, and tannin. Drink by 2024.

2017 Carmel Limited Edition – Score: 82 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot, 8% Malbec. This wine started nicely, and then it too becomes yet another Israeli wine without balance or elegance. This started OK, the started with some control, with green notes, herbs, menthol, nice sweet spices, cloves, with ripe/sweet fruit, red and blue fruit, and more loam/earth, with nice mineral, sadly with time, this falls apart with date, fig, and more imbalance. The mouth on this full-bodied wine starts elegantly, but the date is there, ripe and pushed, with an elegance of mouth-draping tannin, ripe blackberry, dark plum, date, hints of blueberry, crazy mouth-drying tannin, and smoke. Drink by 2026.

2017 Jezreel Valley Icon – Score: 82 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Carignan. The nose on this wine is boring, ripe, over the top, but boring, how about that. This wine has no elegance or virtue, other than the lovely and very heavy bottle that it resides in.
The nose is ripe, black and blue, with ripe fruit and nothing much else. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is super ripe, with milk chocolate, and blackberry, boysenberry, and smoke galore. It truly lacks acid, balance, but it does not lack bravado and in your face fruit. Nothing to write more about. Drink until 2025.

2016 Shirah Zinfandel, Ha’azinu – Score: 79 (QPR: NA)
This wine is another classic Shirah wine, again, yeah broken record, this wine is too ripe for me. The nose on this wine is ripe, more so than the Murmur Syrah, with a clear date component to it, followed by red fruit, candied cherry, cherry liqueur, and tart black fruit in the far background, with loads of spice. Sadly, much of the Zinfandel out there is built ripe much like much of the French Gamay.
The mouth on this full-bodied wine is out there for me, showing a mouth structure that is concentrated and super jammy, with loads of jammy and sweet plum, super sugar covered cherry lifesavers, and raspberry, but it is all lost on me from the overly jammy fruit that is clawing, even though the wine has OK acidity. The finish is too much for me, more fruit, nice tannin, and an overall jam-bomb of a profile. Drink until 2025.

2018 Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon, Blue Israel – Score: 76 (QPR: NA)
The nose on this wine smells really ripe, super sweet, with green notes, very floral, with some red and black fruit, and earth. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is ripe, date-like, with notes of date, fig, blackberry, and not much else. Sad. Drink until 2025.

2017 Barkan Assemblage, Reichen – Score: 75 (QPR: POOR)
This wine is a blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 13% Syrah. The nose on this wine is ripe, yeah, but still this is a 13.5% ABV wine, so I had hope, but as this wine opened it was another date juice bomb, with extremely ripe and uncontrolled fruit. This is not a wine for me. The nose is ripe with raspberry, currants, and dark plum, with smoke, but also some really clear date and fig notes. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is ripe, and while it has some nice concentration, the overripe fruit makes this wine feel out of kilter, and no, I would not have guessed there was merlot or Syrah in here. The finish is long, mouth draping, but not elegant or fun, but still well made. Drink until 2024 if this is your kind of wine.

2015 Chateau Tour Blanche, Medoc – Score: 70 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is all over the place, just a pure mess, sad. The fruit and mouthfeel are black with hints of red notes, but besides that, the wine is not that interesting at all. Sad.

Posted on December 17, 2020, in Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Wine, QPR Post, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wow

    Have a great day.

    Elie Lowy Lowy & Company Inc.

    Main Office: 141 Washington Ave. Suite 101 Lawrence, NY 11559 (O) 646-960-8001 (C) 917-238-2237 (F) 332-206-5001 elie@lowyandcompany.com

    Manhattan Office: 580 Fifth Ave. Suite 2412 NY, NY 10036 (O) 212-419-8090

    >

  1. Pingback: Two new vintages from Chateau Cantenac and Elvi Wines EL26 that are near the top of the High-End red wines for 2020 | Wine Musings Blog

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