Kosher Sparkling wines for the end of 2020 – WINNERS from Drappier and Yarden

With 2020 coming to a close, I am posting the top sparkling wines, but to be clear, I drink sparkling wine all year round! We have been blessed recently with Yarden selling their Gilgal Sparkling wine for under 20 dollars a bottle! Honestly, there is no better deal out there and that is why they were the wines of the year last year! Yarden continues to impress with their 2014 entries and they are the sparkling wine producers to beat, for anyone entering this market.

How is Sparkling wine made?

There are many options – but the vast majority of sparkling wines fall into three categories:

  • Le Méthode Champenoise (Méthode Traditionnelle)
  • Methode Ancestrale
  • The Charmat Method

Le Méthode Champenoise (Méthode Traditionnelle)

So, what is Champagne and how do we get all those cool bubbles? Well, it all starts with a grape of some sort, in most cases, Chardonnay, but we will get back to the other varietals further down. For now, like all wine on planet earth, Champagne starts with a grape. It is picked (often early to lower alcohol and increase acidity), then crushed, pressed, and allowed/encouraged to go through primary fermentation, exactly like all white wines on planet earth. At this point, most houses ferment the base wine in metal tanks or barrels. Some still use wood, but they are the minority.

Of course, like much of France (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne), especially in Champagne, the wine can be chaptalized after racking, until an 11% ABV. Now before the heat waves that have covered much of this earth (call it what you wish), Bordeaux and Champagne prayed to hit their desired mark of ABV, and therefore they used to add sugar to bring up the ripeness on their fruit. Nowadays, Champagne is picking earlier and earlier, and Chaptalization is not a common thing anymore, as mother nature is taking care of the fruit’s ripeness all on her own!

Once the wine has been fermented the next question arises, should they let the base wine go through a wine’s second natural fermentation called Malolactic Fermentation? Most allow the fermentation to take place and require it, a fact that is easy nowadays with controlled winery environments, though some do not like it at all. Finally, the barrels/tanks are blended or in the rare case, kept aside as a Vintage Champagne, meaning the base wine used in it, is sourced from one vintage and not a blend of a few vintages.

So, at this point what we have is base wine, and while it may be an OK wine, it is far from what the final product will be like. Most base wines are nice enough, but it would be like licking on a lemon, these wines are highly acidic, and not normally well balanced at that point.

The next step is to bottle the wine, with yeast and basic rock sugar, which causes a second fermentation. The actual amount of the two added ingredients is a house secret. The wines are closed with a simple beer bottle cap. You will notice that ALL wines made in this manner have a lip around the top of the bottle, where the cap is attached to. Again, if the year is exceptional then the wine becomes vintage champagne and is aged for at least three years. If the vintage is normal then the bottle’s content is a blend of a few vintages and is aged for at least one and a half years.

All the while during this second fermentation process, the wine is aged and the wine becomes more complex from the yeast. The yeast breaks down as it eats the rock sugar, adding the effervescence, and while the yeast breaks down, it adds a lovely mouthfeel and rich complexity. This process is known as autolysis, releasing molecules that are slowly transformed as they interact with those in the wine.

The process is a dual transformational process. First, the yeasts are broken down, but if that occurred in a 100% hermetically sealed environment, we would have SERIOUS issues, like HS (Hydrogen Sulfide) and mercaptan (think nasty rotten eggs). Oxygen is a two-edged sword, with too much a wine oxidizes, and with too little, you get HS and nasty foul egg smell. So, the cap that covers the Champagne bottles as they rest for 18 months to 3 years in these cool racks, actually allow for a certain amount of oxygen to flow through, the caps are not hermetic seals. The special stoppers, AKA caps, allow the wine to mature on the lees, with a very slow feed of oxygen coming through, thereby allowing the wine to mature at a rate that is best for it. You can mature them quicker, with a different cap, but you would lose the value of a wine sitting long on the lees.

According to Wikipediathe effects of autolysis on wine contribute to a creamy mouthfeel that may make a wine seem to have a fuller body. The release of enzymes inhibits oxidation which improves some of the aging potentials of the wine. The mannoproteins improve the overall stability of the proteins in the wine by reducing the number of tartrates that are precipitated out. They may also bind with the tannins in the wine to reduce the perception of bitterness or astringency in the wine. The increased production of amino acids leads to the development of several flavors associated with premium Champagne including aromas of biscuits or bread dough, nuttiness, and acacia. As the wine ages further, more complex notes may develop from the effects of autolysis.

Finally, it is at this stage, after the bottles have matured their proper time, based upon their label (blend or Vintage), we get to the final stage of Champagne, remuage (or “riddling” in English) and Dosage. To get rid of the lees (the dead yeast cells and other particulates), the bottles are hand or machine manipulated to convince the lees to move towards the cap. Then the neck of the bottle is frozen, and the cap is removed, the lees come flying out in a frozen format, and then the bottle is recapped with the famous champagne cork, but not before it is dosed with more sugar. This very last step is the reason for this post, but let’s leave that till further down in the post, for now, let’s talk varietals and color/style.

Color/style and Varietals

So, we have covered the how part of Champagne (well almost more on Dosage below), and now we need to talk color and grapes. The base grapes for Champagne are Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. There are very few houses that also use Arbane, Petit Meslier, Pinot blanc, Pinot Gris. Champagne, like the rest of France’s wine industry, is controlled by the AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée).

So, for Blanc de Blancs Chardonnay, which is white from white, Chardonnay is the only grape allowed. Meaning, that the juice from Chardonnay is 100% of a BdB Champagne, or in rare occasions from Pinot blanc (such as La Bolorée from Cedric Bouchard).

For Blanc de Noirs, the Champagne is made from either Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier, or a blend of the two. Finally, for Rose Champagne, it can be a blend of the three grapes.

Late Disgorgement

This has been all the rave recently, LD or Late Disgorgement. All this means is that the house or winery (outside of Champagne) kept the bottles capped for a longer time. So the 2007 Yarden Blanc de Blancs was sold in 2014 or so. It is a lovely wine and recently Yarden released a 2007 LD Yarden  Blanc de Blancs. It is the same wine, just held longer in capped format (another 4 years or so), and then recently they disgorged the wine, more on that below, and put in the dosage and the Champagne style cork and released it now. Essentially, for all intent and purpose, Yarden aged the Sparkling wine 4 more years and released it later on. The interesting thing will be to taste the two wines (the LD and normal 2007 Yarden BdB and see how 4 extra years of lying on lees helped/hindered/or did nothing). I will be doing that soon enough.

Champagne Sweetness

We have finally arrived at the point of this blog point, and that would be Champagne’s sweetness. PLEASE, do not jump, wine is about balance, so no, Champagne is not date juice, most bad Champagne is just underripe and poorly made stuff. In the old days, think 19th and 20th century, Champagne was VERY sweet, like horribly so. The Russians were the worst, desiring Champagne to be somewhere in the zip code of 200/300 grams per liter! Today, the average Brut Champagne is more like 12 or so grams of sugar per liter.

So, now on to the issue at hand – the dosage. I always wondered why this dosage was ever required. If the bubbly is good enough as it is, then leave it as it is, and move on with life. Not to bury the lead but how foolish I was.

Once again according to Wikipediathe ripeness of the grapes and the amount of sugar added after the second fermentation—dosage—varies and will affect the amount of sugar remaining in the Champagne when bottled for sale, and hence the sweetness of the finished wine. Wines labeled Brut Zero, more common among smaller producers,[41] have no added sugar and will usually be very dry, with less than 3 grams of residual sugar per liter in the finished wine. The following terms are used to describe the sweetness of the bottled wine:

  • Extra Brut (less than 6 grams of residual sugar per liter)
  • Brut (less than 12 grams)
  • Extra Dry (between 12 and 17 grams)
  • Sec (between 17 and 32 grams)
  • Demi-sec (between 32 and 50 grams)
  • Doux (50 grams)

None Dose, Zero Dosage and Brut Nature

These names are all a moniker for a very squishy idea, which is, to put in little to no liquor in the Champagne. The official term for this style of wine (0 to 3g per liter) is Brut Nature. So again, the last step calls for popping the cap, removing the lees, adding in some sort of wine or liquor (to take the place of the missing lees and wine that was around the lees). That much space cannot be left empty, as that much oxygen would kill the wine quickly. Rather it is either filled with more of the same wine or liquor depending on the sugar level desired.

Now, I always wanted to know what this liquor added to the story. Why is it needed? I like wine bright and tart, and normally that is achieved for Brut Champagne by picking the fruit early. It means the wine made by the fruit is tart and bright and it can use the added sugar to balance it all out. I always wondered what would happen if they just did not add the extra liquor, AKA sugar. Well, I found out and it is not fun.

I stated much of this already here – and you can read more there about aging brut nature wines. Also, Brut Nature is not new, it was first created/introduced in the late 1800s, but it has now created quite a following, since the early 1980s. Read a WONDERFUL article on this approach here, well worth the read!

Methode Ancestrale

If Champagne and it’s Methode Champenoise dates to the 1630s, this method dates back a hundred years before that, to the Benedictine monks in the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire, near Carcassonne in 1531. That said, this method is not without its challenges. It is touch and goes at times, more like buying a science lab experiment in motion.

The method here is far simpler than the Methode Champenoise, they remove the second fermentation step and instead bottle the wine before the first fermentation is complete! The wine finishes fermenting in the bottle, thereby producing bubbles, and then they ship it, with the sediment, lees, and all. Of course, if you do not get this right, things can happen! Those vary from actual wine messes to very strange, unique, and not enjoyable reductive aspects of the winemaking process occurring in the bottle, where you can do NOTHING to help.

The most famous of these kinds of wines would be the new fad called Pet-Nat (Pét-nat is an abbreviation for “pétillant naturel”—a French term that roughly translates to “naturally sparkling”), and no, I am not a very big fan. I am far happier with Cava or even some Prosseco than this hipster want-to-be Sparkling wine. Maybe they should change the acronym of Pet-Nat to “Petulant Naturel”. The best I have had so far is the 2019 Dalton PetNat – none of these wines are for storing, you do not need a science experiment evolving in your cellar!

The Charmat Method

The Charmat Method, IMHO, is a better approach than Pet-Nat for many reasons. The main one being, it is a very controlled and well-known method, sadly, the quality of the wines using this method are not high-end, AKA 90+ scoring wines.

The method is quite simple, the wine’s initial fermentation occurs in a tank, then sugar and yeast are added to the tank and the bubbles are created. At this point, the wine can stay this way for a very long time. The tanks are pressurized and are sealed so there is no oxidation occurring. When it is time to bottle, the wines receive a dosage, the sugar mixture, SO2, and they are bottled.

This page has a great side-by-side description of the Charmat Method versus Methode Champenoise, well worth a read! None of the wines posted here use this method, so that gives you an idea of what I think about these wines.

There are no surprises in this post, the clear WINNERS are the same year after year, Drappier, and Yarden. Last year Yarden sparkling wines were my wines of the year, as stated above. So, enjoy Drappier and Yarden wines and save money for those 2018 wines from France, Spain, and Italy!

In the end, I do not like to drink wine that does not make me happy, and Le Méthode Champenoise is the best on the list. There are a couple more methods for making sparkling wine, like the Transfer method and others, enjoy reading Wikipedia! The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:

2013 Yarden Rose, Brut – Score: 93 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine is showing beautifully, with big bright fruit, lemon, lime Fraiche, with creamy notes of strawberry, and herb, withy loads of mineral, and rock. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is slow to open, but with time is shows searing acidity, with the elegance of dried pear, tart green apple, tart raspberry, with layers of fruit, acid, green notes, with herb, showing rich saline, melon, with layers of acidity, with grapefruit, lime, and rock. The finish is long, green, tart, with crazy acidity, and mineral, hay, and slate galore. Bravo!! Drink until 2023. (tasted September 2019)

2014 Yarden Blanc de Blancs, Brut – Score: 92+ (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine is pure heaven, it is far leaner than the previous vintages, showing brightness and focus that I crave, with notes of lemon, apple pie, lovely floral notes, all layered with a hint of rich toast. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is layered, and toasty, with lean and bright leanings, showing green and yellow apple, quince galore, toast, pear, and Asian Pear freshly baked pie, lime/grapefruit, hints of brioche, all wrapped in oak tannin, and a crazy attack of small bubble mousse. The finish is long, tart, lovely, and well-focused, with ginger, oak, toast, and freshly baked pie lingering long, with tart/green apple and quince. Bravo! Drink until 2028. (tasted November 2020)

2014 Yarden Rose, Brut – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this rose is equally lean as the BdB, with notes of quince, earth, red berries, garrigue, smoke, and oak, and tart fruit. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is so refreshing, just lovely, with a great fruit-focus, showing cranberry, dried strawberry, raspberry, followed by pink grapefruit, lemon/lime, and quince, but the focus is the lovely attack of small bubble mousse and its incredible refreshing appeal. The finish is long, green with foliage, yet red with berries, tart and refreshing, and toasty, with less of a brioche attack and more of a toast/pie focus. Lovely! Refreshing, toasty, mousse attack, with green notes lingering long. Bravo!!! Drink until 2024. (tasted November 2020)

2012 Yarden Blanc de Blancs, Brut – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
This vintage has more fruit and balance than the 2011 vintage, and while the mousse and mouthfeel start a bit slow, they come around nicely.
The nose on this wine is lovely showing notes of citrus, brioche, mineral, lovely floral heather notes, and yeast. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, but while it lacks in a proper mousse attack to start the attack comes out a bit more after the wine opens up, with crazy acidity and fruit, showing a lovely attack of fruit-focus, with Asian Pear, crazy tart green apple, absurd acidity, and yes, with time, it shows a nice small bubble mousse, with yeast, and brioche. The finish is long, toasty, green, and really tart, with absurd acidity, fresh almonds, lemon zest, screaming tart crab-apple, and lovely citrus on the long finish. Bravo! Drink until 2026. (tasted April 2020)

NV Drappier Brut Nature (M) (June 2020 disgorgement) – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a Brut nature, and as such, it does not have the added fruit or liquor as other Champagnes have. This shows extremely clearly in the notes. This is a clean, austere, grown-up approach to Champagne while having a downside as well, which is these do NOT last long. TRIPLE CHECK the disgorgement date before buying!
This wine has a disgorgement date of June 2020, meaning this wine is crazy fresh. The nose on this wine is EXACTLY that, crazy fresh with lovely green and yellow apple notes, followed by bright citrus, lemongrass, waxy notes, and of course, loads of yeast. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is dry, rich, and super focused, with incredible saline, quince, and yellow grapefruit notes, intense acidity, loads of graphite, and hints of tannin, with an incredibly focused small bubble mousse, that comes at you in layers and lingers forever. The finish is so long, so tart, with more mineral, dirt, saline, graphite, and quince/apple/citrus lingering long – Bravo!!! Drink until Feb 2021 – MAX. (tasted August 2020)

NV Drappier Carte d’Or, Brut (M) (June 2020 disgorgement) – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
This is another Champagne that has a disgorgement date of 6/2020, which makes this a very fresh batch of lovely Champagne! The nose on this wine is wonderful and beautiful, with rich testy notes, lovely yellow apples, pears, baked goods, and mineral galore, followed by saline, and good citrus. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is awesome, it is toasty and yeasty, and the small bubble mousse is outstanding, once the first attack of bubbles go by you get waves of Asian pear, ripe quince, yellow apples, and lovely mineral, followed by almond pith, rich tannin, and lovely saline, slate, and lovely grapefruit and lemon pith. Lovely! Drink by 2022. (tasted August 2020)

NV Janisson & Fils Champagne Brut Blanc – Score: 92 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is also beautifully packaged. The nose on this wine is beautiful and captivating, showing impressive elegance, with mineral, yeast, lovely brioche, with rich saline and yellow grapefruit, green apple, and rich pear. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is layered, with great acid, complexity, rich saline, bright tart fruit, lemon, with hints of limoncello, and lovely tart summer fruit. The finish is mineral, small mousse bubbles, with great fruit focus, lovely lemon brioche, and toasty notes with tart fruit being the focus and the brioche being nice. An impressive effort, drink by 2023. (tasted September 2018)

2011 Yarden Blanc de Blancs, Brut – Score: 91 to 92 (QPR: WINNER)
This is less sharp than the 2010 or the 2008 vintage. This is a bit more fat but the acidity is bracing and it does come together nicely. The nose on this sparkling wine is tart and ripe, with beautiful notes of peach, apple, and citrus, with brioche. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine has a big upfront mousse of small bubbles, with lovely citrus and grapefruit, backed by apples, and gooseberry, and more citrus, with lime backing slate, more brioche, and lovely saline that lingers long, with lemongrass, and a lovely tart, refreshing mouthfeel, with lemon/lime, saline, and mousse lingering long. Bravo!! Drink by 2025. (tasted May 2019)

2016 Champagne Michel Gonet, Les 2 Terroirs, Brut – Score: 91 (QPR: EVEN(F))
Lovely nose of baked apple, yeast, with loads of mineral, pear, and pepper, and asparagus. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, well made, crazy acidity, with lovely yeast, baked and almost buttery ripe apple pie, with great minerality, lemon curd, with crazy grapefruit, rich salinity, and piercing focus, Bravo! The finish is super long, green, with crazy citrus, saline, lemongrass, and crazy tart clementine, lovely! Drink until 2026. (tasted Feb 2020) this wine is only available in France as of now.

N.V. Gilgal Brut (Gamla in Israel) – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is not one for the ages like its bigger brothers, the vintage Blanc de Blancs. Still, this wine has evolved and is finally coming into its own. It is no longer lemon juice with bubbles. It is now a lovely and evolved sparkling wine.
The nose on this wine is lovely with yeast and citrus, with heather, and lovely floral notes. This wine is nice, and it finally is showing complexity, with the obvious citrus now calming down, and instead, we get a balance of quince, nuts, yeast, with sweet pear, all backed by citrus, grapefruit, dried lemon, with herb, with great small bubble mousse, with a full-throat attack of fruit and mousse. The finish is long, tart, and green, with great citrus, and loads of yeast, and a nice creamy mouthfeel, nice! Drink by 2023. (tasted Dec 2020)

Laurent Perrier Champagne, Cuvee Rose – Score: 90 to 91 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is made from 100% Pinot Noir fruit, and the color is not achieved by blending white and red fruit, but rather by using the same Saignée that still roses use, to give the wine its lovely color.
The nose on this wine is classic rose notes of ripe and juicy strawberry, raspberry, with some rhubarb, and green notes in the background. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine hits you quickly with its medium-bubble mousse, followed by a layer of acidity, that comes right before the mid-palate tannin, showing vibrant yet tannic fruit-structure, that is a bit more refreshing than the Drappier Saignee Rose Champagne, but one that has a fuller mouthfeel than your average Champagne, and more red and dark fruit, but all well balanced by racy acidity. The finish is long, ripe, tart, juicy, and well balanced, with more acid, yeasty notes, and loads of mineral, slate, and hints of graphite. Nice! Drink now! (tasted Dec 2019)

NV Janisson & Fils Champagne Brut Rose – Score: 90 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is beautifully packaged. The nose on this wine is sexy and ripe, with ripe raspberry, strawberry, rich bright fruit, grapefruit, lovely yeast, and mineral. The mouth on this wine is fun, tart, but lacking that rich yeasty style, more fruit than bubbles, with fruit showing well from the nose, with medium acidity, lovely medium-sized bubbles, and mousse. The finish is long showing nice sweet fruit, with mineral, slate, and fun limoncello. Nice. Drink NOW. (tasted September 2018)

N.V. Elvi Wines Cava, Brut– Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
This wine was first made NOT Mevushal, then Mevushal, and now again, not Mevushal. This wine is made with the Methode Champenoise, but I could not find the disgorgement date. The nose on this bubbly and effervescent light pink colored wine is hopping with rich floral notes, white flowers, almond, lemon, light char, and smoky notes, and cherry. The mouth on this light to medium-bodied wine is packed with small mousse bubbles, that are clean and well made that mingle well with green apple, Asian pear, brioche, and bracing acidity. The finish is long and tart with core acidity, strawberry, bubbles, dry straw, and a lemon burst at the very tail end. BRAVO! Drink by 2022. (tasted Feb 2020)

NV Koenig Cremant d’Alsace, Brut – Score: 90 (Mevushal) (QPR: GREAT)
This is a nicer wine than the Ribeauville, with smaller more refined bubbles, equal attack, no sweet notes to be found, and dry fruit. The nose is dry with nice quince, rose, floral notes, licorice, yellow Apple, and yeast. The mouth on this light to medium-bodied wine is lighter than the Ribeauville, but more refined, with a rich smaller bubble mousse, more quince, Asian pear, and lovely lemon/lime, and nice acidity. The finish is long, green, and tart, with lovely tart fruit, mineral, and brioche. Nice! Drink until 2022. (tastes July 2020)

NV Herzog Selection Champagne, Blanc de Blancs, Brut (M) – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
This is a new bottling and it shows, sadly there is no bottling date on the bottle (made using the Charmat method). This is a fun and enjoyable wine with loads of kick and refreshing notes, this is not complex and will not blow you over, but for the price, this is a no-brainer, for about a year.
The nose on this new fresh bottling is lovely, with dry quince, melon, apple, and pear, followed by loads of rock, loads of floral notes, rosehip, and yellow flower, with yeast, and toast. The mouth on this light to medium-bodied wine is quite nice, showing a nice medium-mousse with loads of pith, almond, walnuts, and lovely acidity, with great orange notes, more of that lovely floral notes, and quince, showing a refreshing approach and good salinity. Enjoy! Drink by 2022. (tasted July 2020)

2019 Dalton Pet-Nat – Score: 89 (QPR: GREAT)
As I stated above, this wine is a nice improvement over the 2018 vintage I had last year. This wine is a blend of 90% Semillon and 10% Muscat. The nose on this wine is fun, showing a nice floral blossom, with straw, flint, green apple, and pear. The mouth is nice, with great acidity, lovely small bubble mousse, with great tart fruit, lovely. Not overly complex or that interesting, but it is a solid quaff, with good fruit acid focus. Drink Now. (tasted Feb 2020)

NV Bokobsa Sieva Champagne Heritage, Brut, Cuvee Leon, Premier Cru – Score: 89 (QPR: GREAT (F))
NV Bokobsa Sieva Champagne Heritage, Brut, Cuvee Lucien, Premier Cru – Score: 89 (QPR: GREAT (F))
As I described above these two wines are the same, I was told they were and I tasted them and indeed they are the same. It is sad, IMHO, to see two wines who differ only in two different Kosher Supervisory role symbols. Otherwise, the Champagne was nice enough. The nose on this wine is quite nice, yeasty with good minerality, showing nice notes of citrus, quince, apple, and stone fruit. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine comes at you with layers of medium-sized mousse, showing nice toast, yeasty notes, peach, and herb. The finish is long, green, herbaceous, with slate, and nice minerality. Nice! Drink now. (tasted Feb 2020, only available in France)

2015 Hagafen Brut Cuvee, Reserve, Prix (M) – Score: 89 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is made from 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, late disgorged recently. The nose on this wine has a lovely aroma of baked rhubarb pie, balanced well with citrus, earth, dirt, and lovely smoke, followed by minerals, strawberry, and some oxidized notes. The mouth on this medium-bodied bubbly starts with a shot of mushroom, oxidized fruit, followed by lovely strawberry, and then some lovely citrus, tart raspberry, baked apple, and pear pie, and some more rhubarb, with a  lovely small bubble, nice focus. Nice. The finish is long, tart, green and red, and loaded with smoke and almonds. Drink now. (tasted Aug 2020)

NV Drappier Rose de Saignee, Brut (M) (disgorgement date of 06/20) – Score: 88 (QPR: BAD)
This wine has a disgorgement date of 06/20. The nose on this beautiful looking wine is really fun, replete with dark cherry, pomegranate, rhubarb, and lovely smoke, followed by yeasty notes, and floral rosehip, and sweet tea. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is where things go wrong, the mouth is lovely initially with bracing acidity and minerality, showing lovely tannins and graphite, but sadly, the middle is boring, and multidimensional with the red fruit from the nose and the finish is short. Not even fully refreshing sadly. Drink now. (tasted Aug 2020)

NV Ribeauville Giersberger Cremant d’Alsace – Score: 88 (QPR: EVEN)
Having tasted these two Cremant Alsace side by side, I can say for many reasons that the Koenig wins hands down. Both on price, flavor, overall quality, and the fact that this wine is far sweeter in comparison to the Koenig, while on its own it does not come across as particularly sweet.
The wine shows a nice nose with good acidity and good freshness, lovely orange blossom, and floral notes, with great brightness and rich mineral with guava and nectarines. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is close to dry and refreshing, with great yeast, and rich yellow pear and apple. The finish is long and refreshing, with a lovely medium mousse attack with lemon, and lovely mineral and slate. Nice! Drink now. (tasted Nov 2019)

Champagne Langlet, Extra Brut – Score: 88
This wine is a blend of 10% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 50% Pinot Meunier
The nose on this wine is redolent, with screaming yeast, rich brioche, with crazy quince, apple, and pear. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine starts nicely, with great acidity, lovely green and yellow apple pie, with lovely medium mousse bubbles, but sadly the finish is short. The finish lingers long with green notes, quince, and crazy acidity. Drink up! (Tasted Dec 2018 – only available in France)

2017 Hagafen Rose, Brut – Score: 87 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is very inviting with tart cherry, ripe strawberry, with some heat on the nose, loads of rosehip, and rhubarb. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is tart and refreshing but it has no complexity and is uni-dimensional, with tart fruit, rhubarb, fine mousse bubble attack, and nice mineral. The finish is long and fruity, with minerals, hints of tannin, and loads of bubbles and acidity on the long refreshing finish. A very nice quaff. Drink until 2022. (tasted Dec 2020)

NV Louis de Vignezac Champagne, Grand Cru – Score: 84 (QPR: BAD)
Classic notes of Champagne, clearly an aged Champagne, the age is not helping, showing notes of green apple, pear, dried melon, with yeast, green notes, and herb. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is falling apart in oxidation, grapefruit, tart lemon/lime, yeast, with small mousse bubbles, which die off quickly. What is still nice is the finish, with tart fruit, saline, mineral, quince, and straw. Drink UP!! (tasted October 2019)

Frerejean Freres Champagne, Premier Cru – Score: 84 (QPR: BAD)
This is a sweet and oxidized nose, showing far older than the Louis de Vignezac, with nuts, walnuts, along with garrigue, melon, and yeast. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, still oxidized, but less so than the nose showed, with layers of melon, dry fruit, peach, apricot, and apple, with a better mousse attack than the Louis de Vignezac, showing old, with not much else that follows. The finish is flat, the acid from the front lingers but the finish is empty and the bubbles show with quince and not much else. Drink NOW!!!

2007 Yarden Blanc de Blancs, Brut, Late-Disgorged – Score: 82 (QPR: BAD)
OK, this is wine is as close to dead as it gets, please drink it up, see my blog post about zero dosage wines.
The nose on this wine is still the best part, but that is all it is, lemon curd, peach and apple cobbler, brioche, and nice toast. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is now essentially dead. Thankfully, I had my last bottle three weeks ago, and that was not fun! As I stated in the post, this wine was made in the Brut-Nature style, and that comes with a PRICE! The Anjou pear is still present, but the acidity is long gone, the mousse is nice enough, but there is now a strong sense of oxidation, yeast, cooked apple compote, and not much else. The finish is gone and now this wine is in drink-now mode or just cook with it! I am close to giving up on these Brut Nature wines. They do not have the life that 6g/L sparkling wines, like the 2007 BdB that is not late disgorged. DRINK UP or give up!! (tasted Dec 2020)

2019 Jezreel Valley Winery Natural, Pet-Nat Rose – Score: 70 (QPR: NA)
This wine is at the highest quintile in price and one of the lowest in quality, but it is below the drinking score, so it gets an NA score for QPR.
The color is a shocking bright neon pink almost crimson, with light touches around the side, the color does not normally interest me unless a wine is bricking, but this color is truly attention-grabbing. The wine is made of 100% Carignan. Where the Dalton Pet Nat is at least a nice enough wine at a crazy expensive price, this is candied cherry and bubble gum wine, with watermelon, and more candied fruit, the structure is all over the place and the fruit is so absurd without the needed acidity. Sad. Again, another wine that is absurdly expensive and not even of good value. Move on.

Posted on December 29, 2020, in Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher Wine, QPR Post, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I hear that in the non-kosher world the big new trend is Pink Prosecco. Are there Any kosher pink proseccos retailing in the NYC area?

    • Sadly, those are not my thing. But if you like off-dry Prosecco, there is the Bartenura Prosecco, Rose, that should be at most kosher wine stores. Be well!

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