The top QPR Kosher wine WINNERS of 2020
This past year I wanted to drive home the need for QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) wines. So I set out to create what I thought a QPR metric should be! Gone were arbitrary price ranges and the such. Instead, I let the market define what the QPR price range should be. I did this by grouping the wines by their type (white, red, rose, sparkling, and dessert) and then further refined the grouping by age-ability within the white and red wines. This gave me the following groups:
- Drink “soon” White Wine (Simple whites)
- Rose Wine (always drink soon)
- Drink “soon” Red Wine (Simple reds)
- Mid-range aging Reds (4 to 11 years)
- High-end Red wines (11 and more years)
- High-end White wines (7 and more years)
- Sparkling Wine (No need here for extra differentiation)
- Dessert Wine
I then made the mistake of trying to create an Orange wine range/group – that was a HUGE mistake. Again, the wines themselves were not the issue, the issue revolved around trying to group such a small sample set into its group. They will go into their respective white wine category, next year.
Throughout the year, I posted many QPR posts, for almost all of the main categories. I will continue down this road until I find a better way to categorize and track wines that are QPR WINNERS. Talk about WINNERS, that secondary QPR score was a 2.1 revision to my QPR scoring, and that is explained in this post. All the wines listed here are QPR WINNERS from my tastings in 2020.
This year, the list came to a total of 25 names, and none had to dip below 91 in the scores, which is a large number and better scores overall than last year, but again, the pool from where they are culled continues to grow, and the diamonds in the rough are getting harder and harder to find.
I have added a few new things this year. The first is QPR for France, the prices for many wines there, are dirt cheap! Maybe, Avi Davidowitz, from kosher wine unfiltered, can create a list like that for Israel, this year, a bunch of wines became available there, and a proper QPR list would be worthwhile!
Shoutout to TWO GREAT wines that are just sitting around!
I am sorry to get on my soapbox before we get to the top QPR wines of 2020. But I have to ask what is wrong with Les Roches de Yon-Figeac? What is wrong with Albarino?
The 2016 Les Roches de Yon-Figeac is sitting around and no one is buying it! WHY??? It sits around and there is no real better option, IMHO, at this price point, currently. Yet, the wines sit! The crazy part is that the 2016 Les Roches is lovely, but 2017 is even better!!! The 2016 vintage has been here in the USA for years already! The price is perfect, 36 or 37 dollars for an impressive wine that can be enjoyed now, if you decant it well or age for 12 more years!
What about the Albarino wines? There is the cheap but wonderful 2018 Ramon Cardova Albarino, along with the 2018 Herzog Albarino, Special Reserve, at 2x the price. They are wonderful wines and they too sit on the sidelines! Horrible Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay wines sellout but these far better white options sit around. It is great that some of you have been enjoying Riesling, Grenache Blanc, and other varieties, but COME ON FOLKS – try other white wines – PLEASE!!
Finally, some of these wines are hard to find and they may have different siblings – but they are worth the effort. The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:
The 2020 White QPR kosher WINNERS
The Dampt Grand Cru from 2018 was the white wine of the year and the 2017 Dampt is the white Co-QPR white wine of the year. The other Co-QPR white wine of the year is the lovely 2019 Pescaja Terre Alfieri Arneis Solei. It is almost as unique as the 2013 Eccelenza, Bianco Umbria, which was crazy cool. These wines are worth the effort to find them, IMHO!
2019 Pescaja Terre Alfieri Arneis Solei – Score: 92+ (QPR: WINNER)
WOW! this is Arneis fruit, but to me, it is Sauvignon Blanc all the way, but where it departs from classic SB is the pear and almond which should tell you that something is either very wrong or this is not SB, which in case, is the latter, this is not Sauvignon Blanc! If anything this is more a perfect blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, incredible!
PSA – This wine needs to be CHILLED – LIKE Champagne chilled, PLEASE!
The nose on this wine is truly redolent and super-expressive, if this is lost on you, please do not buy the wine, leave it for others who can appreciate it! This wine does indeed have notes of gooseberry, and cat pee, and lovely green notes, but it also has loads of floral notes, showing violet, rose, salted almond, chamomile, white flowers, and sweet ripe pear, and grapefruit. The mouth on this medium-bodied white wine is INCREDIBLE, nuts, with layers upon layers of incredible fruit, sure it has a drop of RS, but who cares! The mouth is layered with ripe pear, peach, apricot, ripe pomelo, with incredible honeysuckle, followed by honey, honeyed and spiced Citron, and incredible mineral, slate, spice, nutmeg, freshly-cut grass, straw, hay, and lovely roasted almond on the super longer lingering finish – WOW!! This is fun! Drink until 2024. (tasted August 2020)
2017 Dampt Freres Chablis, Premier Cru, Cote de Lechet – Score: 93 (QPR: WINNER)
OK, so, 2017 is the year for Chablis, and of what I had from Dampt Freres, two years ago, a few showed quite well. Those were Petit and a more minor vineyard. This wine is the 2017 Premier Cru and what a wine it is! My goodness, this is what Chardonnay, unoaked of course, ie meant to smell and taste like. It is pure mineral and fruit, with loads of dirt, smoke, and flint – a true joy – BRAVO!!!
The nose on this lovely wine is purely mineral notes, sure there is apple, peach, apricot, and some other white fruit, but who cares, what shines here is the mineral attack, shist, rock, flint, along with lovely white flowers, almonds, and hints of mushroom – I WANT THIS! The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lovely, layers upon layers, come at you, with non-stop attack of mineral, fruit, earth, rich spices, and more mineral. The apricot, peach, yellow and green apple from the nose are present, as are hints of lychee, lovely Meyer lemon, and a tiny amount of crazy Kafir lime leaves and juice – WOW! The finish is so long, with incredible minerality, showing flint, rock, shist, and lovely straw, that brings the entire wine together – wow! A true joy – get this!! Drink until 2025. (tasted December 2020)
The 2020 Red QPR kosher WINNERS
The co-QPR red wines of the year are the 2017 Chateau Haut Condissas, Medoc, Prestige, and the 2018 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, Alexander Valley. The Herzog Cab, Alexander Valley is a repeat winner of its 2014 and 2016 vintages. Even years are QPR winner vintages for the Herzog Cab. The 2017 Haut Condissas is a crazy good wine and sadly there will be no 2018 from this winery, so get 2017 before it sells out.
2017 Chateau Haut Condissas, Medoc, Prestige – Score: 93 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is incredible – so happy it was managed by Royal and Menachem Israelavitch, this wine makes up for the MASSIVE dud that was the 2016 vintage.
This wine is a blend of 60% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc. The nose of this wine is lovely, dirt, earth, tar, and mineral are the primary notes, even before the fruit, then the fruit comes in with currant, raspberry, cherry, and loads of earth, garrigue, and mad green notes of menthol, and spices. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is where the black fruit comes to play, there you will find lovely blackberry, cassis, lovely spices of cloves, cumin, and then comes the layers upon layers of concentrated fruit, smoke, crazy roasted herbs, more menthol, mint, with crazy graphite, nice acidity, a real fruit focus, and concentration, not heavily extracted but focused, with lovely saline, green/black olives, and rich dirt/loam. The finish is incredible, all wrapped in a rich and textured mouth coating tannin, with soy sauce, lovely mushrooms, and a richness that is not over the top, but unctuous and captivating with graphite, dirt, and tar, wrapped in rock and sweet tobacco, all giving way to black and red fruit, more smoke, concentration, and focus, with garrigue, and earth. Bravo!!! Drink from 2023 until 2032. (tasted October 2020)
2018 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, Alexander Valley (M) – Score: 93 (QPR: WINNER)
OMG, Alex is back baby!! OK, let me be clear, this wine is ripe, the ABV on it is 14.5%, but if it said 15%, I would believe it. The difference here is that it is perfectly balanced. I tasted this with the 2018 Chateau Malmaison, and that is also ripe to start, with time, that also balances out, but when it does it loses some steam, the Alex, loses NOTHING, it is a beast and will stay that way for some time indeed! After an hour of air/decanting, the nose on this Cabernet Sauvignon is classic, absolutely classic, with notes of ripe black and blue fruit, followed by loads of licorice, smoke, tar, earth, black pepper, tobacco, and nice green foliage. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is beautifully extracted, with rich acidity, lovely mouth-draping tannin, incredible fruit-focus, with blackberry, cherry, earth, ripe blueberry, with green notes, tobacco, forest floor, hints of mushroom, and lovely concentration and plushness. The finish is super-long, with more green notes, cigar smoke, green foliage, tobacco, vanilla, dark chocolate, and more green notes that linger FOREVER! WOW! BRAVO guys!!! Drink from 2026 until 2034. (tasted January 2021)
Rest of the top QPR Winners (in no particular order)
2018 Dampt Freres Chablis, Premier Cru, Cote de Lechet – Score: 92+ (QPR: WINNER)
So, 2018, may have been a letdown for Chablis, and the crazy thing was that the 2018 Marrionners Chablis and Premier Cru were crazy great at release, and have taken a step back, thankfully, this Chablis is still going strong. The nose is riper, and though the ABV between 2017 and 2018 of the same wine is the same 13%, there is a clear impact of 2018 on this wine, in comparison to 2017’s mineral bomb. The nose on this wine is riper and indeed it does remind me of the 2018 Marrionners upon release, it has the riper fruit, more of pear, melon, orange blossom, yellow flowers, and such rather than the tart 2017 note, along with some mineral, but this vintage is more fruity than mineral-driven. BEWARE – this wine is still young, leave it time to open, the acidity and minerality will come out, but it needs time, at the start, it will feel short, but with time, it shows its beauty.
The mouth on this medium-bodied wine has more weight and structure than in 2017, with the acidity and minerality is in your face at the start, but the finish is shorter, the mouth starts with layers of acid, lovely mineral, followed by pear, lime, lychee, melon, honeydew, and more sweet Meyer lemon, though none of that incredible Kafir lime, still a lovely rich and fuller mouthfeel, with incredible acidity, but less minerality than 2017. The finish is long (again, it starts short, give this wine time to open) with lovely acid, green notes, followed by ripe and waxy notes, with yellow apple, flint, richly dried straw, hay, along with hints of nectarine and orange, with orange rind, and earth galore. It is interesting truly a joy to taste these two vintages of the same wine – side by side, it allows me to better understand the vintages. The 2017 vintage is a mineral bomb, while 2018 is riper, but the hay and straw are more evident in 2018 than in 2017, fun. I want more of this as well – Bravo!! Drink until 2024. (tasted December 2020)
2018 Pacifica Riesling (QPR: WINNER) – Score: 91
This wine is in the 2nd quintile of quality scoring and it is just below the median price line, so this wine SHOULD get a score of GREAT for QPR. However, it is ALSO one of the few white wines that score at least a 91, and that has a price that is below the median price line, so this wine gets the coveted score of WINNER for QPR. Bravo!!!
This wine has changed a lot since the last time I had it. Second solid showing with lovely notes of sweet fruit, with great bright notes, of sweet guava, sweet peach, apricot, and loads of mango, nice, all well balanced with bright notes, and orange blossom, and hints of petrol. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is well layered, plush, and oily, with loads of petrol, lovely sweet notes, lemon/lime sorbet, and great mineral, funk, and good rock. The finish on this lovely wine is super long, with slate, rock, petrol, and sweet fruit that is perfectly balanced, Bravo! The plush and refreshing wine is a true joy! Drink by 2024. (tasted November 2020)
2019 Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand (QPR: WINNER) – Score: 91
This wine is in the 2nd quintile of quality scoring and it is well below the median price line, so this wine SHOULD get a score of GREAT for QPR. However, it is ALSO yet another Sauvignon Blanc from the 2019 vintage that scored at least a 91, and that has a price that is at or below the median price line, so this wine gets the coveted score of WINNER for QPR. TWO years in a row for Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc! Bravo!!
The nose is closed and does not show the classic creaming notes, right now the notes are subdued but they are present, with time the wine finally opens up, with cat pee, gooseberry, straw, grass, mineral, and Asian pear. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine needs a few minutes and with time it shows a far more restrained version but still quite enjoyable, with intense acidity, followed by loads of pith, straw, cut grass, mineral, dirt, and lovely orange, nectarines, citrus, Asian pear, and lemongrass. The finish is long, green, with passion fruit, more gooseberry, and mineral galore, straw, pith, slate, and flint. Bravo! With time the fruit will come out from under the pith and straw haze. Drink until 2023. (tasted July 2020)
2019 Chateau Lacaussade, Vieilles Vignes, Saint-Martin– Score: 91+ (QPR: WINNER)
This is a wine I want more of. Still, the 2017 vintage fell off the cliff so hard and so swiftly, I am very afraid of stocking up on this wine, maybe a few. Still, a very fun wine at this point.
The nose on this wine is fun, the funk is slow to come out, but with time it arrives, along with waxy notes, citrus, almonds, toast, some oak, and gooseberry. The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine is equally enjoyable, showing a lovely fruit focus, with an almost waxy/oily mouthfeel, showing good weight, along with fun pith, smoke, a bit of brioche, but the fruit is central here, with lemon/lime, kumquat, melon, passionfruit, and orange zest. The finish is long, with great acidity, tart fruit, a bit more oak, but with a verve and electricity and an almost concentrated fruit approach, that is refreshing and enjoyable, this wine is fun. Bravo! Drink until – I am afraid to say, but let’s try 2023 to be safe. (tasted December 2020)
2018 Hagafen Dry Riesling, Napa Valley (QPR: WINNER) – Score: 91
This wine is in the 2nd quintile of quality scoring and it is below the Median price line, so this wine gets a GREAT score for QPR. However, it is ALSO one of the few white wines that score at least a 91, and that has a price that is below the median price line, so this wine gets the coveted score of WINNER for QPR. Bravo!!!
The nose on this wine is tropical and sweet fruit-focused, with pineapple, guava, melon, peach, but now THANKFULLY the petrol is in full gear, and it commands your attention, with the tropical fruit still very present, along with some nice mineral. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is fun, tart, nice acidity, with more petrol funk, showing nice balance, with good acidity, still, the mouth is sweet and ripe, the petrol and tart notes help, with green apple, tart grapefruit, tart stone fruit, and slate galore, with waxy notes, and tart pineapple. The finish is long, green, with intense mineral, slate, flint, and lovely petrol that gives way to nice acidity, and hints of tannin. The wine has indeed come around and now petrol is more present and the hole in the middle is gone. Drink until 2024. (tasted May 2020)
2018 Chateau Piada, Sauternes – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
The 2018 vintage is not well known for Sauternes, but this smells nice, with lovely aromas of sweet funk, botrytis, rich flint/smoke, sweet apple, apricot, candied peach, and melon, with guava, and a rich bowl of nuts. Piada continues its rich tradition of mineral-soaked Sauternes with a lovely vintage, this hot 2018 vintage still allowed Piada to create a mineral and acidic mouthfeel, Bravo!
The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is rich, layered, and unctuous, with a lovely end-to-end Palate showing rich saline, nuts, citrus, sweet melon, more funk, guava, and a beautiful nut covered white chocolate candy bar, with sweet notes, hints of pineapple, and garrigue, lovely! The finish is long, sweet, green (yes!), and palate filling and coating, with rich tannin, sweet fruit, melon, tart citrus, and graphite, that comes together nicely. Bravo! Drink from 2022 until 2035. (tasted September 2020)
2018 Herzog Eagle’s Landing Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills – Score: 93 (QPR: WINNER)
Let me start by saying buy this wine, buy lots of this wine, I mean a LOT! OK, now this wine is a bigger and richer version of the 2013 Eagle’s Landing Pinot Noir, in other words, this wine is a beast, a winner, and yes – get this wine! My only comment is that this wine is not a classically styled Pinot Noir. This wine is full-bodied and not so much about cherry and raspberry and more about blackberry and spice, I would not have initially guessed this was a Pinot Noir, still this a wonderful wine. My only real complaint is the strangely small cork used as its closure, when the Cabernet Franc has a much longer cork, just not sure why. Anyway, I do not care about corks, as long as they last long enough to meet the drinking window.
The nose on this wine is pure heaven, coffee and chocolate, and fruit madness, with dirt, mushroom, loam, and spice, all wrapped in dark and brooding fruit, showing control, spice, earth, and sheer umami notes, wow!! The mouth on this full-bodied wine is wow! the mouth starts very softly, almost like a leopard crouching before it pounces upon its prey, this wine is beautifully structured to last, and so well made it is almost difficult to get all the thoughts out of my head, layers of fruit, acid, tannin, salinity (that is incredible), black olives, with epic fruit structure and concentration, with clear and bold and jammy blackberry, raspberry, dark cherry, with intense saline, forest floor, searing acidity, and layers of dark jammy brooding but well-controlled fruit. With time the cherry and raspberry fall behind the intense black and intense brooding fruit. The finish is equally impressive with layers of chocolate, coffee, leather, spices, nutmeg, cloves, rich earth, lovely smoking tobacco leaves, sweet and jammy fruit, all wrapped in mineral, spice, and earth. Bravo!!! Drink from 2024 until 2033 or longer. (tasted November 2020)
2018 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Lineage, Paso Robles, California (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
Another clean, pretty, and well-controlled Cabernet Sauvignon, wow what a difference a year makes. The 2017 vintage was not the best for California, but the 2018 vintage was massive, with huge yields, and nice fruit, overall, well balanced yet Cali.
The nose on this Paso Cab is more refined and elegant than the Baron, but also with a fruit focus that is quite nice, showing a refinement of the black and red fruit, with nice green notes, followed by tar, mineral, floral notes, and licorice. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is truly showing its feminine side, but also very fruity, with an intense fruit focus, with blackberry, cassis, raspberry, but what hits you first is the feminine cherry and raspberry, then a hint of vanilla and oak, and then the draping and elegant tannin structure attacks you, followed by the big and bold black fruit. A very fun expression and crazy QPR for the price. The finish is dark and fruity, but well-controlled, fear not, with a leaning towards fruity, but so well managed with the toast, smoke, tar, and dirt, all coming together with the graphite and dark fruit that linger long, with hints of elegant oak in the far background, with ground nutmeg, oregano, and roasted herbs lingering long. Bravo!!! Drink until 2024. (tasted August 2020)
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. (tasted August 2020)
2018 Elvi Wines EL26, Elite, Priorat – Score: 93 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 80% Garnacha (Grenache) and 20% Carignan. This wine is pure heaven, dirt, smoke, roasted animal, saline, mineral, juicy tart red, and blue fruit, with incredible precision and fruit focus – Bravo!
The nose on this wine is pure fun, showing tart red fruit, incredible fresh loam, and dirt, hints of mushroom, licorice, roasted animal, a whiff of oak, sage, rosemary, with dirt, and green notes. This wine is currently far more Bordeaux in style than that of a Spanish Priorat! The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is not overly extracted, but it is well extracted, with good mouth and fruit texture, with incredible acid, good fruit focus, showing dark cherry, plum, ripe and tart raspberry, strawberry, oak, vanilla, and garrigue, with green notes, and lovely mouth-draping tannin. The finish is long, green, yet ripe, with great control and precision, with lovely graphite, more roasted meat, scraping minerality, saline, rich smoking tobacco, and smoke, lots of char and smoke. Bravo! With time the wine opens more and shows its riper side, still very controlled, but the fun red and blue fruit become a bit fuller and richer in the mouth – quite an impressive wine! Drink from 2026 until 2036. (tasted December 2020)
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. (tasted April 2020)
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, with tar, tobacco, but the focus is the mineral, graphite, rock, loam, roasted animal, and loads of toast. Bravo! Drink until 2024. (tasted September 2020)
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 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 finally opened, it took some 7 hours in the bottle, and then the wine was past its fruity makeup and became an 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. (tasted July 2020)
2019 Chateau Les Riganes (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
YES!!! The curse is broken! The odd year 2019 vintage is good! Finally! The nose on this wine is fun dirt, earth, bramble, green notes, followed by fun red and black fruit, all coming together into an intoxicating aroma. This is not a top-flight wine, but it is, once again, a very good QPR wine and a sure WINNER.
The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is not layered, but it has enough complexity and elegance to make this work, with a good attack of dark red fruit, with dark currant, dark cherry, hints of blackberry, followed by loads of dirt, mineral, graphite, and a very nice mouth-draping tannin structure, with fun dirt, loam, and loads of foliage. The finish is long, green, and red, with lovely graphite, draping tannin, green olives, and green notes lingering long with tobacco, oregano, and Tarragon. Bravo! Drink until 2024. (tasted September 2020)
2019 Elvi Wines Rioja, Herenza, Semi (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
I had heard that this vintage was as good as 2016, and I agree, BUT with one caveat, it is ripe to start, this wine is not yet ready. To start, as I hinted to above, this wine is ripe, like shockingly so, but within 5 hours it was enjoyable. The nose on this wine is ripe, to start, for sure this is a new world, but what I crave is not there, the mineral and tar and replaced by sweet notes of plum and candied cherry, the coffee grinds I love are replaced by rich and sweet milk chocolate and over the top toast. Thankfully, with time, all I crave does come through, the coffee, tar, and smoke, with bright fruit, emerge from under a blanket of ripe fruit, thank goodness!
The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is an oak monster with a clear leaning towards the Crianza than the Semi, along with a nice mouth-draping tannin structure, dark fruit, blackberry, plum, dark cherry, smoke, earth, and loam, followed by a sweet cranberry/pomegranate note. Again, with time, the brightness emerges, and the sweet pomegranate notes leave, leaving you with all the good things, tart fruit, tar, mineral, earth, smoke, rich umami, soy sauce, with loads of blackcurrants, rich saline, and lovely balance. The finish is long, spicy, sweet, ripe, and again, too much oak, with nice acidity, loads of milk chocolate, the tar finally appears in the finish, with anise, roasted notes, and toast. The finish stays the same without the sweetness, over time. Bravo! Drink until 2025. (tasted November 2020)
2018 Chateau Le Crock, Saint-Estephe (M) – Score: 93 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine, is deep dark beautiful notes of black and red fruit, with rich salinity, mineral galore, with lovely tar, smoke, and what I crave from French wine – DIRT, DIRT, and more dirt! The nose is lovely, with green notes lurking in the background, and lovely licorice.
So, while I have been unhappy with the 2018 vintage so far, this wine returns my hope for the vintage, this wine is better than 2016, and that IS SAYING a lot!
This wine is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc. The 2018 vintage has more Cab in it and it smells blacker than 2016 in many more ways than just that. Lovely wine! The blueberry of the past is gone and all you get is this intense earth, dirt, smoke, along with some shockingly beautiful violet, black and red fruit bonanza, with ripples of minerality through it – bravo and this is the Mevushal version!
The mouth on this full-bodied beast is impressive, with rich extraction, like in 2016, deeply concentrated, yet with lovely finesse and elegance, showing a richness that belies its youth, with blackberry, dark, yet controlled, plum, dark raspberry, earth, cherry, smoke, and a mouth draping elegance in the tannin structure that is impressive for its youth, with a lovely plushness, with deep furrows of graphite, saline, and rock. The finish is long, not so green, there is a few green notes, more in the way of tobacco than in the way of foliage, but here the finish is about the dirt, loam, forest floor, smoke, and dark chocolate, with hints of oak, with crazy acidity, leather, all wrapped in roasted herbs that linger long and forever. Bravo!!! This is the best Chateau Le Crock, I have ever tasted, at least in regards to the Mevushal version! Drink from 2025 until 2037. Incredible! (tasted November 2020)
2018 Chateau Malmaison, Moulis en Medoc – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a ripe fruit tannin bomb with memories of 2009 and it scares me. The 2018 vintage will do well for some wines and hurt many. For this wine, the vintage works, eventually. The wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. At the time of opening, this wine scares me a lot, it is ripe, and brooding dark fruit, with licorice, loads of sweet black and blue fruit, sweet tobacco, loads of dirt, and brightness that saves the nose. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is absurdly extracted, plush, concentrated, and ripe, did I say ripe yet? Along with layers of ripe fruit (there I go again), showing ripe blackberry, boysenberry, dripping juicy black/red plum, nice minerality, saline, scrapping graphite, intense mouth-draping and drying tannin, with an incredible fruit focus, all wrapped in dirt notes, sweet oak, more tannin, and mineral. The finish is long, dirty, ripe, sweet, and intense, with layers of fruit, acid, sweet smoking tobacco, milk chocolate, and espresso beans. To me this wine is showing the power that is hard to find at this price point – the question is how will this wine round out in 10 years. I think it may well mimic the Château Tertre Daugay, which was a wine that started of terrifyingly ripe but is now lovely. After 2 days the wine is still absurdly ripe, the fruit is richly concentrated, and the fruit profile is very scary. It is still not the 2018 Fontenil but it is not far.
Things finally changed after even more time, this wine is a perfect example of why Bordeaux wine is not meant for early enjoyment. This wine is ripe, it is still ripe, but it has now finally balanced out, it is still not perfect, but for the sheer amazement of a wine being so incredibly closed, so deeply entrenched in the bottle, the wine finally appears. Not much has changed, the gripping tannin, the layers, the extraction, the fruit, the mineral, roasted herb, it is all there. The acid and foliage have finally come out and the complexity has increased, the forest floor is now present. This wine is another perfect wine for Bar Mitzvah festivities. Drink from 2028 until 2036. (tasted December 2020)
2018 Chateau Haut Breton Larigaudiere, Margaux – Score: 92+ (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is closed, but with time it opens to show rich loam, dirt, and underbrush, with mushroom, milk chocolate, red fruit, bright notes, rich garrigue, and smoke. The wine is more restrained and elegant than the Castelbruck with a nice mixture of green/black/red fruit. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is layered, rich, ripe, but so well balanced, with loads of saline, green notes, foliage, raspberry, cassis, tobacco, and nice acidity, dark cherry, all wrapped in mouth-draping and plush tannin, plush mouthfeel, milk chocolate, with herb, and lovely sweet cedar, with earth, dark currant, and graphite galore. The finish is long, green, sweet, well-balanced, earthy, and dirty, with mouth-coating and drying tannin, and leather, giving way to tobacco, and mineral galore. Bravo!! Drink from 2024 until 2032. (tasted January 2021)
2016 Clos Lavaud, Lalande de Pomerol – Score: 92+ (QPR: WINNER)
This is a wine that is far more accessible than the 2015 Clos Lavaud, but it would be a mistake to partake of this wine early. More joy will emerge with another 6 to 7 years. This is a more supple version of the Chateau Marquisat de Binet, but it has the same earthy and herbal notes but with the suppler approach, because of oak, showing smoke, toast, with nice black fruit, hints of ripeness, along with lovely tart red fruit, but well balanced, and toast. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is rich, layered, smoky, earthy, with nice extraction, showing blackberry, dark cherry, plum, tart strawberry, with rich minerality, forest floor, graphite, mushroom, and rich umami notes, saline, with elegance and plushness, nice! The finish is long, green, herbal, but well balanced, with chocolate-covered tobacco leaves, leather, and roasted notes, with more mineral, graphite, and rock. Lovely! Drink from 2022 until 2030. (tasted January 2021)
2015 Terra di Seta Chianti Classico, Gran Selezione, Assai – Score: 93 (QPR: WINNER)
To start this wine is undrinkable, there is no way a person should buy this wine, open it, and enjoy it unless they like suffering. The nose on this wine starts ripe, with notes of black and red fruit, loads of tobacco, and smoke, with hints of dirt and not much else. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is rich, ripe, and layered, with blackberry, earth, dark sour cherry, blackberry, dark plum, roasted herb, smoke, loads of mushroom, and crazy cedar and oak, with layers of rich and mouth searing tannin, backed by good acidity, and more green and herbal notes. The finish is super long, dark, and brooding, with more tobacco, incredible leather, espresso, vinegar notes, and tar.
Finally, after 12 hours of air in the bottle, the wine is drinkable, I guess at least 5 hours of decanting would get us to the same place. Now, the nose is moving in the correct direction, I still think it needs more time, the nose now shows less of that ripeness and shows more of the dirt, earth, and tar, followed by dried meat, dark cherry, dried black fruit, with mint and oregano, and loads of smoke. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is now in line with what I expect from Terra di Seta Gran Selezione, these wines are oaky to start and now the oak has moved to the background, showing more elegance, with draping tannin, mouth searing acidity, all wrapped in a cacoon of coffee and chocolate, with layers of concentrated blackberry, dark plum, dried Kirsche cherry, with loads of dirt, mineral, and lovely spice and roasted green notes all showing in a plush and elegant mouthfeel. The finish is super long, green now, with a clear backbone of dark fruit, smoke, smoked meat, mushrooms that show with time, lapsang souchong tea/soy sauce, and lingering graphite and dirt, an incredible wine. Drink from 2023 until 2031 (it may need even more time to enter the drinking window). (tasted May 2020)
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)
Posted on January 25, 2021, in Israeli Wine, Kosher Dessert Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, QPR Post, Wine and tagged Arneis, Assai, Blanc de Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chablis, Chateau Haut Breton Larigaudiere, Chateau Haut Condissas, Chateau Lacaussade, Chateau Le Crock, Chateau Les Riganes, Chateau Piada, Château Malmaison Baronne Nadine, Chianti Classico, Clos Lavaud, Crozes Hermitage, Dampt Freres, Domaine Netofa, Eagle's Landing, el26, Elviwines, Goose Bay, Hagafen Winery, Herzog Cellars Winery, Lineage, Louis Blanc, Pacifica, Pescaja, Pinot Noir, QPR, Riesling, Rioja, Sauvignon Blanc, Semi, Solei, Special Reserve, Tel Qasser, Terra di Seta, Terre Alfieri, top kosher wines, Variations, Yarden Winery. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.