An epic tasting of M & M Importers latest imports – QPR WINNERS and the best Kosher Pinots on the market
I was in NYC for a few days and I had the opportunity to have lunch with Dr. Ralph Madeb, president and CEO of M & M Importers, one of M’s in M & M (I just think Ralph secretly loved M&Ms as a child, but hey). I was joined by GG, Yed, and Avi Davidowitz of Kosher Wine Unfiltered. It was a wonderful tasting that had no duds, just hit after hit, and truly a unique experience, IMHO, as we are finally seeing the power of kosher wine in Italy. Of course, we have been blessed with fantastic wine from terra di Seta for more than a decade now, but our Italian experience has been limited to Chianti. There are other options but they rarely impress me. There was the epic 2010 Barolo and Barbera d’Alba from Florenza, but sadly that was a one-time run (there was more made in 2011 but it never came to the USA).
There were many more wines than just Italian, the gamut included Provence Rose from IDS, followed by Falesco’s new Ferentano, one of the very few wineries that make a varietal wine from Roscetto, followed by IDS 2018 Clos des d’Argent, which is showing well now! Then came the mind-blowing 2019 Pinot Noirs from IDS 2019 Jean Luc et Paul Aegerter Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru, Les Vallerots, and the 2019 Jean Luc et Paul Aegerter Corton-Vergennes, Grand Cru. There was supposed to also have been a Meursault to match JP Marchand’s 2019 Meursault, but sadly they ran out of fruit. The 1er Cru is on par with the best of the JP Marchand and Lescure, but the Grand Cru takes kosher Pinot Noir to a very new level, one that I am blown away by and I hope this continues!
The lineup then moved back to Italy with 2019 Terre Alfiere Tuke Nebbiolo, a crazy good QPR WINNER. Followed by another QPR WINNER, the 2018 Irpinia Aglianico. This is what Aglianico should taste like! A beautifully controlled tannic beast with nice fruit, tannin, and incredible floral aromas – BRAVO! The rest of the wines after that were wines I knew, and have written about in the past, so I took no notes. They included the 2005 Valendraud, a monster of a wine but one that is at its peak and is good to go. Following that was the IDS 2018 Jean Luc et Paul Aegerter Gevrey-Chambertin and the 2018 Jean Luc et Paul Aegerter Pommard. Followed by the epic IDS 2015 Virginie de Valendraud and a yet unreleased 2018 Virginie de Valendraud. Then came the IDS 2015 Chateau Labegorce Marguax and the IDS 2017 Chateau Lafon Rochet! Two epic wines that I love! It was finished with the two lovely 2014 and 2015 Von Hovel Rieslings, the Haute Oberemmel and the Saar Riesling, and the crazy QPR WINNER 2019 Pescaja Terre Alfieri Arneis Solei. Thanks to Avi for taking all the pictures!
There was no wine below 90 and there was my first ever 95+ score since I turned to score with numbers. To say it clearly, the lunch was epic, the wines were epic, and to have the ability to hang out like the times of old, with friends and great wine was a day to remember! My sincerest thanks to Ralph and his partner at M & M Importers for sharing their wonderful wines with us all! The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:
2020 Chateau Sainte Marguerite, Cuvee Fantastique Rose – Score: 91 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, and 10% Rolle (AKA Vermentino). The nose on this wine is lovely with great notes with peach, mineral, grapefruit, lovely apricot, lemongrass, and green note. The mouth is lovely, acidic, refreshing, with good acidity, nice fruit focus, with a lovely mouthful, showing classic strawberry, raspberry, lemon/lime, more peach, mineral madness, and rich salinity, wow! Lovely! The finish is long, with flint, rock, saline, lemon, tart pink grapefruit, and lemongrass, lovely! Adding in the white wine helped. Drink now. (tasted April 2021)
2020 Chateau Sainte Marguerite Rose – Score: 90 (QPR: POOR)
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, and 10% Rolle (AKA Vermentino). The nose on this wine is quite nice, with minerality, lovely strawberry, raspberry, peach, lemon, grapefruit, peach blossom, and lemon blossom. The mouth is correct, enough acid, mineral galore, smoke, flint, and nice fruit focus, but missing in the middle. The finish is long, floral, with flint, green notes, and red fruit, nice! Drink now. (tasted April 2021)
2018 Famiglia Cotarella (AKA Falesco) Ferentano – Score: 93 (QPR: EVEN)
This is Incredible, the nose is lovely with great and unique floral notes, Jasmine, white flowers, beeswax, with intense mineral, vanilla, sweet oak, pineapple, hints of banana, lemon, peach, and green notes. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is rich, layered, and extracted, with nice tannin, lovely acidity, great mineral, flint, peach, lemongrass, pineapple, sweet oak, Asian pear, with a lovely viscous body, rich and beautiful, sweet vanilla, grapefruit, honeysuckle, and honeyed quince, just lovely! The finish is long, green, with tannin, tart lime, lemongrass, sweet mint, with flint, and gun smoke, wow!! Drink until 2026. (tasted April 2021)
2019 Jean Luc et Paul Aegerter Corton-Vergennes, Grand Cru – Score: 95.5 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine starts with deep mushroom and barnyard aromas, then it goes smoky, showing notes of roasted duck, red fruit, smoke, floral notes, rich saline, dense foliage, and toast. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is rich, layered, elegant, plush, and concentrated, but not overly extracted, with sheer elegance, loam, dark cherry, currant, plum, sweet raspberry, and dense dark fruit, porcini mushrooms, dirt, smoke, all wrapped in an ethereal package, just incredible!! The finish is long, dark, green, red, and smoky, with coffee, dark chocolate, and leather. Drink from 2029 until 2036. (tasted April 2021)
2019 Jean Luc et Paul Aegerter Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru, Les Vallerots – Score: 94 (QPR: EVEN)
Wow, incredible, this is incredible, with floral notes, violet, rich saline, dirt, smoked duck, rich cherry, ethereal beauty, with dark fruit, rich smoke, gunmetal, and lovely floral notes. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is layered, rich, smoke, saline, and green notes, with a concentration of cherry, incredible acid, floral notes, earth, loam, tar, and green note with foliage, elegant mouth draping tannin, with elegant green notes, extraction, rich saline, green notes, smoke, toast, and deep toast. The finish is long, green, toast, mushroom, floral notes, and intense smoke, bravo!! Drink from 2025 until 2033. (tasted April 2021)
2019 Pescaja Tuké Terre Alfieri Nebbiolo – Score: 91.5 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose is lovely, star anise, rich cherry, horseradish, white pepper, jalapeno, and dense red fruit. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is richly layered, dense, dark cherry, plum, with candied currants, intense acidity, with a deep and dense tannin mouthfeel, earth, loam, and smoke, wow! The finish is long, dense, dark, with soy sauce, mushroom, wet earth, black and red fruit, leather, coffee, and smoke galore wow! Drink from 2023 until 2030. (tasted April 2021)
2018 Cantina Sanpaolo Irpinia Aglianico – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine is incredible, wow, this is pure Jasmine, floral beauty, with red fruit, intense ethereal approach, with soy sauce, umami, wow! The mouth on this full-bodied wine is layered, intense, with dense tannin, rich floral notes, sour cherry, ripe raspberry, layers, chocolate, backed by intense acidity, tart red fruit, mouth draping mouthfeel, anise, and smoke, WOW!! The finish is long, tart, with red and green fruit, red, rich saline, juicy red fruit, and candied lifesaver. Wow!! Drink until 2027. (tasted April 2021)
2018 Virginie de Valendraud, Saint-Emilion, Grand Cru – Score: 91 (QPR: POOR)
The nose on this wine makes me think that Bordeaux moved to Israel for a year. There is no flaw, none, but the wine has enough acidity to bring out together, and it needs ten or more years to burn off its fat.
The nose on this wine is rich, ripe, dark fruit, dense floral notes, with milk chocolate, mineral galore, mushroom, and green notes. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is rich, dense, layered, and incredible but ripe, with incredible mineral, dense blackberry, boysenberry, with rich acidity, dense fruit, with great balance, intense, still ripe, with mouth-drying and draping tannin, with green foliage, asparagus, and roasted herbs, nice! The finish is long, ripe, green, smoky, with ripe fruit, anise, leather milk chocolate, smoking tobacco, and green notes. Time will tell, for now scary, but it may come around. Drink from 2027 until 2036. (tasted April 2021)
2018 Clos des Lunes Lune D’Argent, Bordeaux – Score: 92
This wine is a blend of 70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon Blanc. The nose on this wine starts off a bit hot, with time it turns lovely, with flint, rock, gooseberry, citrus, and green notes, with orange blossom, yellow fruit, and earth. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine comes at you in layers of fruit, with nice integrated acid, the acidity is really popping now, showing green notes, tart with asparagus, yellow plum, dry straw, with mineral, lovely smoke, tart fruit, rock, and grapefruit and lemon/lime. The finish is long, green, with orange notes, and mineral that lingers long forever. Drink by 2023. (tasted April 2021)
————————————————– Notes from previous tastings ———————————
2018 Jean Luc & Paul Aegerter Pommard, Reserve Personnelle – Score: 92
Lovely nose of elegance, showing red and black fruit, with green notes, showing straw, with loam galore, and mineral, with licorice, and cranberry, and foliage galore. Crazy floral notes. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is pencil shavings, with incredible acid core, followed by layers of dark cherry, juicy strawberry, with layers of mushroom, artichoke, with layers of fine and elegant tannin that is mouth coating and drying, with dark fruit, ethereal with green notes, tart fruit, with bitter notes of mineral and graphite, followed by mushroom and sweet spices and toast. The finish is long and green, dark fruit, earth, mineral, with smoke, and forest floor galore. Bravo! Drink from 2021 until 2028. (tasted October 2019)
2018 Jean Luc & Paul Aegerter Gevrey-Chambertin, Reserve Personnelle – Score: 92
The nose on this wine is crazy bright and dark with loads of fruit, smoke, toast, and earth galore, with mushroom, and forest floor, floral notes galore. This wine is incredibly young and closed with loads of black and blue fruit with tart and juicy raspberry, with layers of smoke, mushroom, sheer elegance, plush layers of dark red fruit, plum, tart, and juicy pomegranate, with saline galore, with blackberry, blueberry, and lovely fruit structure that is wrapped with sweet tannin, sweet Oak, and lovely earth and mushroom galore. Wow! The finish is green, dark, juicy, tart, with leather, spice, smoke, and tobacco galore with med spices and mushroom and forest floor. Wow. Drink from 2022 until 2030. (tasted October 2019)
2015 Virginie de Valandraud – Score: 93
This wine is 100% Merlot and the first kosher release from Valandraud in this proportion, at least from what I have seen from the first and second label wines from this winery.
The nose on this wine is nuts, showing rich salinity, ripe blackberry, with tons of green notes, with raspberry, and rich menthol, and sweet dill, with rich herb and tar, and smoke. The mouth on this full-bodied wine reminds me of the 2013 Four Gates Merlot, with rich acid, lovely spicy fruit, showing rich layers of chocolate, red currant, cassis, with spicy oak, mint galore, rich dark plum, and earth, with layers of dirt, loam, and green notes galore, all wrapped in mouth coating tannin and plush yet tannic mouthfeel. The finish is long, green, earthy, and fruity, with chocolate, fat Cuban cigar, and forest floor, with hints of mushroom and more green notes lingering. Bravo! Drink from 2022 till 2030. (tasted September 2018)
2015 Chateau, Labegorce, Margaux – Score: 92 to 93
This wine is a blend of 60% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Petit Verdot. Wow, what a ripe nose, showing ripe blackberry, black plum, with rich fruit, graphite, and lovely black fruit. This wine is young, too young, it needs 8 hours to open properly, with time the wine’s mouth opens fully, showing a full-bodied wine that is ripe, green, with good menthol, tobacco galore, good earth, the acid does show eventually, but I wish it had more, with a nice weight, good fruit, lovely layers, and mouth coating tannin, that make the wine show plush, but again, this wine really needs to be left alone for a long time. The finish is long, green, and earthy, with tobacco, chocolate, and rich green notes. This is a Parker-style wine and one that really is pushed but has potential. My guess is that this wine will get a higher score in 5 years, right now it is crazy young. Drink from 2022 to 2030. (tasted September 2018)
2017 Chateau Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estephe, Grand Cru Classe – Score: 93 to 94
This wine is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot. The wine starts off very closed, but still, at the opening, all the secondary notes are indeed still there. With time, the fruit comes out. The nose on this wine is crazy, really lovely, exceptional with true expression, showing incredibly with soy sauce, serrano pepper, with crazy green notes, herbal, with saline, smoke, and crazy green foliage, with mint, stone, rock, and loam. With time, the nose shows riper, with black and red fruit, followed by the lovely mineral and herb of earlier. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied plus wine is pure elegance, it will not hit you over the head with fruit and extraction, it has layers of elegance with layers of foliage, red fruit, herb, raspberry, plum, and dark cherry, with cassis, and loads of tar and smoke, with layers of fruit, tobacco, and herb, and crazy acid, with extraction, and mouth draping tannin. The finish is long, green, garrigue, with crazy foliage, and tobacco, dark chocolate, more tart cherry, and earth, with mushroom, and herb. Bravo! Drink from 2021 until 2030. (tasted March 2020)
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)
Posted on May 9, 2021, in Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged 1er Cru, Aglianico, Cantina Sanpaolo, Chateau Sainte Marguerite, Corton-Vergennes, Cuvee Fantastique, Famiglia Cotarella, Ferentano, Grand Cru, Irpinia, Jean Luc & Paul Aegerter, Les Vallerots, Nebbiolo, Nuits Saint Georges, Pescaja, Rose, Saint-Emilion, Terre Alfieri, Tuke, Virginie de Valandraud. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.