Wines I tasted over the past few weeks with five QPR WINNERS

My trip to Paris in November and in June showed me terroir is not enough to make good wine. There are endless shelves of useless wines, at equally high prices, just like here in the USA. Thankfully, there were a few good ones and those will be outlined over the next weeks.

However, I wanted to catch up on a few wines that people have been asking about. The new Yarden wines are all the rave. People are crowing about them, and while they are not classic Israeli Date juice, they are not very interesting at all. I opened a lovely 2018 Baron Herzog Zinfandel, and that was far more interesting, refreshing, and enjoyable, than the 2018 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon.

There were also two lovely wines from California. First was the return of a kosher B.R. Cohn wine, this time it is not the Trestle Glen wine but a nice Cabernet Sauvignon, nonetheless. It was balanced, well made, and far more enjoyable than the Yarden, any day. Finally, I enjoyed the N.V. Hurliman Pinot Noir. It is a lovely wine made in honor of Joe Hurliman, head winemaker at Herzog Wine Cellars.

Finally, I need to once again highlight how much I like the 2020 Sheldrake Riesling, Dry, Finger Lakes, NY. It is a lovely wine, that may well be the most refreshing and enjoyable wine out there, at this moment. NO, I did not say the best wine out there. I said, refreshing and enjoyable. Some wines are elegant, unique, layered, and expressive, like the epic 2019 Chateau Pontet can’t or the almost equally impressive 2019 Chateau LaGrange. But, not every wine experience is about Pontet Canet. There are times where I want an enjoyable white wine to have during Shabbat lunch. In that case, I will either reach for sparkling wine or an acid-driven but equally refreshing white wine. Ari Lockspeiser’s 2020 Sheldrake Riesling is lovely and meets all of those requirements, nicely done buddy!

The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here and the explanation for QPR scores can be found here:

2020 Sheldrake Point Riesling, Dry, Finger Lakes, NY – Score: 91.5 (QPR: WINNER)
This is the first year that Ari Wines has made this wine and it is a true joy! First, I love the fact that he makes clear what dryness the wine has. The wine label shows an RS (Residual Sugar of 0.7 which is a bit more than I would have liked but still not within the average person’s opinion of what is “dry”. Officially, 0.5% is off-dry, but that is crazy precise, to most people below .10% you are dry, but everyone has their opinions. Finally, IMHO, this wine is not the best Riesling I have this year, nor is it the most complex wine of this year. However, and this is of great importance, this wine may well be the most refreshing wine I have tasted this year! That could well be because of either the lovely acidity, the low ABV (Alcohol By Volume), or because I love Riesling!
From open until empty this wine is always ready, enjoyable, and fun! The nose on this wine is lovely, showing notes I crave with intense honeysuckle, peach, tart citrus, honeyed notes of apple and pear, more floral notes, spices, and great minerality! The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is where this wine goes into solid WINNER status, it starts with a wave of acid, followed by a wave of balanced mouthfeel, with a weight that is lovely, not oily, but lovely, with ripe peach, tart tangerine, crab-apple like nectarine, and intense acidity. The finish is long, ripe, yet layered and expressive, with an acidic backbone, mineral, flint, rock, and intensity of mineral that makes this wine a true joy! Bravo! Drink until 2024. (tasted Novemeber 2021) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 11.10%)

N.V. Drappier Cote d’Or, Champagne (M) – Score: 90 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is a blend of fruit that is mostly made up of Pinot Noir. This wine was disgorged on 6/2021.
The nose on this wine is lovely, showing ripe and bright quince, melon, sweet apple, raspberry, and toast. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is lovely, showing layers of yellow apple, quince, melon, lovely precision, with some nice tannin, lovely and aggressive small-bubble mousse, with nice acidity, and more toast. The finish is long, red, sweet, balanced, tart, and toasty, with nice acidity, flint, and sweet apple/quince fruit. Drink until 2023. (tasted September 2021)

N.V. Drappier Rose Brut Nature, Zero Dosage, Champagne (M) – Score: 81 (QPR: BAD)
Sadly, this bottle has a disgorgement date of 6/20 – so while I like Drappier, the Brut Nature Drappier is not for 1 year of holding, from my experience. The nose on this wine smells of berry compote, peach, apricot, and mineral. The mouth on this medium-bodied rose sparkling wine is ok, there is clear acidity however the fruit is a bit muddled and overall is not as refreshing as I would have hoped, with strawberry, raspberry, peach, a nice small bubble mousse, and some flint. The finish is short, with the acidity falling off, good flint, and nice brioche. Drink now. (tasted October 2021)

N.V. Drappier Brut Nature, Zero Dosage, Champagne (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
This bottle was disgorged on 6/21 – and it does taste better than the 6/20 rose Brut Nature. This is clean, refreshing, and enjoyable.
The nose on this wine is clean, refreshing, bright, with screaming quince, peach, green apple, and lovely brioche. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lovely, tart, acidic, layered, attacking you with a refreshing approach of Meyer lemon, tart quince, with a nice mouthfeel, a small-bubble mousse, followed by flint, brioche, green apple, and tart peach – nice! The finish is long, green, fruit, yet perfectly balanced, with tart fruit, flint, mineral, smoke, and acid. Nice! Drink now. (tasted October 2021)

2020 Barkan Sauvignon Blanc, Classic, Israel (M) – Score: 72 (QPR: NA)
This wine is simply flat and boring and lacks any refreshment that I expect from a Sauvignon Blanc. The 2019 vintage was a GREAT QPR value – this is not. (tasted October 2021)

2020 Chateau Le Petit Chaban, Vin de Bordeaux, Bordeaux (M) – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
I still do not understand the need for cork in wines like this, if Château Guiraud uses Diam corks why is anyone using real cork anymore??
The nose on this wine is a classically inclined simple Bordeaux wine. It is tinny, green, with some nice fruit, bright fruit, and good loam. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine has a nice mouthfeel, it is simple, with nice plush tannin, green notes, roasted herbs, dark raspberry, amazing acidity, a nice refreshing wine that is a very solid quaff. The finish is long, green, with enough expression to grab your attention, tobacco, herbs, juicy strawberry, good minerality, and more loam. Nice!!! Drink until 2023. (tasted October 2021)

2018 Capcanes La Flor del Flor de Primavera, Montsant – Score: 90 (QPR: EVEN)
I keep hoping, I keep praying that Capcanes will return to its old ways of old-world wine style in Spain, sadly, that is gone. Sure, this vintage is far more balanced than previous vintages, but it is still not a wine I want to buy.
The nose on this wine starts with dark red candied fruit, smoke, loam, tar, charcoal, roasted meat, almost liqueur-style fruit, with ripe and candied raspberry, strawberry, dense toast, and sweet oak. The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine is not for me, it is too ripe, again better than previous vintages, but another ripe fruit bomb, with rich extraction, ripe, candied, and concentrated raspberry, strawberry, currant, with rich mineral, soy sauce, and dense fruit that needs more elegance and acidity to bring it all together. The finish is long, dark, brooding, ripe, and over the top, with too much sweet oak, ripe fruit, sweet tobacco, milk chocolate, and dense fruit that lingers long. Drink from 2026 until 2033. (tasted October 2021)

2020 Jean Paul Seguin Sancerre, Sancerre (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose on this wine is quite lovely and classically correct for a Sancerre. The nose shows lovely bright fruit, great salinity, nice tart lime, orange blossom, honeysuckle, gooseberry, round notes, with vanilla, and sweet lemongrass.
The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is well balanced, with great acidity, saline, gooseberry, screaming flint, mineral, rock, lovely grapefruit, Kaffir lime, and rich lemon notes. The finish is long, green, with more lemongrass, green notes, gooseberry, citrus, flint, rock, and smoke. Nice! Drink now! (tasted November 2021) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2019 Jean Marc Brun Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Nuits, Hautes-Cotes de Nuits – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine is pure heaven, rich smoke, loam, laden earth, cherry, cranberry, sweet oak, lovely hints of black forest fruit, lovely floral notes, and rich roasted herbs, lovely! The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is perfect, it is sharp, acidic, with good fruit, cranberry, Kirsch cherry, lithe in style, with lovely floral notes, violet, rose petals, rich loam, forest floor, all wrapped in elegant tannin, with roasted mint, sage, and vanilla. The finish is long, green, herbal, tannic, floral, and ethereal, lovely! Showing rich saline, soy sauce, violet, graphite, dark chocolate, coffee beans, and smoke. Bravo! Drink until 2031. (tasted November 2021) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 12.5%)

N.V. Herzog Hurliman, Winemaker Reserve, Central Coast, CA – Score: 91.5 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this N.V. wine is classical for Pinot Noir, a varietal that Herzog has always given proper respect, and all of that has been through the guiding hands of Joe Hurliman, the head winemaker of Herzog Winery.
The nose on this wine is lovely, showing sweet oak, at the start, with classic sweet and Cali ripe Kirsch, maybe sour, cherry, sweet tea aromas, hints of Cherry Cola, sweet menthol, sweet garrigue, with loam, earth, and rich smoke bringing up the back. The mouth on this medium-plus-bodied wine shows proper respect to Pinot Noir, with sweet oak, dark cherry, cranberry, plum, rich smoke, lovely salinity, roasted herb, tart, and sweet raspberry, with lovely mouth-draping tannin, sweet fruit, and graphite. The finish is long, sweet, tart, and well-balanced, lovely black olives, saline, hints of root beer, with more fruit, graphite, chocolate, and sweet dill. Nice! Drink from 2023 until 2030. (tasted November 2021) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.%)

2019 Lueria Barbera, Galilee – Score: 90.5 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose on this wine is lovely and is reminiscent of the old days, AKA pre-2011 Israeli wines.
The nose on this wine is classic in style, for a Barbera, showing very nice fruit, dark and brooding, ripe, with smoke, green notes, herbs, and nice loam. The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine is ripe, but balanced, with good acidity, ripe plum, currants, blackberry, rich loam, nice mouth-draping tannin, with green tea, iron, graphite, and nice boysenberry. The finish is long, ripe, green, balanced, and oaky, with enough acidity, sweet oak, milk chocolate, roasted meat, herbs, and loads of sweet vanilla. Drink from 2023 until 2026. (tasted November 2021) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

2019 B.R. Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
This is the return of B.R. Cohn, this wine was given to me to taste, and it is worth getting some, IMHO. This wine was made at Hagafen Cellars, as such it is Mevushal. The nose on this wine is lovely, classically Napa, with ripe but well-balanced fruit, showing sweet dill, sweet oak, lots of oak influence, but with time, that gives way to cloves, sweet spices, ripe blackberry, cassis, boysenberry, sweet loam, dirt, plum, and lovely smoke. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is rich, layered, but not overly extracted with nice sweet fruit everywhere, but balanced, with good acidity, nice mineral, loam, blackberry, boysenberry, plum, cassis, sweet oak, sweet dill, nice mouth-draping tannin, good fruit focus, refreshing, yet ripe. The finish is long, dark, sweet, ripe, with good smoke, earth, sweet tea, loads of sweet spices, cloves, cinnamon, sweet screaming oak notes of vanilla, dill, sweet licorice, pencil shavings, cherry, and smoke galore. Drink from 2023 until 2030. (tasted November 2021) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13.8%)

2018 Golan Heights Winery Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon, Galilee – Score: 90 (QPR: GOOD)
There is a fair amount of hype and talk around the new 2018 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon. I have been asked about it, as such I bought a bottle, and yeah, I can see what people may like, but this is too ripe, unbalanced, and just not very interesting. Just because a wine is NOT date juice does not make it a reason to praise it! The wine is below average in style, not a Cab in any manner, IMHO, and lacks a real reason to enjoy it. After a few days, the wine does improve slightly, but this is not a wine I crave. It happens to not be date juice, that is not a cause for celebration, that is what we expect, sadly that is the state of wine in Israel, IMHO. Many will appreciate this wine but do not count me in that group.
This wine is still a bit too much for me, but for most, this will be the first Yarden wine, OUTSIDE of their lovely Sparkling wines that they may want to drink, in the last 12 or more years. The nose on this wine is ripe, black and red fruit, smoke, herbs, though to me it smells more like cherry cough syrup than real wine, with roasted herbs, soy sauce, and herbs. The mouth on this medium-bodied to full-bodied wine is nice, it lacks the acidity to make it balanced, but it has enough tannin, sweet fruit, cherry, cassis, hints of blueberry, but really to me, the candied/spiced cherry liqueur takes center stage, with sweet spices, and roasted herbs. With time, the wine opens a bit more, it shows more black and red fruit, consistent with a Cabernet, but it also shows its flaws, far riper, and closer to the dreaded date juice. Still lacks the acid to make this all work. The finish is long, spicy, herbal, with more red and black fruit, dark and spiced blackcurrant, almost syrah-like, with roasted mint, menthol, and forest floor. Drink until 2027. (tasted November 2021) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 15%)

Posted on December 6, 2021, in Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, QPR Post, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Have you tasted Mia Luce. Syrah and Stems or their blend. I find it one of the best wines, I got it thru kosher not easily available in Los Angeles, very smooth full body. Let me know what you think !

    Sent from my iPad


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