A lovely and expansive vertical tasting at Elvi Wines Clos Mesorah in Montsant – Nov 2021
So, a quick recap of my life over the past 45 days. I was in Paris in November along with Avi Davidowitz of Kosher Wine Unfiltered. Avi and I tasted lots of wines and more posts about those wines are forthcoming. Avi left a few days after he arrived to return to his family in Israel for Shabbat and I stayed Shabbat in France. On Sunday I flew to Spain to taste wines with Moises and Anne, which I will be posting here. Then I flew back to Paris, hung out with family, and then flew home.
Two weeks later, I was back on a plane to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro. During the 2 weeks I was home I was training or working the entire time, so I barely got the Royal Wine tasting post up! Thankfully I climbed it safely and returned home. The 7 days on that mountain was the longest stretch of my adult life away from a computer, totally surreal for me! Anyway, I am now home and I will be working on my posts, God willing!
So, now back to wine, this post is about Elvi Wines, I have written many times about Elvi Wines, the first post I wrote about Moises and ElviWines is this. Truthfully, nothing has changed about that post, in regards to Elvi Wines, other than the labels and a few wines being dropped to streamline the marketing of the wines. My next main post on Elvi Wines was when I visited the winery with my wife. Before, in between, and after, I have been consistently posting their wines in my QPR posts, wines of the year, and so on. Why? Because they make exceptional wines at reasonable prices and they make a great selection of them under many labels. The labels have evolved, some wines dropped, but overall, since I met Moises one day in San Francisco, tasting through the wines, I heard the story, the dream, and we have all been blessed to watch the trajectory of the winery. It continues to evolve, creating wonderful wines for a reasonable price while proving that Cabernet Sauvignon is not the only red wine that you can sell to the kosher wine buyer.
It is still harder to sell wines as diverse and different as Elvi does. There is no Cabernet, there is no Merlot, sure they find their ways into the EL26 blend, but overall, Elvi is an expression of Spain – not an expression of the kosher wine palate. Elvi typifies Spain to the kosher buyer more than any other option and it has continued to excel in doing it. Sadly, we have seen Capcanes, which is a 5-minute drive from Clos Mesorah, take a large step backward. They too showed the potential of Spain, as a new-world wine in old-world clothing. Sadly, they have drunk from the same fountain of fruit, that so many Israeli wineries have, and they have lost their way. Thankfully, Elvi Wines, Clos Mesorah, and Vina Encina continue to not only execute with great wines they also are improving and growing with new vineyards and winery plans.
I arrived a few hours late because the train systems in Spain are massively antiquated and stopped running for a few hours. Once I arrived, we had the opportunity to start tasting through many a wine. The plan was simple, taste through the wines of Elvi, in a few verticals. A Vertical tasting, in this example, is when you taste the same wine across many vintages. After some tasting, we would have dinner and then go to sleep. The next day we would taste more, go out and see some lovely architecture, then swing by the new vineyards in Priorat, and then finish the tasting, get dinner, and then sleep early as the flight back to Paris is early.
As stated, eventually I got to the winery and the first vertical we did was all the Clos Mesorah wines from 2009 through 2019, except for the 2011 and 2012 vintages that do not exist. That was followed by a partial vertical of Herenza White (AKA InVita) wines. I appreciate tart and acidic wines like the Invita and they showed well, including some with age on them.
The tastings were really fun because tasting through Clos Mesorah is an opportunity to taste through the years of Priorat. Some vintages were very unique, while others were much akin to each other. Each one spoke of the vintage in their own ways, really inspiring. The one constant is acidity, deeply rooted, much akin to Four Gates and Chateau Malartic. Of course, Clos Mesorah is not as old-world as Chateau Malartic, but it has the acidity from its old-world terroir to balance some of its new-world fruit structure. Four Gates Merlot has the same staying power because of the acid that is so deeply core to its very being.
Tasting with Moises Cohen and Anne was a real joy. I have tasted with them before but this time the lineup was far more extensive and that gave me a chance to see what they look for in wine as they described what they thought they liked about the wines and what stood out in each of them, from their perspective. My notes are always what I taste, but my blog will attempt, at times, to emote some of what I hear from the winemaker or the host. In this case, Anne is very clearly passionate about the wine, it shows from the conversations and the notes she describes. Moises is equally passionate, but you can see him defer to Anne when it comes to the wine. Moises cut his teeth in the wine world on the vines and the terroir but eventually, that comes to the wine. The saying goes; wine is made in the vineyard. Together they make a dynamic duo that comes out in many ways. The artistry of the wine, the labels, the overall style they want – that is a duality between Anne and Moises, but Anne seems to take the lead there. In regards to the vineyards, the plushness of the wine, the weight, the overall mouthfeel, there Moises tends to lead, though Anne is side by side as well. The dance is fascinating to watch, explore, and just stand to the side and let happen. Overall, this tasting left me super happy for many reasons. First of all, Clos Mesorah is one of the most consistently great wines out there, even if the track record is a bit short. However, what stood out is the dance between Moises and Anne and the mutual respect they have for each other. Fun times indeed.
It was great seeing Leah, their daughter, later that evening, she had come up from University Rovira & Virgili in Tarragona. Where she is taking up Enology at the Faculty of Enology. The University ranks in the top quartile year over year, in regards to research and advancements in technology and agriculture. Quite exciting. I just missed David, who is working as Elvi’s Marketing arm. His language skills, passion, personality, and palate are helping to get more people to see the joy of Elvi Wines. David was doing tastings in NYC and Chicago when I was hanging out in Spain. Next time David, B”H!
Dinner was lovely and then I got some long needed sleep. An aside, the stars at Clos Mesorah are stunning! Not as impressive as on Mount Kilimanjaro, where light is not seen for some 20 miles in all directions, at some tent camps, but man was it lovely in Spain!
The next day we took a drive to see lovely Miravet – a magical locale in the middle of Catalonia. Just read the Wikipedia about this place: Miravet is a municipality in the comarca of Ribera d’Ebre in the Province of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. The village and the castle were founded by the Moors and rebuilt by the Knights Templar and transformed into a fortress-monastery, after the conquest of 1153. Wikipedia
Come on! You had me at Castle then throw in Knights of templar and conquest – and game over!! Look at the photos – this place is lovely! The coffee at the cafe under the castle was lovely!
After that, we made our way to the new vineyards that Elvi Wines has been planting these vines for 3 years and finally completed this year in and around Priorat. There will be a new winery built into the side of the mountain where the vines are growing – all dreamed up by Anne and driven by Moises and crew. A truly dynamic duo! They hope to finish the winery in time for the 2022 vintage when they will start sourcing the vines for the first time! From dreams to completion soon, with the help of Hashem!
When we returned to Clos Mesorah, Moises pulled over and we climbed a small hill to see the views from the top of some of the vine slopes and they were incredible! I missed doing this the last time I was here so make sure to do it when you come to Clos Mesorah!
Once back at the winery we returned to our task at hand, more verticals, but today we were joined by a renowned wine critic, local to the area, Miquel Hudin, who, while Californian by birth, is now based in the Priorat region of Catalunya (from his website). It was great watching a professional do his tasting and we did have a lively conversation here and there but overall, it was all about tasting wines and that was the task at hand.
I retasted a few of the Clos Mesorah again, and then it was time to taste this fabled Sublim. This was a wine that I had heard of for a long time now, and though many had tasted the wine from barrels or even tanks, I think we were the first to taste the official wine from the bottle. I have said many times, both privately and publicly, that I do not care for barrel tastings. The wine changes far too much for me to get a real sense of the wine to be. In the end, I care solely about what is in the bottle and what is poured from the said bottle. All the steps before that are nice for some but for me, I will wait.
The Sublim is quite lovely and while it is fruitier than the 2016 Clos Mesorah it is also slightly more elegant, rich, and layered. Still, tasting them side by side was a very nice opportunity. The 2016 Clos Mesorah is a blend of 48% Carignan, 33% Grenache, and 19% Syrah. The 2016 Clos Mesorah Sublim is a blend of 50% Carignan and 50% Grenache both Old Vines of 90+ years, with strict berry selection. Aged three years in French Oak and two years in bottle.
From there, we went to Herenza Rioja Semi wines. The Semi may be seen as a drink-now wine, but I have always put larger drinking windows on them as mevushal or not, they are very nice wines, most years. We had the chance to taste 2020, 2019, 2017, and 2011 Rioja Semi wines. Three out of four of them were WINNER scores before and now and they continue to shine. The 2011 vintage tasted at its peak but wow, I just loved how the wine evolved and became far more rich and complex while also showing the tertiary notes that a Rioja can.
Next, we had the chance to taste two Crianza wines, the 2017 and 2018 vintages. Of all of the wines made by Elvi, this is the one wine I never really have embraced. The main issue here for me has always been the oak. The Crianza ages for 2 years in oak and it always shows, to start. What I have yet to do is taste a really old Crianza. The 2010 vintage, which I tasted a few years ago, was lovely, but I have not had a younger one than that, any time recently. I have a few of each year lying down and I will start to taste some of them soon. The 2018 vintage is nice now and 2017 may need time for me to get past all the oak.
Next, we had the chance to taste the new and old Reserva wines. On an aside, there is a new wine, the 2010 Gran Reserva, but I missed tasting it by a few days! Next time! This time, I tasted 2009, 2010, 2014, 2016, and 2017 Herenza Reserva wines. Now, this is a wine I have always liked. I thought 2010 had hit its peak and it showed in the bottling I tasted and what I have at my home. The 2009 vintage is still rocking and the younger wines are also equally impressive. Just the 2010 vintage felt out of synch with the rest of them. These are all QPR WINNERS and very consistently enjoyable wines.
Next, we had 2018, 2015, 2014, 2008, and 2005 EL26 wines! Each of them was a WINNER and it goes to prove how much Spain runs through the veins of this winery. There are so many different styles of wines but they are almost always WINNER and that is what impresses me the most, the work and effort of Anne and Mosies, along with the kids, a true family business!
The 2018 Adar seemed a bit off lacking in acid, while the 2019 Vina Encina red was quite nice indeed! The Elvi Cava Brut is always fun, and that was a wrap!
Dinner was wonderful and then I went to sleep a bit early again, as I had to get up early and head out to the airport for my return flight. Moises and Anne were so kind to drive me to the airport. Next time, I need to get a proper taxi arranged, in advance. I hate driving in foreign countries so my many thanks to Moises, Anne, and the family for all their kindness, hospitality, time, and of course their wonderful wines! The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here and the explanation for QPR scores can be found here:
2019 Clos Mesorah, Montsant – Score: 93.5 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is beautiful with lovely floral notes of rosehip, violet, tisane tea, red and blue fruit, with roasted herb, smoke, roasted animal, rhubarb, dried cherry, and lovely forest floor. The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine is lovely with screaming acidity, lovely dark raspberry, plum, tart currant, mouth-draping tannin, rhubarb, dark cherry, with lovely green notes, rich saline, mineral, spice, roasted herb, lovely blackberry, smoke, and rich graphite. The finish is long, green ripe, blackberry, with saline, smoke, blueberry, leather, cloves, cinnamon, and sweet oak, bravo!!! Drink from 2026 until 2034. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 15.5%)
2018 Clos Mesorah, Montsant – Score: 94 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine shows more black fruit than the 2019 vintage, with lovely blackberry, smoke, root beer, roasted animal, more than 2019, with some red fruit, a bit bluer, with white and pink flowers that emerge after time, raspberry, and mineral. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is rich, layered, elegant, and a bit riper than 2019, with rich salinity, sweet oak, black olives, blackberry, plum, boysenberry, root beer, dark currants, anise, and rich mouthfeel and fruit structure, that gives way to saline, roasted herbs, and graphite. The finish is long, dark, brooding, smoky, earthy, forest floor, and blackcurrants, with dirt, loam, clay, leather, and rich spices. Bravo!! Drink from 2027 until 2036. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 15.5%)
2017 Clos Mesorah, Montsant – Score: 94 (QPR: WINNER)
This is a super elegant, floral, and feminine wine, bravo!! The nose on this wine is beautiful, showing floral notes of violet, white flowers, with blueberry, black fruit, smoke, roasted duck, earth, and loads of smoke, dirt, and loam. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is so elegant, layered, concentrated, earthy, fruity, smoky, and richly extracted, with boysenberry, lovely green olives, blackberry, dark cherry, plum, smoke, earth, loam, and lovely sweet cedar, with green notes, sweet tobacco, sweet basil, and lovely acid. The finish is long, green, with draping elegant tannin, showing a bit more acid than even 2019, sweet smoking tobacco, dark chocolate, white pepper, and anise. Bravo!! Drink from 2025 until 2035. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14.5%)
2016 Clos Mesorah, Montsant – Score: 94 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is lovely – gone is the ripeness that I thought was an issue, just lovely, balanced, rich, and mineral-driven! The nose on this wine is lovely, but lovely, with ripe fruit, well balanced, showing lovely smoke, roasted meat, black pepper, this vintage is showing more balanced than the 18 but riper than the 17, with lovely tobacco, with good black and blue fruit, all wrapped in loam, rich mushroom, forest floor, and spice. The mouth on this wine is incredible, rich, layered, smoky, and earthy, and yes ripe, but the acidity is wonderful, with layers of blackberry, blueberry, juicy tart fruit, with a concentration of fruit, well-focused, with loads of mouth draping tannin, showing a beautiful plush mouthfeel that belies its youth, with more forest floor, and shows a wine capable of lasting really far into the future. The finish is super long, plush, green, ripe, with black and blue fruit, backed by loads of tart raspberry, smoke, graphite, tar, and more smoked meat. wow! True joy! Drink from 2023 until 2033. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14.5%)
2015 Clos Mesorah, Montsant – Score: 93 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 40% Carignan made from 90-year-old vines, 30% Grenache, and 30% Syrah. A lovely nose that is showing a bit riper than in the past, with dark fruit, earth, milk chocolate, blackberry, dark plum, mineral, forest floor, lovely green herb, and roasted notes. The mouth on this medium-plus bodied is lovely with mounds of sweet dill, showing layers of ripe black fruit, with lovely blueberry, nice bright fruit, though less acidity than the 2018 or 2016, all wrapped in a plush and mouth-coating intensity, with rich mineral, graphite, dark black fruit, rich herb, and lovely tobacco. The finish is long and green with foliage, smoke, mushroom, and ripe blue fruit that is balanced with great acid, dark tea, candied plum, blackcurrants lingering long, with leather, and milk chocolate. Bravo!! Drink from 2022 until 2029. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 15%)
2014 Clos Mesorah, Montsant – Score: 94.5 (QPR: WINNER)
This is the flagship wine of Elvi Wines. Having enjoyed these wines now for many years, my notes of the very same wine evolve as the wine does. This wine is still a bit young but can start to be enjoyed at this time. But having said much of these characteristics when I first tasted the 2009 Clos Mesorah, I can say, that with time these notes will move in the direction of the 2009 CM, moving older world with age – truly a joy to taste! This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Carignan from vines that are 105 years old, and 15% Syrah. Wow, what a California Syrah nose, with intense root beer, watermelon, crazy how this smells like a Cali Syrah, with blueberry, and boysenberry, and spiced plum punch. The mouth on this full-bodied wine wow, the mouth is full-bodied, extracted, and crazy rich, with layers of extraction and concentrated fruit. This vintage is different than the others as it is more extracted and more concentrated than the later vintages. The lovely wine is still showing searing tannin, ripping acidity, that gives way to black and blue fruit, blackberry, plum, with crazy chocolate and coffee coming together to show mouth drying tannin, with earth, spice, cloves, black pepper, and spicy, with heady spice and blue fruit. The finish is long and spicy, with sweet spice and fruit that gives way to chocolate, roasted meat, and graphite. Really impressive wine bravo! Drink by 2031. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14.5%)
2013 Clos Mesorah, Montsant – Score: 94.5 (QPR: WINNER)
This is the flagship wine of Elvi Wines. It is a blend of 50% Carignan, 30% Grenache, and 20% Syrah. Elvi Wines makes 7K of these bottles. The wine was sourced from vines that are 20 to 100 years of age. The nose on this wine has changed from being a ripe and blue/root beer nose to more smoke and older-world notes, with still lingering aromas of boysenberry, but overpowered now by the intense smoke monster nose, with rich black olives, roasted meat, earth, licorice galore, forest floor, mushroom, terroir, caramel, and black fruit. The mouth on this full-bodied, and richly extracted wine, hits you with layers of concentrated fruit, with an attack of blue and black fruit, blackberry, boysenberry, and cherry, balanced perfectly, showing great elegance, along with mad mineral, graphite, slate, rich and freshly tilled earth, along with deeply concentrated black fruit. The wine is the perfect example of elegance and balance with ripe fruit that flows into a plush mouth made from mouth coating and drying tannin, backed by a rich fruit structure. This is truly a wine that speaks for itself. This wine feels like the 2016 and 2018 vintages, but years older, really impressive and it shows how a balanced wine, even ripe, can live and improve when built with great balance and elegance. The finish is long, intense, and earth-based, with rich layers of chocolate, searing acid, showing rich roasted animal notes, lovely mushroom, barnyard, insane mineral, graphite, and floral notes, behind a wall of smoke and fruit. BRAVO!!! Drink by 2030. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14.5%)
2010 Clos Mesorah, Montsant – Score: 94 (QPR: WINNER)
The wine has a crazy rich and perfumed nose of ripe but controlled black fruit, ripe but super balanced, with bright fruit, lovely blueberry, floral notes, with rich smoke aromas, roasted meat, earth, mineral madness, with lovely tertiary notes, barnyard, mushroom, intense coffee espresso madness, and more black fruit. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is rich, crazy concentrated, and layered with black and blue fruit, all balanced with still searing tannin, lovely balancing acid, blackberry, rich mushroom and barnyard, black plum, rich earth, along with a massive attack of spice, herbs, sweet dill, and good cedar that fills the mouth and makes for a rich mouthfeel. The finish is long and ripe with truly rich milk chocolate, almost mocha, with more coffee and mushroom, more spice, barnyard, funk-city, sweet fruit, wet earth, and spice lingering long, with tannin and mineral, taking center stage with graphite, and saline on the long finish. Bravo!! Drink by 2027. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14%)
2009 Clos Mesorah, Montsant – Score: 94.5 (QPR: WINNER)
The wine is a blend of 40% Carignan made from 90-year-old vines, 30% Grenache, and 30% Syrah. This was the first release of the Clos Mesorah wine in a kosher format and it is well worth the wait. The wine has a crazy rich and perfumed nose of ripe but controlled blackberry, crazy spice, black cherry, dense barnyard, truffle, roasted meat, lovely blueberry, black fruit, and floral notes. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is layered, rich, and crazy with concentrated and layered fruit, raspberry, blackberry, plum, lovely integrating mouth coating tannin, along with a massive attack of barnyard, buttered herbs, butterscotch, with a mouthfeel and tannin structure that still coats the mouth and makes for a rich and well-balanced mouthfeel. The finish is long and earthy, with beautiful acid, mushroom, barnyard, followed by rich baker’s chocolate, showing anise, sweet baking spices, that is backed by graphite, mineral, and a never-ending barnyard base. Bravo!!! Drink by 2028. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 13.5%)
2020 ElviWines Herenza Blanco, Alella – Score: 91.5 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 60% Pansa Blanca & 40% Sauvignon Blanc. The nose on this wine is pure funk, dirt, smoke, mineral, wet soil, with a bit of gooseberry, quince, and yellow apple. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, showing rich funk, incredible acidity, with quince, grapefruit, gooseberry, lemon/lime, passion fruit, lovely straw/hay, lovely ocean notes, anise, and rich salinity. The finish is long, green, tart, with great mineral, tart yellow plum, and lovely tart passion fruit. Lovely! Drink until 2025. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 12%)
2019 ElviWines Herenza Blanco, Alella – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 60% Pansa Blanca & 40% Sauvignon Blanc. The nose on this wine is lovely, though slow to open, with funk, smoke, gooseberry, quince, lemon blossom, and lovely mineral. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine has lovely weight, with a precise focus of fruit, mineral, acidity, and freshness, while also showing lovely potential for aging, with a bit more acidity than the last time I had it. The finish is long, tart, perfectly balanced, and mineral-based with more slate, quince, orange rind, smoke, and rich salinity. Bravo!!! Drink until 2023. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 13%)
2018 ElviWines Herenza Blanco, Alella – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
The wine is a blend of something like 60% Pansa Blanca and 40% Sauvignon Blanc. The nose on this wine is now a really nice mineral bomb, with mango galore, lovely impressive funk, white peach, loads of hay and mineral, with citrus and mad orange blossom. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is oily and richer in mouthfeel, and shows nice acidity, with tart pink grapefruit, followed by orange fruit, yellow plum, and beautiful orange blossom. The finish is super long, tart, and juicy, super well balanced, white pepper, showing more acidity on the finish than on the front of the wine, with fun mineral, more funk lingering long, along with flint, and pith. WOW! Drink until 2025. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 12.5%)
2016 ElviWines Invita, Alella – Score: 91 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose on this wine is now pure funk, almost turning to a sherry-like nose, with tropical notes, rich funk, yellow flowers, spice, guava, and slate. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is now pure funk, nice acidity, and slate, with mineral, gooseberry, honeyed notes, honeysuckle, and rosehip galore. The finish is long, spicy, herbal, with great acidity, mineral, hay, slate, and funk. Nice. Drink now. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 12.5%)
2015 ElviWines Invita, Alella – Score: 89 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose on this wine is much less interesting than in the past, with quince, floral notes of rosehip, and funk galore. The mouth is less interesting with funk and really not much else for me, the acidity is holding it together, but drink now. The finish is long and lingering with lemon drops, hints of grapefruit, floral notes, drink now! (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 12.5%)
2011 ElviWines Invita, Alella – Score: 70 (QPR: BAD)
The wine is now past its time. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 12.5%)
2020 ElviWines Herenza Rose, Rioja – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose on this wine is lovely with ripe strawberry, raspberry, sweet orange blossom, quince, lemon, and smoke. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lovely, showing far better than I tasted in France, really lovely acidity, with nice red fruit, raspberry, strawberry, currant, saline, mineral, and orange notes. The finish is long, with acid still screaming, slate, and nice pith, in moderation, all coming together in the end for a nice rose. Drink now! (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 12.5%)
2016 Clos Mesorah Sublim, Montsant – Score: 94.5 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is ripe, richly layered, smoky, earthy, dirty, but ripe, with candied plum, blackberry, boysenberry, dense fruit, covering layers of earth, loam, and mushroom, and lovely floral notes that help to balance the nose. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, it shows the staying power to go a long way, what really shines is the integrated acidity, balance, that helps to calm down the layers upon layers of ripe and concentrated blackberry, dark plum, boysenberry, rich smoke, tar, mouth-drying tannin, sweet cedar, sweet dill, roasted basil, herbs, foliage, that is backed by a density of elegance that shows rich power and fruit focus, that gives way to more floral notes, smoke, earth, and roasted notes. The finish on this wine is ripe, cedar-driven, smoky, and dense with roasted animal, rich leather, smoking tobacco, dark to milk chocolate, but what continues to shock me is the balance and elegance notwithstanding the current fruit density and cedar, all wrapped in rich mouth-draping tannin, tar, and licorice. Bravo!!! Drink from 2026 until 2037. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 15%)
2020 ElviWines Herenza Rioja Semi, Rioja (M) – Score: 91.5 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine is ripe, but well balanced with floral notes of rosehip, rose petals, currants, blackcurrants, with earth, tar, clay, and smoke. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lovely, balanced, with great acidity, saline, black olives, lovely roasted herbs, with lovely fruit focus, more floral notes, rose, violet, and rich earth. Lovely! The finish is long, floral, ripe, balanced, tart, with tart cherry, raspberry, and almost hints of strawberry, wrapped in lovely mouthcoating tannin, graphite, and more acid. Lovely! Drink until 2028. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 13%)
2019 Elvi Wines Rioja, Herenza, Semi, Rioja (M) – Score: 91.5 (QPR: WINNER)
WOW! what a year does to wine. Last year the wine was too ripe, but now it is perfect! Pop and go time! The nose on this wine is not as ripe anymore, to start we get what we want, coffee, tar, and smoke, with bright fruit, that emerges from under a blanket of ripe fruit, thank goodness! The mouth on this medium-bodied wine has lost its oak monster, with a nice mouth-draping tannin structure, dark fruit, blackberry, plum, dark cherry, smoke, earth, and loam, followed by a lovely fruit focus, tart fruit, tar, mineral, earth, smoke, rich umami, soy sauce, with loads of blackcurrants, rich saline, and lovely balance. The finish is long, really spicy, a bit ripe, and again, with lovely acidity, loads of dark chocolate, the tar finally appears in the finish, with anise, roasted notes, and toast. Bravo! Drink until 2025. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14.10%)
2017 ElviWines Herenza Rioja Semi, Rioja (M) – Score: 88 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose on this wine is lovely, ripe, and floral, with ripe red fruit, currant, cranberry, rhubarb, and smoke. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is interesting, it has loads of fruit, but lacks the acidity and finish to make it all work. The finish is a bit short, with red fruit, and earth. Drink now (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 13.5%)
2011 ElviWines Herenza Rioja, Semi, Rioja – Score: 91.5 (QPR: WINNER)
This nose on this wine is pure heaven, soy sauce, umami, mushroom, coffee, espresso, toffee notes, and red fruit, WOW! The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is pure acid, mushroom, raspberry, rhubarb, cherry, barnyard, violet, rosehip, and smoke, wow! The finish is long, green, red, floral, smoky, and based on acid, mushroom, coffee, soy sauce, forest floor, and smoke. Bravo! Drink now! (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 13.5%)
2018 ElviWines Herenza Rioja, Crianza, Rioja – Score: 91.5 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine is perfect, not too much oak, well balanced, with lovely floral notes, smoke, dirt, clay, loam, red and black fruit, rose, roasted meat, and rich salinity. The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine is lovely, well balanced, with great acidity, nice smoke, nice sweet cedar, great smoke, floral notes, with green herbs, umami, raspberry, dark plum, with mouth-draping tannin, tart fruit, and lovely clay. The finish is floral, dirty, and fruity, with great red fruit, lovely acidity, smoke, leather, and grip. Lovely!! Drink until 2027. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14%)
2017 ElviWines Herenza Rioja, Crianza, Rioja – Score: 88 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose on this wine has evolved since I last had it, with a bit of oak influence now, but now it is showing riper, as the oak recedes, with sweet dill, with loads of spice, dark fruit, black pepper, and sweet spices. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is ripe, with good acidity, with oak influence, blackberry, ripe strawberry, ripe blackcurrants, sweet tannin, and loads of smoke, with cloves, more pepper, and earth. Drink until 2024. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14%)
2017 ElviWines Herenza, Rioja, Reserva, Rioja – Score: 93 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine is lovely, ripe, balanced, with rich smoke, roasted animal, root beer, sweet licorice, with red and blue fruit – lovely! The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine is ripe, layered, with rich salinity, great acidity, ripe fruit, ripe strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb, root beer, with mouth-draping and drying tannin, lovely tar, smoke, and dried flowers, lovely! The finish is long, bright, tart, smoky, rich, layered, and floral, with great spice, roasted animal, smoking tobacco, and rich leather, very unique! Drink from 2025 until 2033. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14%)
2016 ElviWines Herenza Rioja, Reserva, Rioja – Score: 93.5 (QPR: WINNER)
This is what I crave in wine – balance, complexity, elegance, and all bottled for a price that makes it a WINNER! The nose on this wine is beautiful, balanced, complex, lighter than 2014, but still bold, rich, and expressive, soy sauce, umami, rich mushroom, loam, spices, blue and red fruit, and sweet anise, lovely! The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is not as bold as the 2014 and it starts a bit ripe, with time the wine opens to show balance, dark blueberry, plum, candied/spiced raspberry, and rich sweet spices give way to a mouth-draping elegance, sweet tannin, plush mouthfeel, and rich loam, clay, and earth, beautiful. The finish is long, balanced, with leather, sweet tobacco, root beer, sweet baking spices, cloves, cinnamon, sweet cedar, dark chocolate, and rich searing acidity that brings this wine altogether. Bravo!! Another smash! Drink from 2024 until 2032. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14.5%)
2014 ElviWines Herenza, Rioja, Reserva, Rioja – Score: 94 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine is lovely and ripe with blue and red fruit, with hints of black fruit with crazy notes of soy sauce, root beer, and crazy smoke, and lovely roasted meat. The mouth on this rich and layered full-bodied wine hits you with crazy sweet dill, the intense oak notes are a thing of the past, with rich blueberry, ripe and juicy raspberry, strawberry with lovely extraction, layers of sweet and controlled fruit, showing sweet herb, lovely black forest berry, menthol, with sweet mushroom and garrigue. The finish is long sweet, and really fun, with sweet tobacco, roasted espresso, rich dark chocolate, mint, more soy sauce, menthol, and sweet herbs. Bravo. Drink from until 2034. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14%)
2010 ElviWines Herenza Rioja, Reserva, Rioja – Score: 82 (QPR: NA)
Dead – the wine is oxidized and drink now! (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14%)
2009 ElviWines Herenza Rioja, Reserva, Rioja – Score: 94 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is made up of Tempranillo grapes grown at the highest altitude in Rioja, Rioja Alta. The Reserva moniker in the DOC classified area of Rioja means that the wine must be aged for at least three years, of which at least one year is in oak. This wine was aged in French and American oak for 20 months and then bottle aged for years until release. The nose on this dark-colored wine is filled with dark fruit, ripe plum, root beer, sweet oak, lovely soy sauce, forest floor, mushroom, and balanced sweet red and blue fruit. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is richly layered and extracted with more dark fruit, blueberry, black plum, showing a crazy inky structure, with candied fruit, blackberry, spice, more extraction, and sweet cedar. The finish is long and mature with great structure, milk chocolate, dill, spice, dark herb, lovely mushroom, truffle, barnyard, and a bit more soy sauce BRAVO!! Drink by 2024. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14%)
2019 Elvi Wines EL26, Elite, Priorat – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
The EL26 continues its winning ways with another stunning vintage. It may not be as dense and concentrated as 2018 but it is lovely! The wine is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Carignan. The nose on this wine is bright, red, with slightly candied notes, sweet oak, sweet dill, roasted meat, tar, charcoal, loam, sweet rosebuds, lovely floral notes, and loads of forest floor already reaching to slight mushroom. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is not as dense as the 2018 vintage, though it is elegant, with incredible acidity, tart cranberry, plum, strawberry, raspberry, candied berry, and a lovely precise fruit focus, with mouth-draping tannin, rich and scraping minerality. The mouth puckers from the tannin, acid, and dense fruit structure. It starts a bit ripe and it calms with time. The finish on this wine lasts forever, with slight green notes, roasted herb, foliage, more forest floor, dry tobacco, rich soft leather, scraping tannin and mineral, nice floral notes, charcoal, graphite, more rosehip, saline, soy sauce, and rich fruit focus. Nice! Drink from 2026 until 2036. (tasted October 2021) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 15.5%)
2018 ElviWines EL26, Priorat – Score: 93.5 (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, now showing nice floral notes, rose petals, 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 nicely extracted, with good mouth and fruit texture, with incredible acidity, great 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 November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14.5%)
2015 ElviWines EL26, Priorat – Score: 93.5 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine is showing lovely, beautiful, and rich with layers of chocolate, blackberry, blue fruit, rich mushroom, wet earth, loam, and dirt. The mouth of this full-bodied wine shows crazy searing acid, rich with layers of concentrated and ripe fruit, incredible tannin, lovely spice, dark plum, sweet blueberry, sweet and juicy boysenberry, ripe black forest fruit with chocolate, intense tart fruit, and rich spice. The finish is long and tannic with gripping lingering tannin, rich spice, chocolate, and leather galore with hints of green notes, foliage, rich dirt, mineral, and lovely spice. Bravo! Drink by 2029. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 15.5%)
2014 ElviWines EL26, Priorat – Score: 92.5 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 45% Carignan, 35% Grenache, and 20% Syrah. This wine is showing far more accessible than previous vintages. The 2014 vintage in Spain makes for wines that are easily approachable now and yet have the power to last a long time. The nose on this wine is more fruit-forward and ripe than the other vintages, with dark candied raspberry, blackberry, and spiced boysenberry, root beer, earth, showing spice, anise, and cranberry. The mouth is beautiful and controlled, with great mouth coating tannin, ripe fruit, with great sweet and focused fruit, lovely extraction, ripe and tart strawberry, raspberry, boysenberry all mixed together into a compote, with black fruit and earth. The finish is intense, with sweet and ripe fruit focus, yet balanced and focused, with coffee, leather, and sweet spices, nutmeg, and mineral galore, with scraping graphite, BRAVO!! Drink by 2026. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14.5%)
2008 ElviWines EL26, Priorat – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Merlot. The nose on this wine is redolent with crazy roasted animal, dark fruit, tilled earth, barnyard, rich mushroom, truffle, loam, and mad mineral. The mouth on this wine is insane, it is a beast, to say the least, with crazy acid, candied fruit, fig, intense saline, along with layer after layer of rich chocolate, earth, spice, blackberry, spiced plum, blueberry, but the wine is ready now, starting to show hints of oxidation, with mad black fruit, and sweet cedar. The finish is long and spicy and rich with lovely mineral, saline, chunks of roasted meat, tobacco, leather, lovely barnyard, hints of oxidation, and more black fruit, searing tannin lingering. The wine is showing sweet fruit leanings, but the wine is a blockbuster. Drink now! (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14.5%)
2005 ElviWines EL26, Priorat – Score: 94 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a lovely blend of 35% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose on this wine has changed greatly, showing beautiful ginger, anise, ripe blackberry, black pepper, lovely mushroom, intense barnyard, raspberry, and plum. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, but the acidity has kept this wine well, with mouth coating tannin, nice dirt, graphite, black cherry, ripe fruit, with intense barnyard, mushroom, with spicy wood, rich graphite, all balanced with great acidity. The finish is long, rich, dirty, and crazy barnyard, with rich minerality, herb, eucalyptus, tobacco, and chocolate. This is a massive and extracted wine with ripe fruit and one that balances well with the oak and spice. Drink now!! (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14.5%)
2018 ElviWines Adar, Ribera Del Jucar, La Mancha (M) – Score: 86 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is ripe, but to me what is missing is not the fruit, it is not the style, what is missing is a bit of acidity. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is ripe, it has fun blackcurrant, floral notes, with rich black and blue fruit, but what is really missing is the acid. Drink by 2023. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14%)
2019 ElviWines Vina Encina Tinto, La Mancha (M) – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose on this wine is ripe but well-controlled, with lovely floral notes, rich saline, smoke, dark cherry, raspberry, and currants. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, with nice acidity, roasted herb, floral notes of rose petals, smoke, and green notes, with plum, rhubarb, and dried cherry. The finish is long, ripe, green, with foliage, tart fruit, and rich herb. Drink by 2023. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 14%)
N.V. ElviWines Cava, Brut, Cava – Score: 90
The nose on this wine is balanced with nice acidity, bright lemon, green apple, dirt, slate, and nice smoke. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, balanced, with good weight, nice yellow and green apple, lemon, pomelo, and bright citrus. The finish is long, green, herbaceous, fruity, with beautiful mousse bubbles, and nice minerality. Nice! Drink until 2023. (tasted November 2021) (in Monstsant, Spain) (ABV = 12%)
Posted on December 26, 2021, in Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Rose Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting, Winery Visit and tagged Adar, Alella, Blanco, Cava, Clos Mesorah, el26, Elviwines, Herenza, Herenza Crianza, Herenza Reserva, Herenza Semi, Herenza White, InVita, La Mancha, Montsant, Priorat, Rioja, Semi, Sublim, Tinto, Vina Encina. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.
Did you get to taste the 2010 Gran Reserva? Hearing that the 2010 Reserva is dead makes me hesitant to purchase this.
As I posted in this very Clos Mesorah post – I have not tasted this – missed tasting it.
Opened a well-stored bottle of the 2010 Rioja Reserva a few days ago. It wasn’t dead, but very grassy/green. Still enjoyable, but definitely past peak. Guess there will be bottle variation at this point. Thanks for the heads up, I was expecting this wine to last longer.
Since 2010 was considered a great vintage for Rioja, I wonder if the grapes they took away from this wine to make the Gran Reserva really hurt it. Wondering the same about 2016 – do you know if they made a Gran Reserva in the 2016 vintage as well?
Not sure, IMHO, there seems to be some bottle variation in 2010. Some find their 2010 ok and others feel like me and you. In the end, 2010 was a wine we saw coming, not on release but after a few years. 2009 is still not in that boat and neither in the 14. Check-in on them every so often, that way you enjoy the wines maybe “before peak” but still enjoy them! Be well and Happy Passover!
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