Lovely white wines to enjoy now – Jan 2021 Tasting

DISCLAIMER: I cannot change the titles of posts, a major issue with WordPress, so sorry – DUH it is 2022, again apologies.

Now that I am done with my Paris posts it was time to finally catch up on many wines I have been tasting since I came back from hiking Kilimanjaro, in December. I know it is cold and wet outside, but white wines belong in everyone’s cellar/wine fridge for when you want to enjoy some easy-drinking wine with your soup, salad, or fish. I love to enjoy it with Tahini but to each their own.

So, as in the past, I will keep this post super short, really just a bunch of notes and I hope you enjoy the three QPR (Quality to price ratio) WINNERs as much as I did. It was really fun tasting 2021 wines in 2021! The two Hagafen wines were both unique and enjoyable. The fact that they were released within the same calendar year that they were produced, just makes it more enjoyable.

The Tzora white wines were quite nice, not quite a return to the early Aughts, but still, well-made wines and ones I would buy, if they were not so expensive. I finally had a Binah wine that I almost enjoyed, the Gruner Veltliner, but even that was missing something and not where I hoped it would be.

Goose Bay continues to crush it. Interesting note, they did not produce wine in 2020, because as you know, they are in the Southern Hemisphere. Harvest time there, for white wines, is around March, give or take a week or so. March 2020, no one was allowed to enter New Zealand, and the OU uses outside kosher wine supervisors. So, they could not produce kosher wine in 2020. I read the OU story of the Masgiach that was in Samoa and had to do crazy travel plans just to get back home. O’dwyers Creek, which is also in New Zealand, and uses the OU, as well, used local folks that Zoom’ed with the OU daily and they managed to produce a LOVELY 2020 Sauvignon Blanc. I was surprised to a 2020 O’dwyers Creek, so I reached out to the OU and that is what they told me happened, very cool, IMHO. Finally, because New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, getting the 2021 wines here in December is not as unique as tasting a California 2021 wine. Either way, the wines were all quite enjoyable from New Zealand and Hagafen.

Finally, the two Viniferia wines were quite enjoyable and well priced. The new 2019 vintage of the Chateau Guiraud G, Blanc-Sec, is quite lovely and would be a QPR WINNER, except for its higher than median pricing.

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 O’Dwyers Creek Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough (M) – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine is classically New Zealand in style, cat piss, green notes, gooseberry, passion fruit, fresh-cut grass, and bright fruit all over the place. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lovely, showing nice flint notes, smoke, rock, saline, gooseberry, lemongrass, guava, lychee, and crazy acid, that comes at you in waves, so much fun! The finish on this wine shows more saline, rock, flint, smoke, mineral, gooseberry, freshly cut grass, and intense acid, so much fun!!! BRAVO!! Drink until 2024. (tasted December 2021) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 12.50%)

2020 Shiran Viognier, Negev – Score: 86 (QPR: BAD)
This is another Israeli wine that has no value, is absurdly expensive, and is not even a wine I would share with friends. The nose on this wine is flat, there is nothing there, hints of peach, apple, but I am reaching here. The mouth on this light to medium-bodied wine has intense acidity and that is it, there is some green apple, maybe quince, but that is it. Throw in some saline, acid and I am again reaching. The finish is long, tart, green, and otherwise, boring. Drink now. (tasted December 2021) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2020 Binah Traminette, Pennsylvania – Score: 88 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose on this sweet wine is ripe, sweet, floral, with rosehip, guava, melon, brown sugar, a lot of RS (Residual Sugar), honeysuckle, orange blossom, orange marmalade, and honeydew melon. The mouth on this light-bodied wine is ripe, sweet, with lots of RS, but it has enough acid to make it almost work, with nice tart pineapple, lychee, honeyed melon, and sweet sugar notes. The finish is long, tart, balanced, but with a bit too much RS and sugar for me. Overall, not a bad sweet wine. Drink until 2024. (tasted December 2021) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 11%)

2020 Binah Gruner Veltliner, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania (M) – Score: 90 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose on this wine is not very expressive with orange blossom, rosehip, a bit of straw, quince, lemongrass, and lime. The mouth of this wine starts with nice acidity, that fills the mouth, tart quince, lemon/lime sherbet, with nice grass, straw, green notes, foliage, and tart green apple. The finish is long, funky, tart, green, showing lovely minerality, acid, and slate. Very nice! Drink by 2023. (tasted December 2021) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2021 Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc, South Island (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine starts slowly, but with 30 minutes it shows its inner charm and is another QPR winner from Goose Bay! The nose opens to rich saline, gooseberry, cat piss, lovely passion fruit, sweet cut grass, straw, slate, smoke, and flint – lovely! The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine is a bit fuller than other Sauvignon Blanc, with lovely tart acidity, great fruit focus, tart gooseberry, precise and focused, with kiwi, lychee, lime, intense minerality, saline, and lovely smoke. The finish is super-long, with more tart notes, crazy acid, flint, and lovely tart gooseberry lingering super long. Bravo! Drink until 2024. (tasted December 2021) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 12.50%)

2021 Goose Bay Pinot Grigio, South Island (M) – Score: 90.5 (QPR: GREAT)
Another Goose Bay and another QPR wine, not a WINNER, but GREAT, the 2021 vintage is showing very well for the Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinot Grigio. The nose on this wine is lovely, straw, dry grass, ripe but well-controlled, with hints of guava, slate, melon, lovely honeysuckle, green and yellow apple, and peach – lovely! The mouth on this medium-plus-bodied wine shows nice weight, with nice funk, green and yellow fruit, nice balancing acidity, good straw, mineral, lovely Pear, Asian Pear, hints of nectarine, ripe but well balanced. The finish is long, tart, acidic, with good flint, rock, slate, and lovely saline. Nice!! Drink until 2023. (tasted December 2021) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2021 Hagafen Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, CA (M) – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose on this wine is nice with orange blossom, honeysuckle, green notes, gooseberry, waxy notes, and apricot. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine shows a fatter weight than I was expecting with good enough acidity, sweet notes, orange/peach marmalade, lemon/lime juice, and tart grapefruit. The finish is long, green, tart, fruity, and finishes with orange juice and pith. Drink now. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 12.50%)

2021 Hagafen Riesling, Dry, Napa Valley, CA (M) – Score: 91.5 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is too young to judge IMHO, it needs another month to get over the bottle shock and its youth. The nose on this wine starts very strangely, it has notes of salami and sulfur, with time those blow off and we get to what we expect from this wine, some honeysuckle, petrol, mineral, stone fruit, and loads of smoke. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice and has lovely acidity to stay the day with good fruit, peach, apricot, honeysuckle, mineral, saline, flint, smoke, and some very nice weight. The finish is long, tart, and rich, with good acidity, tart grapefruit, saline, kafir lime, intense charcoal, smoke, and green notes. Very unique, but this will evolve and move towards more of what we expect, I think. Either way another WINNER! Drink by 2025. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 12.50%)

2020 Covenant Chardonnay Lavan, Sonoma Mountain, CA – Score: 89 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is not as beguiling as previous vintages, with peach, apricot, hints of butterscotch, sweet oak, vanilla, apple, and smoke. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is OK, it has the weight of an oaked Chardonnay, but what it lacks a bit of acid, the focus is there along with the fruit, more peach, apple, quince, smoke, and sweet tea, still, the sweetness is a bit overpowering and a bit more acid would have helped. The finish is nice, with more sweet fruit, oak, smoke, a hint of mineral, and more vanilla. Drink by 2024. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13.80%)

2020 Tzora Judean Hills Blanc, Judean Hills – Score: 90 (QPR: GOOD)
This wine is a blend of 65% Chardonnay and 35% Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is very slow to open, it took an hour for the wine to open for me, be careful! The nose on this wine, once open, is nice with peach, apricot, grapefruit, lemongrass, nice gooseberry, slate, and rich saline. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is lovely, once it fully opens, with ripe but well-balanced melon, guava, lychee, gooseberry, ripe Meyer lemon, grapefruit, and lovely acidity that carries through the entire mouth. The finish is long, ripe, tart, balanced, with great slate, smoke, flint. tart fruit, gripping acid, and a lovely mouthfeel that lingers forever, Sadly, the wine falls apart rather quickly so drink NOW! (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13.50%)

2020 Tzora Shoresh Blanc, Judean Hills – Score: 91 (QPR: GOOD)
This wine is a blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc & 20% Chardonnay. The nose on this wine is lovely, rich, tart, bright, ethereal, elegant, not a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc nor a Cali Sb, this is more of a mineral-laden wine, with smoke, flint, gooseberry, notes of sweet baked cobbler, but balanced with vanilla, mineral, saline, and citrus. The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine is rich, layered, truly expressive, with a great fruit focus, showing intense and focused saline, acidity, smoke, slate, flint, all balanced with gooseberry, baked apple cobbler, almost oily with a bit of oak tannin, but well balanced and truly impressive. The finish is super long, tart, bright, smoky, and acid-based, with rich mineral, slate, rock, saline, and rich mouthfeel, all wrapped in gooseberry, grapefruit, a bit of sweet oak, and more acid. nice. Sadly, the wine falls apart rather quickly so drink NOW! (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13.50%)

2019 Viniferia White Wine, La Mancha (M) – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose on this Macabeo is lovely, dirty, stinky, funky, and mineral heaven, everything I want!! The nose on this wine is funky, a bit too funky, even for me, showing a bit of sulfur, but with a few min that blows off and the funk comes under control, mineral, slate, smoke, flint, lemon/lime, lemon blossom, Meyer lemon, and more citrus. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lovely, the acid slaps you upside the head to start, with rich mineral, saline, flint, tart grapefruit, gooseberry, Meyer lemon, kafir lime- lovely!! The finish is super long, tart, acidic, with more saline, slate, smoke, mint, green notes galore, and smoke/flint on the long finish. Drink now. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2020 Viniferia Vermentino, Costa Toscana – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine is lovely, mineral, ripe fruit, lemon blossom, Meyer lemon, lime, stone fruit, flint, and smoke, really fun! The mouth of this medium-bodied wine shows pure minerality, with intense flint, acid, lovely saline, olives, white peach, Asian pear, Meyer lemon, lime, and grapefruit. Lovely! The finish is long, green, fun, with intensity, refreshing, all backed by slate, saline, Meyer lemon/lime, and olives. Bravo! Drink now! (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13.50%)

2019 Chateau Guiraud G, Blanc Sec, Bordeaux – Score: 91.5 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose on this wine is very reminiscent of the 2017 vintage, with nice funk, wax, green notes, with cucumber, mineral, honeysuckle, floral notes, but also a bit riper than 2017 with peach, apricot, and hints of melon. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine shows nice weight, good funk, straw, mineral, dried grass, melon, peach, wrapped in an oily texture, showing nice complexity, saline, Asian pear, and sweet tea. The finish is long, ripe, well balanced, with good acidity, pith, lemongrass, stone, slate, with more wax, oily notes, and flint. Bravo! Drink by 2024. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13.50%)

Posted on February 16, 2022, in Israeli Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, QPR Post, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Thank you! these reviews are much appreciated. Should I assume you have the wrong year in the title of the post (21)?

  2. How/from where did you purchase the Viniferia wines?

    • I got it from The Cellar – Lakewood NJ
      https://www.cellarlakewood.com/

      It is very similar to the Cantina Giuliano Vermentino 2020 – he made it for them, not 100% sure if it is the same or not. But the cellar sells it for less than the Cantina Giuliano Vermentino 2020 sells for now. It is drink NOW!!

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