A few good red wines along with too many misses – Jan/Feb 2022 Tasting

This is my second QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) WINNER Hit and Miss post of 2022 and while this started in January as a poor showing, I had two more wines in February that made the overall post much better. We started with one QPR WINNER and that grew to three WINNER by February. Still, the star of the show was the first QPR WINNER, the 2016 Terra di Seta Chianti Classico, Assai, Gran Selezione, Chianti Classico!

This post is filled with many more examples of what people are raving about from Israel, the 2018 red vintage, and all I can say is, yes they are not date juice! They are not uncontrolled madness, they are OK, they lack acidity and mostly they are copy and paste of each other with different fruit. Still, an improvement over other vintages. Essentially, much like the 2016 vintage, another highly vaunted vintage, which I described to my buddy EA as: “milk chocolate, either blue or black fruit, loads of cedar and tobacco – copy and paste wines”.

I wish it was better, even when God forces a winery to make good wine by keeping the temperatures at bay, they still make mediocre stuff. Such is life! Thankfully, we are blessed with Terra di Seta, aka TDS, which won my first ever winery of the year in 2019 and a winery that I have been touting for many years now! The newly released 2016 Terra di Seta Chianti Classico, Assai, Gran Selezione, is a stunning wine and maybe their best Assai so far!

The next two QPR WINNER are the 2019 Herzog Winery Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, and the 2020 Chateau Signac Pliocene, Cotes du Rhone. I must say, the 2019 Herzog is shockingly ripe but the level of acidity it has really helped to tamp down the fruit and with time they all work together to make a harmonious wine. Still, it is ripe to start so leave this wine alone for many years. The 2020 Chateau Signac Pliocene, on the other hand, is lovely and ready to go. It is NOT as ripe as the 2018 vintage, but it is nice and very enjoyable for the next few years.

Finally, there is a repeat tasting of the 2019 Pavillon du Vieux Chantre, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion. As I stated in the Moises Taieb post, I needed to taste a few wines a second time and I am happy I did. The 2019 Pavillon du Vieux Chantre showed beautifully and just as I expected it to, after having tasted all the previous vintages. Thankfully, this wine is available in the USA in an easy-to-find location, from Andrew Breskin and Liquid Kosher.

The rest are OK, QPR score-wise, with only one wine garnering a score of GREAT, which is the 2017 Ma’ayan Asis Blend, these are relabeled wines from Tom Winery. The Tzora was nice but overpriced for what it gives.

I also tasted three 2019 Pinot Noirs and the clear winner, of those three, was the 2019 Goose Bay Pinot Noir, Small Batch. It is a lovely wine and one to enjoy over the next couple of years.

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

2016 Terra di Seta Chianti Classico, Assai, Gran Selezione, Chianti Classico – Score: 93.5 (QPR: WINNER)
This vintage of Assai is its best and this wine is 100% Glorious, rich, elegant, focused, balanced, fruity, but tart, refreshing and concentrated – WOW! BRAVO!!! The nose on this wine is pure heaven, it is soy sauce, funk, forest floor, mushroom, fruity, red and black fruit, tar, smoke, violet, very floral, wild herbs, and rich mineral. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is ripe, concentrated, but well-controlled, with ripe plum, dark strawberry, candied raspberry compote, with menthol, licorice, baking spices, all wrapped in dense sweet oak and elegant draping tannins, just incredible! The finish is long, dense, dark, rich, layered, concentrated, yet perfectly balanced, with screaming acidity, rich espresso coffee, mushrooms, almost truffle, forest floor, mineral, charcoal, graphite, and star anise. WOW!!! Drink from 2026 until 2033. BRAVO!!! (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 15%)

2017 Tabor Cabernet Sauvignon, Single Vineyard, Judaica Vineyard, Galilee – Score: 90 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is ripe but controlled with sweet oak, red and black fruit, dense loam, hints of blue fruit, smoke, and roasted meat. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe but controlled, with nice acidity, good focus, with roasted herbs, blueberry, blackberry, dark raspberry, nice menthol, nice mouth-draping tannin, roasted herb, mint, charcoal, graphite, and nice garrigue. The finish is long, dark, balanced, fruity, but tart, refreshing, with good acidity, smoke, dark chocolate, sweet tobacco, more loam, and graphite. Nice!! Drink by 2025. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

2018 Yatir Forest, Judean Hills – Score: 90 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is not ripe, one of the first in a long time from Yatir, with blackberry, plum, smoke, dirt, tart cherry, blue fruit, and nice roasted meat. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is balanced but ripe, with blackberry, blueberry, dark and brooding blackcurrant, tight mouth-draping tannin, candied plum, graphite, and foliage. The finish is long, ripe, dark, smoky, earthy, and brooding, with more tannin, nice acidity, smoke, roasted herb, sweet tobacco, milk chocolate, and sweet oak. Drink until 2025. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 15%)

2018 Vitkin Carignan, Judean Hills – Score: 90.5 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose on this wine is nice, well-controlled, not ripe at all, fruity with notes of blue and red fruit, rich loam, mineral, roasted duck, rich earth, and nice smoke. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is ripe, dense, and layered, with good extraction, nice blueberry, dark raspberry, dark currants, blackcurrants, graphite, rich charcoal, smoke, tar, and lovely loam. The finish is long, smoky, dirty, fruity, with nice acidity, nice mouth-draping tannin, good fruit-focus, nice dark roasted espresso coffee, charcoal, tar, and smoke. Nice! Drink by 2024. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2018 Netofa Tel Qasser Moursyr, Galilee – Score: 89 (QPR: POOR)
The nose on this wine is nice enough, with blue and red fruit, nice floral notes, violet, jasmine, good minerality, smoke, and green notes. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is ok, but not a wine that pulls me, with nice boysenberry, mouth-draping tannin, sweet raspberry, dark cherry, good saline, smoke, earth, sweet tea, Lapsang tea, and root beer. The finish is a bit short, tart, fruity, with sweet notes of jasmine, tea, more blue fruit, earth, graphite, and smoke. Drink by 2024. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13.50%)

2019 La Garenne Cuvee Terroir, Bordeaux – Score: 86 (QPR: POOR)
This wine is a blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is another green, tinny Bordeaux, with a simple profile, showing green notes, foliage, stems, herbs, jalapeno, and some fruit. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is not horrible, but it is too tinny, and green, with more jalapeno, bell pepper, cucumber, foliage, blackberry, raspberry, nice tannin, and herbs. The finish is long, tart, green, with nice black and red fruit, good earth, loam, graphite, and more green notes. Drink by 2024. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 12.50%)

2018 Galil Mountain Winery Yiron, Galilee – Score: 81 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, & 7% Petit Verdot. With all the hype of the 2018 vintage, I had hoped for the wines of old, the ones we used to be able to drink, sadly, nothing has changed here. Sure, it is not pure date juice, but it is so over the top, and teetering on it that I cannot honestly write much here outside of ripe. The nose on this wine is ripe, unbalanced, and fruity, with candied black fruit, hints of red fruit, milk chocolate, and not much else. The mouth on this full-throttle oak monster is ripe and unbalanced blackberry, plum, cassis, smoke, tannin, and loads of vanilla. The finish is long, ripe, fruity, with more milk chocolate, sweet tobacco, and yeah – ripe! Drink until 2025. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.50%)

2018 Galil Mountain Winery Meron, Galilee – Score: 82 (QPR: BAD)
Another 2018 hype wine and another wine that is unchanged from previous vintages. This wine is a blend of 85% Syrah, 10% Petit Verdot, & 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose on this wine is ripe, unbalanced, and not even there, it is mostly just fruit without a basic idea of what it is, a true identity crisis for this wine. There are hints of blue fruit, some floral notes, and otherwise, just a clear message that I am fruity is all we get. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is far clearer, in regards to what kind of wine it is, the wine is unbalanced, ripe, with boysenberry, blackberry, white pepper, no acid to be found, just fruit and more fruit, with sweet oak, tannin, and not much else. The finish is a bit short, ripe, round, and boring. Drink by 2024. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.50%)

2019 Tzora Shoresh, Red, Judean Hills – Score: 91 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is a blend of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Syrah, 20% Merlot, & 20% Petit Verdot. The nose on this wine is nice, balanced, bright, yet fruity, earthy, smoky, dirty, black and red fruit, hints of blue, with sweet tobacco, iron, pencil shavings, and forest floor. The mouth on this big, bold, full-bodied wine is balanced, showing lovely acidity, dark blackberry, cassis, plum, boysenberry, sweet cedar, sweet dill, butterscotch, blackcurrant, dense and concentrated, layered, with mouth-draping tannin, lovely minerality, graphite, dirt, smoke, and more metal shavings. The finish is long, tart, earthy, with graphite, ripe fruit, lovely acidity, dark chocolate-covered coffee beans, and more mineral lingering long. NICE! Drink from 2023 until 2030. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.50%)

2018 Golan Heights Winery Yarden Pinot Noir, Galilee – Score: 84 (QPR: POOR)
The nose on this wine is candied raspberry, fig, cherry liqueur, with sweet oak, smoke, and ripe notes. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is ripe, unbalanced, an oak monster, with no acid, nothing but fruit, oak, tannin, smoke, and more cherry liqueur. The finish is flat, boring, and move on. Drink by 2024. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

2019 Pacifica Pinot Noir, Evan’s Collection, Columbia Gorge, OR – Score: 84 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is dirty, earthy, with red fruit, violet, jasmine, loads of smoke, toast, forest floor, and mineral. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is where things go astray, it is a bit hollow, perfectly balanced, with great acidity, dark cherry, raspberry, loads of toast, wet floorboards, loam, and smoke. The finish is long, dirty, smoky, with nice tannin, more red fruit, tannin galore, vanilla, black pepper, oak, and toast. Drink until 2024. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2019 Goose Bay Pinot Noir, Small Batch, South Island (M) – Score: 90.5 (QPR: GOOD)
This is the best Pinot I have tasted today and it is no surprise as Goose Bay continues to deliver quality wines at a reasonable price. The nose on this wine has the most profound oak influence, but this will blow off with time, what is great is that the nose is equally bright with fruit, toast, loam, earth, and mineral while having hints of violets behind the oak blanket. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is quite fun, layered, toasty, oaky, but super balanced, with great acidity, green notes, foliage, menthol, mint, dark kirsch cherry, cherry cola, raspberry, smoke, and elegant draping tannin that coats the mouth and lingers forever. The finish is long, green dark, toasty, and lovely elegant while also being fruity, really fun! Drink until 2024. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13.80%)

2019 Zion Merlot, Capital, Galilee – Score: 75 (QPR: NA)
The nose on this wine is ripe, round, and not very interesting, with ripe black and red fruit, bell pepper, and not much else. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is ripe, unbalanced, with no acidity, no freshness, it is sweet and ripe fruit, blackberry, candied liqueur plum, and green notes. The finish is long, ripe, unbalanced, with tannin, and not much else. Drink now. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

2019 Covenant Israel Blue C, Red, Galilee – Score: 83 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this red wine blend is ripe, loads of fruit, not enough brightness, sweet cedar, sweet thyme, candied black fruit, and smoke. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, layered, but sadly unbalanced, almost no acid to speak of, not refreshing, more of a sledgehammer with no direction, blackberry, boysenberry, raspberry, candied plum, almost prunes, more smoke, and abrasive tannin. The finish is long, tannic, ripe, almost date juice, with over-the-top fruit, sweet oak, sweet tobacco, and roasted meat. Drink by 2026. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.90%)

2017 Ma’ayan Field Blend, Shomron – Score: 89 (QPR: GOOD)
This wine is a blend of 40% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 13% Syrah. The nose on this wine is ripe that is clear from the start and it could have really used a bit more acidity, but overall, it is a nice enough wine, just not as refreshing as it could have been with the added tartaric acid. The nose starts with blueberry, dirt, loam, dark fruit, currants, smoke, nice balancing green notes, foliage, menthol, and mint. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is dense, ripe, layered, showing control with green notes, nice waxy component, foliage, dark currants, sweet cedar, really nice menthol/mint/garrigue that enhances the wine, with blueberry, raspberry, and lovely loam. The finish is long, green, dirty, with graphite, smoke, sweet smoking tobacco, and roasted notes. Nice! Drink by 2024. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

2017 Ma’ayan Asis Blend, Shomron – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
Where the 2017 Field blend could have used more brightness and acidity, the Field blend is perfectly acidified, it feels added, but that is 100% fine. The nose on this wine is bright, with green notes, foliage, Brussel sprouts, plum, raspberry, sweet cedar, toast, iron, milk chocolate, and tobacco. The mouth on this medium-plus-bodied wine is nicely balanced, with good acidity, fruit, layers, smoke, tart raspberry, tart, and ripe plum, tart and ripe blueberry, sweet cedar, rich loam, saline, and butterscotch. The finish is long, green, smoky, fruity, but balanced, with good saline, graphite, mineral, loam, milk chocolate, and ripe fruit. Nice! Drink until 2025. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.50%)

2017 Ma’ayan Cabernet Sauvignon, Shomron – Score: 83 (QPR: POOR)
The nose on this ripe wine is, well, ripe, intensely so, with sweet and ripe notes, milk chocolate, sweet plum, dark fruit, and sweet cedar. The mouth on this full-bodied is ripe, with a decent amount of acidity, which does help cut the ripeness, but it is still unbalanced and it loses the freshness, with plum, dark brooding blackberry, smoke, and blackcurrant. The finish is long, but it lacks the picture, it has a focus, but not in the way I want. Drink until 2024. (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

2019 Pavillon du Vieux Chantre, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is so very different than what I had in Paris, I am so happy I checked again before posting, Also, this wine is very akin to the 2018 vintage, the only main difference is the balance, the 2018 vintage was riper while the 2019 vintage has more minerality and acidity, nice! The nose on this wine is lovely, green notes, rich saline, floral notes of lavender, rich smoke, bell pepper, anise, iron, black pepper, charcoal, red and black fruit, and rich loam, very nice! The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lovely, plush, ripe, yet balanced with intense acidity, lovely minerality, blackberry, raspberry, tart cherry, rich loam, mouth-searing tannin, green notes, graphite, rich mineral, more smoke, soy sauce, and garrigue. The finish is long, green, and ripe, but impressively balanced, with more acid, saline, graphite, charcoal, green notes rock, nice coffee, and loam lingering long. BRAVO!! Drink until 2030. (tasted February 2022) (in Paris, France & San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

2018 Tulip Espero, Red, Galilee – Score: 76 (QPR: NA)
This wine is a blend of 55% Syrah, 30% Merlot, & 15% Cabernet Franc. Another overripe, over the top Israeli wine, this is not only ripe and unbalanced, but it also is flat, with no acidity, and no focus, hard pass. (tasted February 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

2020 Vitkin Pinot Noir, Judean Hills – Score: 87 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is nice enough but while it is well-balanced it has nothing to grab your attention, it has good acidity, varietally correct, but that is about it, a simple quaff. The nose on this wine has smoke, earth, dark cherry, raspberry, rose petals, and toast. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is well-balanced, with red fruit, cherry, a bit of tannin, oak, and good acidity to tie it together. The finish is long, green, red, fruity, with more oak, tannin, mineral, and sweet spices. Drink until 2024. (tasted February 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2019 Hagafen Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley, CA (M) – Score: 88 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is candied fruit liqueur, sweet oak, sweet dill, over the top, candied plum, and more candied red fruit. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, showing too much oak, loads of sweet dill, intense tannin, nice extraction, with dark candied plum, dark raspberry, sweet notes of strawberry jam, nice acidity, but overall, really ripe, intense, and jammy. The finish is long, ripe, red, with more extraction, oak, milk chocolate, tobacco, sweet mint, roasted herbs, and sweet spices. Drink until 2026. (tasted February 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.50%)

2020 Chateau Signac Pliocene, Cotes du Rhone – Score: 91.5 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah. The nose on this wine is a bit stunted, for now, with notes of roasted meat, blueberry, blackberry, smoke, spice, and mulberry. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is what I like to taste, rich acidity, lovely tannin structure, lovely boysenberry, raspberry, plum, mulberry, and sweet spices, wrapped in sweet oak, tannin, nice mineral, and great fruit structure. Nice!!! This is not a freight train that will overwhelm you, this is a well-balanced wine that will work with all parts of a meal, outside of a cote du boeuf. The finish is long, balanced, tart, ripe, with lovely menthol, intense graphite, charcoal, sweet tobacco, and rich loam/tar, really fun!! Drink until 2025. (tasted February 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

2019 Binyamina Diamond, Galilee (M) – Score: 88 (QPR: POOR)
This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Shiraz, & 10% Petit Verdot. The nose on this wine is ripe, with loads of oak, smoke, sweet blue and black fruit, with raspberry, plum, and graphite. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is ripe, but there is some acid to help calm it down, ripe boysenberry, blackberry, ripe cassis jam, raspberry, plum, graphite, green notes, loads of sweet dill, oak, and some dirt. The finish is long, ripe, sweet, with earth, graphite, more oak, tobacco, menthol, rich milk chocolate, and some roasted herbs. Drink by 2026. (tasted February 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.50%)

2019 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Special Reserve, Alexander Valley, CA (M) – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine, to start, is ripe, scary to start, with lovely pencil shaving, graphite, menthol, dark chocolate, sweet oak, ripe plum, blackberry, green notes, foliage, and nice earth. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, a bit scary to start, but the acidity is impressive, the wine is dense, layered, richly extracted, showing blackberry, dense smoke, sweet oak, dark plum, blackberry, tart raspberry, mouth-draping, and elegant tannin, with a refreshing attack of fruit and acidity, dense tannin, lovely loam, earth, and smoke, with mineral, and roasted herbs. The finish is long, green, ripe, and salty, with green olives, saline, dense, fruity, ripe, and layered, really impressive, with minerality, graphite, pencil shavings, and dense fruit. BRAVO! Drink from 2027 until 2033. (tasted February 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 15%)

Posted on February 21, 2022, in Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Wine, QPR Post, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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