The top 10 Kosher Mevushal wines of 2021
If you ever wondered what Kosher wine or the Mevushal process is, well I made a post these many years ago and nothing has changed about those facts, because kosher wine is kosher wine! The Mevushal process has evolved a bit over the years but the premise is still the same and the best craftsman in this space are Hagafen Cellars and Herzog Wine Cellars.
Royal Wine Europe does a good job as well, though from time to time, the white wines do not show as well after they go through the Mevushal process. The red wines are indeed done very well as I saw this past November 2021.
The whole premise for Mevushal wine is really a U.S. concept. Europe and much of Israel do not care for or need the wine to be Mevushal to serve at restaurants or events. The USA Rabbinic leaders think that there are too many issues and potential concerns at events and restaurants – given the vast number of servers being non-Jewish. As such, they demand Mevushal wines be served at the events. I have been to events where the pourers were all Shomer Shabbat Jews and that is what they do in Europe and Israel, but those are far and few between, here in the USA.
Overall, the 10 Mevushal wines below are not great, they are not bad, but not great. Now, this is not a cause and effect – meaning Mevushal does not ruin the wines. Mevushal – done incorrectly absolutely does cause damage to wine, and I have had many a “cooked” Mevushal wine. However, Herzog and Hagafen do not have these issues. Royal Europe, does a good job, but not as good as the previously mentioned wineries. Last year’s mevushal list would have had lovely wines as it would have included the 2018 Herzog wines! Also, we do not have examples of Mevushal wines that scored 95 points that are mevushal, again this is not a cause and effect but rather the issue that people do not yet Mevushal Pontet-Canet! Mind you, as I stated before, it is not from a lack of desire, on behalf of Royal Wines, they would boil anything to be able to sell more Mevushal wines. Still, so far, of the top wines that I have scored, the highest scored Mevushal wine is 2014, 2016, and 2018 Herzog Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon.
More and more wines are being made Mevushal to meet the needs of restaurants and caterers that want high-end Mevushal wines for their venues and events. The theme of the wines here is mostly Hagafen or Herzog with some smattering of European names as well.
Here is my list of the top 10 Mevushal wines that are available here in the USA. They are listed by score and after that in no particular order. 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 Chateau Le Crock, Saint-Estephe, Bordeaux (M) – Score: 92+ (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon and 41% Merlot. While I liked the 2018 vintage some did not, but this is a nice wine either way.
The nose on this wine is perfectly balanced, with lovely fruit, loam, dirt, smoke, bright and ripe plum, black and red fruit, with ripe dried strawberry, Tisane tea, and rich mineral. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is ripe, layered, beautifully controlled, with rich smoke, saline, lovely loam, beautiful graphite, pencil shaving, sweet oak, mouth-draping tannin, blackberry, dark plum, strawberry, elegance, and control, that gives way to some extraction, with sweet tobacco, and mineral. The finish is long, green, loam, dirty, rich, and yet elegant, with roasted meat, smoke, draping elegance, incredible richness without the show, really a wine to hold but one that can be enjoyed now. Drink from 2027 until 2036. If you must have it now decant for 2 hours. (tasted November 2021) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13%)
2019 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, Lake County (M) – Score: 92+ (QPR: WINNER)
This is a lovely wine, it reminds me of the 2017 lake County Cabernet Sauvignon, just a tad less ripe and more fruit-focused. The nose on this wine is lovely. This is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon, in all the right ways, screaming mineral, insane graphite, pencil shavings, with ripe green, black, and lovely red fruit, with tar, loads of roasted herb, and classic garrigue. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is softer than the 2017 vintage, with nice acidity in the middle, wrapped by intense tannin, nice extraction, blackberry, juicy raspberry, hints of boysenberry, and loads of minerality, all coming together quite nicely. The finish is long, green, mineral-driven, but black and blue, with leather, sweet spices, with mineral lingering long, sweet smoking tobacco, and juicy boysenberry staying long. Bravo!!! Drink from 2023 until 2030. (tasted April 2021)
2019 Chateau Tour Seran, Medoc, Bordeaux (M) – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
Thankfully, the kosher and quality issues of Tour Seran are all done with and it is BACK baby!! The 2019 Chateau Tour Seran is a true WINNER! The nose on this wine is the most balanced of the red 2019 vintage wines I have had so far, outside of the Chateau Haut Condissas, though I have had few 2019 reds so far. The nose on this lovely wine is dense, rich, controlled, no oak monster to calm down, this wine is in perfect balance and harmony, with dark black and red fruit, rich dark chocolate, graphite, mineral, spice, loam, and the start of some very nice forest floor, just lovely! The mouth on this full-bodied wine shows what a properly made, full-bodied wine should feel and taste like, the wine comes at you in waves of concentrated, yet elegant fruit, followed by a dense and concentrated mouthfeel, lovely extraction, showing rich blackberry, raspberry, cassis, saline, smoke, mineral, loam, green foliage, rich tobacco, tar, and precision in the impressive fruit focus. The finish is long, green, dense, ever-lasting, and perfectly balanced, with dry tobacco leaves, tart fruit, still lingering tannin, lovely leather, spice, and more scraping graphite. Nice!! Drink from 2025 until 2033. (tasted November 2021) (in Paris, France and in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13.5%)
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%)
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%)
2021 Hagafen Riesling, Dry, Napa Valley, CA (M) – Score: 91+ (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%)
2019 Chateau Greysac, Medoc (M) – Score: 91+ (QPR: WINNER)
The nose on this wine is closed with notes of ripe fruit, dark cherry, blackberry, iron, pencil shaving, nice minerality, tar, and smoke. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, well-balanced, with lovely acidity, lovely minerality, with great fruit focus, attack of rich saline, blackberry, cassis, dark cherry, raspberry, rich loam, graphite, mouth-drying tannin, with brooding dark fruit that emerges with time, still, the acidity does a great job of balancing the wine, even with the intense fruit, along with licorice, vanilla, and rich leather. The finish is long, super long, with intense tannin, brooding ripe fruit, iron, scraping graphite, and rich saline, but the fruit scares me, as such the window is a bit tight. Drink from 2026 until 2030. (tasted November 2021) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14%)
2019 Barons Edmond & Benjamin de Rothschild Les Lauriers, Montagne Saint-Emilion (M) – Score: 91+ (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 80% Merlot & 20% Cabernet Franc. The nose on this wine is less ripe than the 2018 vintage, with lovely licorice, nice floral notes, good balance, red fruit, nice loam, forest floor, and nice spice. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is dense, layered, and nice, a great level-up from 2018, with lovely licorice, dense tannin, lovely green notes, clay, scraping graphite, tart raspberry, tart plum, dark cherry, and rich saline, with lovely draping tannin. The finish is long, green, dirty, earthy, with sweet smoke, scraping graphite, limestone, clay, sweet tobacco, leather, and lovely roasted herbs. Nice!!! Drink from 2025 until 2029. (tasted November 2021) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13.5%)
2019 Elvi Wines Rioja, Herenza, Semi, Rioja (M) – Score: 91+ (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%)
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%)
Posted on March 4, 2022, in Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine and tagged Alexander Valley, Barons de Rothschild Edmond Benjamin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Greysac, Chateau Le Crock, Chateau Tour Seran, Dry, Elviwines, Goose Bay, Hagafen Winery, Herzog Cellars Winery, Les Lauriers, mevushal, O'dwyers Creek, Riesling, Rioja, Sauvignon Blanc, Semi, Special Reserve, Top 10. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.