Another round of QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) Hits and Misses, Nine QPR WINNERS – May 2022

A side note before we get to the QPR list. I just returned, B”H, from Paris and I know many are interested in my notes from the trip, along with all the roses that are NOT on this list. So, for full disclosure, I will be posting the rose list next and then I will be getting to the wines I enjoyed and suffered in Paris. The good news, there are lots of wonderful wines from the Paris tastings and many will be making their way here. Sadly, the rose list is not that interesting at all. Now on to the QPR list, which will catch me up to almost all the wines before my Paris trip, other than the roses.

QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) Wines

It has been a few months since my last QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) post and many people have been emailing me about some unique wines I have tasted and some lovely wines that are worth writing about.

Thankfully, no matter how garbage and pain I subject myself to, we are still blessed with quite a few wonderful QPR wines out there. This post includes some nice wines and some OK wines with the usual majority of uninteresting to bad wines.

I had the fortune of going to Hagafen Wine Cellars with Neal and Elk and the 2018 and 2019 vintages continue to impress. The prices are a bit high but with the price of land and fruit in Napa Valley, the fires, the lack of water, and so much more, the price is what it is. Still, the two QPR winner wines were lovely as were the vast majority of all the wines we enjoyed.

I also had the chance to go to Marciano Estates Winery and the wines showed beautifully there as well. The same can be said about Marciano, in regards to the pricing, both at the price and the reasons for them, so read the notes and make up your minds.

The story of 2021 Israel whites and roses is very unfortunate, it started with a bang. Matar and a couple of others showed very well. Sadly, after that, every other white and rose wine from Israel was not as impressive. They all show middling work and product, very disappointing indeed.

We have a nice list of QPR WINNERS:

  1. 2019 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, CA
  2. 2018 Hagafen Pinot Noir, Prix, Napa Valley, CA
  3. 2020 Domaine du Castel Blanc du Castel, Judean Hills
  4. 2020 Ramon Cardova Albarino, Rias Baixas
  5. 2021 Baron Edmund de Rothschild Rimapere, Marlborough
  6. 2021 Matar Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Galilee
  7. 2021 Gush Etzion Sauvignon Blanc, Judean Hills
  8. 2021 Herzog Sauvignon Blanc, Lineage, Lake County, CA
  9. 2019 Hagafen Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley, CA

There were also a few wines that are a slight step behind with a GREAT or GOOD QPR score:

  1. 2018 Hagafen Syrah, Napa Valley, CA
  2. 2019 Hagafen Malbec, Napa Valley, CA
  3. 2019 Carmel Gewürztraminer, Late Harvest, Single Vineyards, Galilee
  4. 2021 Dalton Chardonnay, Unoaked, Galilee
  5. 2020 Pascal Bouchard Chablis, Chablis
  6. 2021 Tabor Sauvignon Blanc, Galilee
  7. 2020 Matar Chardonnay, Galilee
  8. 2015 Louis Blanc Crozes Hermitage, Vintage, Crozes Hermitage
  9. 2019 Koenig Riesling, Alsace
  10. 2019 Matar Stratus, Galilee
  11. 2021 Or Haganuz Blanc, Galille

There are a few wines that got a QPR Score of EVEN – meaning expensive or average:

  1. 2019 Marciano Terra Gratia, Napa Valley, CA
  2. 2019 Hagafen Chardonnay, Napa Valley, CA
  3. 2018 Hagafen Merlot, Prix, Napa Valley, CA
  4. 2020 Domaine Marronniers Les Marronniers Chablis
  5. 2020 Herzog Pinot Noir, Reserve, Santa Rita Hills, CA
  6. 2019 Kaye Petit Verdot/Petite Sirah, CA
  7. 2021 Covenant Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County, CA
  8. 2019 Hagafen Sauvignon Blanc, Prix, Napa Valley, CA
  9. 2019 Tzuba Chardonnay, Judean Hills
  10. 2020 Capcanes Pinot Noir, Peraj Ha’abib, Flor de Primavera, Catalunya

The others are essentially either OK wines that are too expensive, duds, or total failures:

  1. 2019 Marciano Marciano Estate, Napa Valley, CA
  2. 2021 Covenant Viognier, Blue C, Israel, Israel
  3. 2020 Gvaot Pinot Noir, Gofna, Reserve, Shomron
  4. 2019 Hagafen Chardonnay, Prix, Napa Valley, CA
  5. 2018 Viniferia Castel Luciano, Super Tuscan, Toscana
  6. 2018 Golan Heights Wine Yarden Merlot, Galilee
  7. 2018 Viniferia Cabernet Blend, Terra di Pietra, Toscana
  8. N.V. Louis le Grand Champagne, Champagne
  9. N.V. One Hope Cabernet Sauvignon, Saint Helena, Saint Helena, Napa Valley, CA
  10. 2021 Shiloh Sauvignon Blanc, Judean Hills
  11. 2020 Louis Blanc Julienas, Vintage, Julienas
  12. 2020 Flam Classico, Judean Hills
  13. 2020 1848 Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot, 2nd Generation, Judean Hills
  14. 2018 1848 Cabernet Sauvignon, 7th Generation, Judean Hills
  15. 2021 Twin Suns Pinot Noir, Lodi, CA
  16. 2019 Capcanes La Flor del flor de Primavera, Grenache, Old Vine, Montsant
  17. 2019 Chateau Haut Perdrias Grand Vin de Bordeaux, Blaye-Cotes de Bordeaux
  18. 2019 Carmel Mediterranean, Galilee
  19. 2020 Shiloh Barbera, Judean Hills
  20. 2019 Aura di Valerie Aglianico
  21. 2020 1848 2nd Generation Chardonnay, Galilee
  22. 2021 Tura Mountain Vista Valley, Judean Hills

Some things that made me stand up and take notice (AKA QPR WINNERS):

The real WINNER here, from the entire list, is the 2018 Hagafen Pinot Noir, Prix, a lovely Napa Valley Pinot Noir that has the legs to keep in the race for a few years.

As I stated in a previous large QPR post – Hagafen Wine Cellars is currently producing some very nice wines, both red and white. The 2018 and 2019 vintage is showing well for the reds and the whites in 2020 and 2021 are also quite nice. Two QPR WINNER, two QPR GREAT, and some EVEN make for an enjoyable lineup.

One of the shockers is the 2020 Domaine du Castel Blanc du Castel, a lovely Chardonnay from a horrible vintage in Israel.

Next, there is the 2019 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Alexander Valley. This is the first odd-year vintage which is quite nice! Not as good as the even-year vintages, but a solid effort, nonetheless.

Finally, there is the lovely 2019 Hagafen Cabernet Franc. I think the 2018 vintage is a bit better than the 20-19 vintage but both are solid QPR WINNER and worth buying to enjoy now or in a few years.

The rest of the wines are fun, especially, the 2020 Ramon Cardova Albarino, which is a better vintage than 2019 or 2018. Though 2018 came around in the past year.

There were other high-scoring wines in this overall list, mostly from Marciano and others, but the prices of those wines put them at a disadvantage in comparison to others in their wine categories, and as such, they have poor to bad QPR wine scores.

In the end, IMHO, the overall list is not great and the prices are skyrocketing everywhere. Add in the fact that Northern California reds are going to be very hard to buy for the next 2 years as 2020 is almost non-existent (because of the fire and the smoke damage). This is forcing wineries to slow play their 2018 and 2019 vintages, so prices are going up and quantities are limited.

The rest of the WINNER list is nice wines but they are all in the drink now category!

Other wines of note (AKA QPR GREAT or GOOD):

Of these GOOD to GREAT wines – the most interesting on the list, for me, are the two Hagafen red wines, the Malbec and Syrah. They are both very nice and will last for a few years. Price is what has them in this part of the list.

The rest of the wines are all in a drink now stage and none I really would run or even want to buy, though if handed a glass of some of them I may not refuse.

Wines that are either good but too expensive or average (AKA EVEN):

This list is dominated by the Marciano Gratia, which is a lovely wine, just at a price that puts it out of the top QPR scores.

The rest of the wines are not interesting to me and are on this list because of either quality or price.

Wines that are either OK but far too expensive or bad wines (AKA POOR/BAD):

Like on previous versions of these lists there will always be a nice scoring wine that is so expensive it falls into this QPR list. That would be the 2019 Marciano Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. A lovely wine but at the price, it lands here.

There is also the N.V. One Hope Cabernet Sauvignon, move on, there is nothing to see here.

There are also, many duds to losers and I will just leave you to peruse the names and scores down below.

Roundup

Overall another nice list of QPR WINNERS and some GREAT options as well. I can always look at these kinds of lists and say there are only 9 wines I would want to buy from this entire list, but that would be a defeatist attitude. The correct way to classify this list is we have 9 more wines available to us and in the end, as I have stated many times now, I cannot buy all the WINNER wines even if I wanted to. There are just too many good wines out there and that is what we should be focused on!

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

2018 Hagafen Pinot Noir, Prix, Napa Valley, CA (M) – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose of this wine is nice, ripe, and balanced, with forest floor, mushroom, smoke, roasted meat, dark cherry, sweet raspberry, and clay. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is nice, showing great acidity, rich saline, smoke, roasted herb, roasted animal, with good elegance, dark cherry, strawberry, lovely dark pomegranate, good mouthfeel, but the acidity pulls it together, with mushroom and forest floor. The finish is long, green, herbal, smoky, and tart, with nice tannin, and good chocolate-covered coffee beans. Nice! Drink from 2025 until 2030. (tasted May 2022) (in Napa Valley, CA) (ABV = 14.4%)

2020 Domaine du Castel Blanc du Castel, Judean Hills – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine shows better than the 2019 vintage. The nose of this wine is ripe, and balanced, with good sweet oak, lovely baked apple pie, sweet vanilla, sweet butter, butterscotch candy, and lovely smoke. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is nicely extracted, layered, rich, and expressive, showing a hammer of oak, at this time, with baked apple, apple pie, butterscotch, caramel, rich toast, peach, rich baking spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, and nice fig. The mouthfeel is big and bold but also well balanced with rich acidity, and elegance, lovely! The finish is long, tart, rich, ripe, but beautiful, and it will improve with time, just lovely, with mineral, toast, beeswax, saline, and sweet dill, lovely! Drink from 2023 until 2030. (tasted March 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2019 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, CA (M) – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is riper than the 2018 yet it may well be the best odd-year vintage in some time. The nose of this wine is ripe with black and red fruit, smoke, licorice, sweet oak, roasted herbs, and spices. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is ripe, extracted, and rich, with lovely blackberry, blueberry, candied raspberry, dark plum, intense acid, mouth-draping tannin, rich loam, smoke, and nice graphite. What saves the wine is the minerality and acidity, while the ripeness concerns me. The finish is long, ripe, fruity, and very dark, with good tannin, fruit, nice acidity, milk chocolate, tobacco, mint, and more roasted herbs. Drink from 2025 until 2032. (tasted May 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 15%)

2020 Ramon Cardova Albarino, Rias Baixas – Score: 91.5 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose of this wine is lovely, showing ripe peach, apricot, citrus, straw, hay, dried grass, white floral notes, nectarines, and melon. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is lovely, layered, focused, and rich, showing intense acidity, saline, refreshing, orange zest, Orangina drink, tart pink grapefruit, lovely precision, mineral, hay, and tart melon, just lovely! The finish is long, tart, and somewhat ripe, showing more yellow fruit, but also incredibly well balanced and tart with more citrus, saline, lime, hay, and wet rock. Just lovely! Drink until 2024 or maybe 2025. (tasted March 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2021 Baron Edmund de Rothschild Rimapere, Marlborough (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose of this wine is the best part of it, with incredible aromas of ripe yet green/tart mango, screaming gooseberry, intense cat pee, green notes, lemongrass, lychee, some orange blossom, and lovely honeysuckle. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is where things go wrong, it is nice, it has some nice weight, but it is a one-trick pony, with bitter/sour notes, sweet fruit of mango, passion fruit, gooseberry, and melon. The finish is a bit short, the acidity fills it in, but the middle or the end, hard to tell is missing and it detracts from the wine, with almond pith, slate, and rock lingering long. Drink now. (tasted March 2022) (in Teaneck, NJ and San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2021 Matar Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Galilee – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc & 15% Semillon. The nose is nice with grapefruit, gooseberry, cat pee, Meyer lemon, and lovely lemon blossom, nice! The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is balanced, tart, and expressive, with good fruit, saline, mineral, bracing acidity, fruit focus, with pink grapefruit, gooseberry, sweet orange/nectarine notes, lovely! The finish is long, balanced, clean, refreshing, and tart, with slate, mineral, more gooseberry, and saline. Nice! Drink now. (tasted April 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 11%)

2021 Gush Etzion Sauvignon Blanc, Judean Hills – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose of this wine shows classic Sauvignon Blanc aromas, cat pee, gooseberry, passion fruit, lemon blossom, rich salinity, grass, and flint, nice! The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is well balanced, with good acidity, nice saline, gooseberry, orange notes, melon/mango, good tart fruit, nicely refreshing, and great tension. The finish is long, green, tart, and refreshing, with more acidity, saline, flint, passion fruit, and freshly cut green grass, nice!!! Drink now! (tasted April 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13.5%)

2021 Herzog Sauvignon Blanc, Lineage, Lake County, CA (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose of this wine is more restrained than other Sauvignon Blanc out there, it is less ripe, it is dirtier, with mineral, floral notes, violet, rose, lemon, lime, yellow plum, and dryer sheet notes. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is fun, refreshing, tart, acidic, and enjoyable, with green notes, lemon, lime, wet grass, mint, lemongrass, saline, hints of passion fruit, and otherwise, green notes, herbs, spices, flint, and rich mineral. The finish is long, green, spicy, and flinty, with saline, smoke, roasted herb, grass, and hay. BRAVO! Drink now. (tasted May 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.5%)

2019 Hagafen Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley, CA (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose of this wine is lovely with blue and red fruit, green notes, smoke, candied cherry notes, plum, and tobacco. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is tart, and acidic, with candied plum fruit, ripe and jammy raspberry, blueberry, piercing Kirche cherry, and nice tannin, but the cherry and raspberry are nice. The finish is long, tart, ripe, and balanced with good saline, smoke, sweet tobacco, and sweet herbs, nice! Drink until 2026. (tasted May 2022) (in Napa Valley, CA) (ABV = 14.5%)

2018 Hagafen Syrah, Napa Valley, CA (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose of this wine is ripe, with notes of black tea, roasted animal, ripe and candied blue fruit, rich smoke, floral violet notes, and more jammy fruit. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is ripe, layered, and with intense acidity, with boysenberry, and ripe strawberry, making for a very nice, balanced, and refreshing mouthfeel, with good tannin structure, and nice smoke. The finish is long, tart, ripe, and well-made, very nice overall! Drink by 2026 (tasted May 2022) (in Napa Valley, CA) (ABV = 13.9%)

2019 Hagafen Malbec, Napa Valley, CA (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose of this wine is ripe but balanced with blue and black fruit, floral notes of rosehip, roasted meat, lovely smoke, tobacco, and dried green leaves – really nice! The mouth of this full-bodied wine is dense, ripe, layered, and balanced with intense acidity, blueberry, raspberry, ripe plum, nice tannin, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, really nice!!! The finish is long, dirty, earthy, and smoky, with roasted meat, sawdust, toasted oak, and sweet spices, nice! Drink until 2026. (tasted May 2022) (in Napa Valley, CA) (ABV = 14.2%)

2019 Carmel Gewürztraminer, Late Harvest, Single Vineyards, Galilee – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
I had high hopes for this wine and when I opened the wine it felt like a bottle of sweet pineapple juice. Thankfully, with air, it opened to show the wine’s true potential. The nose of this wine, once it fully opens, is lovely, ripe, rich, unctuous, and dense, with ripe peach, apricot, grapefruit, pineapple, and rich orange blossom.
The mouth of this full-bodied wine is layered, dense, rich, and layered, with nice acidity, good fruit, peach, mango, lychee, pineapple, and nice sweet fruit, nice! The finish is long, dense, and sweet, with brown sugar, pineapple, mango, and nice mineral, nice! Enjoy! Drink soon! (tasted January 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.10%)

2021 Dalton Chardonnay, Unoaked, Galilee – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
This wine is simple but very enjoyable, refreshing, with a bit of RS, but nice. The nose on this white is white flowers, green apple, peach, apricot, lemon/lime, and green notes. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine shows RS, but has great balancing acidity, apple, peach, apricot, mango, orange, orange blossom, and nice green notes, refreshing! The finish is long, ripe, sweet, and balanced, with green notes, rock, saline, and good acidity. Drink now. (tasted March 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 12.5%)

2020 Pascal Bouchard Chablis, Chablis (M) – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
This is a lovely wine, one that shows the beauty of Chablis, clean, professional, balanced, and piercing with acidity, fruit, and mineral. The nose of this wine is lovely, showing green apple, pear, mineral, slate, citrus, yellow floral notes, and flint, lovely! The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is well-balanced, smoky, earthy, green, and yet screaming with acidity, freshness, pear, green apple, flint, mineral, smoke, and fruit focus. The finish is long, green, earthy, and fruity, with a nice balance, minerality, and flint. Nice! Drink now. (tasted March 2022) (in San Jose, CA & Paris, France) (ABV = 12.5%)

2021 Tabor Sauvignon Blanc, Galilee – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
The wine is solid, well made, but a drop too simple with a short finish. The nose of this wine is nice, showing gooseberry, green notes, floral notes, passion fruit, hints of guava, and lemongrass. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, showing nice acidity, and good weight, but it is a bit simple, with maybe a bit of a hole, grapefruit, lemon, peach, and saline. The finish is a bit short, with slate, rock, and saline. Drink now. (tasted March 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 11.5%)

2020 Matar Chardonnay, Galilee – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose of this wine is quite lovely, elegant, ripe, but well controlled, with green notes, citrus blossom, Anjou pear, green/yellow apple, and hints of smoke. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, balanced, acidic, tart, with a lovely mouthfeel, tart and focused, ripe green apple, pear, Pomelo, Meyer lemon, with a nice weight, hints of sweet oak, and good elegance. Nice!! The finish is long, green, with lemongrass, basil, ripe fruit, mineral, saline, slate, and rock, just lovely! Drink now. (tasted March 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 12.5%)

2015 Louis Blanc Crozes-Hermitage, Vintage, Crozes Hermitage – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
This wine checks all the boxes, reasonably priced, well made, and hey it has a diam cork for a wine that will be around for less than 8 years, good! We now have had a few Crozes-Hermitage wines, the 2014 Louis Blanc, this wine, and the 2014 Pradelle. The 2018 Signac is a Cote-du-Rhone. Of them all, this is the best, it is denser, blacker, and less ripe, more old-world than the others. There are some new options in Crozes-Hermitage as well, but they are 3x the price.
Not much has changed in the notes, going strong and holding well! The nose of this wine is dense, black, blue, earthy, muddy, with garrigue, tar, roasted animal, and smoke galore, that is well balanced and dare I say elegant. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is juicy, rich, unctuous, and layered, with still-gripping tannin, loads of smoke, blackberry, lovely juicy boysenberry, dark currant, loads of mineral, loam, and mushroom, with green notes, and gripping tannin that does not let up, and nice acidity. The finish is long, with tar, and tobacco, but the focus is the mineral, graphite, rock, loam, roasted animal, and loads of toast. Bravo! Drink now!. (tasted April 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2019 Koenig Riesling, Alsace (M) – Score: 87 (QPR: GREAT)
I was wrong on this one – apologies! This is the second time I have had this wine and when I had it in France it was not showing as well as it has here in the USA.
The nose of this wine is refreshing, tart, and clean, with petrol, lovely honeysuckle, honeyed lemon, honeydew melon, citrus, and rich smoke, lovely! The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is making my mouth water, refreshing, tart, bracing, with lovely petrol, a nice oily mouth, good tension, nice acidity, orange blossom, orange notes, and more flint.
Sadly, the wine fell apart after being open an hour, so maybe I was not wrong after all, drink now and quickly! Drink now! (tasted April 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 12%)

2019 Matar Stratus, Galilee – Score: 89 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose of this wine is a bit closed, but with time it opens to show lovely blue and black notes, with sweet spices, crushed and roasted herbs, spicy oak, and white pepper. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is nice, and balanced, with good fruit, sweet spices, blueberry, raspberry, dark plum, sweet oak, sweet spices, black pepper, wrapped in elegant tannin, and nice smoke. The finish is long, green, smoky, earthy, and dirty, with roasted animal notes, coffee beans, and nice minerality. Drink until 2026. (tasted April 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13.5%)

2021 Or Haganuz Blanc, Amuka, Galille (M) – Score: 87 (QPR: GOOD)
This wine is a blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc & 15% Chardonnay. The nose of this wine is showing more of the Chardonnay, at this time, with lovely tension and focus, orange blossom, apple blossom, green apple, gooseberry, citrus, and nice flint.
The mouth of this medium-bodied wine shows bright acidity, with more Chardonnay focus, apple, pear, peach, screaming Sauvignon Blanc acidity, gooseberry, cat pee, and lovely salinity, really nice!! Sadly, the wine fell apart after an hour or so, so drink after opening quickly.
The finish is long, and green, with lemongrass, saline, flint, orange notes, and smoke. Nice!!! Drink now. (tasted April 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 12.5%)

2019 Marciano Terra Gratia, Napa Valley, CA – Score: 93 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is a blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. The nose of this wine is lovely, ripe, but well balanced, elegant with bramble, roasted herb, roasted min/rosemary, blues and red fruit, rich chocolate, and lovely anise. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is really lovely, extracted, layered, and a bit plush, with incredible precision, fruit focus, ripe blackberry, dark cherry, raspberry, roasted herb, blueberry, lovely smoke, rich saline, iron shavings, mineral, charcoal, and more roasted notes. The finish is long, rich, ripe, balanced, elegant, and smoky, with crazy saline, roasted herb, dark chocolate, coffee, and lovely green notes of tobacco, herbs, and dense black/blue fruit. LOVELY! Bravo! Drink from 2027 until 2038. (tasted May 2022) (in Napa Valley, CA) (ABV = 14.8%)

2019 Hagafen Chardonnay, Napa Valley, CA (M) – Score: 90 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is nice, less oaky than previous vintages, with peach, green apple, yeast, and smoke. This medium-bodied wine’s mouth is rich, and layered, with good acidity, plush, mouth draping mouthfeel, nice green, and yellow apple, peach, Asian Pear, and smoke. A bit too uni-dimensional. The finish is long, sweet, ripe, and green, nice, with saline and a touch too much oak, but well balanced. Drink by 2024. (tasted May 2022) (in Napa Valley, CA) (ABV = 12.7%)

2018 Hagafen Merlot, Prix, Napa Valley, CA (M) – Score: 90 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose of this wine is ripe, and rich, with some ripe blue and red fruit, jammy and ripe with smoke, anise, roasted meat, and nice floral notes. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is ripe, balanced, with good acidity, a bit more complex than the Hagafen Merlot, with nice raspberry, plum, pomegranate, iron shavings, more floral notes, jammy and ripe, but balanced with lovely tannin and smoke. The finish is long, ripe, sweet, and jammy, with more fruit, tannin, smoke, green notes, roasted herb, milk chocolate-covered tobacco leaves, and sweet herb. Drink until 2027. (tasted May 2022) (in Napa Valley, CA)

2020 Domaine Marronniers Les Marronniers Chablis, Chablis (M) – Score: 90 (QPR: EVEN)
This is the second time I have had this wine and it has improved since the last time. This time the finish is not short, the mouthfeel has improved, and the minerality is nice as well. The nose of this wine is nice with steely notes, yellow flowers, floral notes, yellow stone fruit, and apple, flint, smoke, and green notes. The mouth on the medium-bodied wine is nice with hay, straw, sweet Fuji apple, Asian Pear, Orangina, good minerality, nice smoke, flint, nice acidity, and a lovely mouthfeel. The finish is long with good acidity, clean lines, apple, flint, lemongrass, and foliage. Drink by 2023. (tasted March 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 12.5%)

2020 Herzog Pinot Noir, Reserve, Santa Rita Hills, CA – Score: 90 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose of this wine is lithe, the 2020 vintage seems lighter, and lither than previous vintages, with dark cherry, cherry cola, roasted herb, sweet oak, rosemary, smoked tobacco leaves, and rosehip.
The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is balanced, with good acidity, and good fruit focus, but lithe with dark cherry, raspberry, sweet oak, nice tannin, sweet Oolong tea, and sweet spices, and loam.
The finish is long, green, and spicy, with more oak, sweet spices, cloves, roasted herb, and tobacco. Drink until 2027. (tasted May 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

2019 Kaye Petit Verdot/Petite Sirah, California – Score: 89+ (QPR: EVEN)
I love the nose of this wine, not overly ripe, with blueberry, raspberry, plum, hints of black fruit, with nice sweet oak, vanilla, and roasted animal, all wrapped in fruit focus – nice! The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine is nice, it lacks the acidity I crave, it is close to balanced, with lovely blueberry, boysenberry, strawberry and crème, sweet oak, red berry, and lovely mouth-draping tannin that brings this wine together. The finish is long, sweet, nice, and draping, with milk chocolate, and smoke, NICE!!! Drink by 2024. (tasted May 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

2021 Covenant Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County, CA – Score: 89+ (QPR: EVEN)
The nose of this wine shows green notes, hat, straw, with ripe fruit, melon, guava, passion fruit, orange blossom, orange notes, and nectarines. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is ripe, with just enough acidity to make it work, it feels acidic but it is covering up its lack of acidity from the pith, with sweet melon, guava, orange, nectarines, and sweet fruit. The finish is long, green, ripe, fruity, and sweet, with flint, pith, and green notes. Drink now! (tasted May 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13.5%)

2019 Hagafen Sauvignon Blanc, Prix, Napa Valley, CA (M) – Score: 89 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose of this wine is ripe, and oaky, with parsnip, celery, saline, and smoke. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is oaky, showing nice acidity, sweet vanilla, butterscotch, burnt rubber, lovely peach, apricot, tart green apple, with nice sweet oak, nice citrus, and sweet dill. Drink by 2024. (tasted May 2022) (in Napa Valley, CA) (ABV = 12.7%)

2019 Tzuba Chardonnay, Judean Hills – Score: 89 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is oaky, I get that, that is fine, it is controlled with lovely smoke, almost with notes from my favorite Chardonnay oak barrels, with good creaminess, smoke, and tart lemon/citrus notes. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine starts with no acidity, after a few minutes the acidity comes out, with yellow baked apples, rich sweet oak, toast and creme brulee, Baked pear, almonds, and smoke. The finish is oaky, tannic, and toasty, with vanilla galore, baked goods, and bitter almond paste lingering long. Drink now. (tasted March 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

2020 Capcanes Pinot Noir, Peraj Ha’abib, Flor de Primavera, Catalunya – Score: 87 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is the only Capcanes that they produce that I find enjoyable. The rest of Capcanes follows the ripe and alcoholic wine train.
The nose of this wine is ripe, but balanced, with nice notes of dried coffee bean, dried tobacco leaves, dark currant, cherry, plum, rich earth, loam, and sweet oak. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is balanced, with good acidity, rich loam, dark cherry, ripe plum liqueur, jammy black fruit, sweet oak, sweet spices, and loam. The oak overwhelms quickly, so not sure this works, IMHO. The finish is long, richly tannic, spicy, earthy, and very smoky. Drink until 2024. (tasted April 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

2021 Covenant Viognier, Blue C, Israel, Israel – Score: 89 (QPR: POOR)
The nose of this wine is fruity, ripe, and round, lacking the brightness that would be nice, with mango, peach, apricot, honeyed fruit, and sweet orange blossom. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is ripe, showing the acidity slowly but it does emerge eventually, with good mango, melon, peach, grapefruit, lime, saline, and hints of gooseberry. The finish is nice, a bit short, with more gooseberry, no mineral, more fruit, riper, and more pith. Drink now. (tasted May 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2020 Gvaot Pinot Noir, Gofna, Reserve, Shomron – Score: 88 (QPR: POOR)
This wine started good enough, but after a few hours, it became a hollow, green, tinny wine mess. The nose of this wine starts with dirt, loam, lovely red fruit, sweet cedar, and ripe plum. Sadly, after a few hours, it shows sweet vanilla, overripe plum, and green tinny notes, and the wine disappeared. The mouth on this medium-plus-bodied wine starts well balanced and then falls apart, with good acidity, dark cherry, sweet cedar, nice tannin, ripe plum, loam, and nice earth.  The finish is long, green, tinny, balanced, and tart, with more red fruit, cedar, coffee, and sweet vanilla. Drink right away!!! (tasted March 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 12%)

2019 Hagafen Chardonnay, Prix, Napa Valley, CA (M) – Score: 84 (QPR: POOR)
The nose of this wine shows oak, yeast, peach, apricot, green apple, sweet green tea, and jasmine – nice! The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is sweet oak, sweet fruit, and no acid, bummer, drink now! (tasted May 2022) (in Napa Valley, CA) (ABV = 13.1%)

2018 Viniferia Castel Luciano, Super Tuscan, Toscana – Score: 84 (QPR: POOR)
After tasting so many painful wines – this wine is not painful as it is too ripe. It has bright and tart fruit, but it is also too ripe to pull all together. This wine is a blend of 50% Merlot, 28% Syrah, and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose of this wine is ripe, with candied plum, raspberry, over-the-top milk chocolate, sweet oak, smoke, ripe boysenberry, and black fruit. The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine is ripe, milky, ripe, showing sweet black and blue fruit, blackberry, boysenberry, dark cherry, searing tannin, nice acidity, sweet fruit galore that is hard to balance, and drags the wine down sadly, still well made, and OK. The finish is long, ripe, tart, and oaky, with sweet notes, milk chocolate, and crazy mineral. Drink until 2026. (tasted March 2022) (in Teaneck, NJ) (ABV = 14.5%)

2018 Golan Heights Wine Yarden Merlot, Galilee – Score: 83 (QPR: POOR)
Another 2018 Yarden and another mess. Look, I want success, but once again, this wine has no acidity, it is flat, boring, and empty, sad. The nose on this wine is ripe, extracted, with no brightness to be found, all big and bold and boring. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is again, boring, flat, ripe, and not what I am looking for, with blackberry, ripe plum, hints of mineral, green notes, foliage, and sweet spices. The finish is short, ripe, and boring. Drink until 2024. (tasted March 2022) (in Teaneck, NJ) (ABV = 14,5%)

2018 Viniferia Cabernet Blend, Terra di Pietra, Toscana – Score: 83 (QPR: POOR)
This wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 10% Syrah. The wine is less ripe than the Castel Luciano, it shows more green notes and less ripe fruit, and overall, Cabernet shows less ripe in Europe than Merlot in Europe, and less ripe than Cabernet in the USA. The nose of this wine is ripe but almost balanced, with ripe notes of steel, smoke, iron shavings, rich charcoal, pencil shavings, and green, black, and red fruit, with nice balance. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine shows more balance, fruit-wise, but sadly it lacks the acidity of the Castel Luciano, and as such, it is not much better, with green notes, blackberry, raspberry, plum, dark cherry, nice enough tannin, and smoke. The finish is long, ripe, and chocolaty with earth, smoke, sweet smoking tobacco, and some nice graphite. Drink until 2026. (tasted March 2022) (in Teaneck, NJ) (ABV = 14.5%)

N.V. Louis le Grand Champagne, Champagne (M) – Score: 82 (QPR: POOR)
This wine taste and smells like cooked rubber and quince, in the end not enjoyable. Also, it has very few bubbles. IMHO, buy a lovely ElviWines Cava and be done! The nose on this wine is muted and flat, with cooked and candied notes – a hard pass. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is acidic, which is good, but the rest is painful, with cooked notes, tart yet flat, overall, a miss. The finish is long, and tart, with more cooked quince and rubber notes. Drink NOW! (tasted March 2022) (in Teaneck, NJ) (ABV = 10%)

2019 Marciano Marciano Estate, Napa Valley, CA – Score: 93 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Cabernet Franc. The nose of this wine is ripe, balanced, with black and red fruit, and elegant, with mineral, richly floral, violet, rosehip, dark chocolate, green notes, and lovely licorice. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is really elegant, ripe, but still floral as well, with lovely violet, blackberry, cassis, dark cherry, blueberry, plush, and richly elegant, with iron shavings, saline, graphite, mouth-draping tannin, rich roasted animal, and rich mouthfeel, just lovely! The finish is long, dense, plush, and elegant, with more dark chocolate, ripe fruit, tannin, roasted herb, tobacco, sweet spices, cinnamon, and intense minerality. Bravo!! Drink from 2029 until 2034. (tasted May 2022) (in Napa Valley, CA) (ABV = 14.8%)

N.V. One Hope Cabernet Sauvignon, Saint Helena, Saint Helena, Napa Valley, CA – Score: 88 (QPR: BAD)
The nose of this wine is oak and fruit, it is a classic Napa Valley Cab, all fruit, and power, but its saving grace is acidity and some elegance.
The nose of this wine is a fruit bomb, with oak, iron filings, creamy and round, black and blue fruit, smoke, and licorice.
The mouth of this full-bodied wine is ripe, fruity, but balanced, with good acidity, nice blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, loads of sweet oak, sweet dill, creamy milky butterscotch, nice smoke, and more sweet spices. Still, the overpowering oak and fruit make it less appealing to me.
The finish is long, sweet, a bit round, and ripe, with milk chocolate, tobacco, leaves, licorice, white pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. Drink until 2026. (tasted April 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.5%)

2021 Shiloh Sauvignon Blanc, Judean Hills (M) – Score: 84 (QPR: BAD)
The wine is quite nice but sadly it has no acidity. The nose of this wine has all the classic notes, cat pee, cucumber, green notes, peach, gooseberry, and tart citrus. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine has a drop of acidity on it but it lacks the refreshing acidity that brings the wine together, with more gooseberry, peach, apricot, and some pith on the finish. Drink now. (tasted March 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2020 Louis Blanc Julienas, Vintage, Julienas – Score: 83 (QPR: BAD)
The nose on this wine starts ripe and underwhelming, but with a bit of time, it improves but still not a wine I would enjoy, nice enough, a very simple tannic quaff. The nose shows blue and red fruit, earth, and smoke. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is too ripe and sweet for me, it shows ferment notes, with boysenberry, cherry, raspberry, and earth, with good acidity and chunky tannin. The finish is a bit short, with more tannin, acid, and sweet fruit. Drink by 2023. (tasted April 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

2020 Flam Classico, Judean Hills – Score: 82 (QPR: BAD)
The nose of this wine is ripe, candied, with earth, roasted herb, mint, sweet oak, and smoke. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is over the top, ripe, and while I find it OK, the fruit comes at me, with candied plum, cherry, earth, sweet oak, dill, and more smoke. The acidity saves the ay, but it is another uni-dimensional wine that does nothing and is overripe. The finish is long, ripe, oaky, smoky, and tannic. Drink until 2024. (tasted April 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.5%)

2020 1848 Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot, 2nd Generation, Judean Hills – Score: 82 (QPR: BAD)
The notes on this wine are short – it is painful, and unenjoyable, green, with jalapenos peppers, celery, black and red fruit, with not much else. The mouth is where things are just poor, it tastes like there is RS, with clawing fruit, no balance, raspberry, blackberry, and not much else as the extra sugar throws this all off. The finish is long, ripe, sweet, and sugary, hard pass. Drink now. (tasted May 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

2018 1848 Cabernet Sauvignon, 7th Generation, Judean Hills – Score: 82 (QPR: BAD)
This wine is a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Sirah, 5% Cabernet Franc. This wine is a ripe mess, ripe black and red fruit, and highly unbalanced. The mouth of this medium to full-bodied wine is ripe, sugary, maybe some RS, not sure there, really ripe, and no joy. The finish is long, ripe, and unbalanced. Drink now! (tasted May 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 15%)

2021 Twin Suns Pinot Noir, Lodi, CA (M) – Score: 82 (QPR: N.A.)
This wine is another of those banana wines that are released too early and taste like the fermentation tank when opening the bottle.
The nose of this wine smells of bananas, red fruit, fermentation, and some green notes. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is not, banana, candied cherry, brown sugar, nice-enough tannin, just not a wine for me. The finish is long, ripe, candied, and over-the-top. Drink now. (tasted March 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.4%)

2019 Capcanes La Flor del flor de Primavera, Grenache, Old Vine, Montsant – Score: 80 (QPR: N.A.)
This wine continues the downward spiral of Capcanes, all fruit, and no joy, sad. The nose of this wine is a fruit bomb, verging on date juice, with candied and liqueur notes of red and blue fruit, overly sweet oak notes, and sweet spices. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied wine is over the top, and all over the place, with no focus, just trying to run roughshod on the palate, with candied boysenberry, candied plum liqueur, overripe blackcurrant, and too much fruit and not enough balance. The finish is long, ripe, all over, and just a sad example of what Capcanes used to be. Drink by 2026. (tasted April 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 15%)

2019 Chateau Haut Perdrias Grand Vin de Bordeaux, Blaye-Cotes de Bordeaux (M) – Score: 78 (QPR: N.A)
The nose on this wine brings back memories of ripe/candied green tinny wines of old. I was hoping for more, but sadly, this wine is not worth the effort. The nose on this wine is green and ripe at the same time, I like green notes here and there, but this is too green and too ripe, making for a bad combination, of candied and ripe plum, and jammy raspberry, while also showing bell pepper, celery, with sweet oak. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is too ripe, green, and all around unbalanced, along with being hollow right in the middle and showing almost zero acidity, so sad. This is a hard pass. Drink now if you must! (tasted March 2022) (in Teaneck, NJ) (ABV = 14%)

2019 Carmel Mediterranean, Galilee – Score: 75 (QPR: NA)
I can write notes if it mattered but this wine is straight-up date juice and I see no purpose. There are very few qualities here, loads of black and blue fruit and not much else. Sorry, hard pass! (tasted April 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.5%)

2020 Shiloh Barbera, Judean Hills (M) – Score: 72 (QPR: N.A.)
It is a shame, one can sense the good here, but it is vastly overpowered by the bad, another classic Israeli Date Juice wine. The nose of this wine starts correctly, with earthy, smoky, red fruit, but soon after, it turns into a fruit compote and a total heat mess. The mouth on this wine is truly offensive, without value, and I cannot even write notes on it. Enough said. Next! (tasted April 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.5%)

2019 Aura di Valerie Aglianico, Aglianico (M) – Score: 70 (QPR: N.A.)
This wine is ripe, sweet fruit, oak-driven, and flat. Sorry, I hoped for fun wine and what I got was a mess. Notes will not add value here. No acid, ripe blue, and red fruit, with absurd oak, smoke, and nothing else, sad! Drink now!!! (tasted March 2022) (in Teaneck, NJ) (ABV = 14%)

2020 1848 2nd Generation Chardonnay, Galilee – Score: 82 (QPR: POOR)
Another hollow wine from Israel. The nose of this wine is nice enough with green apple, melon, peach, and flint. The mouth of this wine is where it all falls apart, no acid, hollow, and not interesting, with yellow apple, peach, melon, and not much else. The finish is short, with too little acid, and some pith. Drink now. (tasted May 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 11.5%)

2021 Tura Mountain Vista Valley, Judean Hills – Score: 70 (QPR: NA)
This wine is a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% petit Sirah, 5% Cabernet Franc. All I can say about this wine is ripe, sugary, and semi-sweet, enough said! There is not near enough acid to make anything like this work. Hard pass! (tasted May 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 10.8%)

Posted on May 22, 2022, in Israeli Wine, Kosher Dessert Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Rose Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, QPR Post, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. 2019 Castel C still good?  Better value than the 2020?

  1. Pingback: The 2022 Kosher rose season is open and I am underwhelmed – part 1 | Wine Musings Blog

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