Blind tasting in Paris (Part #1) – Nov 2022

As stated in my previous post, I was in Paris in November, with Avi Davidowitz from Kosher Wine Unfiltered. The sheer number of boxes in our room was insane, somewhere nearly 120 bottles of wine came to our hotel or to Ari Cohen’s home. The poor bellman pushing that cart laden with wine boxes was a site to see.

We were in Paris for a week and during that time Avi and I had three organized tastings with Bokobsa, Royal Wine, and IDS. We also tasted some 80+ wines in the hotel room, blindly, in 5 rounds, each time following the methodology defined below. This post will showcase the wines we had in rounds 1 and 2.

Blind Tasting Methodology

Thankfully, my posts can stop referencing COVID and focus on wine. So, let us get to the process. This time I wanted to break up the normal approach, or taste wines from the distributor or wine producers and instead taste the wines blind in their respective groups. The methodology was simple, bag all the wines, hand them to Avi who wrote a number/letter, and then line them up for the tasting. Then we taste them in numerical/alphabetical order and write the notes. After the first pass, we taste the wines again to see if they have changed. Then we show the wines and write the names down. We did find a few anomalies in the system. First, the more closed wines needed time to open and those were tasted again later. If there were flaws at the start those stayed in the notes, at least for me, and if there were issues after they were also written.

White wines and Sparkling Wines (First Round)

There were a few shockers, in this round, the shockers were all for the bad! Sadly, this round and the subsequent one with simple red wines were underwhelming to deeply disappointing. There were TWO WINNERs in the first TWO rounds and they were repeat WINNERs from previous tastings I had with Avi last year in November 2021 and with Nathan Grandjean in 2017. I have also included a wine I tasted TWICE over the past month or so, the 2016 Yarden Rose, Brut, it is underwhelming, much akin to its brother the 2016 Yarden Blanc de Blancs. Both are underwhelming and very sad as this is the first time that I ever had a Yarden Sparkling wine I did not like on release. Very sad indeed! If you want sparkling wines stick to Drappier, Laurent Perrier, Gilgal, and others.

The other disappointing wine was the highly anticipated 2020 Chateau Olivier Blanc, sadly it did not live up to expectations. At the start it was horrible flat peach juice, if you read my original blind tasting – it went like this, “This wine is cooked peach juice, flat and useless. Drink never.” Literally. The wine evolved over three days! The same thing could be said for the 2020 Chateau Olivier red and the famous 2020 Carillon d’Angelus Saint-Emilion. Though the reds wines were less flat and more closed tightly.

Other than the lone WINNER and the disappointing 2020 Chateau Olivier Blanc, there were no wines that were very interesting at all. There were a few new ones, like the 2020 Les Vins de Vienne Saint-Peray, Les Bialeres, disappointing, and lacked acidity and balance. The 2021 Casa E.di Mirafiore Roero Arneis DOCG was also a dud, both white and red. Overall, nothing very good here, but hey my pain is your gain!

2020 Vintage versus 2021 Vintage in Bordeaux

I will repeat what I wrote previously, as this post will showcase far more 2021 wines from Bordeaux. So far, the sample size of 2021 wines from Bordeaux includes very few big names because they are still in the barrels. Or should be! So, the sample size of 2021 wines from Bordeaux is all simpler and of lower starting quality. Still, what is apparent, from this sample size, is that 2021 will be a very hard year. The 2020 vintage, by contrast, is hit and miss, and so far, while the hits have been solid, there are no home runs, and we have tasted most of the wines we expect to rave about from the 2020 vintage. There will be one 95-scoring wine, ONE, from all the wines we tasted on this trip. I expect even fewer exceptional wines from the 2021 vintage and I personally, will be buying far fewer of the 2020 or 2021 wines. Finally, the wine notes from the 2020 vintage should be witness to the fact that while the 2020 wines are OK to good, they are far more accessible than previous vintages. The glaring exception to that will be highlighted in a subsequent post.

What is going on with Tokaj?

I was wondering what is going on with the newfound interest in Tokaj? For the most part, they have been huge misses. There is one here, there were the two from Royal (I have no idea why Royal likes to use the name Laufer for strange and off-the-books wines), one from IDS (in a coming post), and the REAL winners that were nice but never left Hungary. Sadly, the 2019 Disznoko Tischler & Halpern Furmint Reserve, Dry Tokaj died a bit early and the rest were OK. The real only wine I liked and would buy was the 2015 Disznoko Tischler & Halpern Tokaji Aszu, 5 Puttonyos. I got a few with Ari Cohen when the winery was still shipping them. Now, they are either sold out or stuck in Hungary. In the end, this newfound love has yet to turn up some real long-term ideals. Maybe we will still get lucky who knows???

Thoughts on this tasting

Overall, some of these wines may be available in the USA, but none of them are worth searching out, other than the two WINNER. The Ribeauville is not in the USA and I think Ralph has some of the 2015 Von Hovel left, but I am not sure. The Olivier wines will be in the USA soon or they may already be there. The white wine is not worth the effort to find but the red wine is quite nice (will post soon). It is really sad to see the poor performance of the 2016 Yarden sparkling wines but such is life. I really had a great time hanging with Avi, and as always I could never have done these tastings without the incredible help of Avi Cohen.

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

Sparkling and white wines (Round One)

2016 Golan Heights Winery Yarden Rose, Brut, Golan Heights – Score: 88 (QPR: POOR)
This wine is a blend of 73% Chardonnay and 27% Pinot Noir. The nose of this wine is lovely with cherry, strawberries and cream, biscuits, honeysuckle, orange blossom, and orange peel. The mouth of this wine is the issue, it is less impressive and less captivating than previous vintages, and the mousse is lither and less present, it has some, with great acidity, but a clean pour of the wine in a glass produces less of a strong and consistent mousse. It is not flat, it is acidic, with strawberry, and cherry, a nice mouthfeel, and good enough mousse, but not what I expect from Yarden. The finish is long to start, but it starts to fall apart with time. Sad. Drink now! (tasted November 2022) (in Chicago, IL & Miami, FL) (ABV = 12%) (NOT tasted blind)

2016 Golan Heights Winery Blanc de Blanc, Yarden, Brut, Golan Heights – Score: 88 (QPR: POOR)
The nose of this sparkling wine shows nice yeasty notes, brioche, green apple, and toast. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is toasty, and yeasty, with ok mousse, and enough acidity. Sad! Drink now! (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 12.5%)

N.V. Champagne Cuvee Chambricard, Champagne – Score: 70 (QPR: N.A.)
This is a sparkling wine, the nose is cooked apple juice and the mouth is worse, hard pass. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 12%)

2021 Citadelle de Diamant Mademoiselle Vermentino Blanc, France – Score: 88 (QPR: EVEN)
This is very interesting as this is really an Israeli winery that made wine in France for the past two years to work around the Shmitta issues, cool!
The nose of this wine is very Sauvignon Blanc in style, with lovely gooseberry, grapefruit blossom, lemon, lemon zest, and straw. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is nice enough, but not inspiring, with a bit of sweetness, ripe fruit, a bit too round, enough acidity, somewhat refreshing, too much pith, drink up! (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 12%)

2020 Vignac Gewurztraminer, Pays d’Oc (M) – Score: 78 (QPR: NA)
This is an average Gewurztraminer with lychee, apple, pear, and some funk, with fruit sweetness. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is flat and nasty potpourri, this is a hard pass. Drink now! (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 12%)

2018 Ribeauville Riesling Vendanges Manuelles, Alsace (M) – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose of this wine is different, blind or not, this is a very special wine, with notes of apple, pear, and quince, with a rich funk that totally captivates your imagination, really fun! This is clearly a Riesling and it is lovely.
The mouth of this medium-plus-bodied wine is layered and rich with nice complexity, with green apple, quince, and peach, quite refreshing and captivating, with great acidity, nice funk, and lovely minerality. The finish is long, green, and fruity, with lovely quince, slate, and flint, concentrated fruit, and great funk on the long finish! Bravo! Drink by 2024. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 12.5%)

2020 Les Vins de Vienne Saint-Peray, Les Bialeres, Saint-Peray – Score: 83 (QPR: POOR)
This wine is a blend of 80% Marsanne & 20% Roussanne. The nose of this wine starts a bit off, but with time and air, it opens to show a little funk, apple, orange, peach, and nectarines. The mouth of this wine starts off flat, but with air opens to show nice acidity, but no complexity and average wine. Drink by 2024. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14%)

2018 Charlie Winery Sheleg Riesling, Judean Hills – Score: 60 (QPR: N.A.)
This wine on the nose and the mouth is sweet and cooked orange marmalade. Disgusting – maybe the worse so far, move on! Pure pain. Drink never. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 11.5%)

2020 Chateau Olivier Blanc, Grand Cru Classe, Pessac-Leognan – Score: 91 (QPR: POOR)
At the opening, tasted blind, this wine was flat with cooked peaches and had zero acidity. With time the nose comes around and now smells like balanced white peach, with some minerality, and nothing much else. After yet another day, day #3, now this wine tastes as it should, showing notes of rich funk, apricot, peach, green apple, rich straw and hay, and lovely minerality.
The mouth of this wine is bright, with more peach, apple, and some slate, and no complexity, with just enough fruit. After some time, the mouth becomes plusher, almost oily, with lovely funk, great acidity, lovely balance, great slate, rock, peach, apricot, and yellow plum.
The finish is short and leaves much to be desired. After three days the finish comes around and shows ripe fruit, rich salinity, dense minerality, and nice slate notes. Drink from 2024 until 2029. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13%)

2015 Von Hovel Saar Riesling Kabinett – Score: 93 (QPR: WINNER)
Really unchanged from my previous notes back in 2017, except for the fact that it is wide open now and very much in its window.
A lovely crazy nose of honeysuckle, rich yellow plum, crazy petrol, citrus, kiwi, flint, and honeyed notes.
The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is lovely, and complex, but not layered or concentrated, more ethereal, with great acidity, lovely mineral, petrol, pineapple, kiwi, gooseberry, green apple, and guava. The wine is so refreshing and so obviously a Riesling, quite lovely indeed!
The finish is long, mineral-driven, refreshing, tart, and acidic, with more tropical fruits, and crazy minerals, mushrooms, and pepper notes. Bravo!! Drink until 2030. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 11%)

2021 Casa E.di Mirafiore Roero Arneis DOCG, Roero Arneis DOCG – Score: 82 (QPR: POOR)
This wine is classically boring the nose is not bright at all, with quince, some funk, lychee, and apple, not interesting. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is there, balanced, but not refreshing, nothing complex, a bit hot, overall, with a bit more funk, boring. Drink now! (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14%)

2021 Keresztur Tokaji, Late Harvest , Tokaj – Score: 82 (QPR: N.A.)
The nose of this wine is so sweet, and unbalanced, screaming fruit, orange, nectarines, mango, and lychee, no brightness, just cloying. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is too sweet, with no acidity, cloying, and so sad. Drink until 2024. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 11.5%)

Red Wines (part #1) (Round two)

2012 Les Vignerons de Landerrouat Duras Cazaugitat La Boucaude, Bordeaux – Score: 86 (QPR: GOOD)
I never talk about color but this is bricking a bit. This wine falls apart after opening, old. The nose of this wine is ripe, with cherry, candied raspberry, root beer, heat, and some nice dirt. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is ok, nothing offensive, nothing interesting, good acidity, ok wine, with more cherry and candied raspberry, overall nice mouthfeel, no complexity, simple, and feeling a bit tired, drink now! (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 12.5%)

2020 Chateau Larcis Jaumat, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Score: 87 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine is a blend of 90% Merlot & 10% Cabernet Franc. This wine returns after a 4-year hiatus and sadly it is nowhere as good as either the 2015 or 2016 vintages.
The nose of this wine is green, very green, almost tinny green, with loads of mint, basil, menthol, and heat, with red fruit, and smoke.
The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is ok, too green for me, and it does not have the classic acid, there is nice acidity but it lacks a bit, with raspberry, dark cherry, tinny notes, some nice enough tannin, and saline.
The finish is long, green, and herbal, with some dirt, and minerality. Drink by 2030. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14%)

2020 Chateau Bellerives Dubois, Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux (M) – Score: 85 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose of this wine is ripe and fruity with banana, red and blue fruit, and hints of green notes in the background.
The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is ripe, fruity, and balanced with good acidity, showing banana, plum, raspberry, nice enough tannin, good fruit, and dirt.
The finish is long, fruity, and balanced. Drink by 2024. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13%)

2012 Les Vignerons de Landerrouat Duras Cazaugitat La Boucaude, Bordeaux Superieur (M) – Score: 0 (QPR: N.A.)
This wine was dead. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 12.5%)

2021 Chateau Les Tuileries, Bordeaux (M) – Score: 89 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose of this wine is ripe and balanced, but with jalapeno, red fruit, funk, smoke, and minerality. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is balanced, with good acidity, nice green notes, jalapeno, nice mouthfeel, good dirt, well-made, refreshing, plum, dark cherry, and loam. The finish is long, green, earthy, and smoky, nice! Drink now! (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 12%)

2020 L’enclos de Zeide, Bordeaux Superieur – Score: 80 (QPR: N.A.)
The nose of this wine shows green notes, vegetal notes, some red fruit, and dirt. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is simple, with good acidity, nice red fruit, cherry, raspberry, and earth. Drink until 2024. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13%)

2019 La Cour Pavee, Bordeaux Superieur – Score: 80 (QPR: N.A.)
The nose of this wine starts off dead but opens to show a simple wine with red fruit, nice enough tannin, and acidity, but simple and green. Drink now! (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14.5%)

2021 Les Remparts de Bel Air, Bordeaux (M) – Score: 83 (QPR: EVEN)
This wine starts very green and unbalanced but with time it opens to show plum, pomegranate, and cherry, with green notes. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is ripe, simple, and balanced with green notes, nice tannin, and good structure. Drink until 2024. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13%)

2021 Haut de Grava, Bordeaux – Score: 81 (QPR: POOR)
The nose of this wine has a bit more fruit than the others tasted today, with green notes, not as tinny, with raspberry and plum. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is bright, green, with red notes, plum, and earth. Drink now! (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13.5%)

Posted on December 14, 2022, in Israeli Wine, Kosher Dessert Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: