Paris tasting of Royal’s 2020 and other French wines – November 2022

The second organized wine tasting that Avi Davidowitz, from the Kosher Wine Unfiltered blog, and I went to, during our last trip to Paris, in November 2022 was with with Menahem Israelievitch in his lovely home.

In June I made my way to Paris and I posted the Royal wines I tasted, they were mostly white, rose, and a few red wines as well. For the past many years, I have been tasting the new releases from Royal wines with Menahem Israelievitch. Two years ago, because of COVID, I tasted the 2018 vintage in my house. Thankfully, those days are over and things have mostly returned to normal.

Vintage-wise, I think 2020 is like a blend of 2016 and 2017. I say that because some of the wines are riper than I like and some are green like we saw in many 2017 wines. You will see here that some of the wines are overripe and some are very green, while others are in between. There are still WINNERS, but they are not as many big-hit WINNERS. Meaning, even the WINNERs are not getting big scores. It is just one of those vintages. I have very little hope for the 2021 vintage and even 2020 is not a vintage I will fully stock up on.

We were spoiled last year with the 2019 vintage for two reasons. First of all, the 2019 vintage was on par, if not a drop better than the 2014 vintage, which had the largest number of 95+ scored wines in a vintage, that was until 2019. 2019 eclipsed the 2014 vintage with higher scores and it had lower prices. No, not lower than the 2014 prices, but lower than the 2018 prices were. Now, the 2020 wines are not as good as the 2019 and they are all higher in price.

The 2014 vintage to me, was crazy fun because it is less ripe than the 2015 or 2016 vintages. They were also FAR cheaper. Then you had the 2015 wines which were more expensive and far riper than the 2014 vintage. This 2016 vintage is the best of both worlds, but it comes at a crazy high price. I warned you at that time, during the epic post of my visit to Bordeaux with Mr. Israelievitch, that you better start saving your money, sadly nothing has changed about that. The REAL shocker price-wise of the 2016 vintage was Chateau Malartic, which rose to almost 150 or more a bottle! That was close to double the 2014 vintage.

In a previous post about the most recent French wines (at that time in 2017) that were arriving on the market – I already spoke about pricing and supply, so there is no need to talk that over again in this post.

NOTE: Mr. Israelievitch did not have the 2019 Barons Edmond & Benjamin de Rothschild, Haut-Medoc nor the 2021 Chateau Roubine Rose, Inspire. Such is life! I tasted the Edmond at home and posted it here, sadly I have yet to taste the 2021 Roubine Inspire.

Mevushal Wine Push

The Mevushal push, from Royal wines, is continuing for the USA labels. More wines are being made in a Mevushal manner and while I wonder if this is good overall for myself, it makes sense for Royal wines, which in the end, I guess is what matters to them. Will this be an issue? In the past, I have found that the mevushal work of Mr. Israelievitch is top-notch, and just ages the wine rather than ruining it. Sadly, that trend has been failing in recent years, especially when it involves white and rose wines. More and more the mevushal white and rose wines have shown a huge difference between the two variations, mostly in regards to acidity. I have no idea why the flash affects the acidity but it has been clear to me and the worst/saddest example was the 2019 Gazin Rocquencourt, Blanc. The non-mevushal version is stunning while the mevushal version was not.

So, once again, as I have been doing for YEARS, I will again ask Royal to treat their own, personally made French wines, with the same courtesy that they show Binyamina, Psagot, Capcanes, Shiloh, and others. Why are you OK with importing BOTH the mevushal and non-mevushal versions of wines that are not worthy of the glass they are in but are more than happy to throw a blind eye to wines you personally produce? The French wines deserve better and again, I AM ASKING for you to import BOTH the mevushal and non-mevushal versions as you do for so many other brands.

The Mevushal wines from France for the 2019/2020/2021 vintages will be the

  • 2020/2021 Les Marrionniers Chablis, Chablis
  • 2020 Les Roches De Yon Figeac (this is the first time for the RYF)
  • 2020/2021 Chateau Les Riganes, Bordeaux
  • 2020/2021 Chateau Genlaire, Bordeaux Superieur
  • 2019/2020 Des Barons Edmond & Benjamin de Rothschild Les Lauriers, Montagne Saint-Emilion
  • 2019 Barons Edmond & Benjamin de Rothschild, Haut-Medoc
  • 2019 Chateau Greysac, Medoc
  • 2019 Chateau Le Crock, Saint-Estephe, Bordeaux
  • 2019/2020 Chateau de Parsac
  • 2020/2021 Chateau Les Riganes, Blanc
  • 2019/2020 Chateau Mayne Guyon
  • 2019 Chateau Tour Seran

Now does mevushal impede the long-term viability of aging in regards to the wine? Well, that too is not something that we have scientific proof on. I have tasted a mevushal 1999 Herzog Special Edition and it was aging beautifully! Same with the Chateau Le Crock, over the past few years. So, would I buy the mevushal versions of the wines I tasted below? The answer is yes! Would I age them? Yes, I would hold them for slightly fewer years. To me personally, it is very clear, if Royal had their way they would make the Pontet Canet Mevushal! Nothing to Royal is sacred and this will not stop with the list above, it will grow, proof is Chevalier and Gazin were made mevushal in 2019. There were rumors that they were going to make the 2020 Pavillon mevushal, thankfully that turned out to be a false alarm, for now.

Other than the mevushal aspect, there are no differences between the European version of the wines and the USA version of the wines. While that sounds obvious, I am just stating it here. The wines will be shipped now and the temperature issues that affected Israel’s wines of old, have not been a factor here.

The 2020 Pricing and access

I posted my 2019 notes, from the tasting we had last year, when most of the wines were already in the USA and pricing was well known. The prices are now known for the 2020 vintages as well and they are higher than the 2019 wines, of course, and they are higher than the 2018 wines as well!

The 2020 Chateau Pontet Canet and the 2020 Chateau Leoville Poyferre will be higher than they have ever been, though probably not as high as the 2020 Château Angelus Carillon de l’Angélus. Chateau Giscour is also going up in price as is the Chateau Malartic Blanc, so yeah, higher!

In terms of access – sure enough, all the Pontet Canet sold-out in one day from Royal and each store is being given tiny allocations. This leaves us begging for wine and paying 300+ a bottle at the door! Classic madness and FOMO. Such is life!

Tasting in Paris

It is always a joy and honor to do our yearly tasting with Menahem Israelievitch. His care, love, and true joy in sharing the wines he creates for Royal Wines, even with folks like us, is a true testament to his professionalism.

My many thanks to Menahem Israelievitch for going out of his way to help me to taste all the current French wines from Royal Wines before they were publicly released. It was truly an inopportune time for Mr. Israelievitch and his family to have the tasting and I truly thank him and his family and wish them only happiness and success in the coming 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:

2021 Chateau Roubine Rose, Lion & Dragon, Cotes de Provence – Score: 91 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose of this rose is classic with strawberry and creme, rich salinity, peach, orange blossom, and lovely smoke. The mouth of this medium-plus-bodied wine is nicer than the previous vintage, the second vintage here is showing better than 2020, and has more balance as well, with good acidity, nice fruit focus, less oak influence, with nice peach, apricot, strawberry, good salinity, nice minerality, and smoke. The finish is long, smoky, tart, and refreshing, with good acidity and salinity, and flint. Nice! Drink now. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13%)

2021 Les Marronniers Chablis, Chablis (M) – Score: 88 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose of this wine is quite nice, with apple, pear, Asian pear, minerality, and nice smoke. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is nice with good acidity, bright apple, pear, and good minerality. The finish is long, tart, and fruity, with good flint and saline. Drink by 2024. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 12.5%)

2021 Les Marronniers Chablis, Premier Cru, Chablis, Premier Cru – Score: 91.5 (QPR: GOOD)
This is lovely, the nose of this wine screams out with rich salinity, apple, pear, apple blossom, bright and tart fruit, lemon curd, creme Fraiche, lovely citrus, and nice minerality. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is lovely, with good acidity, great saline, lovely mouthfeel, almost oily, with great fruit structure, good green apple, slate, flint, and screaming concentration, and Asian pear, just lovely! The finish is long, tart, and concentrated, with a focus on the saline and flint, really nice! Drink by 2025. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 12.5%)

2021 Les Marronniers Chablis Grand Cru, Chablis, Grand Cru – Score: 90 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose of this wine is more mineral-driven than the Premier Cru, with less fruit, more austere, more blossom, and more creme, with hints of green apple and pear.
The mouth of this lovely medium-bodied is oaky, and strikes me more of a Burgundy than a Chablis, with nice oak creme, lovely creamy mouthfeel, apple, and creme Fraiche, showing less acidity than the Premier Cru, with nice red apple, pear, and smoke. The finish is long, creamy, and smoky, with enough acidity, but less refreshing than the Premier Cru, but with a bigger body and a richer mouthfeel. Nice minerality and flint to go with the saline and fruit. Drink by 2026. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13.5%)

2021 J De Villebois Sancerre Silex, Sancerre – Score: 91 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose of this wine is classic Sancerre with rich saline, flint, smoke, and matchstick, with orange blossom, lovely lemon, and hints of orange. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is lovely with rich gooseberry, lovely orange blossom, peach, passion fruit, cat piss, lemongrass, and green notes, lovely minerality, rich flint, with rich mouthfeel, creamy, with orange, nectarines, and rich lemon. The orange did take over a bit too much for me and became too much of the focus.
The finish is long, creamy, and flinty, with everything coming together quite nicely, the fruit focus is impressive as is the minerality, and the overall mouthfeel is quite impressive. Drink by 2025. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 12.5%)

2020 Chateau Malartic Lagraviere Blanc, Grand Cru Classe de Graves, Pessac Leognan – Score: 95 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose of this wine is richly oaky, with apple, pear, and smoke commanding your attention, followed by some minerality, lemon blossom, straw/hay, stone fruit, and apple. With time, as the wine opens to the air, the nose changes drastically, to show intense complexity, with rich grapefruit, intense and tart gooseberry, pineapple, tart passion fruit, oak smoke, and redolence that blows my mind. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is denser, richer, and more concentrated than the previous vintage, with incredible plushness, and richness, that makes the oak bearable, with rich smoke, apple, pear, rich spices, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, saline, with such a fruit focus and complexity even though the oakiness is dense, with great minerality, incredible acidity that cuts through the dense oak, really impressive. The finish is long, rich, acidic, and saline-driven, with lovely oak, flint, slate, and plushness that belies the oak. With air the mouth opens to show an incredible mouthfeel, now the oak has faded to the back, with lanolin, waxy notes, lovely yellow plum, hay/straw, funk, tart gooseberry, tart passion fruit, with Asian pear, and lovely fruit focus. WOW! At the start, I was ready to score it lower than the 2019 but with the air and the clear bump in complexity and control, that time shows this wine it is clear it belongs in the same zone as the 2019 vintage! Bravo! Drink by 2035. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14%)

2021 Chateau Signac, Cotes du Rhone – Score: 87.5 (QPR: GREAT)
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah. The nose of this wine is ripe, a bit pushed, with ripe blackcurrant, violet, and floral notes, with dark cherry, boysenberry, and nice minerality. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is ripe and dense, showing some acidity, I wish there was more, with a rich tannin structure, nice fruit, blackcurrant, plum, cherry, rich smoke, roasted animal, and earth. The finish is long dense, and rich, but it needs more acidity to balance out the dense black and red fruit. Drink by 2024. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14%)

2021 Chateau Trijet, Bordeaux – Score: 87 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose of this wine is not as ripe as I had it before, but the green notes have now emerged, with a bit of tinniness, violet, and smoke. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine shows better acidity than when I tasted this before, with too many green notes, asparagus, plum, hints of smoke, and nice enough tannin. The finish is long. with dirt, too many green notes, tinny aspects, and some fruit. Drink by 2024. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13%)

2021 Chateau les Riganes, Bordeuax – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose of this wine is far less candied than the Mevushal version, with more oak than I remember on this wine, less milk chocolate on the nose than the Mevushal, with less sweet dill, more nice smoke, black and red fruit, garrigue, and green notes. Overall, as usual, the non-mevushal version shows better in simpler wines. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is more balanced than the Mevushal version, it feels a drop hollow, but very nice still, with better acidity, nice tannin, sweet blackberry, raspberry, dark cherry, smoke, gravel, loam, and green notes. The finish is long, balanced with green notes, herbal, and smoky, with clear sweet oak, sweet dill, and garrigue. The non-Mevushal version is far better but now without the Mevushal process, the wine shows more green notes. Drink by 2024. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 12.5%)

2021 Chateau les Riganes Reserve, Bordeaux – Score: 90.5 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose of this wine is nice, showing better than the non-Mevushal Riganes, with lovely fruit, almost zero green notes, clean fruit, nice minerality, more floral notes, violets, and nice smoke. The mouth of this medium-plus bodied wine is nicer than the non-Mevushal Riganes, with a more plush mouthfeel, and nicer richness, but there are still some hollow notes of the non-Mevushal wine, also the acidity is a bit less than I wish, with the same black and red fruit of the non-Mevushal, showing great blackberry, plum, raspberry, dark cherry, nice sweet tannin, smoke, gravel, loam, and green notes. The finish is long, balanced with less green notes, herbal, and smoky, with clear sweet oak, sweet dill, and garrigue. Drink by 2024. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14%)

2020 Chateau Mayne Guyon, Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux (M) – Score: 91 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose of this wine is nice, not elegant, just nice, with red fruit, a drop of minerality, and smoke. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine shows rich minerality, with graphite, nice mouth-draping tannin, lovely smoke, blackberry, plum, raspberry, and dense fruit, with a lovely mouthfeel, lovely texture, and great acidity. The finish is long, bright, ripe, and fruity, with a nice plush mouthfeel, lovely tannin, mineral, graphite, and more smoke. Bravo! Drink by 2024. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13.5%)

2020 Les Lauriers des Rothschild, Montagne Saint-Emilion (M) – Score: 87 (QPR: GREAT)
This wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc with ripe green notes, intense blueberry notes, and densely herbal, floral notes, violets, with nice enough minerality, and smoke. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is a flower pot of green notes and violets, blueberry, with asparagus, blue fruit, and concentrated roasted herbs, with enough minerality, nice mouth-draping tannin, and smoke. The finish is long, green, herbal, and smoky, with more tannin, roasted herbs, and graphite. Drink 2025. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14.5%)

2020 Chateau de Parsac, Montagne Saint-Emilion (M) – Score: 83 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose of this wine is once again, green, herbal, smoky, fruity, and very floral, with dense violet, and fruity in the background. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is herbal, floral, and dense concentration of green notes, too much for me, with nice tannin and good acidity. The finish is long, green, herbal, smoky, and too painful for me. Drink until 2024. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14.5%)

2020 Chateau des Laurets, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion – Score: 91.5 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 80% Merlot & 20% Cabernet Franc. The nose of this wine is nice, and balanced, with floral notes, nice sweet oak, black and red fruit, proper fresh garden herbs, smoke, and minerality. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is well balanced, with great acidity, plush, good mouthfeel, nice draping tannin, good fruit structure, blackberry, floral notes, tart plum, nice raspberry, dark cherry, and blueberry, with more fresh herbs, nice sweet oak, and nice minerality. The finish is a bit short, and herbal, with lovely black and blue fruit, nice graphite, mineral, leather, and nice smoke. Bravo! Drink until 2027. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14.5%)

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, heat, 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 Les Roches De Yon Figeac, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 81% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, & 6% Petit Verdot. The nose of this wine is ripe, well-balanced, smokey, earthy, sweet herbs, lovely black and red fruit, minerality, with some nice forest floor, and good smoke. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is ripe and layered, but missing a bit in the mouth with good minerality, nice graphite, lovely cedar, good forest floor, a good plush mouthfeel, and sweet plum, earth, blackberry, cassis, nice tannin, and scraping graphite. The finish is long, rich, green, herbal, ripe, and nice smoke, with graphite, leather, and sweet herbs. Drink by 2030. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14%) (This is the non-mevushal version, it is NOT what will be sold in the USA, unless they bring some non-mevushal as well, which would be GREAT!)

2020 Chateau Montviel, Pomerol – Score: 92.5 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose of this wine is lovely, dense, rich, elegant, and smoky, with blue and black fruit, hints of red fruit, and dense minerality, and much akin to previous vintages. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is dense, layered, rich, extracted, and concentrated, with intense acidity, rich blackberry, plum, and blueberry, with a lovely plush mouthfeel, showing intense mouth-scraping tannin, and intense minerality. The finish is long, ripe, dense, rich, and layered, with a lovely plush mouthfeel, and extraction, but equally refreshing, with acidity, smoke, graphite, leather, and sweet oak. Lovely!! Drink from 2024 until 2032. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13.5%)

2019 Chateau Greysac, Medoc (M) – Score: 91.5 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose of this wine has fully opened 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, and well-balanced, with lovely acidity, lovely minerality, 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 until 2026. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14%)

2020 Chateau Clarke, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Listrac-Medoc – Score: 92.5 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 70% Merlot & 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose of this wine is ripe, but well-balanced, rich, dense, aromatic, and elegant, with rich blue and black fruit, along with hints of red fruit, lovely minerality, rich smoke, licorice, and rich black tea. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is ripe, dense, layered, rich, and extracted, but elegant, with lovely acidity, scraping minerality, lovely graphite, dense and concentrated mouthfeel, with a plushness that belies its youth, along with mouth-draping tannin, blackberry, boysenberry, candied strawberry, and nice loam. The finish is long, ripe, balanced, and tart, with good saline, graphite, earthy, and smoky, this is close to the 2016 vintage, but a touch behind. BRAVO! Drink from 2025 until 2032. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13.5%)

2020 Chateau Fourcas Dupre, Listrac – Medoc – Score: 92.5 (QPR: WINNER)
The wine changed the label and while I like the wine and have almost loved this wine the label is a step back in my opinion.
The nose of this wine is far better than the new label would suggest, showing lovely red fruit, hints of floral notes, rich minerality, lovely forest floor, rhubarb, cherry, dark red fruit as well, tar, with forest floor, loam, and a bit too many green notes. Thankfully, after a few days the green notes do go away, leaving me hope that this wine is built for much more than I originally thought during the tasting.
The mouth of this wine shows 12.5% ABV characteristics, with green notes, lovely raspberry, more rhubarb, and dark cherry, backed by great minerality, graphite, forest floor, hints of mushroom, with nice tar, nice tannin, and while the green notes exist they are not overpowering but they make their presence felt. Again, with a few days that does go away which is nice, the red fruit, mushroom, and forest floor come out, quite nice, with a good weight and body.
The finish is long, green, tart, and herbal, with mushrooms, smoke, and more tar. Drink from 2024 until 2035. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 12.5%)

2020 Pavillon de Leoville Poyferre, Saint-Julien – Score: 93 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon & 33% Merlot. The nose of this wine is incredible, and the minerality reaches out and slaps you upside the head, with rich graphite, saline, lead pencil, lovely tar, dense fruit that backs all this minerality, loam, smoke, and rich forest floor. Bravo! The mouth of this full-bodied starts with searing acidity, followed by rich minerality, mouth-draping tannin, lovely blackberry, plum, raspberry, and earth, that gives way to more graphite, leather, and smoke. The finish is captivating, elegant, and concentrated, with balancing fruit, acidity, tannin, nice menthol, tar, and great minerality that brings it all together, truly impressive! Bravo! Drink from 2025 to 2035 (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13.5%)

2020 Chateau Le Crock, Saint-Estephe – Score: 91.5 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, & 6% Cabernet Franc. The nose of this wine is ripe, almost balanced, smoky, and rich with notes of black and blue fruit, tar, asphalt, and a bit pushed, along with lovely floral notes, violet, and nice minerality. The mouth of this medium-plus-bodied wine is dark and brooding, ripe and layered, and accessible, with blackberry, dark plum, smoke, and mushroom, with good minerality, not over the top, but also not for the long haul, with good tannin structure, nice fruit focus, and lovely acidity. The finish is long, green, herbal, and mineral-driven, with good tar and smoke. Drink until 2028. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13%)

2020 Chateau Bellefont-Belcier, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classe – Score: 90 (QPR: GOOD)
This wine is a blend of 72% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose of this wine is ripe, with juicy black and red fruit, nice minerality, loam, hints of tar, black tea, and loads of forest floor. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is ripe, a bit too ripe for me, it lacks the acidity I crave, with nice enough acidity, juicy blackberry, plum, boysenberry, juicy strawberry, milk chocolate, very accessible and fruity/juicy wine that will appeal to a certain crowd of buyers, rich sweet cedar, mouth-drying tannin, and a plush sweet mouthfeel. The finish is long, ripe, sweet, and sweet spices, nutmeg, allspice, milk chocolate, leather, Cuban cigar smoke, and leaf, with loam, ripe/sweet fruit, graphite, and more tannin lingering long. Drink until 2027. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14.5%)

2020 Chateau Malartic Lagraviere, Grand Cru Classe de Graves, Pessac Leognan – Score: 92.5 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose of this lovely wine is nice, not over the top, with lovely fruit, sweet oak, loads of milk chocolate, sweet spices, nutmeg, vanilla, and herbs. The mouth of this full-bodied is rich, layered, extracted, concentrated, and oak-influenced, but the acidity is incredible, and truly manages the ripe currants, and power of this wine, with milk chocolate, espresso, rich raspberry, plum, loam, earth, minerality, and rich smoke. Scary but very nice. The finish is ripe, dense, and extracted, with lovely complexity, leather, sweet spices, sweet vanilla, ripe fruit, earth, acid, and graphite that come together quite nicely! Drink until 2030. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14%)

2020 Chateau Giscours, Grand Cru Classe en 1855, Margaux – Score: 94 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose of this elegant, with great control, shows nice violet and jasmine, with rich minerality, black and red fruit, currants, nice smoke, graphite, and gravel. The mouth of this full-bodied, richly extracted, and concentrated wine is sheer elegance, with great control, lovely acidity, lovely fruit, smoke, and epic fruit focus, all coming together into a rich and plush mouthfeel, with mouth-draping tannin, blackberry, plum, raspberry, dark currants, graphite, smoke, loam, and gravel. WOW! The finish is long, dark, brooding, elegant, controlled, and perfectly balanced that comes together into a plush and rich finish with fruit, minerality, leather, loam, and earth all coming together and lingering very long. BRAVO! Drink from 2025 until 2033. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13.5%)

2020 Chateau Lascombes, Grand Cru Classe en 1855, Margaux – Score: 95 (QPR: GREAT)
This wine is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot. The nose of this wine is balanced but closed to start with soy sauce, violet, savory notes, black and red fruit, dense smoke, tar, and rich loam. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is a freight train, with rich salinity, rich extraction, deep salt notes, dense, elegant, rich, layered, concentrated, and plush, with dense blackberry, dense raspberry, plum, soy sauce, umami notes, with a plush and dense mouthfeel with mouth-drying tannin, just incredible and crazy, wow! the finish is long, extracted, dense, and rich, with rich leather, smoke, tar, more soy sauce, rich scraping graphite, rock, and gravel wrapping balanced black fruit on the long and lingering finish! BRAVO!!! Drink from 2027 until 2037. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13.5%)

2020 Chateau Leoville Poyferre, 2nd Grand Cru Classe du Medoc en 1855, Saint-Julien – Score: 95 (QPR: GOOD)
This wine has no paper label it has an etched label instead to commemorate the Cuvelier family’s acquisition of the winery 100 years ago. The first kosher vintage was in 1999. The nose of this wine is dense, rich, and very expensive, this is the most closed 2020 wine we tasted today, but after a fair amount of aeration, it shows rich saline, black and red fruit, minerality, fruit, and loam, lovely! The mouth of this full-bodied wine is more austere and less extracted than others we have tasted today, more elegant, with lovely blackberry, juicy and tart raspberry, tart plum, rich and dense graphite, elegant mouth-draping tannin, and garrigue, a wine that comes together in such an elegant and captivating manner, quite impressive. The finish is long, dark, brooding, mineral-driven, dense, and yet elegant, with nice soy sauce, dense and scraping graphite, gravel, and loam. This wine is still a bit closed and its elegance still shows quite nicely with dark fruit, dense minerality, and gravel, wow! Drink from 2029 until 2039. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13%)

2020 Chateau Pontet Canet, Grand Cru Classe en 1855, Pauillac – Score: 94 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose of this wine is filled with smoke, toasted oak, barrel influence, milk chocolate, rich and dense with black and red fruit, loam, minerality, gravel, rich and elegant aromas with soy sauce, nutmeg, and celery. The mouth of this full-bodied wine has rich espresso, dense tannin, sweet and savory liver, saline, mineral, and scraping graphite, that is balanced by lovely acidity, a dense mouthfeel, and mouth-drying tannin, that gives way to smoke, earth, and a spike of sweet cacao, wrapped by earthy notes. The finish is long, green, tart, and ripe, with umami notes, soy sauce, dark fruit, scraping graphite, mineral, and roasted meat. WOW! A very unique wine indeed! Drink from 2030 until 2040. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13%)

2020 Chateau Piada, Sauternes – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose of this wine is ripe, a bit riper than previous vintages, with lovely funk, ripe pineapple, ripe and juicy guava, mango, and many other tropical fruits, chamomile, sweet honeysuckle, honeyed notes, with some balance of nice tart citrus fruit. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is balanced, the mouth shows much more balance and elegance than the nose, with a lovely plush and oily mouthfeel, with the aforementioned funk, sweet honeyed melon, honeyed guava, and mango, sweet peach, tart and balancing grapefruit, tart yellow plum, and nice minerality, even a bit of saline, nice! The finish is long, mineral, sweet, and not ripe, with hints of pith, graphite, saline, more funk, and honeysuckle lingering long. Nice! Drink from 2028 until 2040. (tasted September 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.5%)

————————————————— Tasted in San Jose ————————————————-

2019 Barons Edmond & Benjamin de Rothschild, Haut-Medoc (M) – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is a blend of 85% Merlot & 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The nose of this wine starts with lovely notes of ripe red and blue berries followed by rich loam, funk, rich mineral, wet dirt, tar, and green notes/foliage.
The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is less weighty than the 2018 vintage with lovely notes of smoke, dirt, loam, dark raspberry, currants, blueberry, Elderberries, rich funk, foliage, lovely mouth-coating tannin, a bit too many green notes, and searing acidity. Thankfully, with time the green notes fade and the wine really comes into its own, a lovely WINNER.
The finish is long, dirty, earthy, and mineral-driven, with lovely smoke, toast, pencil shavings, graphite, more green notes, dark chocolate, and lovely tension. Drink until 2028. (tasted December 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14%)

Posted on January 5, 2023, in Kosher Dessert Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Rose Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Excellent reporting which would be of greater benefit if it were accompanied by prices and retail stockist.

    • Hello Phillip, I am not a retailer nor am I in the business. I have a few links on the side of every page with reputable retailers and you can use their sites to check prices and availability. Of course, you can also ask your local retailer for prices and availability as well. Be well.

      • Just trying to be helpful. Much easier to bring a positive response this way.

        Phillip Leigh sold@phillipleigh.uk 020 3137 6269 / 07710 902 000

        >

      • I fully understand that. You made it clear in your previous email. As as an entrepreneur and mentor I am just suggesting that you use your obvious literal talents to develop a needed commercial capability.

  2. Mordechai Kahan

    Hi, For some reason it seems like the 2019 Chateau Royaumont is missing from Royals tasting lineup, between last year and this year

  1. Pingback: My top 25 kosher wines of 2022, including the Wine of the Year, Winery of the Year, the Best Wine of the Year, and the Best Mevushal wines of the year awards | Wine Musings Blog

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