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

Like last year, I wanted to make this post short and sweet – so the criteria are simple. I could care less about price, color, or where it was made. All that matters is that it is/was available this year sometime to the public at large and that I tasted it in a reliable environment, not just at a tasting, and that it scored a 93 or higher.

We are returning with the “wine of the year”, “best wine of the year” “Winery of the Year”, and “Best White wine of the year”, along with a last year’s new addition the – “Best Mevushal wine of the year”. Wine of the year goes to a wine that distinguished itself in ways that are beyond the normal. It needs to be a wine that is easily available, incredible in style and flavor, and it needs to be reasonable in price. It may be the QPR wine of the year or sometimes it will be a wine that so distinguished itself for other reasons. The wines of the year are a type of wine that is severely unappreciated, though ones that have had a crazy renaissance, over the past two years. The Best Wine of the year goes to a wine well worthy of the title.

The Mevushal wine of the year is something I dread. I understand the need for a wine that can be enjoyed at restaurants and events, but when we start seeing Château Gazin Rocquencourt and Chevalier de Lascombes go Mevushal – we know we have a problem. As I have stated in the past, if this is what needs to happen, then please sell both options as many do with Peraj Petita/Capcanes, Psagot wines, and many others. Still, it is a wine and as such, it needs a best-of-the-year moniker, so we do it once again!

This past year, I tasted more wines than I have ever, in the past. Now to be clear here, I did not taste many Israeli wines as they have proven to me over and over again, even with the much-ballyhooed 2018 vintage that they are not worth my spending my money on. Still, I did taste a large number of Israeli wines both in my home and at KFWE events. I spent a fair amount of time tasting all the French and European wines I could get my hands on and I feel that is where I added the most value, IMHO. For those that like the Israeli wine style – other writers/bloggers can point you in some direction. This past year, was a return to an above-average year but not as good as last year’s list because last year’s 2019 wines were incredible and precise.

Last year’s list was star-studded and was driven by the incredible 2019 vintage. This year’s list is solid and will highlight a few top 2020 wines, but the clear winner will highlight a 2019 wine that missed making last year’s list because it was released later.

There are also interesting wines below the wines of the year, think of them as runner-up wines of the year. There will be no rose wines on the list this year. If last year, I thought the roses were pure junk, this year, you can add another nail in the coffin of rose wines, IMHO. Last year’s list was stronger with some 123 WINNER wines, this year we had 95. Still, another overall solid year.

Royal Wines continues to impress with the wines they make or import. However, slowly, more lovely wines are being made from other sources though they are harder to find in the USA or outside of Europe.

Now, separately, I love red wines, but white wines – done correctly, are a whole other story! Sadly, in regards to whites, we had no new wines from Germany, still. Thankfully, we have some awesome entries, from the incredible 2020 Chateau Malartic Blanc to the lovely 2021 Covenant Solomon Blanc, to the beautiful 2021 Jean-Philippe Marchand Meursault.

Finally, this year is the year of the Clos! Between the awesome Wine of the Year – the 2018 Clos Mesorah and the Clos Lavaud from Domaine Roses Camille, the Winery of the year, long live the Clos!!!

The wines on the list this year are all available here in the USA, and in Europe, and a few can be found in Israel, as well. The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here and the explanation for QPR scores can be found here:

The 2022 Kosher Winery of the Year

This award continues to get harder and harder each year. The sad cold, hard truth is that there are too few great kosher wineries. When I started this award, some 4 years ago I thought it would only get easier. Sadly, there are a few truths that limit my ability to give out this award.

First, as much as we have been blessed with great Kosher European wines, in the past 6 years, most of those blessings come under the auspices of single-run kosher wines. Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Château Smith Haut Lafitte, you name it, are all based upon kosher runs. What we have in Europe, kosher-winery-wise, is Terra di SetaCantina Giuliano, and Elvi Wines (including Clos Mesorah). Along with this year’s winner, Domaine Roses Camille. Officially, Domaine Roses Camille only became 100% kosher in 2020, but for all intent and purpose, they have been producing the vast majority of their wines in kosher, since 2011.

The requirements to receive this award are simple, the winery must be kosher, not a kosher-run, the quality must be consistent, and the wines must be readily available. The last requirement is the main reason why Four Gates Winery has yet to win the award, but at this point, it is only a matter of time, as kosher wine availability is becoming less of an issue overall, given the sheer number of cult-like kosher wineries that exist today.

Domaine Roses Camille was one of those cult-like wineries at the start when they produced a stunning 2005 Pomerol. It hit that cult status when the late Daniel Rogov called it the best kosher wine he had ever had, at that point, anyway.

As always, my disclaimers. The U.S. importer of Domaine Roses Camille is Andrew Breskin, of Liquid Kosher, and a person I call a friend. This past week I spent two days with him tasting many a wine, that post will follow my year-in-review posts, along with the Four Gates Winery new releases post.

Domaine Roses Camille’s winemaker is Christophe Bardeau. I have had the honor of meeting him a few times and he always comes across as a kind and professional person. While the main two wines, Domaine Roses Camille and the Echo Roses Camille come from Pomerol, he also makes wines from other regions in Bordeaux, like the Clos Lavaud (Lalande de Pomerol), Chateau Moulin de la Clide (a wine that took on its cult-like status as it was sadly a one and done run), Chateau Marquisat de Binet, and others.

Now, to be clear, the Domaine Roses Camille, Echo Roses Camille, and Clos Lavaud – which are all in Pomerol are made in Domaine Roses Camille winery, the 2022 Winery of the year. The one-off Moulin de la Clide and the lovely Chateau Marquisat de Binet were/are made in those Chateaus. Christophe Bardeau made/makes all the other wines but I named them here for completeness.

Pomerol is a lovely location and the wines of Domaine Roses Camille continue to impress. The Clos Lavaud is a year-in-year-out QPR WINNER along with the Echo Roses Camille. They are both perennially great wines and wines we all are very lucky to have in the kosher wine market! The flagship wine, Domaine Roses Camille has never had a bad year, it is the model of consistency, and the only years it was not made kosher was during the lean years of the kosher wine market in France, 2007 – 2010 (inclusively). It does come in at a higher cost than other kosher Pomerol wines but the high-end quality of Domaine Roses Camille matches the prices and longevity potential of other high-end quality kosher wines that cost much more than the DRC does. Yeah, there, I slipped, we all call the Domaine Roses Camille, our kosher DRC, but yeah, we all know what the real DRC is and that is a different wine region and price, all together!

So, with mad props and great happiness, and hope for even more success, I say Bravo to Christophe Bardeau and Andrew Breskin for all the hard work and lovely wines. The quality of the wines that are here and will be coming, in the future (I tasted many of them over this past week), are impressive and I wish them only continued success!

The 2022 kosher wine of the year – times TWO!

This was extremely hard to choose this year. As stated far too many times already, 2020 and 2021 wines are not wines that excite me! As in the past, the wines like 2020 Chateau Malartic and the 2020 Leoville Poyferre were nice, but their prices pushed them out of contention. The same for lovely wines like the 2019 Marciano Marciano Estate, 2020 Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2019 Covenant Solomon, Lot 70, all are lovely but the price pushes them out as well.

Others like the 2020 Chateau Montviel, the 2020 Pavillon de Leoville Poyferre, the 2018 Clos Lavaud, 2019 Chateau Marquis D’Alesme Becker, and others are lovely and hit the price point, but they miss the score by a bit.

In the end, I am going with two wines that are readily available here in the USA and France, but they differ! The first is the 2018 Clos Mesorah – a lovely wine with rich expression and focus. It is available here in the USA along with the 2019 Clos Mesorah as well.

For those in France, the Clos Mesorah is a wonderful option along with the 2019 Chateau Tour Seran (NON-mevushal). The mevushal version of this wine in the USA is a lovely wine, but it was in last year’s wine list of top mevushal wines and it is a clear step behind the non-mevushal version. Sadly, Royal is stuck in its ways and they continue to import wines that are unspeakable and undrinkable in both the non-mevushal and mevushal formats, while wines like the Tour Seran or the upcoming mevushal 2020 Les Roches De Yon Figeac are brought into the USA in mevushal only bottles.

The logic escapes me. Either the headache/logistical nightmare that they perceive exists and they, therefore, bring in only mevushal or non-mevushal options for a given SKU/bottle. Or, there is no such issue and they can bring in two options for all bottles. Royal, make up your mind and show the respect that is deserved to the wines you make, like the 2020 Les Roches De Yon Figeac.

The 2019 Chateau Tour Seran is imported by Royal but made by Taieb Wines, there are other options for importers of Taieb wines, and I hope one of them will take the opportunity to bring in this beauty.

Well, there you go, the two Wines of the Year for 2022 are the 2018 Clos Mesorah and the 2019 Chateau Tour Seran (non-mevushal):

2018 Clos Mesorah, Montsant – Score: 94 (QPR: WINNER)
The nose of this wine shows more black fruit than the 2019 vintage, with lovely blackberry, smoke, root beer, and roasted animal, more than 2019, with some red fruit, a bit bluer, with white and pink flowers that emerge after time, raspberry, and mineral. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is rich, layered, elegant, and a bit riper than 2019, with rich salinity, sweet oak, black olives, blackberry, plum, boysenberry, root beer, dark currants, anise, and rich mouthfeel and fruit structure, that gives way to saline, roasted herbs, and graphite. The finish is long, dark, brooding, smoky, earthy, forest floor, and blackcurrants, with dirt, loam, clay, leather, and rich spices. Bravo!! Drink from 2027 until 2036. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 15.5%)

2019 Chateau Tour Seran, Medoc – Score: 94 (QPR: WINNER (France))
This is one of the best wines of our blind tastings here in the hotel. The nose of this wine is lovely, and perfectly balanced, with licorice, smoke, black and red fruit, char, toasty oak, loam, lovely mushroom (that comes out after a few hours), and forest floor. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is dense, ripe, layered, and rich with good acidity, richly extracted, but savory, not overly ripe, a real joy, with blackberry, ripe raspberry, currants, dense loam, forest floor, with scraping minerality, graphite, tar, and rock, this is too much fun! The finish is long, and mineral-driven, with good fruit focus, great graphite, and rock. Drink until 2036. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14%)

The 2022 best kosher wine of the year!

Anyone who has been reading this blog for the past year knows the best wine of the year already! It was a shocking wine, tasted blind, and was incredible in every way. Layered, dense, rich, unctuous, savory, refreshing, and mind-blowing all at the same time. That would be the 2019 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte. As I keep repeating the 2019 vintage is the highest-scoring vintage since the 2014 vintage. I could not taste the 2019 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte until later in 2022 so it falls into this year’s best wine list. If it was on last year’s list it would have won as well! In my post on the 2019 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, I made that very clear, it is the best, IMHO, 2019 kosher wine. It exceeds the 2019 Four Gates wines, that I have tasted so far and the others from other producers. The only 2019, at this point, that no one has tasted is the 2019 Domaine Roses Camille, but that will require another couple of years until it is bottled to officially close out the 2019 vintage, worldwide, from a kosher wine perspective.

Bravo to Les Vins IDS wines for another smashing success!

2019 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan, Grand Cru Classe – Score: 96+ (QPR: GOOD)
This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot.
The nose of this wine is incredible, dense, expressive, and elegant, with blue, black, and red fruit, really impressive.
The mouth of this full-bodied wine is full-stop, wow! The mouth of this wine is incredible, dense, elegant, rich, layered, smoky, extracted, and so present, with a rich structure of mineral, graphite, backed by incredible acidity, good oak, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, dense structure, sensual, yet powerful, with a plush yet extracted mouthfeel, truly a unique experience.
The finish is long, green, expressive, rich, layered, and impressive, with tobacco, smoke, earth, scraping minerality, graphite, and rock, wow! Drink from 2030 until 2038. (tasted May 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 15%)

The 2022 Best kosher White wine(s) of the year!

This award is going to be the first of many new white wines hailing from France. Two years ago we had a Chablis and a Meursault! Last year we had the 2019 Chateau Malartic Lagraviere Blanc, Grand Cru Classe de Graves, Pessac Leognan. This year we have a return of the Chateau Malartic Lagraviere Blanc, Grand Cru Classe de Graves, and Pessac Leognan, with the new 2020 vintage. The 2020 vintage is richer and more unctuous than 2019 a really impressive wine, no matter if it would have been white or red! Between the 2019 and 2020 vintages – these two white wines are incredible and outside of the 2014 Von Hovel Rieslings, there have not been other white kosher wines that reach this level, quality-wise, IMHO. 

There are two runner-ups this year – that deserve special mention, those are the 2021 Covenant Solomon Blanc and the 2021 Jean-Philippe Marchand Meursault. We have been blessed with more lovely Meursault but the Solomon Blanc is the first California white, since the early heydays of Four Gates Chardonnays that pushes the boundaries and proves we can make the next level in quality in California and it does not need to be Chardonnay! BRAVO!!

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%)

——————————————– Special Mention ———————————

2021 Covenant Solomon Blanc, Bennett Valley, Sonoma County, CA – Score: 93 (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is from the Moaveni Vineyard, in Bennett Valley, Sonoma County.
The nose of this lovely wine is impressive with intense bright fruit, screaming bright acid, tart lemon/lime, sweet orange blossom, gooseberry shows after time, sweet bright pear, tart limoncello, and tart fruit.
The mouth of this full-bodied wine is intense, layered, and complex, with rich layers of tart orange, ripe gooseberry, tart orange, and crème, a really impressive expression, of fruit and oak, with sweet oak, smoke, pear, apple, sweet mint, and sweet fruit. Bravo! The finish is long, tart, sweet, sweet ginger, bright, and oaky, lovely! Bravo!! Drink until 2030. (tasted September 2022) (in Berkeley, CA) (ABV = 13.8%)

2021 Jean-Philippe Marchand Meursault, Meursault – Score: 93+ (QPR: GOOD)
The nose of this wine is intense, funky, and dirty, with rich salinity, smoke, hay, honeyed melon, toasty oak, hazelnuts, and lemongrass. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is intense, dense, rich, and layered, truly incredible, with layers of acidity, butterscotch, toast, melon, apple, lime, hay/grass, with minerality, flint/slate, with such an unctuous and rich mouthfeel, almost oily, with a weightiness and freshness that is truly incredible. The finish is long, tart, and rich, not as ripe as 2019, but lovely with more lemon/lime Fraiche, flint, rock, saline, and honeyed notes. Lovely! PLEASE, many of you will be motivated to drink this up as it is an awesome wine, but control yourselves please, this wine needs time! Drink until 2029, maybe longer. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13%)

The 2022 best kosher Mevushal wines of the year!

So, as much as I dislike the need for mevushal wines there is still a market. As such, it is time to accept the inevitable and move on. No shock here, another year and the winners are Herzog and O’Dwyers Creek. I would not have been surprised to have seen the 2020 Chateau Le Crock, but it was not impressive, like much of the 2020 vintage. Sadly, there is no Chateau Tour Seran in 2020. So, the mevushal options are drying up. There is a lovely Hagafen Pinot Noir, but it missed the list by a drop but is here under special mention.

So, here is the best red and white mevushal wine I have tasted this past year.

2020 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, Lake County, CA (M) – Score: 92+ (QPR: WINNER)
Another Herzog WINNER from lake County, this is starting to be a consistent QPR WINNER, even a bit more consistent than Alexander Valley, AKA Sonoma Valley, very interesting, IMHO! So very interesting to see how two California wines from the same vintage but in different regions are acting differently. Bravo! The nose of this wine is lovely with dense fruit, elegance, smoke, rich loam, dirt, black and red fruit, dark cherry, herbs, sweet spices, and lovely minerality. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is lovely, layered, spicy, tart, and acidic, with great fruit focus, nice fruity but controlled mouthfeel, with tart plum, ripe blackberry, sweet oak, lovely plush and dense mouthfeel, sweet smoke, hints of hickory, baked raspberry pie, and sweet spices galore, Lovely! The finish is long, tart, bright, ripe, balanced, and smoky, with intense sweet spices, cinnamon, smoke, cloves, cumin, rich loam, graphite, pencil shavings, and more smoke. Bravo! Drink until 2031. (tasted June 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 15%)

2021 O’Dwyers Creek Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough (M) – Score: 92 (QPR: WINNER)
WOW, another vintage from O’dwyers creek and another smashing winner!!
The nose of this wine is intense, incredible, and expressive, with ripe gooseberry, passionfruit, cat pee, funk, green notes, honeysuckle, lemongrass, straw, and wet grass. The mouth of this medium-plus bodied wine is just sheer joy, tart, expressive, and rich, layered almost, with ripe gooseberry, oily texture, passionfruit, kiwi, and mango, all wrapped in dense acidity, incredible salinity, funk, and rich green notes, just LOVELY! The finish is long, green, and herbal, with intense minerality, smoke, saline, flint, lemongrass, and more wet grass. A sheer joy to taste! Drink by 2024. (tasted July 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 13%)

——————————————– Special Mention ———————————

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%)

Rest of the top 25 kosher wines of 2022

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%)

2018 Four Gates Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA – Score: 95 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose of this wine is elegance, sheer elegance, still new-world, but wow, with intense notes of smoke, sweet cedar, black and red fruit, earth, loam, intense minerality, graphite, and rich saline. WOW! The mouth of this full-bodied wine is incredible, rich, layered, dense, extracted, elegant, and beautiful, with intense minerality, graphite, charcoal, chocolate, sweet oak, elegant mouth-draping tannin, smoke, blackberry, raspberry, plum, and earth. This wine is so elegant, dense, and rich, wow! The finish is long, dark, brooding, smoky, earthy, spicy, and herbal, with lovely roasted herbs, mint, eucalyptus, and leather, with sweet spices, and scraping minerality. WOW! Drink from 2026 until 2034. (tasted December 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.5%)

2019 Covenant Solomon, Lot 70, Napa Valley, CA – Score: 94+ (QPR: GOOD)
The nose of this wine is dense, black, earthy, inky, dirty, and rich, with intense pencil shavings, black pepper, smoke, violet, heather, and black fruit. Lovely! The mouth of this full-bodied wine is dense, lush, concentrated, and elegant, with layers of dense and extracted blackberry, cassis, inky structure, rich minerality, and sweet oak, but so elegant and rich, showing real care, place, and balance, with incredible acidity, minerality, sweet spice, squid ink, and a mouthfeel that is plush, dense, and tannic, but also balanced and elegant, BRAVO! The finish is long, earthy, smoky, dirty, rich, and layered with presence, minerality, sweet spices, dark chocolate, cloves, tarragon, sweet mint, and more tannin lingering forever. BRAVO!! Drink from 2026 until 2035. (tasted September 2022) (in Berkeley, CA) (ABV = 14.5%)

2018 Four Gates Merlot, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA – Score: 94 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose of this wine is lovely, so close to old-world, yet new-world in style, with ripe fruit, ripe raspberry, strawberry, dark plum, smoke, loam, earth, sweet spices, violet, and tar, BRAVO! The mouth of this full-bodied wine is beautiful, yes it is ripe, but so well-balanced, so dense, rich, layered, and bright, with tart and juicy raspberry, dark cherry, strawberry, bright plum, smoke, mouth-drying tannin, with lovely extraction, smoke, charcoal, tar, and loam, wow!! The finish is long, dense, dark, brooding, ripe, and balanced, with great acidity, smoke, ripe fruit, leather, and spice. BRAVO!!! Drink from 2025 until 2034. (tasted December 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.5%)

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 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 Château Olivier Grand Cru Classe, Pessac-Léognan – Score: 94 (QPR: WINNER (France)
The nose of this wine is quite nice, a wine I would drink, with a bit of soy sauce, rich salinity, mushroom, earthy, and dirty, like a rich and redolent mud pen, with a bit of heat, and lovely smoke. With time, the heat drops off, ripe, muddy, mushroom haven, lovely! The mouth of the full-bodied wine is dense, layered, rich, and concentrated, with rich extraction, dark and brooding, with juicy blackberry, ripe strawberry, mushroom, forest floor, wet leaves, rich salinity, soy sauce, umami, just a fun, ripe, savory, and dirty wine. The finish is long, dark, and brooding, but well controlled, one of those rare ripe/dirty/earthy controlled monsters, with dense minerality, scraping graphite, ripe fruit, and leather, Bravo! Drink until 2035. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14.5%)

2020 Château Angelus Carillon de l’Angélus, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Score: 94 (QPR: POOR)
The nose of this wine is super closed for a day, literally, after a day the nose opens to rich, brooding, deep, and unctuous ripe notes of black and red fruit, controlled and redolent, with mineral, smoke, dirt, iron, loam, mushroom, and sweet spices. The mouth of this full-bodied wine is rich, layered, and controlled, with lovely blackberry, ripe raspberry, plum, dense and draping mouthfeel, lovely and elegant extraction, rich mushroom, and loam, wrapped in a dense mouth draping tannin, complex and elegant, with black and white pepper, sweet baking spices, garrigue, and sweet dill, lovely! This wine is still closed, I am doing my best here to get the notes. The finish is long, ripe, controlled, and mineral-driven, with intense graphite, pencil shavings, gravel, rock, tar, sweet tobacco, leather, and sweet spices. Drink from 2030 until 2040. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14.5%)

2020 Domaine du Chateau Philippe le Hardi Chambolle-Musigny, Les Athets, Chambolle-Musigny – Score: 93+ (QPR: GREAT)
This has to be one of the first kosher Chambolle-Musigny Burgundies – really fun, well-balanced, and precise, a truly enjoyable experience. The nose of this lovely Burgundy wine is much like what I desire from a Burgundy, fruity, but controlled, earthy, dirty, and smoky, with white pepper, dark cherry, raspberry, tart, and fresh red fruit, green notes, loam, and sweet spices. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is lovely, layered, balanced, tart, dense, and concentrated, but not overly fruity, with intense balance, precision, tart raspberry, dark cherry, intensely refreshing, rosehip, incredible salinity, mineral, sweet spices, and dense loam, with hints of mushroom. The finish is long, tart, refreshing, expressive, and extracted with tart red fruit, rooibos tea, tart cranberry, sweet smoke, pepper, and roasted notes lingering long! Bravo!!! Drink from 2026 until 2035. (tasted May 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13.5%)

2019 Clos Mesorah, Montsant – Score: 93+ (QPR: WINNER)
This wine is beautiful with lovely floral notes of rosehip, violet, tisane tea, and red and blue fruit, with roasted herb, smoke, roasted animal, rhubarb, dried cherry, and a lovely forest floor. The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine is lovely with screaming acidity, lovely dark raspberry, plum, tart currant, mouth-draping tannin, rhubarb, dark cherry, with lovely green notes, rich saline, mineral, spice, roasted herb, lovely blackberry, smoke, and rich graphite. The finish is long, green ripe, blackberry, with saline, smoke, blueberry, leather, cloves, cinnamon, and sweet oak, bravo!!! Drink from 2026 until 2034. (tasted November 2021) (in Montsant, Spain) (ABV = 15.5%)

2019 Chateau Marquis d’Alesme Becker, Margaux – Score: 93+ (QPR: GREAT (France), EVEN (USA))
This wine is a blend of 44% Merlot, 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 13% Cabernet Franc.
The nose of this wine is dense, rich, expressive, fruity, and redolent, with black, blue, and red fruit, with graphite, mineral, rich spice, earth, and dense smoke, impressive! The mouth of this full-bodied wine is dense, layered, rich, extracted, and expressive, while also elegant, smoky, and draped in a rich tannin coat, quite an experience, with saline, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, iron shavings, graphite, a bit of pith, and intense smoke, really impressive. The finish is long, with black, dense, and green notes, with sweet tobacco, green notes, and milk chocolate, really impressive! BRAVO! Drink from 2026 until 2035. (tasted May 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 14%)

2020 Chateau Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estephe – Score: 93+ (QPR: WINNER (FRANCE))
This wine is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon & 45% Merlot.
The nose of this wine is a less ripe wine, with savory notes, lovely green and red fruit, elegant redolence, minerality, lovely iron shavings graphite, beautiful pencil shavings, with incredible raspberry, cherry, and rich smoke. The mouth of this medium-bodied wine is lovely, elegant, extracted, rich, and beautiful with ripe and juicy cherry, elegant tart/juicy raspberry, beautiful smoke, intense and elegant charcoal/graphite, just lovely, with red fruit, loam, and mouth-scraping tannin. The finish is long, red, ripe, and smoky, with great tobacco, rosemary, savory notes, dark chocolate, loam, leather, and lovely smoke. Drink from 2023 until 2033. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 13%)

2018 Four Gates Frere Robaire, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA – Score: 93+ (QPR: GOOD)
This wine is a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, & 10% Petit Verdot. The nose of this wine is stunning, classic Frere Robaire, but elevated, and that is already rarified air, with lovely elegance, a vintage that again makes me think of Chateau Malartic, with intense minerality, dense and vibrant red and black fruit, menthol, eucalyptus, roasted herb, blue fruit in the background, and lovely minerality. The nose changes over time to show ripeness and not what I expect, thankfully, with even more time the fruit subsides and the wine comes close to what it was at the opening, but a bit rounder. This wine reminds me more of the Chateau Montviel 2018 than a classical Frere Robaire. The mouth of this wine is lovely but less than I was hoping for, with a ripeness that feels out of whack a bit, maybe from the Petit Verdot, nice blue and black fruit from the Merlot, and Cab, with blackberry, plum, boysenberry, smoke, vanilla, ripe fruit, nice tannin and acidity, and nice earth. The finish is long, ripe, smoky, and earthy, with sweet oak and tannin lingering long with the ripe fruit. Drink from 2028 until 2036. (tasted December 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.4%)

2018 Four Gates Merlot, La Rochelle, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA – Score: 93+ (QPR: GOOD)
The nose of this wine is dense, ripe, and beautiful, darker and more brooding than its sibling, Merlot, with black and red fruit, smoke, loam, charcoal, tar, dirt, vanilla, elegant, and lovely! The mouth of this full-bodied wine is lovely, ripe, dense, layered, smoky, and herbal, with lovely acidity, roasted herbs, blackberry, raspberry, ripe cherry, mint, eucalyptus, dense tannin, and toast. The finish is long, ripe, balanced, and lovely, with ripe fruit, great fruit focus, smoke, leather, spice, and oak lingering long. BRAVO!!! Drink from 2025 until 2033. (tasted December 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 14.5%)

2020 Vignobles Mayard Le Hurlevent, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Score: 93 (QPR: WINNER)
This smells like Huervelent, CDP, lovely! Again, all tasted blind. The nose of this wine is lovely, ripe, balanced, and earthy, but blue like the sky, with boysenberry, elegant notes of dirt, and blue fruit, with oolong tea, lovely! The mouth of this medium-plus-bodied wine starts ripe, with lovely blueberry pie, baked goods, lovely minerality, rock, graphite, balanced, and rich, layered, and dense, really nice, with roasted meat, dense loam, and earth, candied raspberry, well controlled, with draping tannin and lovely extraction, all I want from a well made Rhone wine. The finish is long, dark, blue, and red, with spicy notes, white pepper, loam, graphite, and a sweet balanced plush mouthfeel that lingers long. Nice!! Drink until 2029. (tasted November 2022) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 15%)

Posted on January 25, 2023, in Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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