As stated in my previous post, I was in Paris in November, and while it took forever to post these notes, I am happy to finally be getting to them at this point. The total number of boxes in our hotel room, much like in June, still makes me laugh!
As I stated, in my previous post, I kept to my hotel room for much of the trip. I was joined by Avi Davidowitz from Kosher Wine Unfiltered. Even vaccinated, I was worried, as such we kept to ourselves, where possible. Almost all the wines below were tasted with Avi, in our hotel room, a few were tasted after he returned home to Israel.
I truly enjoyed the Château de Marmorières Les Amandiers, La Clape, Languedoc we had in June. So, I made sure Avi tasted that along with other wines from the winery, which was only released after I left Paris in June. The rose and white were nice while the Cab and Merlot were less interesting.
White wines from all over France
For the most part, the list was weak as it had too many boring Chablis. There were one or two nice wines, so look for those WINNERS. The best of that group has the worst name I have ever seen – LaCheteau Sauvignon Blanc – like seriously??? Anyway, horrible name – great wine!
Charles Pere & Fils Burgundy Wines
I was hoping to enjoy some 2020 Burgundy wines, but sadly, none of them stood out in a good way. They felt rushed, not complete, and overall, lackluster. I hope subsequent vintages will be better.
We had wines from Famille Daubree and Les Vins De Vienne and neither of them stood out. Again, they were very ripe, and we gave them days to come around, they never did. These are not what I am looking for. They are well made but too ripe for me. If you like well-made ripe French wine, try them out.
Various Bordeaux Wines
This group was a total loser, just like in June, except this time – there were no new wines to save me! Thankfully, for Avi, there were many of the wines I enjoyed in June, but for me, there was not a SINGLE red wine I would drink. That is how bad the options were!
German Weingut Gehring Wines
These wines were the most enjoyable and reasonably priced wines we tasted in our own tasting. The wines were made for an Israeli entrepreneur, who was going to sell them to hotels and restaurants, but sadly, he died, and the wines just sat in Germany! Some of them made their way to Israel anyway and that is where Avi and a few others saw them and worked crazy hard to buy them. Avi brought one wine with him, but I wanted to taste them all, there are three of them.
Weingut Gehring made three kosher wines with this gentleman who passed away, a Riesling, Grauer Burgunder (Pinot Gris), and an off-dry muscat. So, while I was in France I called the winery and paid them to ship the wines to my hotel, which worked perfectly! That was how I was able to taste all three of them. The wines that were sent to me all have Hebrew back labels as they were meant for the Israeli market and while the Hechsher is good it is not one many would know.
Thoughts on this tasting
Overall, these wines were unimpressive, but wow did we find some real sleepers! The 2020 LaCheteau Sauvignon Blanc, Les Cimes, Haut-Poitou, Loire Valley is a no-brainer for those in France/Europe. Same for the two german wines. Other than that it was a total mess and I hope the next trip will have better options!
Though none of these wines will ever make it to the USA shores, some are in Israel and I feel bad for you. The LeChateau is in Israel, but I have no idea if there were transport issues, like with many other French wines imported into Israel, in the past. The two German wines were in Israel but I have no idea about their distribution. Either way, thankfully, these wines can stay in France/Europe, there is nothing I want here, other than maybe the German wines, but I think they are all spoken for.
2020 Chevalier De Marmorieres Rose, Vin de France – Score: 90.5 (QPR: GREAT)
Clean smelling rose with good lines, bright fruit, floral notes of violet, honeysuckle, raspberry, honeyed fruit, and tart lemon. Nice job, the mouth on this medium-bodied rose is tart, right on the money, well priced, with lovely strawberry, sweet pomelo, mango, with searing acidity, tart lemon, lemon pith, sweet peach, and nice refreshing acidity to bring it all together – nice! The finish is long, ripe, and well-balanced, with slate, acid, and good fruit. Nice! Drink now! (tasted November 2021)
2020 Chevalier De Marmorieres Blanc, Vin de France – Score: 90 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose on this wine is very fruity, smells a lot like Viognier, with white peach, apricot, funk, guava, and sweet fruit. The mouth on this opens slowly, with nice acidity, that is slow to fully show, nice acidity, with guava, ripe peach, Pomelo, sweet honeysuckle, honeyed tropical fruit, and ripe melon. The finish is long, tart, ripe, and well balanced, with more funk, saline, mineral, and slate. Nice! (tasted November 2021) (in Paris, France) (ABV = 12.50%)
Two new wines that M&M is importing, 2016 Chateau Haut Brisson and 2016 Chateau Tour Saint Christophe
The French wines keep coming! From crazy 2014 wines that started the reboot of a full line of Royal wines from France, to the 2015 and 2016 vintages from Royal that essentially completed the full reboot of Royal’s French wine lineup. To the new 2016 and 2017 wines from Royal that have a couple of new wines and more of the existing Chateaus.
With that said, shockingly, not all French wines are marketed through Royal or its friends (Taieb, Bokobsa, Rivière, and Rollan de by). Kosherwine.com has also brought in some French wines. As has Red Garden, and the Rashbi wines, which shockingly is NOT predominately French, Andrew Breskin and Liquid Kosher, which brings in the DRC wines, and Victor Wines (maybe the first to bring in French wines outside of Royal of course). As well as the Megrez wines which are now being brought in by International Kosher Wine.
UPDATED: I wanted to point out a very interesting fact about these new wines, they are made by Vignobles K, Peter Kwok’s wineries. NO! The K is not for kosher, it is for Kwok. He is an Asian mogul who made his billions in China and now owns these wineries, and he is always growing his Bordeaux property list. I mistakenly said that IDS had made these wines, but actually they were made by Cedev, a wine producer based out of Belgium.
The interesting point though is that of his original 5 current wineries under his portfolio (he recently added 3 more), three have kosher versions. The two aforementioned Chateau Tour Saint Christophe and the Chateau Haut Brisson, both in 2014 and 2016, along with the 2014 Chateau LaPatche, which I tasted last year. The other two Chateau in his portfolio, are equally or better respected, and both are located in Pomerol, like Chateau LaPatche. Chateau Enclose Tourmaline and Enclos de Viaud. Recently he added, Château Le Rey, Château Tourans, and most recently Château Bellefront-Belcier in Saint Emilion.
Mr. Kwok started his Chateau buying binge in 1997, with the purchase of Chateau Haut-Brisson, and after that, he as upgraded and bought more wineries. Maybe we can hope for more kosher wines from his portfolio, or maybe it is all just a nice coincidence. Sadly, Cedev has not made any more kosher Vignobles K’s wines, after the 2016 vintage. M&M is helping in distributing the wines that they have made. In the end, as of now, there have only been 5 Vignobles K wines made kosher, the 2014 and 2016 Chateau Tour Saint Christophe and the Chateau Haut Brisson, along with the 2014 Chateau LaPatche.
The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:
2016 Chateau Haut Brisson – Score: 92
This wine is made by Vignobles K, Peter Kwok’s properties. The Non-kosher bottling is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc and it shows akin to that with clear Merlot leanings, and pepper/foliage from the Cabernet Franc.
What a crazy nose, ripe, yet well controlled, with rich earth, terroir, with ripe black fruit, bushels of red fruit, and interestingly some blueberry/boysenberry as well, followed by mushroom, white pepper, and well-tilled earth. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is young, absurdly young, with beautiful layers of ripe but perfectly controlled and juicy cherry, raspberry, dark plum, and blackberry, all wrapped in incredible fruit structure, with mouth coating and puckering tannin, that gives way to rich foliage, more forest floor, and mineral. Nice! The finish is long, green, with butterscotch, hints of real butter, followed by almonds, tobacco, rich dark/milk chocolate, and mint. Bravo!! Drink from 2022 till 2032.
2016 Chateau Tour Saint Christophe – Score: 93
This wine is made by Vignobles K, Peter Kwok’s properties. The Non-kosher bottling is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc and again it shows akin to that with clear Merlot leanings, and even more pepper/foliage from the Cabernet Franc, but also more bulk from the Franc as well. This wine has ZERO blue fruit on it, it is all red with hints of black, but primarily it is smoke, tar, with lovely pepper notes, followed by herb/mint, with rich salinity, mineral, and balance. The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine shows rich elegance, more controlled than the Haut-Brisson, less power, more finesse, with more of that dirt, earth, and juicy red fruit, showing well with an incredible fruit structure and supple mouth coating tannin, that envelopes sweet and juicy raspberry, dark cherry, blackberry, and green notes take center stage. The finish is long, green, and elegant, with tobacco, rich leather, heather, followed by graphite, tilled earth, hints of mushroom, and all the things that bring a smile to my face. Bravo!!! Drink from 2021 till 2033.