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The last round of winners and some more losers for 2019

So, I tasted a bunch of these at the KFWE in Miami and I spent my entire time there tasting through wines that made me cry. I mean they were so painful, all I could write was NO. Some I wrote nice and some I wrote good stuff. Overall, the Israeli wines were undrinkable and so painful that I had to go back to the French table just to clean my palate. It continues to make me sad to see such potential thrown out to meet the absolute lowest common denominator – fruity, loud, and brash wines.

Sadly, Cellar Capcanes continues its downward spiral. The 2018 Capcanes Peraj Petita is not very good at all. Far better than 2017 or 2016, but that is not saying much. So sad, to see such a storied franchise being thrown away for what I can only guess is the need for a new winemaker to make her mark.

Domaine Netofa continues to crush it and thank goodness it is selling well here in the USA, so that means I can stop schlepping Netofa from Israel! The 2015 Chateau Tour Seran was also lovely while the Chateau Rollan de By was OK, while the 2015 Chateau Haut Condissas showed far better than it did in France. The 2018 Pacifica Riesling, Evan’s Collection was nice but it was less of a WOW than the 2017 vintage, at least so far anyway.

At the tasting, the 2017 whites and 2018 roses were all dead, please stop buying them. Heck, even many of the simpler 2018 whites were painful.

So, here are my last notes before the year-end roundup and best of posts that I will hopefully post soon! These wines are a mix of wines I tasted at the KFWE Miami and other wines I tasted over the past month or so since my return from France. I wanted to keep this simple, so the wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:

2018 Capcanes Peraj Petita – Score: 87
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Tempranillo, 15% Merlot, and 15% Syrah. This wine is ripe really ripe, with dark blackberry, with loads of dark brooding fruit, floral notes, and herb, and heather. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is sweet, ripe, and date-like, with dark cherry, sweet candied raspberry, smoke, candied black fruit, and sweet notes galore. The toast, earth, sweet fruit, and smoke finish long. Move on.

2018 Capcanes Peraj Petita – Score: 89 (Mevushal)
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Tempranillo, 15% Merlot, and 15% Syrah. This wine is far better than the not-Mevushal version. This wine is actually showing less ripe, with dark blackberry, with loads of red fruit, floral notes, and herb, and oak. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is much less sweet, with dark cherry, sweet raspberry, smoke, candied black fruit, with nice tannin, and good acidity. The finish is long, slightly green, smoky, and herbal, with toast and red fruit. Very interesting how the mevushal is less ripe, go figure. Drink now.

2018 Domaine Netofa Latour, White – Score: 92+ (Super QPR)
Wow, what a lovely wine, this wine is 100% Chenin Blanc aged 10 months in oak barrels. The nose on this wine is pure heaven, but it is slow to open, once it does, the wine is lovely with loads of floral notes, yellow flowers, orange blossom, rosehip, and lovely white fruit, pear, peach, and smoke/toast. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lovely, with great acidity, clear and present, with layers of sweet and dry fruit, with candied and toasted almonds, hazelnuts, with hay and straw, followed by floral notes, tart melon, lemongrass, citrus galore, yellow apple, quince, baked apple, and dry grass and earth, lovely! The finish is long, dry, tart, and butterscotch-laden, with toast, smoke, ginger, and marzipan, Bravo!! Drink from 2021 until 2025.

2018 Pacifica Riesling, Evan’s Collection – Score: 90 (QPR)
This is a drier wine than the 2017 vintage but it lacks the petrol level and funk of 2017, still a nice wine.The nose on this wine is almost dry, with lovely notes of floral notes and loads of melon, sweet fruits, and stone fruit. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice with lovely pith, hints of saline, with hints of petrol, dry flowers, with lovely peach, guava, and loads of citrus and mineral. The finish is long, dry, with hints of sweet notes, funk, and pith that is fun. Nice. Drink by 2022. Read the rest of this entry

2007 Borgo Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Spaghetti alla puttanesca

This past week we had to endure through Tisha B’Av, so I wanted to make sure that we may something that would give Shabbos its due respect, and I came up with one of my new treats – Spaghetti alla puttanesca.  It is a dish that my friend showed me a year ago, and is one that has quickly become a staple in our house.  I love the Kalamta Olives (not Italian of course, but the best black olives that we can find), the spicy peppers, and the spicy rumors around the dish’s name (hint read the Wikipedia link above).  For protein, some add in tuna or salmon.  Instead, we add in soy meat/protein from one of the many purveyors of the fake ground meat.  It adds a bit of depth and a nice texture overall to the dish.  I have posted a before about my interest in this dish, and Emeril’s recipe.  With all that tomato sauce, the dish needed a nice acidic wine to pair with, and I reached for a wine that I thought would work.  Well initially, it was OK, but unbalanced and over the top acidic.  However, the wine did a 180 degree change and became quite a wonderful wine that is not only balanced, but also more flush and fruity.  The wine is the 2007 Borgo Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, and one that is reasonably priced and Mevushal to boot.  The wine paired nicely Friday night, but it got even better on Saturday day (after staying up all night sealed in a 375 ml bottle in my refrigerator) and paired well thank you with medium hard cheeses.

The wine note follows below:

2007 Borgo Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – Score: B+
This wine caught me by surprise, in a very pleasant manner.  When I first opened the bottle Friday night, I was unimpressed.  It was a red wine with an average nose and a blunt/aggressive mouth that felt out of whack to say the least.  However, all that changed after a few hours of air.  I must stress that while the wine improved drastically from where it was Friday Night, the wine did lose its finish, with so much air.  So, I would think that just a three or so hours of air would get it to where it is smooth, balanced, and enjoyable, without losing its finish.  This is NOT a wine for long cellaring, but a wine that has a body and a life that simply needs a bit of air to be its muse.

The nose on this garnet colored wine is hot out of the bottle, with cherry, raspberry, currants, and some roasted herbs.  After a few hours of air, the wine’s nose goes black with black cherry, rich/fresh plum, currants, and rich loam.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine starts off red with raspberry and cherry.  It flows into a mid palate of tannin, coffee, and bright acidity.  The finish is long and bright with red fruit.  However, with more air, the mouth fleshes out into an almost new wine.  The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is rich and almost mouth coating.  The tannins have fully integrated and are carried by rich black plum, black cherry, and loamy dirt.  The mid palate is still bright with acidity and a hint of coffee.  The finish is average now with more rich fruit, tobacco, and mineral flavors.  The wine lingers long on the mouth from the acidity, but the finish still feels short.  This is another winner by Borgo Reale that is both Mevushal and reasonably priced to boot.  Still not for celllaring, enjoy this one now or in a few months.  This is a wine that will be comfortable at a spaghetti party or at a formal affair.

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