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2015 Terrenal Reds – kosher Trader Joe’s Wines

Well – the wines keep coming and as you saw on my Passover wine post – there were many 2015 and 2014 options from Terrenal on the list. I have been posting about Terrenal wines for a long time now. Mostly because they are solid wines at a reasonable price (AKA QPR) and they prove that you can make solid kosher wines under 10 dollars.

Sure, they come from countries where labor and land are far more reasonably priced, but who cares?? Herzog has proven that you can create really impressive wines in CALIFORNIA for less than 10 bucks!

In the end, the more options we have for less than 10 or 15 dollars the more hope we have of really creating wines that the world loves – that happen to be kosher!

Well, the new Terrenal wines are in, at your local area Trader Joe stores. They are the 2015 Terrenal Malbec from Argentina, the 2015 Terrenal Tempranillo from Yecla Spain, and the 2015 Terrenal Seleccionado. Sadly, the name has not changed to reserve – which we would all understand and find easier. Though, KUDOS to the TJ folks, they have already learnt the names and know their products, so even if you cannot spell it or pronounce it – they will find it for you and happily sell it – if it is in stock!

Talking about in stock – the 2014 Terrenal Chardonnay from Chile is sold out and the 2015 has yet to reach the stores. The wine is on the boats, but there is no clear ETA yet. The hope is that it comes soon! The 2014 was on my QPR list and I hope the 2015 will be there as well!

The Banero also seems to be out of stock here on the west coast – though I am not sure what the stock is like elsewhere.

So, without further ado – here are the new wines and the notes!

2015 Terrenal Seleccionado – Score: A- (QPR) (not mevushal)
This wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Monastrell (AKA Mourvedre). It turns out that Monastrell is quite a successful grape in Spain, actually Monastrell is the 5th most popular varietal in Spain in terms of acreage planted.

This is the second vintage of this highly successful and wonderful QPR wine. The previous vintage was starting to show its heat, but this vintage has yet to show any heat – so far. The nose on this lovely wine shows rich and dense earth, along with loam, followed by black fruit, roasted herb, and red forest berry. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is plush and rich, with nice mouth coating tannin, toasty notes, lovely acid, blackberry, more rich earth, lovely graphite, plum, mineral, and green notes, all wrapped in a cocoon of searing but plush tannin. The finish is long and dark, with nice espresso beans, dark cherry, intensely roasted herb, menthol, and great black pepper. BRAVO!!

2015 Terrenal Tempranillo Yecla – Score: B+ to A-
The 2015 Cab from Yecla is a great PQR and the Tempranillo is not far behind with a lovely QPR non mevushal wine. It improves on the 2014 vintage.

While this wine does hail from Spain, it is not a Rioja by place or style. It is far more blue and earthy than black/red and dusty. The nose on this wine is vibrant with black cherry, strawberry, blue fruit, and earthy aromas. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is a nice wine indeed, with great acid and tannin, showing spicy fruit, blackberry, ripe boysenberry, nice round and appealing and capable of handling many a food. The finish is spicy and long with nice spice, along with a dollop of vanilla, great root beer, and more spiced blue fruit. Nice!!

2015 Terrenal Malbec I.P. Mendoza – Score: B
Sadly, this wine returns to its far too floral roots and while the wine is nice, the rose hips that dominate the nose and body are not for me.

The nose is a flower bed, with nice red fruit, earth, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice with soft mouth coating tannin, with hints of cooked fruit, but overall the floral and cherry and cranberry dominate. The finish is long and spicy, with great cloves and black pepper

QPR Kosher wine options that I have been enjoying recently

In my state of kosher wine industry post – I lamented at the lack of QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) options in the kosher wine world. Now that is not to say that the options do not exist, as you can see by the number of QPR options on my top wines for Passover last year. Still, given the sheer number of wines in a kosher wine store (many hundreds) and the number of kosher wines on the open market (many thousands), we are left with a very small minority – sadly.

So, I thought I would list the most recent QPR wines I have enjoyed over the past 6 months. I wanted to catch up with wines I had not had till later last year and place them in a single easy to find place.

My hope is that people will enjoy the wines and demand more of them. For instance, the lack of many of the QPR wines from Elvi Wines on the open market. I can find them on Royal’s website and on Elvi’s website, but sadly I cannot find them at many wine stores. Thankfully, Kosherwine has gotten the Elvi Cava back along with the Gilgal Brut, but they have older vintages or no vintages of the Elvi options. Onlinekosherwine.com, also has many of the older Elvi wines. I have spoken with Moises and he says they exist here somewhere in the USA – only God knows where though!!! Sadly, the exact same can be said for Netofa wines – another QPR superstar! Where are the wines? I taste them at KFWE – but they are not at stores, online or at shops!

I hope to one day write a post about wine cellaring, but till I do, understand that certain wines are made to enjoy early, like Cava, most 2014 white wines, and lighter reds. The richer and tannic reds can use time in the cellar and that is normal. This list is not a list of wines that are meant for cellaring, though many can withstand a few years. The idea here is to enjoy these wines now while you let the long-term wines cellar and age. We all have that interest to drink interesting wines and while I agree with that, that is NO excuse to raid the cellar when u have a hunkering for a complex note or flavor. Many of these wines will scratch the itch while the beasts’ lie and settle.

Finally, some of these wines are hard to find and they may have different siblings – I will point out when an older one will be an issue or a newer vintage would not be on the list (like the 2011 Ella Valley Cabernet Franc versus the 2012). The 2012 Ella Valley Cabernet Franc would never be on this list. The 2011 is a fine wine for another year, after that I fear it will turn to date juice.

Also, many of the white/rose/bubbly wines will be repeats from the various posts I made, as most of the 2015 whites and rose are not coming to the USA as they are shmita in Israel. I tried to keep these wines under 30 dollars or so, some are more most are less and that is the point of this list. Of course, that means that for some wineries there will be one or no options, like Matar or Four Gates Winery. Though I could have thrown in the Four Gates Chard – which is a lovely wine, it is still far from my goal to add into this bucket. The same can be said for many more wineries. Also, 2015 Israeli wines are not on this list, actually no 2015 wines are on this list, though Hagafen Winery, has released their 2015, but I have yet to taste them and the 2014 Hagafen wines are the ones on the market anyway. Finally, wines that can only be found in Israel like the epic Tabor Rose of 2014 and the 2014 Reca Gris du Marselan and the yatir rose and the new 2014 Yatir Viognier – and so on. All of these wines are not on this list because they are hard to find, but they are on previous lists I have posted.

So, without further ado – here is my list of kosher QPR winners so far and if you have any more please tell me!! They are listed below without any real order.

2014 Domaine Netofa White – Score: A- (Crazy QPR)
I must say this is clearly the best Netofa white so far, and I hope they continue to impress! The wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from the slopes of Mount Tabor. The nose is redolent with rich and bright quince, straw, mineral, lemongrass, and wet grass. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is lovely and rich mineral bomb, with more hay, spiced quince, now dry fresh cut grass, green apple, Asian pear, along with a crazy dry and insanely tart crab apple. The finish is long – spicy, dirty, and mineral based, with dry fruit, rich ripping acid, cloves, and nutmeg – BRAVO!!!

2013 Domaine Netofa Red – Score: A- (and more) (QPR!)
This wine is a clear step up from the 2012 Netofa Red, that is not putting the 2012 down in any way, it is just that this wine is even better! This wine is a blend of 65% Syrah and 35% Mourvedre. The nose on this wine is redolent and packed with mineral, lovely smoke, flint, ripe plum, lovely blueberry, with currants in the background. The mouth on this full bodied wine is attacks you first with lovely currants, followed by layers of blueberry, floral notes, richer and more extracted than the 2012, with great mineral, dried strawberry, all wrapped in ripping acid, and lovely tannin. The finish is long, extracted, and richly mineral in style, with blackcurrant, draping tannin, while being spiced with cloves, black pepper, sweet her, and hints of pith and lovely acid. BRAVO!!!

2012 Weinstock Cabernet Franc, Cellar Select – Score: A- (Mevushal) (QPR!)
This is not the same wine as the 2011 vintage, which was crazy and great this vintage started off closed and disjointed, but is now showing far better. The nose on this wine is mad green with red fruit notes, and herb. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice and round, with green notes, well balanced with good acid, raspberry, plum, earth, more bell pepper, crazy sweet dill, mouth coating tannin, and green foliage. The finish is long with nice enough acid, forest floor, nice butterscotch, good sweet tobacco, cedar, with tannin adding weight. Read the rest of this entry

Trader Joe’s Kosher 2014 Terrenal Seleccionado wine

2014 Terrenal SeleccionadoWell last week I posted about the new kosher Terrenal wines available at Trader Joe’s and that there is a newer wine; the 2014 Terrenal Seleccionado. Well until a week ago – the wine was not order-able on the west coast. But magically, this week the wine is not only order-able – the wine was in all the shops that I called.

I must be honest when I heard about this wine I had my doubts. First the name may be Spanish in ways (meaning Selected), but it is not a name that makes sense to any American wine buyer, and it is an absolute bear to spell or tell the Trader Joe’s person as he/she attempts to help you find it on the computer or shelf. The only saving grace there, is that if the wine is available at your shop, it will almost always be right to the left or right of the existing Spanish Terrenal wines. Second, whenever I hear about reserve wines I always have doubts. Reserve means something different to people, does it have more oak, better fruit, different varietals, more care – why charge more? This wine is a blend, it comes in a nicer and more expensive bottle, and it has a very nice cork, OH and it costs three more dollars (almost double the existing Terrenal Cabernet Sauvignon).

Finally, why add in this Monastrell grape? Well, it turns out that Monastrell is just Spain’s name for a very beloved grape in the Rhone region – Mourvedre. A grape that the Rhone Rangers have taken upon themselves to make a reality here in California. Well, when I finally got a chance to taste the wine I can say that the wine is worth the extra three dollars, but from a purely subjective point of view, it is not almost 2x better than the basic Terrenal Cabernet. That said, the Cabernet at 3.99 is an absolute STEAL, so charging 6.99 for a slightly better wine, is still a great deal for the wine being sold.

This wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Monastrell (AKA Mourvedre). It turns out that Monastrell is quite a successful grape in Spain, actually Monastrell is the 5th most popular varietal in Spain in terms of acreage planted. As we have stated in other places here on the blog, Monastrell is a grape that shows a VERY weird blend of feminine and masculine characteristics. It has very lovely floral notes and it also can show very meaty, dark, and earthy notes that are more masculine in nature.

The wine is higher in alcohol by 1.5% and it shows in the wine. The entry level 13.5% Cabernet is well-balanced and enjoyable. The 15% alcohol Seleccionado – is higher in alcohol because they used Monastrell grapes that they were picked later to maximize their potential, but it also has to do with the fact that Monastrell is a higher alcohol grape in the first place, as it needs to be riper to really shine. Put those two facts together and you get a wine that packs a significant punch in the heat factor and turns the wine into a more fruit forward wine that I did not think I would like. With that said, the wine is well-tempered and controlled and shows more like a controlled Cali wine than an out of control Israeli wine.

The wine shows no signs of date or raisin, instead it shows as a more supple, plush, and rich wine that is a bit more complex than the plain Cabernet and one that also has a bit of a feminine side to it from the added Monastrell, with hints of more roasted notes than its more entry-level brother.

Overall, I can say that while the name and the bottle were overkill from the Marketing department – the part that matters was a solid double and continues to show that impressive wines can be made at the 10 dollar and under wine segment!

The wine note follows below:

2014 Terrenal Seleccionado – Score: B++ to A- (MAD QPR) (NOT mevushal)
This wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Monastrell (AKA Mourvedre). It turns out that Monastrell is quite a successful grape in Spain, actually Monastrell is the 5th most popular varietal in Spain in terms of acreage planted.

The nose on this lovely wine shows a bit hot to start but with time that balances out to show lovely floral notes, rich and dense earth, along with loam, followed by blackcurrant, roasted herb, and red forest berry. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is plush and rich, with nice mouth coating tannin, toasty notes, lovely acid, blackberry, more rich earth, lovely graphite, mineral, and green notes. The finish is long and dark, with nice rich chocolate, dark cherry, cassis, meaty notes, and black plum. BRAVO!!

The new 2014 Trader Joe’s Kosher Terrenal Wines

Well it has been a few months and it is time to post about the new wines from Terrenal – which can be found at Trader Joe’s markets. I have been writing about these wines for sometime now, and some are hits and some are misses, but for the most part they are solid wines at a very reasonable price.

I wrote about the very impressive 2014 Terrenal Cabernet Sauvignon already earlier this year, and now the Banero Prosecco is back on the shelves again along with a new 2014 Terrenal Chardonnay, that may well be their best ever. Sadly, the 2014 Terrenal Tempranillo is not as good as past vintages, like the 2012. But with the very impressive Chard, Cab, and Banero, the Tempranillo is not such a loss. The Malbec is better than in past vintages but not the homerun that the 2012 was at initial release.

My previous post about the 2014 Cabernet was a side rant about the prices of kosher wines and why they continue to go up instead of coming down. I am happy to say that the prices of the Terrenal wines have stayed the same – even as the value goes up in this past vintage.

Sadly, there is a new wine – a reserve wine that is only available in the NY and NJ area called: Terrenal Seleccionado it goes for 6.99 (the same price as the Banero Prosecco). Can you guys please try it out and post here – I would really love to hear what people are saying about it. Also, is it mevushal? Thanks!

So, here are my notes about the new Trader Joe Kosher Terrenal wines and enjoy!

2014 Terrenal Chardonnay, Curico Valley – Score: A- (QPR WINNER) (mevushal)
Another crazy hit for Terrenal and yes, it is the 5 buck kosher Chard from Trader Joe’s and it is mevushal. The nose on this lovely Chilian Chard is crazy tropical, with screaming pineapple, goose berry, grapefruit, and fresh tart summer fruit and herb. The mouth in this medium bodied wine is very ripe and round with an almost plush feeling to it, followed by tart white cherry, peach, dried apple, and almond. The finish is long and sweet with nutty notes, a nice ribbon of pith, and green tea. Bravo!

2014 Terrenal Malbec, I.P. Mendoza – Score: B+ (mevushal)
For the past two years this wine has let me down, it had turned far too floral for my tastes and lacked the blue and black punch it had early on in 12 and 11. Well, so far it is back! The nose is redolent with dark fruit, fresh black and blue berries, with hints of roasted meat and cherry. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice with soft mouth coating tannin, but it shows it is showing it mevushal process , with hints of cooked fruit, but overall the core blackberry, blueberry, and cranberry carry the day. Still, the floral notes are starting to show, which is great, I just hope it stays there, rather than taking over the entire mouth like it did in past vintages. Very nice.

2014 Terrenal Tempranillo Yecla – Score: B to B+ (NOT mevushal)
After the very good 2014 Terrenal Cabernet Sauvignon, a crazy QPR winner, I had high hopes for the 2014 Terrenal Tempranillo, sadly it is nice – but not the Cab.

The nose on this wine is vibrant with black cherry, strawberry, raspberry, earthy aromas, herb, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is a nice quaffer, but lacks any attention grabbing notes, with spicy fruit, blackberry, nice round and searing tannin, earth, and an overall mouth feel that spicy and enjoyable. The finish is round with nice spice, great balancing acid, along with a dollop of herb and vanilla on the long finish. This is a fine wine, but I wish it had more to show.

2014 Terrenal Cabernet Sauvignon Yecla – Score: B+ to A-  (QPR) (NOT mevushal)
Bravo!! Very impressive wine. Insane QPR and very lovely mouth feel, plush and tannic with good structure and fruit. Again BRAVO!

The nose on this purple robed wine is redolent with crazy blackcurrant, followed by lovely roasted herb, licorice, red fruit, and bramble. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is impressive with good concentration of blackberry, ripe and juicy raspberry, followed by cocoa, searing tannin, mouth coating plush fruit, and lovely tobacco. The finish is long with chocolate, vanilla, spice, and green notes, all wrapped in blue and black fruit, with garrigue, menthol, and graphite lingering long – IMPRESSIVE for 5 bucks to say the least.

NV Banero Prosecco, Veneto IGT – Score: B++ (mevushal) (QPR)
Well, I am happy to say I am wrong! The wine I had in the past must have been a poor bottle, as this wine is now really enjoyable. Sadly, I cannot track vintages or bottlings, that I can see, but this bottle and the other one I opened recently were both much better.
The nose on this wine is ripping with sweet kiwi, honey, along with a orange blossom perfume, orange rind, toast, rose water, and guava. The mouth on this rich medium bodied wine starts off with a hit of bitterness, but is then dominated by the sweet notes of candied fig, honeysuckle, sweet melon, dried apple, prolonged medium mousse bubbles, and toast. The finish is long with more bubbles, acidity that balance the wine very nicely, along with orange peel, tangerine, and dried pear. I would love it to be even more dry, but this is a lovely wine, and even better knowing that the wine is mevushal and only 8 dollars. Very Nice!!

Another Trader Joes Terrenal winner – 2014 Five Buck kosher Cabernet Sauvignon from Yecla Spain

2014 Terrenal Cabernet Sauvignon, Spain, YeclaWhat can I say, Terrenal has been doing exceptionally well with their Spanish wines. In case you have been sleeping under a rock, we have been posting here whenever a new Terrenal makes it to our neck of the woods, here in Cali. Well, the new 2014 Terrenal Cab and Tempranillo are here. Sadly, the Tempranillo is not in my immediate area, and I will keep searching! Till then, PLEASE run to your local Trader Joe’s and get a bottle of the wonderful 2014 Terrenal Cabernet Sauvignon, Yecla, Spain. It is almost at a level of complexity, but for 5 bucks a B+ to A- wine is seriously impossible to find in the kosher world – IMPOSSIBLE!

Now, I know I have spoken about QPR over and over again, but seriously, why is it so hard to get this right? The kosher answer needs to stop, kosher is NOT the reason, the entire kosher budget for a normal sized winery or wine production run, is not more than 10 to 20 cents to a bottle. I have heard this so many times – from folks in the game that I am getting sick of it. Why is kosher expensive? Kosher costs – BS! Sorry to be so crude, but I have asked the folks who make it – and not sell it – and the answer is what I have stated above, 10 to 20 cents to the bottle.

Look at Wine Spectator, look at Wine Enthusiast, they routinely have 89 to 90 scored wines fro under 10 dollars, trust me, that is close to unheard of in the kosher world. We are talking the same vines, overhead, winery costs, u name it. So why are the costs of kosher wines so high? The simple answer is cash flow. In my humble opinion, and I have heard this over and over again, the reason why baseline wines are expensive is cash flow. Now, we are not even talking about good baseline wines, forget those! Seriously! Except for the Herzog 2012 Cab, there is no wine under 10 bucks that makes my top wines of the year – NADA!

Cash flow, solid business plans, you name it, basic cash flow will cripple a company and jack up prices – even when they do not need to be high. I was recently asked by a leading member of the wine community, “should we raise our prices because low-cost kosher wine looks cheap”? My answer is NO! The very definition of QPR is just that, great wines for a great price. Kosher or not!

Now, I have heard lots of other answers to why kosher wine must be priced so high, land, rabbis, cost of living, etc. Those are all reasonable answers, but none of them, other than Rabbis – apply to the kosher world. Furthermore, Rabbis are not that expensive, as I stated above. The rest of those costs, exist in every zipcode of this world, and yet the non-kosher world is pumping those wines out just fine!

Anyway, my point is – if we could have more wines like this star – the kosher wine world would be in a far better place! Far be it from me to begrudge a man his day’s wage! What I am discussing here is not base wage, but rather lack of focus to how one will get the wine to market and under what economic pressures will it work?

I am not a business man, but when I hear how many are getting wines to the market – at low cost and high quality, I wonder – why can the kosher wine world not emulate those ideas more?

The wine note for this lovely new wine follows below – BRAVO my man!

2014 Terrenal Cabernet Sauvignon, Yecla Spain – Score: B+ to A- (crazy QPR) (NOT mevushal)
Bravo!! Very impressive wine. Insane QPR and very lovely mouth feel, plush and tannic with good structure and fruit. Again BRAVO!
The nose on this purple robed wine is redolent with crazy blackcurrant, followed by lovely roasted herb, licorice, red fruit, and bramble. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is impressive with good concentration of blackberry, ripe and juicy raspberry, followed by cocoa, searing tannin, mouth coating plush fruit, and lovely tobacco. The finish is long with chocolate, vanilla, spice, and green notes, all wrapped in blue and black fruit, with garrigue, menthol, and graphite lingering long – IMPRESSIVE for 5 bucks to say the least.

NV Banero Prosecco Veneto IGT – Score: B+ (mevushal)
In the past I have been a big fan, but now the Banero has taken a sweet toothed turn. It is far more Asti than Prosecco for me. With that said, it is fine for the sweet toothed crowd, looking for a fun and reasonably priced summer spritz.

The nose on this ripping with sweet kiwi, honey, along with a classic muscat nose, perfume, orange rind, toast, rose water, and guava. The mouth on this rich medium bodied wine starts off with a hit of bitterness, but is then dominated by the sweet notes of candied fig, honeysuckle, sweet melon, dried apple, prolonged medium mousse bubbles, and toast.
The finish is long with more bubbles, acidity that does balance the wine, along with orange peel, tangerine, and dried pear. There are no flaws with this wine, but too much residual sugar makes we wish for a true Brut. That said, with time the wine lost a bit of the sweet notes and showed deeper mineral, a nice quaffer indeed.

Kosher wines available at major US supermarkets; Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco

Deccolio ProssecoWell, I am far behind on my blog and I have many posts to put up, but let me get this quick post up and then I will try to get the rest up soon. Roni emailed me and asked if I had tasted the

, and indeed I had twice now in the past two weeks. In short (notes below) the wine was very nice. So, I thought I would take a moment to list a few of the wines I know about around supermarkets around the United States.

Of them all (other than in NY or maybe LA), the best kosher wine supermarket is clearly Trader Joe’s and their Terrenal and Banero lines. As of now, they have the three best wines out there, with the 2012 Terrenal Tempranillo, 2013 Terrenal Chardonnay, and 2012 Terrenal Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2013 Terrenal Malbec from Argentina, just did not work for long and from what I have heard there will be more of it coming to TJ in a slightly different blend, but for now it is not at TJ. I will post here when I get a chance to taste it. On the east coast I hear you can still get Banero Prosecco, which is still going well. Of course, for the sweet tooth, the Sara Bee is a fine Moscato.

PLEASE be careful, for those who care, NOT all Tarder Joe’s wines are mevushal – this is just an FYI and a PSA!

Of course to be fair, they also stock a bunch of Herzog wines, including the new and VERY good 2012 Baron Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, PLEASE do not laugh! I liked it so much I listed it on the Passover wine list! The whites are all a no brainer there as well, including Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc.

The next would be Costco! Yes Costco! I keep seeing and hearing from my friends that they are stocking kosher wine. Here in Sunnyvale, CA the Costco stocks Yarden and Capcanes. In Miami they also stock Capcanes for a very reasonable price. Mind you anything from Capcanes in the 2012 vintage is insane – as I listed here!

The next and newest to the list would be Deccolio Prosecco, which is actually quite delicious (I think it is a play on words – but who knows), must have been one of those marketing things. Anyway, ignoring the name, the wine is solid, with good acid, nice bubbles, and really good fruit!

So there you have it – please comment here on wines you find at other supermarkets I would love to hear from you all, like I heard from Roni – keep the comments/questions coming in!

NV Deccolio Prosecco – Score: B++ (QPR)

As I stare into the glass of bubbles I cannot help but conjure up the classic war between love and hate, the perennial battle that takes us to the brink and then lets us barely catch our breath before once again going into the breach! I speak of course about the conflict of wine brothers, acid and bubbles versus fruit and toast. In this lovely wine there is no conflict, there is just harmonious brotherly love, a focus of purity and tart fruit that forces you to raises the glass and proclaim – BRAVO!

The nose on this wine is filled with green apple, lithe notes, lovely white flowers, honeysuckle, and summer fruit. The mouth on this medium bodied wine starts with lovely honey, followed by layers of light mousse, green apple, litchi, and spice. The finish is long and rich with wonderful acid, great penetrating fruit and mineral that lingers long with slate and pith – BRAVO!!!

Assorted wines from Purim and previous weekends and a new Terrenal Malbec

It has been a few weeks since I posted my wine notes. I have been posting other ideas, but this was a long time coming. The biggest take away for me was that the 2013 Terrenal Malbec was out, a new Terrenal kosher wine that can be bought at Trader Joe’s and it is mevushal. Sadly, I was not a fan. It is OK, but for me, I will look elsewhere. It is a shame as the non mevushal Terrenal wines from Spain continue to impress!

The other take away from these wines was that the new NV Freixenet Cava Excelencia Kosher Brut was no fun either. The final notes revolve around the return of Lewis Pasco and his wines! Mr. Pasco was the head wine maker at Recanati until 2006. After that he did wine in the US and other places and in 2012 he returned to Israel to work with Hillel Manne of Beit El Winery, and to make his own wines as well! The wines we tasted in early 2012 were nice, but the Pasco wine has really come around with oak and time. The insane Carignan wine of 2012, is not as good as we remembered it from the barrel in the winery, but it is still very nice a clear QPR.

Finally, as I stated when I was at the Tzora Winery, the 2012 Judean Hills is lovely and is a crazy QPR wine. That said, the notes have not changed but the wine needs serious time to open and when it does it shows its blue and black madness. The wine has really just arrived to the US and it seems to be in bottle shock, so either wait a month or two to enjoy, or open it now and decant for at least 2 to 3 hours ahead of time. If it is not black and blue, wait!!!!

So, I hope you enjoy the notes and have a great Shabbos! The notes follow below:

 

2012 Shirah Rosé – Score: A- (and then some)
WOW What a rose! This wine is 100% rose of Grenache. The nose is bright and tart with crunchy roasted herb, forest floor, garrigue, red fruit, and spice. The mouth is insane on this medium bodied wine, it starts with an attack of red currant, followed by blue fruit, herb, and crazy acid. The finish is long and attacking with mad acidic tart summer fruit, kiwi, candied strawberry, intense slate, mineral, and crazy tart zinberry that lingers forever, long after the wine is gone. The acid is so intense it is awesome and the fruit is ripe and expressive – BRAVO!!!

2012 Tzora Judean Hills – Score: A- (and more) (crazy good QPR)
When I was at the Tzora Winery, the 2012 Judean Hills was showing lovely and was a crazy QPR wine. That said, the notes have not changed but the wine needs serious time to open and when it does it shows its blue and black madness. The wine has really just arrived to the US and it seems to be in bottle shock, so either wait a month or two to enjoy, or open it now and decant for at least 2 to 3 hours ahead of time. If it is not black and blue, wait!!!!

This is a wine that is made of a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petite Verdot, Syrah that was fermented and aged in oak, and named for the terroir and vineyard that the wine was sourced from. This was a barrel/tank sample but such a wonderful wine and one very close to bottling that I had to write about it. The nose on this deeply black colored wine is rich with crazy black fruit, along with ripe blueberry, blackberry, along with deep mineral notes, roasted animal, and nice floral notes with slate. The mouth on this lovely full bodied and elegant wine shows far more control than the 2011 vintage, with great control and style, with layers of concentrated black and blue fruit, rich graphite, bracing acid, coming together with mouth coating tannin, and spicy oak. The finish is long and mineral with lovely chocolate, bright fruit, and lovely sweet spices. BRAVO!

2013 Terrenal Malbec Kosher – Score: B
The 2012 vintage of this wine was a favorite of mine last year, till it turned into a flower bomb. This vintage is starting that way out of the chute. The noise on this purple colored wine starts off with nice blue and black notes, followed by floral notes that feels disjointed, along with plum, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows blackberry fruit, blackcurrant that spikes, along with nice tannin and blueberry/green notes. The finish is long and all over the place with green blue notes that cover over the nice root beer notes. Read the rest of this entry

Top Kosher Malbec wines from around the world

2009 Teperberg Malbec, TerraBefore I left for China and India I had the chance to hang with friends and go through many of the best kosher Malbec wines on the market. Since then a few new ones have popped up, which I have yet to taste, so I will add those to my next tasting run of Malbec wines hopefully.

As you know if you read my blog, I like wines that are blue in nature and I have no problem saying that out loud! The blueberry and boysenberry fruit are so rare and unique in wine that I am always overjoyed to taste them. That said, in a Merlot or a Cabernet Sauvignon they taste downright weird. So what about Malbec? Is Malbec a blue fruit wine or a black fruit wine? Well that depends, in the very same vein that can be asked about Syrah, is it a blue or black fruit wine? While were at it what about Zinfandel or Petite Sirah?

To the Petite Sirah question, until Israel, I had not tasted a PS without blue fruit, but I think the extreme heat in Israel kills the blue fruit, much like it does to the Syrah fruit (this is not a scientific statement – just my experience). Case in point, the Ellla Valley PS is black and earthy, but no blue fruit to be found. Same goes for the 2010 Yarden Malbec, black and earthy, just like in France. What can I say, it is interesting that these four varietals have the possibility of displaying blue fruit, but when grown in Israel there is less of an option. Now to be fair, the Dalton PS is full of blue fruit, as is the Teperberg Malbec.

There is a reason why Petite Sirah and Zinfandel go so well together, like in the Recanati Petite Sirah/Zinfandel blend, or the Hajdu NV Besomim wine. Either way, the fruit compliment each other, as does the spicy notes, the earthy components and the bramble. Same can be said for some of the insane blends that Tzora, Ella Valley, and others are perfecting in Israel. The Ella Valley 35/25 wine, a blend of Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Merlot (in 2008) is such a wine that is full of blue and black fruit (from what I hear I have not personally tasted it). Same goes for the wonderful Misty Hills or Shoresh wies from Tzora which take the Australian blends to the max, mixing Cabernet or Merlot with Syrah. Read the rest of this entry

2013 Terrenal Chardonnay (and all Trader Joe Terrenal Wines)

As I described a few weeks ago, Trader Joe has recently released the new red Spanish wines from Terrenal. I also said that I would post the final new wine, the 2013 Terrenal Chardonnay when I get around to tasting it. I got the chance to do just that over the last weekend, and so here is the note for that. I have also posted the previous notes as well, for clarity sakes.

The Chardonnay is one of those wines that does fly off the shelves. So, buy one or two and if you like them buy a case and enjoy them for a year or so.

The wine notes follow below:

2013 Terrenal Chardonnay, Chile (QPR) – Score: B++ (Mevushal)
The nose on this straw-colored wine is ripe with fresh tropical and stone fruit, peach, apricot, straw, and pineapple. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is round and ripe with good bracing acidity, quince, guava, and classic pink grapefruit. The finish is long with more good acid, citrus, mineral, orange pith, and slate. Quite a lovely wine, though with less complexity than previous years, but with better acid and ripe fruit. This is a wine that will pair well with fish and fowl, along with maybe even white pasta sauces, given its very good acidity.

2012 Terrenal Tempranillo (QPR) – Score: B++ (NOT mevushal)
This wine is a real surprise! The last Tempranillo from Terrenal did not impress me that much. This wine has the attention grabbing notes and enough layering to make me take notice. Still, the clear winning aspect of this wine is the rich mouth coating tannins and bright searing acidity that makes this a great pairing for things like Tomato pasta and meatballs.

The nose on this wine opens to lovely blackberry, rose hip, floral notes, dark cherry, along with good earthy notes and cola aromas. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is a wake-up call, with nice bright acid, crazy blue and red fruit, all wrapped in a cloak of mouth coating tannins that linger long. The finish is long with dark cherry, tobacco, currants, crazy and zany cloves, black pepper, spice, along with forest floor notes that linger long!

2012 Terrenal Cabernet Sauvignon (QPR) – Score: B+ (NOT mevushal)
This wine is nice with blueberry, raspberry, dark cherry, rich earthy elements, mineral, graphite, and almost hints of peach or apricot. The mouth is medium bodied with good mouth coating tannin, nice cranberry, eucalyptus, blackcurrant, spice, and more roasted herb. The finish is long and spicy, with searing cloves, black pepper, kirsch cherry, more green notes, and spice.

New kosher Terrenal Wines at Trader Joe’s for 2013

So in case you have walked into your local Trader Joe’s recently, you will notice that there is a new pair of kosher red wines and a lack of a new Chardonnay. The Chardonnay is on the way, so no worries there. As soon as I get one, I will hopefully post notes here, as usual.

So let us concentrate on the subject at hand – the new two 2012 Spanish kosher Terrenal wines; Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo. As always, the Spanish wines are NOT mevushal, and I have noted that in the notes. On top of that the price has stayed consistent – they cost 4.99 here in Northern California. Both wines are a NO BRAINIER for five dollars, a classic QPR wine. Many will turn their nose and say – that they will not drink Terrenal. I am fine with that, I have no issue with people not liking a wine. To me what Terrenal brings to the table, when they are good, is slight complexity and attempting to raise the bar above the basic line options that are presented for 10 dollars or less at many kosher wine purveyors.

For the most part, I do not drink many of the sub 10 dollar kosher wines at wine stores, because they just taste poor and standard, at best. To be fair, ten dollars is a hard nut to crack. The cost is wrapped up in the production of the wine, the grapes, the bottling, and the kosher supervision. How, Terrenal can make a wine for 5 bucks (used to be four), is impressive and quite a coup. That said, the average wine producer – has far too much overhead and costs to be able to pay for good grapes on top of the a fore mentioned costs. That is why 10 dollar kosher wines are normally an abomination to me. There are a few exceptions, like Terrenal, but even they do not get it right.

The 2010 Terrenal Tempranillo was not very good, but it was still better than many of the sub 10 dollar wines. The 2012 Malbec has turned and it tastes like lilacs and the beautiful old blue fruit has gone the way of the dodo birds 😦

The good news is that the two new Terrenal wines from Spain are spot on! They need time to open, but once they do, they are lovely and rich and flavorful – way to go!

So, my advice, stick to the new Spanish Terrenal wines and please post here what you all think of them! I do not have the image for the Terrenal Cabernet, but they are normally side by side and look the same, excepting for the varietal name of course.

The wine notes follow below:

2012 Terrenal Tempranillo (QPR) – Score: B++ (NOT mevushal)
This wine is a real surprise! The last Tempranillo from Terrenal did not impress me that much. This wine has the attention grabbing notes and enough layering to make me take notice. Still, the clear winning aspect of this wine is the rich mouth coating tannins and bright searing acidity that makes this a great pairing for things like Tomato pasta and meatballs.

The nose on this wine opens to lovely blackberry, rose hip, floral notes, dark cherry, along with good earthy notes and cola aromas. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is a wake-up call, with nice bright acid, crazy blue and red fruit, all wrapped in a cloak of mouth coating tannins that linger long. The finish is long with dark cherry, tobacco, currants, crazy and zany cloves, black pepper, spice, along with forest floor notes that linger long!

2012 Terrenal Cabernet Sauvignon (QPR) – Score: B+ (NOT mevushal)
This wine is nice with blueberry, raspberry, dark cherry, rich earthy elements, mineral, graphite, and almost hints of peach or apricot. The mouth is medium bodied with good mouth coating tannin, nice cranberry, eucalyptus, blackcurrant, spice, and more roasted herb. The finish is long and spicy, with searing cloves, black pepper, kirsch cherry, more green notes, and spice.

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