While I am always on the lookout for reasonably priced wines to enjoy with dinner and sometimes lunch (now that I often work from home), it is even more important now with the pandemic, where people like to make less trips out and budgets are likely more stressed. I decided to see what’s currently available from my local Supersol in the NIS 50 range. I think that’s a fair price for a good everyday wine. I picked a supermarket because, quite frankly, if I have to venture out amongst the rest of the world to shop anyway, why not avoid a trip to another store and just stock up on some everyday wines while I shop. While this is not Europe where you can have your pick of nice everyday kosher wines priced between 6-13 Euros, we are starting to see a greater selection in this segment in Israel. This is key. Even in the US with its strict liquor licensing rules and archaic alcohol distribution regulations, more than half of wines sales today come from supermarkets (not kosher of course, but this is not the time for that particular rant). I chose three wines – each from a different kosher wine producing country. From Israel, we have the 2019 Recanati Syrah, from Spain the 2019 ElviWines Herenza Rioja Semi Crianza, and from Italy the 2018 Montaro Chianti. Overall, I am pretty happy. First of all, the Elvi is a QPR star – supermarket or not. Just a really wonderful bottle IMHO. The Recanati performed well and even the Montaro showed improvement over last year. All in all a very successful supermarket trip indeed. Happy drinking!
2018 Montaro Chianti – This is the second vintage of this wine that I am tasting. As a refresher, this bottle is imported by Egoz Muscat, which is the Kosher arm of Shaked. Let’s get this right off the bat. The wine is better this year than last – but only a touch. The notes are almost a carbon copy of last year – except amped up. On the nose – the mushroom is intoxicating. I rarely get this much mushroom on a wine this young. Really beautiful. In the mouth earth and mushroom followed by bright red fruit. A nice amount of acid with smooth integrated tannin. So how does it differ from the 2017? First, it held longer. I enjoyed this throughout the meal with no significant drop off. 2-3 hours later though, there was none of that earthiness and the mushrooms were gone. On the plus side, the wine didn’t turn sweet. It just flattened but actually held together over the course of the evening. I would be much happier if this was a 30 or even 40 shekel wine. I paid 49 – close enough I guess.
- Price: NIS 49-60
- For Aging: No.
- Would I Buy Again: Maybe
- QPR Rating: Slightly Below Average
- Taste/Depth/Quality: Average at first, a little below average after a couple of hours
- Overall Rating (1-5): 2.5
2019 Recanati Syrah – The Upper Galilee series of wines in Recanati’s lineup sits right above their lower end Yasmin and Yonatan blends. There are two whites – Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc and three Reds – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and until recently, Shiraz. For most vintages, I find the Cab and Merlot to be very fair entry level wines. The Shiraz never really worked for me. This year winemaker Kobi Arbiv changed things up a bit and produced a wine that reflects a more Old World sensibility, and this resulted in a name change (Syrah vs. Shiraz – the varietal is identical and usually called one or the other depending on which style the wine is produced). The result here is impressive. On the nose, dark red fruit, violet, and some black pepper. In the mouth, the wine is relatively light and lithe with just-ripened plum and maybe a touch of toasty oak and smoke. The acid is nice and bright. The wine is built to be enjoyed in its youth (don’t expect significant depth – that’s not what this wine was designed for) and was wonderful alongside a lamb stew. Full price at Supersol NIS 52.50 – on sale 2 for NIS 100. Good stuff.
- Price: NIS 50-55
- For Aging: No.
- Would I Buy Again: Yes.
- QPR Rating: Average
- Taste/Depth/Quality: Average
- Overall Rating (1-5): 3+
2019 ElviWines Herenza Rioja Semi-Crianza – Since moving to Mevushal first partially in 2016 and then fully 2017, Elvi’s base level Herenza Rioja has been slightly hit or miss. The 2016 Mevushal was a slight step down from its non-mevushal brother, the 2017 was a miss while the 2018 was a somewhat return to glory. I’m happy to report that for me the 2019 is their best Mevushal release to date. A quick warning though, right now, the wine needs air. It is super young and somewhat closed. As always, the wine is 100% Tempranillo. After an hour or so of air, the nose opens up with nice red fruit, a little earth, some vanilla, and some toasted herb. In the mouth, you get bright tart red fruit, coffee, bramble, and menthol. The acidity is wonderful here and the tannin holds perfectly balanced. This had me coming back for another glass ASAP. On a hunch, I stopped myself at half the bottle and checked back on it five days later and, while the nose had dissipated slightly, the wine was going strong and even improved. I gulped down the rest of that bottle. Loved it. While the list price is NIS 60 but usually sells for between 50-55. This is a wine that I am ecstatic about and quite frankly is what “supermarket wines” should measure up to.
- Price: NIS 50-59
- For Aging: Perhaps.
- Would I Buy Again: Absolutely.
- QPR Rating: Great.
- Taste/Depth/Quality: Above Average.
- Overall Rating (1-5): 4