The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 73 of 134

july 2018  /  the tasting panel  /  71 Castoro Cellars 2017 Rosé, Paso Robles ($20) Cherry bark and strawberry are indulgent aromas coming from this blend of 52% Syrah, 23% Grenache, 16% Albariño, and 9% Chardonnay. The dry—not chalky—mouthfeel stays dusty on the front palate and evolves to a juicier flow by the finish. Fresh, crisp celery root, watermelon, and wet stone make this a sturdy, standup rosé with a sipping ABV of 12.2%. 92 Opaque 2015 Darkness Red Blend, Paso Robles ($30) Though the majority of this wine is Zinfandel, it blends in Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Petit Verdot, and Petite Sirah, so the moniker for this big red is spot on. Blackberry on the nose and palate defines the Zin as mocha, raspberry, and black coffee meld into this athletically structured wine. This is Anthony Riboli's California voice for a Côtes du Rhône style with fine-tuned acidity and approachable tannins. 94 RIBOLI FAMILY Estancia Estates 2016 Stonewall Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County ($27) What a show- piece! The cool, foggy climate of the Santa Lucia Highlands lends its stellar reputation to this luscious single-vineyard red. Aromas of sweet cherry and rose petals permeate, but it's the silky mouthfeel that really intensifies the experience. Rhubarb and white pepper make a fine pair while a backdrop of molasses lengthens the juicy finish. 94 CONSTELLATION BRANDS Balletto Vineyards 2016 Pinot Noir, BCD Vineyard, Russian River Valley ($46) Soil tilled with chocolate? That's the initial impression of this special sustainably farmed, single-vineyard Pinot Noir that's both estate- grown and -bottled. Additional scents of dark summer plum also appear in the flavor profile, with blueberry, cherry, and sweet tobacco playing into the mélange. There's structure to this wine's round body, which has fine acidity and a bold nature. 92 Franciscan Estate 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($23) These grapes are sourced from the finest real estate in Napa Valley: The Oakville, Rutherford, and Oak Knoll District AVAs make up this blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot (the remainder is Petit Verdot and Malbec). The expressive nose illuminates scented attributes of black plum, licorice, and blue flowers. Tight tannins grip the palate, but there's a juicy underbelly of dark chocolate and black cherry with acidity in all the right places. 93 CONSTELLATION BRANDS Altamana 2015 Constanza Vineyard Malbec, D.O. Maule, Chile ($46) From a 5-acre, non-irrigated vineyard caressed by cool nights and sea breezes, this majestic red ages for 15 months in the "ICÔNE Elegance" series of French oak. We tasted the 2014 vintage last year, but this year, it surpassed expectations. Blackberry is spiced just so, with a well-built body and firm, grainy tannins. The ripeness and complexity stay through to the seemingly unending finish. 93 KOBRAND WINE & SPIRITS Henriot Blancs de Blancs NV, Champagne, France ($59) This all-Chardonnay assemblage is made up of 30% reserve wines, mainly from the Côte des Blancs. After an introduction of honeyed floral aromas and delicate pastry scents, the fine bubbles dissipate quickly to release notes of key lime, orange blossom, toasty egg bread, and an array of citrus and stone fruit. It finishes on a mineral note—breezy and lean. 93 Acumen Wines 2014 PEAK Cabernet Sauvignon, Atlas Peak AVA, Napa Valley ($150) Acumen, a Napa Valley wine estate on the mountain slopes of Atlas Peak, farms 116 organically certified acres of vines across two vineyards: Attelas and Edcora, ranging in elevation from 1,300–1,600 feet above sea level. Danish-born Director of Winemaking and Executive Manager Henrik Poulsen has worked with some of the world's most renowned winemakers, including Denis Malbec, Jean Hoefliger, and Michel Rolland. This 96% Cabernet Sauvignon offers up a sturdy nose of clean, just-picked mountain blueberries and brush with a leather backdrop. Concentrated flavors of espresso bean, choco- late cedar, blackstrap molasses, and cherry liqueur work together to build a statuesque red with bold tannins. 97 RED I.Q. 2015 Washington State Red Wine, Horse Heaven Hills, Red Mountain, Walla Walla, and Rattlesnake Hills, Washington ($14) A blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec, this great-value red is juicy, ripe, and tart with notes of cranberry, black plum, and black tea. The liquid melts across the palate into a fine acidity before releasing earthier components on the finish. 90

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - July 2018