The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2013

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PHOTO: DEBORAH PARKER WONG SAn FRAn INSIdER The power of three personified in winemakers Joel Gott, Charles Bieler and Charles Smith. Triple Play T PHOTO: DEBORAH PARKER WONG Matt Ashby, Vineyard Director, Mt Veeder Winery; Carole Meredith of Lagier Meredith; Dave Guffy SVP Winemaking and Viticulture, The Hess Collection. he "rule of three" proposes that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. In the case of the Gott, Smith and Biehler road show, which stopped for lunch at Salt House, the rule proved true. Charles Smith, the Walla Walla–based winemaker who ingeniously trademarked the name House Wine and makes Kung Fu Girls Riesling ($12) inspired by the femme fatales in the movie Kill Bill, knows wine and funny inside and out. "Kung Fu Girls is not about the wine," said Smith. "It's about the context; the experience you're having when you're drinking it." Smith has teamed up with another Charles—Charles Bieler of Bieler Père et Fils—under their joint C & C label on a splashy rosé ($12) and a candid Cabernet Syrah blend from Columbia Valley, both of which would be effective for casual, al fresco dining. Biehler also collaborates with local boy Joel Gott on the Three Thieves brand but Gott was pouring his own label that day and offered up a 2012 Sauvignon Blanc ($12) and his 2011 Alakai, a GSM blend from the Phelps Vineyard in Monterey and Knights Valley ($18) that nailed satisfying. Smith capped off the tasting with his Heart and Skull duo, two icon A DuO OF TRIOS IN THE CITy By THE BAy by Deborah parker Wong wines ($250) made from the same lots of Syrah that are as different as fraternal twins. Three "mountain mavericks—Mount Veeder winegrowers Carole Meredith of Lagier Meredith; Matthew Ashby, Vineyard Director for Mt. Veeder Winery; and Dave Guffy, SVP of Winemaking and Viticulture for The Hess Collection were the headliners on a panel moderated by W. Blake Gray during the AVA's spring tasting at the Presidio Golden Gate Club. The panel teamed up to present a compelling look at the history, growing conditions and typicity of the region and to address a thoughtful Q & A from Gray. With the lion's share of the AVA's Malbec, 53 of 72 acres, in his care, Guffy presented the Hess Small Block Series, a showstopper with pure, heady, laser-like aromas, classic black and blue fruit and savory, medium-weight tannins. Syrah, which seems to gravitate to the exposed sites on Mount Veeder, was illustrated by the Lagier Meredith 2010 Syrah with earthy, Rhône-like aromas and a lean, focused palate showing complex green spice. Mt. Veeder Winery's Matthew Ashby included a '08 Cabernet Franc with meaty, smoky black fruit, plenty of grip on the palate and very specific cherried quality to the fruit expression. You'll find a closer look at the wines poured during the grand tasting in this month's Blind Wine review on page 65. Whether you believe the Latin phrase omne trium perfectum (everything that comes in threes is perfect) is superstition or an optimistic saw, the power of three endures. 30  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2013 TP0613_001-41.indd 30 5/23/13 4:25 PM

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