The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2013

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Publisher's PHOTO: LEIGH CASTELLI In each issue THE TASTING PANEL's Publisher and Executive Editor, Meridith May, selects her favorite wines and spirits of the month. Check here for the latest arrivals in our offices, the hottest new brands on the market and an occasional revisited classic. PICKS WINES Franciscan Estate 2012 "Equilibrium," Napa Valley ($23) The blend of Sauvignon Blanc (72%), Chardonnay (17%) and Muscat Canelli (11%) had our interest piqued, as did its steely white-gold hue. Director of Winemaking Janet Myers had to have a blast crafting this bright, pretty white. At once it is sweet and stony: Honeyed white flowers linger around the minerality and peaches get tropical with an inset of streamlined pineapple acidity. 91 Howell Mountain Vineyards 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel, Napa Valley ($45) Juicy, spicy, exciting at every sip. The reminder you are drinking intense and concentrated mountain fruit comes to the fore with the sage and basil that line a cherry cedar core. The power and softness here is noteworthy: balance of power indeed! 95 Fazeli Cellars 2009 "Khayyam" Cabernet Sauvignon, Temecula Valley ($55) Brandied blackberries warm the palate instantly. A soothing flow of coffee-baked boysenberry and blue flowers layer with green olives in this distinctive wine. 90 CONSTELLATION WINES U.S. At the Maisons Marques & Domaines (MMD) 2013 Tour in Los Angeles, is Xavier Barlier, MMD VP/Director of Marketing, with Meridith May. Worthy of a smooch. French-style double bizou. Wildly infatuated. Seriously smitten. Head over heels in love. Leoness Cellars 2008 "Melange de Rèves," Temecula Valley ($28) In this "blend of dreams" from Southern California's up-and-coming Temecula region, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Grenache combine for a juicy array of plums, cranberries and blueberry ink. From beginning to end a sweet tobacco leaf stays on the tip of the tongue, peppered with spice and oak. 89 Daou 2010 Celestus, Paso Robles ($46) A blend of 59% Syrah, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Petit Verdot, this is the best vintage of Celestus yet. A tightrope on the upper palate holds up sculpted tannins while the back of the mouth collects an energetic and enticing focus of black fruit and licorice. Brambly and peppered, this is a fine salute to Paso Robles's great charms; the juicy middle flows into a stream of sage, heather and mineral-earth. 94 Lancaster Estate 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley ($75) Winemaker Jesse Katz has our attention once again. The wine commands a torrent of blackberry jam while a sheet of satin, earthy and coffee-laden, networks the lushness of Alexander Valley into its character. This is the most age-worthy vintage to date—we can just imagine its brilliant future. 94 FOLEY FAMILY WINES SPIRITS A Web of Whiskies We taste a lot of great whisk(e)y. Here are some American selections I recently fell for . . . Bowen's Whiskey, USA ($39) A 90-proof whiskey from Bakersfield, California that turned our heads! Smoky + sweet + soft + smooth = sensational. This newcomer is original and memorable—a buttery, carameldriven campfire in a bottle. 94 88  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2013 TP0713_066-99.indd 88 6/24/13 5:49 PM

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