The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2013

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Page 98 of 148

Publisher's PHOTO: JOHN CURLEY 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. On either side of Meridith May, who is equipped with notebook and pen in hand, pictured at the Carneros Bistro in Sonoma, Chef Andrew Wilson brandishes his scimitar and Sommelier Chris Sawyer reveals his weapon of choice: a bottle of Patz & Hall Hyde Vineyard Pinot Noir from Carneros. Read more on this dynamic duo on page 94. Worthy of a smooch. French-style double bizou. Wildly infatuated. Seriously smitten. Head over heels in love. PICKS Wines Michael David Winery 2011 Ancient Vine Cinsault, Bechthold Vineyard, Lodi ($24) Light bodied and flowingly juicy, this mature—yet bright and fresh—Cinsault possesses a startling vibrancy, befitted with rhubarb and currant tart-yet-ripe-ability. Sassy as can be from the start but demures by the pretty finish. 90 Skinner Vineyards 2010 Eighteen SixtyOne, El Dorado County ($30) Rich and extracted, this Rhône-style blend (47% Grenache, 23% Mourvèdre, 23% Syrah and 7% Counoise) speaks to the 30-year-old Grenache vines and high-elevation Syrah but also to the terroir of the Sierra Foothills. Rich, juicy, ripe: You've heard these words before, but they're so defined in this wine. Chewy cherry and plum splash on the palate while pepper-spiced tobacco leaves impart a sturdy finish. 92 SPIRITS Black Momma Vodka, USA ($25) Wheat is the base for this 80-proof smooth sipper made in Oregon. The upside-down heart on the label may refer to some "back"— and this full-bootied vodka answers to that. Chocolate and lilac are up front on the palate and lead to a velvet licorice on the finish. Black Momma makes a fine white spirit, that's for sure. 90 Captive Spirits Big Gin, USA ($30) The distinction of this bourbon-barreled gin starts off with its olive juice brininess and prickly pear notes. Think cayennerimmed lime amidst the botanical line-up. Big all right: spicy, round and getting rounder. 94 Black Mask Original Spiced Rum ($14) Nutmeg and orange peel in this Pacific rum are sumptuous on the nose, delicate scents of honeyed cinnamon pastry linger. Rich, cinnamon-peppered tea leaves open up on the palate and a sweet apricot nectar oozes forth, transforming into a toffee finish. This is delightful . . . fun to sip and keeps delivering. 92 INTERNATIONAL BEVERAGE Luna Malvada Reposado Tequila, Mexico ($50) The beckoning call of the ripe agave nose is accented by a desirous apricot nectar—not unlike a full-bodied, viscous late-harvest Riesling. This tequila is truly memorable: Its fully developed mouthfeel features the lingering sweet caramelized sap of the apricot-peach nectar, seasoned with a dash of salt, a kiss of white pepper and a wash of tarragonbasil. 96 B4MC GROUP 82  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2013 TP0813_066-103.indd 82 7/24/13 9:51 PM

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