The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2013

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Page 72 of 152

Publisher's PICKS 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. WINES Jim Barry 2010 "The MacRae Wood" Shiraz, Clare Valley, South Australia ($43) Jim Barry was a pioneer of the Clare Valley who planted his first vineyard with Shiraz in 1964. Third generation Tom Barry is now making these stellar wines. The aromatics that jump out of the glass include a heady musk of sandalwood and Italian herbs. This wine is magnificent with its array of dark fruits, nudged by soy and soil and kissed by roasted hazelnuts. The finish sees the fruit change path and redirect into freshly brewed coffee and chocolate cream. 95 NEGOCIANTS USA Ancient Peaks Winery 2011 "Renegade," Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles ($23) A blend of 62% Syrah, 28% Petit Verdot and 10% Malbec—all off estate fruit from the winery's Santa Margarita Ranch. The dark, velvety textured fruit is sandwiched between layers of stony shale minerality. Dusty violets and even dustier sage line the tongue, which is slathered with black and blueberries that sweeten the message. Big and expressive. 92 Worthy of a smooch. French-style double bizou. Wildly infatuated. Seriously smitten. Head over heels in love. Salcheto 2007 SALCO Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Italy ($70) Dried plums, dusty and teeth-coating emerge out of a soil-drenched earthy ripeness, with black coffee tannins. It all leads to a rich and sexy black-peppered, inky sage-laced blackberry path. 94 Vie 2010 Zinfandel, Beatty Ranch Vineyard, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley ($39) From 100-year-old-plus head-trained vines, grown 1,800 feet high above the Napa Valley floor, this Zin is darkly inviting and concentrated. Blackberry surges up from its core, bathing the mouth in sweet cedar and honeyed soy sauce. Delicious with barbecue. 92 Landmark Vineyards 2011 Solomon Hills Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley ($55) This small-production Pinot Noir (150 cases) swooshes in a lush stream of cinnamon raspberries. Cola and sassafras notes are rich rather than acidic and add an interesting mouthfeel to the blueberry and beet-sweet earthiness. 94 Shafer 2010 "Relentless," Napa Valley ($72) A blend of 96% Syrah with 4% Petite Sirah, this 15.8% alcohol big-bodied red is seamless satin—the texture you find in the Northern Rhône. Chalky tannins are held in check, butting against licorice, blueberries and violets. The Petite Sirah plays a larger role than its small percentage, pulling this wine outside the "norm" but allowing in the Syrah's ripeness with its dark berry tinge and flavor. Black pepper and brandied plums accent the high alcohol. 93 MASSANOIS IMPORTS 72  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2013 TP1213_064-103.indd 72 11/23/13 8:34 PM

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