The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2013

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DALLAS PHOTO: JASON KINDIG Tour of Champions A FINAL LOOK AT THE TASTING PANEL'S 2013 DOUBLE GOLD TOUR by Megan Wieczorek I n last month's issue, we gave you a first glimpse into life on the road of our annual Double Gold Tour. Over the past month, the pours have persisted as we've forged on with our all-star lineup of Double Gold–winning wines and spirits from this year's San Francisco International Wine Competition and San Francisco World Spirits Competition. With stops in 12 key beverage markets, the Tour has brought its walk-around tasting everywhere from the tropical shores of Honolulu to the suit-clad political hub of Washington, D.C. For more photos and info from the Tour, download THE TASTING PANEL app for free on Apple and Android! "We know this was a special wine," says Bending Branch Winery founder/winemaker Robert W. Young, M.D., who produces wine alongside his son-in-law in Comfort, TX. "But we weren't quite prepared for this response," he admits, referring to the Double Gold awarded to his 2010 Cabernet Suavignon, Newsom Vineyards. While Young is proud to show off Texas terroir (where "Tannat has found its sweet spot," he says), the award has done wonders for sales of this smallproduction wine. "We made 125 cases and are down to ten, and the price has gone up from $30 to $100!" SAN FRANCISCO With pen and tasting notes in hand, Wilfred Wong, the esteemed Cellar Master for BevMo!, discusses his take on this year's Tour. "I haven't heard of about 30% of the wines here, so this is a great starting point to see which wines I want to learn more about and pursue." And one of these admired wines—the Brazin 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel— hails from the burgeoning appellation of Lodi. "It's very rich with a lot of fruit," says Wong of this smooth, lingering Zinfandel that will leave you wanting more. PHOTO: NIKKI RITCHER PHOTO: NIKKI RITCHER PHOTO: NIKKI RITCHER With stunning views of the city on the 25th floor of the Hotel Nikko, we kicked off our San Francisco stop of the Tour with a glass of the Piper-Heidsieck Brut. "It feels absolutely fantastic to win a Double Gold at this year's competition," describes Kyle Kaplan, Champagne Ambassador for Piper-Heidsieck. "Our winemaker has really elevated the product by adding more reserve wine, and the result is a highly structured wine that's a very serious champagne." One of the brands that made waves at our San Francisco stop was the Mora Estate 2009 Valpo Red Blend from Alexander Valley. "The 2013 San Francisco International Wine Competition was our first commercial competition to enter, so when I found out that we won a Double Gold, it brought a tear to my eye," says Fabiano Ramaci, proprietorwinemaker at Mora Estate. "The journey has been a long one for us, so receiving such an honor was a very emotional experience. We're not a gimmick or a trend—we offer real romance in a bottle." 78  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2013 TP1213_064-103.indd 78 11/23/13 8:34 PM

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