The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2014

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76  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2014 WINES Bon Niche Cellars 2011 "Chaise" Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands ($35) Mouth-filling creamy lusciousness. A well- balanced combo of sweet tropical fruit and acidity with a just-right subtlety of oak. 90 Plungerhead 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley Sonoma ($16) Grown on steep, gravelly hillsides, this juicy, lush Cab generously offers blue and black berries in a seal of dusty tannins. An echo of soil and dark chocolate brings in an earthy side, and the addi- tion of white peppered coffee keeps it lively. The nose, deep and inviting, is a cue to the gobby fruit within. 91 TOG WINES Ferrari-Carano 2012 Middleridge Ranch Pinot Noir, Mendocino Ridge, Anderson Valley ($55) Ferrari-Carano's newest Pinot Noir ranch, Middleridge, sits between two ridges above Boonville, at 1,600 feet above sea level. Planted to Swan and Calera Pinot Noir clones, this single vineyard blueberry beauty stirs the palate with a bright acidity while it sweetens with coffee/chocolate tones. There's a savory side to Middleridge (spiced pomegranate), a creamy texture (from aging in French oak) and a minerality that reminds you of its Anderson valley roots. 94 Post Scriptum de Chryseia 2011, Douro DOC, Portugal ($25) Douro meets Bordeaux: Chryseia is joint project between port producer Symington Family and Bruno Prats of Château d'Estournel fame. A blend of Touriga Nacional (56%), Touriga Franca (30%), Tinta Barroca (7%) and Tinta Roriz (7%), this excep- tionally expressive red is aged 13 months in French oak for an added sumptuous mouthfeel. The acclaimed 2011 vintage further showcased its accessible nature, its relentess aromatics and its food-pairing abilities. A bright- star blueberry sweetness and Silk Road texture lead to a rich depth of violets and baked-pie crust. A snap of cinnamon spice and vanilla finish with longesse. 95 PREMIUM PORT WINES Luce della Vita 2011 Lucente, Toscana, Italy ($30) Sourced from the same vineyards in Montalcino as Marchesi de' Frescobladi's famous Luce, this blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Sangiovese is aged for 12 months in French and American oak. Mouth coating, chalky tannins drench and then dry the palate, relieving it with a juicy blackberry, cherry and violet wash that surges forward and then unleashes in a rush of espresso bean bitterness ; a delightful merry- go-round. Prepare to be wow'd again with this great vintage from an iconic winery. 91 FOLIO FINE WINE PARTNERS 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. Worthy of a smooch. French-style double bizou. Wildly infatuated. Seriously smitten. Head over heels in love. PHOTO: MONA SHIELD PAYNE Publisher's Meridith May with Fausto Zapata, CEO/Founder of El Silencio Mezcal. See his story on page 108. PHOTO: JEREMY BALL and Tinta Roriz (7%), this excep tionally expressive red is aged 13 with longesse.

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