The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2014

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18  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2014 NEW YORK CITY SIPS by Lana Bortolot O ur mid-summer tastings brought us to exotic climes right here in the middle of Manhattan. While our feet stayed put, our taste buds did not, traveling via bottle to Hungary, Greece and Sicily. Winemaker László Mészaráros of the esteemed Hungarian estate Disznóko ´´, hosted a vertical tasting of Disznóko´´ Tokaji Aszú, with vintages dating to 1993. Tokaji is "arguably the original botrytis wine," and we're not arguing: It was the first wine granted appellation status in 1730, and wines from Disznóko´´ were among the first classified, in 1732. The wines are blended from aszú (noble rotted) grapes and base wine. With up to 150 grams of residual sugar, these wines are for sophisticated palates that can appreciate the balance between the RS and bright, fresh fruit and complexity. The tasting ended with a precious sip of 2005 Disznóko´´ Tokaji Eszencia, made from the free-run juice of hand-selected aszú berries, which yield only a few liters. RS levels can reach a stunning 450 g/l. It is said Eszencia was once reserved for the last rites of Hungarian kings. Mészaráros served this liquid gold in a custom-designed winged glass, making this, indeed, a rare bird. We were delighted to see Yannis Voyatzis, whom we've visited at Greece's Boutari estates, where he's been the long-time resident "mad scientist" (trained in Bordeaux, Voyatzis is a veritable viticultural encyclopedia). His stateside visit was his first on behalf of Estate Voyatzi, the domain in PGI Velvento he established in the 1990s with his father and brother. The vineyard is organic by nature, thanks to winds from the nearby Lake Polyphytos that blow off diseases. Voyatzis makes five wines: a Xinomavro; Tsapournakos, which is said to be a cousin of Cabernet Franc; and three blends that combine international and indigenous varieties. Our select summer sip: the dry white blend of Malvasia Aromatica, Chardonnay and Assyrtiko—fresh, focused and not P.G. A trio of Sicilian muses brought wines from Planeta, a string of estates ringing Sicily. Francesca Planeta, Winemaker Patricia Tóth and Export Manager Penny Murray spent a few days in the U.S. demonstrating the diversity of the island, which until now, has been known mostly for Nero d'Avola and Mt. Etna. With Moscato grown in Noto and Frappato in Vittoria, it is Planeta's goal to raise awareness of not only the wines, but also their distinctive terroirs. Summer Travels A TRIP OF THE TASTE BUDS At Molyvos, Kamal Kouiri, Wine Director of Molyvos; winemaker Yannis Voyatzis and Peter Ioannou of Nestor Imports. PHOTO: LANA BORTOLOT PHOTO: LANA BORTOLOT PHOTO: ERICA GANNETT László Mészaráros, Director and Winemaker at Disznóko ´´ at The Modern. (left to right) Penny Murray, Export Director; Patrica Tóth, Winemaker; and Francesca Planeta at Sofia Wine Bar.

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