The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2014

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30  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2014 TINSELTOWN TASTINGS I n early June, I met with Mark Beringer, at Longitude Bar + Restaurant inside Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica, just off Pico Boulevard. In this quiet and sun-drenched lunch spot, we tasted through Artesa's current-release Pinots, Chards and one Cabernet Sauvignon, just before Beringer, who possesses a calm demeanor and the undercurrent of a wild side, had to jet-set back to the Bay Area. Beringer is the great-great-grandson of Jacob Beringer, founder of the eponymously named winery. From 1992 to 2008, Mark made the wines at Duckhorn, learning the ropes and emerging with much critical acclaim (he was named Winemaker of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle in 2005). In 2008, after leaving Duckhorn and consulting, he "wanted to get back into a family-run operation," so he and his wife stopped by Artesa, tasted the wines and saw great potential. After meeting the team, the "philosophies and winemaking techniques" clicked, and by 2009, Beringer was making the wines there. Artesa was founded in the 1980s by the Codorníu family, a Spanish wine- making dynasty, and Beringer's heritage and winemaking prowess seemed to position him as the right person to slip into the role of winemaker for an equally dynamic, family-owned winery—and to take it to the next level. After proving his own in Napa Valley at Duckhorn and Anderson Valley at Goldeneye (Duckhorn's Pinot spinoff), Beringer has tackled Carneros with grace. His Pinots and Chards show incredible depth, balance and possess the mineral-driven, rich ethereal fruit flavors that hail from the extremely cool- climate, slow-ripening grapes, unique to the Carneros AVA in California. The 2012 vintage was much riper than 2011, and Beringer hinted that 2013 is looking "really good," with "great set." The Jewels of Carneros Artesa 2012 Carneros Chardonnay ($20) Medium- to full-bodied, fresh and vibrant, wafting of citrus and brioche, cream and lemon curds on the palate, backed by vibrant acidity. 100% Chardonnay. Artesa 2012 Estate Reserve Chardonnay ($40) Concentrated citrus aromas of lemon zest, lifted by white floral notes; mineral-driven, offering stone fruits while a lingering finish is complemented by toasty flavors. 100% Chardonnay. Artesa 2012 Carneros Pinot Noir ($25) Fresh red fruit character, juicy grapefruit and watermelon notes, augmented by an earthiness mingled with dried rose petals. Intense spice on the palate; mineral-driven with hints of smoke. 100% Pinot Noir. Artesa 2012 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir ($40) Generous red cherry and raspberry aromas, elevated by red floral notes, spice and vanillin. Concentrated and mineral-driven, liquid slate, smoke and vivid acidity. 100% Pinot Noir. Artesa 2010 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($45) Full-bodied redolent of bright ripe blackberry fruit underscored by ethereal green sage notes, a discrete hint of iron, spice and fine minerality. Closes with a lingering blackberry compote note. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. TASTING CURRENT ARTESA RELEASES WITH WINEMAKER MARK BERINGER story and photo by Jonathan Cristaldi Mark Beringer, winemaker, Artesa Vineyards and Winery.

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