The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2014

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78  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2014 WINES Terra d'Oro 2013 Chenin Blanc–Viognier, Clarksburg ($16) While most of Terra d'Oro's wines have been Italian varietals, this crisp and fleshy white brings aromatics to the fore from the rich soils and maritime influences of the Sacramento Delta with the 87% Chenin, while the 13% Viognier hails from the Terra d'Oro Voteau Vineyard in Amador County. A pineapple prettiness exudes sweet tropical notes and tart, lime-soaked linen sends up a call to great acidity. Great food wine. 90 TRINCHERO FAMILY ESTATES Workman/Ayer 2013 "ipso facto" Viognier, Central Coast ($21) The waxy, honeycomb nose turns to jasmine, sandalwood and other exotic floral tones. The creamy unctuous and petal-pushing palate personality includes an amazing peanut-butter and almond taste. Zippy minerals peek through on the finish. 90 Talbott Vineyards 2012 Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands ($38) From one of Santa Lucia Highlands's most famous vineyards, owned by Talbott, this round and shiny Chardonnay is sharpened with a bright acidity. With 100% French oak as an influencer, the butterscotch notes melt on papaya, lemon oil, pear and a summery peach. This wine was made almost entirely using old Wente clone fruit (planted in 1972). It also includes a small amount of fruit from 20-year-old Dijon clone vines. 94 Ron Rubin 2012 Pinot Noir, Green Valley of Russian River Valley ($25) Just 14 miles east of the Pacific, the estate is in the coolest, foggiest part of the Russian River Valley. The Pinot Noir is grown in sandy, well-drained Goldridge soil, known for creating a "delicate" nature in this varietal. The wine is medium-bodied, with bright cherry and raspberry notes lifting from the glass. White pepper and roses play against an earthy soil tonality. Oak and chocolate meld into blue and purple fruit. 92 RUBIN FAMILY VINEYARDS AND WINERY Dragonette Cellars 2012 Grenache, John Sebastiano Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley ($40) Red fruited (cranberry, pomegranate) and spicy, this is a siren that calls for a variety of dishes. Minerals are vibrant and are against a background of balanced tannins, good acidity and an elegant profile. 91 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: JEREMY BALL Publisher's Madrigal 2010 Estate Petite Sirah, Napa Valley ($65) This 100% Petite Sirah was predominantly grown at the Madrigal estate vineyard (74%) and aged for 20 months in 25% new French oak. Three generations of Madrigals have farmed vineyards in the Napa Valley. Third-generation Chris Madrigal is proprietor and superstar Ed Sbragia is winemaker. This deep blue-black red wine is rich and ripe with fine, gritty tannins. It's a force of nature: cherry, caramel and dark chocolate converge with sweet purple plum and herby spice. The wine floats across the palate with finesse, despite its powerhouse flavors. 94 Meridith May with Jose "Pepe" Hermosillo, Founder & CEO of Casa Noble tequila. Meet Pepe on page 26.

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