The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2014

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Page 83 of 136

november 2014  /  the tasting panel  /  83 Notes on hand and camera at the ready, Wilfred Wong, Chief Storyteller for shares one of his favorite wines from the all-star lineup. "The Lleiroso 2009 Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero is beautiful," says Wong. "Fresh and bright, with lots of fruit that shows the character of the area." Not surpris- ingly, the wine also won Best Tempranillo in show. Another favorite of Wong's was the Ménage à Trois 2012 Pinot Noir from St. Helena. "Consumer-friendly and perfect for any party!" To create the perfect tequila, you need the right team. David Grapshi, formally Tequila Sales Manager with Gemini Spirits & Wine and now owner of Agave Forte, was the man to inspire and guide the team behind Corazón Expresiones Blanco Tequila. "The Expresiones project was my brainchild and I was fortunate to have Sazerac's backing. After all these years in the agave business, I feel it is part of my legacy," says Grapshi. "It was a no-brainer to enter the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. In my opinion, educated consumers look to a reputable organization like the SFWSC to guide them in their purchasing decision-making." Born of a desire to introduce a little Filipino culture stateside, Infanta Lambanog co- founders Randy Ramiro (left) and Marc Padilla (right) were thrilled by their Double Gold win. "Our goal was always to enter the San Francisco World Spirits Competition," says Ramiro. "We still can't believe that we walked away with the Double Gold on our first try!" Lambanog is a traditional Filipino spirit that is distilled from coconuts. The distillation pro- cess is an artistic expression that is distinct to Filipinos and has been part of Filipino tradition for centuries. One of the brands that made waves at our San Francisco stop was the Eagle Eye 2011 Petit Verdot, Alpha Wolf Ranch from Napa Valley. Owner Bill Wolf is a trained chef and approaches winemaking with food in mind. "We're not making a quarterback, rather we are making a team player," quips Wolf. "Our wines are not necessarily meant to be the star of the show. Instead, they are made to play well with and complement food." Wolf's original recipes are included in every wine club shipment. Co-owner and wife Roxanne is an artist and designs all the bottle labels. "We're pleased with our Double Gold at this year's San Francisco International Wine Competition," says Robert Reyes, owner of Reyes Winery of his 2011 Estate Syrah from Southern California's Sierra Pelona Valley. "It doesn't hurt that our Syrah is my favorite wine that we produce." "The House of CAMUS is the largest indepen- dent, fifth-generation, family-owned Cognac company," says Jimmy Hui, West Coast Sales Director of CAMUS, which had two winners: VSOP Elegance and Borderies VSOP. "We've done consistently well at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and we're proud of our medal wins."

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