The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2014

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Page 58 of 136

58  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2014 WINES Moobuzz 2013 Chardonnay, Monterey County ($14) Edgy, cool (-climate) Chardonnay that offers up a zip of acid, a streak of salinity and a showy stoniness. In the center, a vanilla cream pineapple pie rounds it out. 90 TOG WINES Gran Passione 2013 Gavi DOCG, Italy ($13) Lime, wet stones and crisp acidity, make this bone-dry 100% Cortese white from Piedmont a superb partner with seafood and shellfish. The floral notes offer a delicate chalkiness and the finish has a whisper of almond dust. 93 WINESELLERS LTD. Tenuta Polvaro Oro 2013, IGP Veneto, Italy ($17) Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Verduzzo and Traminer unite for a delightful experience where fragrance and flavor interplay with each sip to a heady floral crescendo. The wine is mouthfilling, with a tart, spicy citrus edge (pink grapefruit) and a rounder apricot-honeysuckle tone. Complex and textural. 94 AREL GROUP WINE & SPIRITS Sol Rouge 2011 Syrah, Red Hills, Lake County ($32) What a big personality! This big red pushes its way in with a pepper grinder ; thanks to an accompanying cornucopia of juicy grape, plum, boysenberry, rhubarb and tart cranberries, there's a fantastic balance of high and low notes. Great acidity leads the way to top food-pairing abilities. 90 Leese-Fitch 2012 Merlot, California ($12) Ripe and ready! A nose of earth and summer plum pudding is the lead story while your palate is readied for this milk chocolate/blueberry, juicy-fruited ripe Merlot. Acidity is pitch-perfect, and its grainy tannins, smattering of white pepper and new leather keep you sipping. 91 TOG WINES Lang & Reed 2012 Cabernet Franc, North Coast ($27) A small-production (755 cases) red that is a righteous example of the varietal. Chocolate- mint and spice are firmly planted in an Eden of bright—yet very dark and black-toned—fruit. Finesse is key here and finds its way with quality and style between a Loire leanness and a California generosity. 92 Grgich Hill 2010 Estate Grown Merlot, Napa Valley ($42) A big, purple inkwell; earthy and ripe bursting with plum juice. Mid-palate brings in a spiced coffee and blueberry-cinnamon. Not a bright, New World fruity wine, but rather a laid back savory beauty. 95 Phifer Pavitt 2011 "Date Night" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($80) Dark cherry- cedar and eucalyptus are the bouquet he brings to the door on date night. In fact, this tall, dark and handsome red is dressed to the nines in plum, currant, licorice and Worcestershire, indulg- ing the palate in sweet talk which soon evolves to a spicy brooding, mysterious nature. But, like all great dates, it ends in kisses. I'll give it four. 94 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. Publisher's Taylor Parsons, Wine Director of République in Los Angeles, with Meridith May, tasting wines from the Languedoc. Read about this edgy wine region on page 40. PHOTO: ADAM JAMES

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