The Tasting Panel magazine

January/February 2012

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SAN FRAN INSIDER Ringing in the New Year . . . AS DEBORAH PARKER WONG SAYS A STYLISH FAREWELL TO THE OLD W Winemker Mitch Cosentino and Incanto Chef Chris Cosentino may not be related but they share a surname and a mastery of their crafts. inemaker Mitch Cosentino and his investors timed the launch of their new brand pureCru to coincide with the holidays and hosted an intimate tasting and dinner at Incanto to celebrate their fi rst releases. Cosentino, who is a master of Italian varieties, has crafted a portfolio of seven "Euro-centric" wines using fruit sourced from old-vine sites in Pope Valley and a custom barrel program designed to enhance minerality. An outspoken advocate for white wines, Cosentino introduced the portfolio with a Burgundian-style Chardonnay that is a blend of the old Wente clone, noted for its dramatic citrus quality, and an old Meursault clone that shows a pristine, mineral quality and limpid texture. The Bordeaux blanc–style blend that followed, "Purety," a barrel-fermented Sauvignon and Semillon found a wor- thy pairing in Chef Chris Cosentino's (no relation to the winemaker) dish of radishes, parties. For more than 20 years, Lew, who is Director of Community Marketing for NBC11, has emptied and then transformed his home for a glamorous event where guests vie for perpetual silver cup trophies awarded in the couple's annual holiday cooking competition. The Lews' garage served as an elegant stag- ing area for cooks (including yours truly) and The pureCru crew (from left to right) includes investors Kate and Don Held, winemaker Mitch Cosentino, Linda and Jim Nylen and Prabhjit Purewal, sporting a festive bow tie. NBC11's Director of Community Marketing Lance Lew, radio personality Ziggy Eschliman and vintner Chris Benziger raise a toast to all of the home chefs who com- peted in the Lew's annual holiday cooking competition which benefi tted Petaluma Christmas Cheer. almonds, fresh-herb pesto and smoked butter. Cosentino's reds include a Brunello-esque Sangiovese from Lodi; a Super Tuscan blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese; a Bordeaux-style blend; and two Cabernets, including the pureCru fl agship red "Secret 7," a 100-percent Cabernet Sauvignon from Clone 7, which is noted for its acid structure and exotic citrus marker. Watch for the pureCru tasting room scheduled to open in downtown Napa in a location directly behind Enotria in April 2012. Guests from nine Bay Area counties con- verged at the Petaluma home of Lance and Roberta Lew to demonstrate their culinary talents and indulge in one of the season's most entertaining and ambitious holiday 100 / the tasting panel / january/february 2012 their helpers, who prepped and plated savory appetizers and then presented them to guests and judges sporting black tie for the occasion. Judges for the evening included Chris Benziger of Benziger Family Winery and NBC's Raj and Sonia Mathai. Dozens of desserts were staged in a lavish tented room annexed to the house and juried by guests who cast marbles for their favorite sweet. Live music, bubbles and Benziger wine fl owed freely, and winners were announced at mid- night after a hilarious "Occupy Lance Lew" stand-up routine by ceremony emcee Jonas Tichenor. Guests who chose not to compete in the competition donated $75 to Petaluma Christmas Cheer, which provides gifts and food to families in need.

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