The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2015

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20  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2015 SAN FRAN INSIDER S porting summer whites after Labor Day was once a fashion faux pas, but thankfully times have changed. White fashion, like white wines, can be enjoyed year-round, and both can be paired universally. One of the most intriguing white wine–paired meals of the summer was hosted by Thierry Fritsch, Director of Le Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d'Alsace (CIVA) at San Francisco's Mourad. Chef Lahlou Mourad's contemporary Moroccan cuisine uses complex ingredients like za'atar, harissa, pre- served lemon, chermoula and urfa, all of which can pose a challenge for delicate wines. With the help of Wine Director Allan Murray, Fritsch paired lighter meats—kanpachi, chicken and whole roasted snapper—with old vine Meyer-Fonné Pinot Blanc, Kuentz-Bas Riesling, Rieflé Riesling Grand Cru Steinert Bonheur Exceptionnel and Albert Boxler Pinot Gris to rave reviews. The final flour- ish: a Weinbach Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Furstentum Vendanges Tardives accompanied by cheeses and a honey/ almond granita. SF Insider felt particularly patriotic after tasting current releases with third- generation vintner Peter Mondavi Jr. at the newly-renovated tasting room at Charles Krug winery. The winery has been welcom- ing visitors for 133 years and it's only fitting that California's first winery tasting room, built about a decade after the winery was founded in 1861, has been sustainably renovated with reclaimed redwood from the original wine tanks. With a renewed focus on hospitality and a bevy of exclusive wines for their on-premise and direct-to- consumer programs, Krug has never looked or tasted better. Krug Winemaker Stacy Clark's limited- release 2014 Sauvignon Blanc ($35) has the intensity, steely minerality and St. Helena stone fruit that make it one of the best of the vintage. Long known for the value of their estate Cabernet Sauvignon—at $30, it's one the Valley's authentic bargains with dark, plummy fruit, ample structure, spice and tobacco—Clark's Reserve Generations bottling ($60) with smoky blue fruit and silky, micro tannins and the vineyard designate Howell Mountain Cold Springs Cabernet Sauvignon ($125) give consumers every reason to trade up. With history, preservation and quality gains all working in his favor, Peter Mondavi Jr. has every reason to smile. Beyond a whole roast pig, the largest cuts of meat to ever grace a table arrived at Cockscomb, paired with an impressive array of inky-blue Malbec from Mendoza's Achaval- Ferrer. The company's Gastón Williams and his talented team, including Shelley Turner and Lisa Tuttle of Stoli Group USA, hosted an evening of wine that was expertly paired with Chef Chris Cosentino's massive wood fired- cuts of pork and beef. 2011's were the focus, with Quimera, Finca Mirador, Bella Vista and Altamira all showing well with leaner, more polished blue and black fruit, graphite, toast and floral notes. Williams noted stylistic differences from previous vintages while the table obsessed over which wine best comple- mented which portion of pin bone steak, which includes sections of the tenderloin, top sirloin, top loin and flap. PHOTO BY DEBORAH PARKER WONG PHOTO BY DEBORAH PARKER WONG Red, White and Blue EVEN UP AGAINST INTENSE CUISINE by Deborah Parker Wong With history, preservation and quality gains all working in his favor, Charles Krug's Peter Mondavi Jr. has every reason to smile. Achaval Ferrer Sales and Marketing Director Gastón Williams hosted an evening of Malbec at Cockscomb. CIVA's Thierry Fritsch made a statement by pairing Alsace with the complex Moroccan cuisine at Mourad. PHOTO COURTESY OF CIVA C M Y CM MY CY CMY K

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