The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2012

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Page 66 of 132

Publisher's 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. WINES Lucas & Lewellen 2010 Estate Chenin Blanc, Santa Barbara ($18) Fascinating and flirtatious combination of melon, minerals and merriment. A food-friendly or on-its-own sipper. Love what happens to this varietal in northern Santa Barbara County (i.e. Los Alamos). 91 LUCAS & LEWELLEN Meridith May at the Wirtz Beverage afterparty at WSWA in Las Vegas with "Court Jester" Drew Levinson of Wirtz on her left and Tito Beveridge, owner of Tito's Vodka on her right. Toccata 2010 Malvasia Bianca, Santa Barbara County ($18) From Lucas & Lewellen vine- yards, and specifically Los Alamos, the fruit is startlingly refreshing and a tad sweet on the tongue. It pairs beautifully with chicken, shrimp and light apps. The garden of peonies, gardenias and honeysuckle wrap around an apricot nectar. 91 LUCAS & LEWELLEN Worthy of a smooch. French-style double bizou. Wildly infatuated. Seriously smitten. Head over heels in love. 66 / the tasting panel / may 2012 Suacci Carciere 2009 Chardonnay, Heintz Vineyard, Russian River Valley ($42) An Old World French-styled Chardonnay. Lemon oil winds its way through MacIntosh crispness. Apple tart/pastry and a subtle anise arises with- out any hint of oak: the natural character of the varietal shines through. 92 Michael-David 2010 Syrah, Sixth Sense, Lodi ($16) It's ripe! It's dense! I love this Sixth Sense! As creamy and delicious as it is—with its vanilla berry core—it offers a fine acidity and loves food as much as I do. 90 Girard Winery 2009 Petite Sirah, Napa Valley ($29) What a mellow- toned P.S.! Possibly the mature vines (some over 100 years) from the Godward Vineyard. The pleasurable baked goods—think blackberry tart and the juiciest plums—enjoy interac- tion with vanilla spice. 92 W. J. DEUTSCH & SONS Perry Creek Vineyards 2008 Altitude: 2401 Zinfandel, Fair Play ($28) The nose teases with a spicy mint, but an impactful ascension of black fruit and slate break into a different, more meaningful dimen- sion from first to last sip. Dry, dusty and smacking tannins support this heavyweight that is like drinking an earthy, fruity smoothie of creamy blackberry soil. 92 Concha y Toro 2009 Carmenère, Gran Reserva Ribera del Cachapoal, Puemo, Chile ($19) A defined, shapely red that is intensely perfumed with sweet blue- berries and chocolate. Pleasurable to the point that it becomes a bench- mark of the varietal. Bravo! 93 EXCELSIOR WINE AND SPIRITS PICKS PHOTO: TOM CLARK

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