The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2012

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Page 76 of 132

SPEED TASTING REPORT Drink Ribera Blind W FOURTEEN TEMPRANILLOS CHALLENGE A JURY OF 12 DISCERNING PALATES hen it came to dissecting the nuances of basically one grape from one region of Spain, it was not a challenge for our recent Speed Tasting panel to discover the array of char- acters among 14 different wines. That's because Ribera del Duero showcases the powerfully elegant side of Tempranillo, with structured, round tannins, rich earth tones and sensationally dense fruit. The 71½-mile-long region in north- central Spain, just a fifth the size of Rioja, stretches east to west in the Duero Valley, both north and south of the Duero River, its vineyards running up from the banks to high-elevation limestone cliffs. Vineyards are planted between 2,500 to 3,100 feet above sea level, and diurnal changes in temperature are drastic. Sudden storms, severe freezing, unpleasant winds and hot, dry conditions are some of the contrasts that affect the vines. Now 270 wineries strong, the Ribera del Duero D. O. was created in 1982. Ribera's winemakers and producers are dedicated to quality and value. The range of styles— from traditional to avantgarde, with the full spectrum in-between—is stunning. But with this broad assessment, our pres- tigious panel of Las Vegas tasters gained even more depth from their experience of each of our notated wines. One-by-one they were revealed by our Mistress of Ceremonies, April Cullom, National Brand Ambassador for the region. Here are the results of the blind tasting of our invitation-only wines, all hand-har- vested and estate-bottled. Note: The 2009 and 2010 vintages in Ribera del Duero are considered excellent. April Cullom, National Brand Ambassador for Ribera del Duero, was our event MC. Lucas Paya, Corporate Beverage Manager for THINK FOOD GROUP, pours a glass of Ribera del Duero wine for JALEO at The Cosmopolitan GM Michael Ploetz. Our panel consisted of some of Vegas's best palates. The setting: José Andrés's JALEO restaurant at The Cosmopolitan. Corporate Beverage Manager Lucas Paya and JALEO/Las Vegas GM Michael Ploetz were our most hospitable hosts. 76 / the tasting panel / may 2012 The Panel Left to right, back row: Douglas Kim, Sommelier, AUREOLE; Derick Rossmiller, Wine Director, CAESARS PALACE; Michael Ploetz, GM, JALEO at THE COSMOPOLITAN; Bretton Lammi, Resort Sommelier, THE COSMOPOLITAN; Lucas Paya, Director of Beverage, THINK FOOD GROUP; Dean Wachstetter, Sommelier, STRATOSPHERE HOTEL'S TOP OF THE WORLD. Front row, left to right: Gabriel Garcia, Sommelier, STRIPSTEAK at MANDALAY BAY HOTEL; Kimberley Drake, Assistant Beverage Manager, MICHAEL MINA GROUP; Meridith May, Publisher/ Exec Editor, THE TASTING PANEL Magazine; Lindsey Whipple, Sommelier, CUT BY WOLFGANG PUCK at PALAZZO HOTEL RESORT; Chloe Helfand, Wine Director, LA CAVE at WYNN RESORT; Hung Nguyen, Manager, TASTING ROOM AT THE RIO HOTEL.

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