The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2016

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36  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2016 1 JAB Clear, legible label, solid branding. Pow, right in the kisser. 2 JABS Eye catching label and memorable branding. This one's got a one two punch. 3 JABS Creatively inspiring in both packaging and branding. I'm seeing stars and parakeets. 4 JABS A near work of art and meaningful branding. Might not last another round. 5 JABS A masterpiece in packaging and new benchmark in branding. An instant knock-out! I t's July, which makes me think of Hotter than July, one of my favorite albums from one of my favorite artists, Stevie Wonder. This month, I highly suggest at least listening to the song "Master Blaster" and enjoying one of the below wines while barbecuing with friends. Starmont 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa, CA ($19) All kinds of subtle greens: grass, green apple, green bell pepper, lime and mossy wet rock. The palate offers a bit of creami- ness behind the pyrazine too, like a Graber olive, along with some ripe grapefruit and honey blossom. This is Sauvignon Blanc with 5% Sémillon that ages five months in neutral French oak for a little over half the time and in a stainless still for the rest. A simple, clean label. 89 MERRYVALE VINEYARDS 50 Harvests 2013 Napa Valley Meritage, Oak Knoll District, Napa, CA ($50) Blackberry, green tobacco, dried black currants and a dusty, tannic dirt road drives through a full-bodied solid structure. The label is straightfor- ward, but what appeals to me most is the name; it commemorates 50 consecutive California harvests for the Scotto family. This is a really well-made red blend consisting of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot and Cabernet Franc, 20 months in French oak and four months bottle age. Congrats to the Scottos for 50 Harvests, both for the feat and the wine itself. Limited production: 1,188 bottles. 92 SCOTTO CELLARS Grooner 2015 Grüner Veltliner, Neiderösterreich, Austria ($12) This "Grooner" is almost too easy to drink. Underripe pear, green apple, green bean and lemon pith. A very fun label; I can almost hear the lady yelling "Grooooner," in a Pee-wee Herman–like voice. Good value here. 88 FREDERICK WILDMAN AND SONS Q&A, No 1 of 12, Red Wine, California ($14.99) A dark- cherried, blackberry and cigar box blend of Merlot, Ruby Cabernet, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. The 12 different labeling series, each with different entry- level questions regarding wine, is a brilliant way to appeal to those just getting into wine or those who like to show off their wine knowledge (which covers everyone). 88 RIVER ROAD VINEYARDS July's Top Picks by Jessie Birschbach Our Wine Editor and Certified Sommelier Jessie Birschbach—or JABS, as we call her in the office—uses her experience as a som- melier and her background in marketing to rate retail wines on both the inside and outside of the bottle. After all, let's face it, in off-premise environments it's usually the packaging that hooks, us then it's up to the wine to keep us on the hook. For that reason, she'll employ both the classic 100-point number scale on taste, and the "JABS" rating system to assess packaging and brand identity. PHOTO: DOUG YOUNG For info on submitting samples, email SomeWine 2014 Chardonnay, California ($12.99) Just-ripe yellow apple dominates both on nose and palate. Lemony citrus and orange blossom follow, then the subtle oak pops in for a quick "hello." The packaging receives a nearly perfect score for its savvy, humorous someecard labels, making it look freshly plucked from the Facebook page of a Millennial. 88 1026 BEVERAGE COMPANY

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