The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2016

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70  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2016 WINES Edna Valley Vineyards 2014 Chardonnay, Central Coast ($15) Ginger and white flowers make a cocktail for the soul and the nose, just a tad spiced on the petals. The palate is exotic, with Asian pear and a lovely salinity. Summer peach and a touch of tropical fruit are ever-present, and freshness plays its way to the stony finish. This is a labor-intensive white that is 30-percent barrel-fermented with deliberate selections of barrels and goes through 100% ML. With a percentage of fruit from Edna Valley's Paragon Vineyard and the balance from Arroyo Seco in Monterey County, this is a well thought-out project that resulted in a stellar, over-delivering Chardonnay. 92 E&J GALLO Wind Rose Cellars 2013 Primitivo, Columbia Valley ($25) A peppery-juicy, bright and shiny version of the Italian variety, considered nearly identical to Zinfandel. This small production red is jazzy with undertones of red tea, fig and spiced paprika, but it's the cherry and wild raspberry that set the stage. 92 Neyers Vineyards 2015 Chardonnay 304, Sonoma County ($25) Small-production, aged and fermented in "Grade 304" stainless steel with continuous lees contact (about four months). The resulting wine is buttered, battered and bready with caramel-kissed orange zest and lemon curd. 90 Shafer 2014 Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa Valley ($52) An opulent and hedonistic single vineyard Chardonnay that matures on the lees for 14 months (with no ML). The vineyard is named for red-shouldered hawks who aid in Shafer's natural farming practices. Creamy lemon pie filling—along with the ethereal meringue—com- bine with flavors of pineapple and white flowers. The slight minerality on the finish plays well with its great acidity. 92 Sean Minor 2013 Nicole Marie, Napa Valley ($22) A blend of 51% Merlot, 29% Zinfandel, 15% Petit Verdot and 5% Petite Sirah forms a distinguished nose of dark summer fruit and sweet tobacco. The palate feel is plush but dry with tar and juicy plum ripeness. Mint and leather makes for a serious finish. 90 Kettmeir 2015 Müller-Thurgau, Alto Adige DOC, Italy ($22) Vanilla bean and lemon verbena are glossy, perfumed notes for this lively, crisp—even a bit edgy—white. This vintage outdoes the last (which I loved), with a glassy texture that's ripe with peach, pear and melon. Youthful and bright—the pretty pineapple on the finish is perked up by a cool flintiness. 92 SANTA MARGHERITA USA PICKS In each issue The Tasting Panel's Publisher and Editorial Director 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. Publisher's Worthy of a smooch. French-style double bizou. Wildly infatuated. Seriously smitten. Head over heels in love. Meridith May with Jerome Crannell of SWS; Bernard Retornaz of Louis Latour Inc and Ken Snyder of SWS at the Int'l Chardonnay Symposium. PHOTO: JEREMY BALL

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