The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2016

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Page 69 of 100

august 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  69 Rosati 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendocino County ($40) Winemaker Zelma Long sharpens her pencil for this cool- climate stunner : dark, inky and plum-brandy perfumed. A weave of silky blackberry graphite mea- sures up to finely grained tannins. Dusty iron notes would be sharp and astringent on the tongue if it weren't for a round, lush, pleasur- able texture. 100% estate-grown Cab on a 1,000-foot-high ridge on gravely loam soil. 93 Schmitz 2013 24 Brix Syrah, Lake County ($35) The grapes are grown in rich red soils of Lake County and black volcanic rock, harvested at close to 24 Brix and aged for 27 months in French oak. Winemaker Paul Schmitz created a mouth-filling, energetic, dark-fruited red with a tad of white pepper. Its silky, medium- bodied structure leads to grainy tannins and fine acidity. 91 Brooks 2014 Famille Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon ($28) This wine, made in the Willamette Valley's niche-y sub-appellation, represents the culture and food at NYC's Butter restaurant by Beverage Director Raffaello VanCouten. Cranberry in aspic on the nose with a touch of spice; savory nutmeg strawberry in a juicy flow of cherries and rooibos tea—fragrant red flowers bloom on the finish! 95 Altvs 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($100) Great big, powerful cherry- blackberry-cedar components at the ready, calmed down by silky tannins. Graphite-laced fruit and tobacco-sweetened juice wind up the one-two punch at the end. We're up for round two. 93 FOLEY FAMILY WINES Smith Madrone 2012 Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley ($48) Grilled meat and dark chocolate soil are the richness that sweeps you into its coffee bean and chocolate licorice middle. Statured, with grainy tannins on tiptoes, as rhubarb, ash and blue fruit keep it polished and strong all the way. 93 Minkov Brothers 2013 Cuvée, Thracian Valley, Bulgaria ($17) A blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah and 20% Merlot, this wine is well built from the inside out. Slate, tobacco and graphite access a dark blackberry and fig core. Savory chutney spices make it more Old World exotic, as does a fine acidity. 90 BULGARIAN MASTER VINTNERS SPIRITS Lucky-Oh Horchata, USA ($25) Orange, cinnamon cream and pine nuts fill the nostrils, and the distinctive exotic floral tones of this 70-proof spirit permeate the palate. Coconut and pine nut are sweet on the tongue and the finish is an echo of orange peel, dry and tangy. 91 STONEYARD DISTILLERY Stolichnaya Gluten Free Vodka ($20) Soft white petals and vanilla cream on the nose is appeal- ing from the start. Corn and buckwheat from Russia's Tambov Region, with its fertile, black soils, showcases an 80-proofer distilled three times. The flavor profile is sweet and grainy—deep notes of buckwheat in an inviting flush of warmth that follows through to the finish. 90 STOLI GROUP Potocki Wódka, Poland ($40) Handcrafted at a small distillery in central Poland, this rye-based spirit has personality, from a shy nose of almond vanilla to an extroverted spiced caraway, charred marsh- mallow, brazil nuts and tobacco. The finish is slightly sweet and the texture compelling, with a generous nature. 92 FOLEY FAMILY WINES Avión Añejo Tequila, Mexico ($65) Smoky lime, grilled maize and agave greet the nose so pleasantly, I am taken aback and have to sniff again several times—a deliriously soulful bouquet. The viscous palate is warm, with melted brown sugar-butter, cola, cedar-cherry and toasted almonds. The flavors don't stop, creating a deep well of luxury. 96 PERNOD RICARD USA Signature Rockefeller Cognac VSOP, France ($50) Long, drawn-out nose of sugar beets, honey, orange peel and jasmine. The spiced notes on the tongue spread out and catch up with headier notes of sandalwood, bergamot and leather. Hazelnuts and cooked peaches form at the finish, but the level of flavor here is dynamic and broad. 93 VINTAGE ROCKEFELLER Chateau Montelena's CEO & Master Winemaker Bo Barrett with Meridith May. See the story on page 81. PHOTO: ALEXANDER RUBIN

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