The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2012

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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 Dierberg Vineyards 2009 Estate Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley ($32) Juicy summer pears and lemon wax steeped in buttery vanilla pudding opens the curtain, but the fine acid lifts the richness in the air, a high wire act of balance and show. 93 Shafer 2010 Chardonnay, Red Shoulder Ranch, Napa Valley/Carneros ($48) With no malolactic fermentation and a 14 month on-the-lees program, this heady white exhibits body weight, edgy minerality and animal muskiness from wild yeast fermentation. It's only after it opens up—and it does—that the honeyed white flowers and melon emerges . . . but not before almond and spiced chamomile adds more to the party. 95 Meridith May with Sonoma Sommelier & Contributing Editor Chris Sawyer. Clayhouse Wines Adobe Pink 2011, Central Coast ($15) Mourvèdre, Grenache Noir and Syrah grown at Red Cedar Vineyard just outside Paso Robles blend for a roses and watermelon summer sipper. Orange rind sasses up the palate for this dry, defined, pleasurable rosé. Lavender on the back is a joy. 91 MIDDLETON FAMILY WINES Worthy of a smooch. French-style double bizou. Wildly infatuated. Seriously smitten. Head over heels in love. 64 / the tasting panel / july 2012 Cline Cellars 2011 Mourvèdre Rosé, Contra Costa County ($14) From deep, sandy soils, bright acidity shows itself through the veil of dusky, mocha-laden Mourvèdre. A turn for the dry rather than the sweet, it is a pleasurable raspberry, summer cherry and pomegranate-influenced sipper. 89 PICKS Bodegas Aragonesas 2011 Crucillon Garnacha, Campo de Borja, Spain ($9) Ripe fruit with corners of acidity and brightness. The raspberry is a companion to spiced red tea, while tannins play a serviceable role to tighten the grip of this pretty, value-driven wine. 89 SCOPERTA IMPORTING LangeTwins Wine Estates 2010 Caricature Red, California ($17) This animated red (84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Zinfandel) draws on sweet, meaty cherries, succulent plums, black olives and spiced black fruit. With two sides to its personality—deep and brooding on one side and generous and outgoing on the other—it is a study in [vibrant] flavor and a tableau of [velvet] texture. 92 Wesley Ashley Wines 2009 Intelligent Design Cuvée, Santa Barbara County ($38) High energy black cherries garnish a well-appointed chocolate cake effect, sparked by just the right touch of acidity and plush texture. Darkly lit from within, mulling spices and coffee notes set a mood. 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Petite Sirah. 94 Domaine de Nizas 2008 Languedoc Rouge, France ($20) Savory and spicy on first sip: in your face fruit, earth, and deep dark melting chocolate. Give it time and it softens, blue and black berries offering themselves up in tribute to vibrancy. 60% Syrah, 35% Mourvèdre, 5% Grenache Noir. 90 CLOS DU VAL

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