The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2016

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28  /  the tasting panel  /  october 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! H alloween is a polarizing holiday and I'm not just referring to the alive and undead. You're either into wearing costumes or you're not. I'm from the first camp, and I even maintain an annual prerequisite—the mustache. Past highlights include movie critic Gene Shalit, Game of Thrones' Jamie Lannister (from the third season version, when he's imprisoned and first loses his hand) and, my go-to classic, Magnum P.I. So for this reason, October's wines are meant to be enjoyed with either a real or fake mustache. Kir-Yianni 2013 Yianakohori, Imathia, Greece ($18) Ripe cherry, strawberry Twizzlers and rich milk chocolate countered by a delicate jasmine black tea and just enough acid in this fuller-bodied Xinomavro (50%)/Merlot (30%)/Syrah (25%) blend from the Kir-Yianni estate vineyard in Yianakohori, Naoussa. Awesome value, unique composi- tion and even some aging potential in this curvy Greek hottie. 92 DIAMOND IMPORTERS, INC. Monte Caronare Soave Classico, Veneto, Italy ($30) This is not your average, quaffable Soave. Talcum powder, almond, lemon rind, white peach and green apple vibrate in tense harmony. 100% Garganega in a lighter, creamy body. Drinking this is kin to the comfort of the light from an old-timey light bulb, bright yet warm. Monte Carbonare translates into "coal mountain or hill," thusly named as the volcanic soils of this estate-owned vineyard are as black as coal. Stainless steel fermentation, aged 12 months in steel and six months in bottle. 92 THE WINEBOW GROUP Alpha Estate 2015 Rosé, Amyndeon, Greece ($24.99) Nectarine, strawber- ries, peach pit, chalk dust and an interesting trace of crisp red bell pep- per in this rosé from Amyndeon in the Northwest of Greece. Substantial body that consists of 50% Syrah and 50% Xinomavro. The Alpha Estate is one of the better-known Greek producers and rightly so. 91 DIAMOND IMPORTERS, INC. Bodega Cuarto Dominio 2014 Chento Malbec, Medoza, Argentina ($23.99) Blueberry, blackberry, black pepper and roses in medium-plus body and fine, gritty tannin. This single-vineyard (named Chento after a longtime vineyard worker) Malbec spends almost eight months in French oak. In fact, the hand-sketched-looking image on the label is a tribute to all their vineyard laborers. 90 TERLATO WINES Leyda 2015 Pinot Noir, Leyda Valley, Chile ($15) Ripe cherry, raspberry, tilled soil and dried daisies in this medium-bodied 100% Pinot Noir, aged six months in 20% new French oak. The little blue building is an actual image of the Leyda train station, the historical last stop before reaching Chile's Pacific coast. It burned to the ground in 1983, but it's remem- bered on this label. Leyda—pro- nounced almost the same as the Spanish la ida—means "the way" or "going" to Chileans as a result of this train station. I recommend this should be "going" into your mouth sometime soon, especially if you're looking for value. 88 THE WINEBOW GROUP October's Champs by Jessie Birschbach Our Wine Editor, Jessie Birschbach, Certified Sommelier—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

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