The Tasting Panel magazine

January / February 2017

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Page 76 of 148

76  /  the tasting panel  /  january/february 2017 WINES Leese-Fitch 2015 Chardonnay, California ($12) Mmmm . . . scents of caramel apple, butter and lemon grass are demure and pleasing. The palate offers inspiring minerality while bright acidity accents a creaminess—aged for five months in French oak—that balances out beautifully. With a hint of Viognier added in, pear tar t and soft notes from a vir tual herb and flower garden make for a refreshing and notewor thy white. 92 3 BADGE BEVERAGE Seghesio Family Vineyards 2015 Vermentino, Russian River Valley ($22) From Seghesio's estate-owned Keyhole Ranch, with its gravel and clay-loam soils and fog-influenced coastal breezes, this subtlety fragranced white was aged sur lie until bottling (84% stainless steel tank fermented, 11% concrete egg fermented and aged). Asian pear perfumes the glass with a touch of vanilla. Brisk acidity sends the notes of laurel, lemongrass, honeydew into a stony path. 90 CRIMSON WINE GROUP Holly's Hill Vineyards 2015 Grenache Blanc, El Dorado ($25) From the Sierra Nevada of California, this pretty, fragrant estate white is a small-production jewel. Grapes are planted on steep hillsides at elevations upwards of 2,500 feet on shallow, silty clay loam Josephine soil. Peaches and tangerines open to a wet stone middle. The perfume of honeysuckle and creamy vanilla keep it bodified. 90 Alta Colina 2014 Claudia Cuvée Estate Marsanne, Adelaida District, Paso Robles ($35) With an addition of 25% Roussanne, this white blend aged 16 months sur lie in 100% French oak is reminiscent of a fine Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc. With an opulent nose of buttered cedar and perfumed apricot and wisteria, the entry into the rich, honeyed palate is equally pleasurable. Dry white tea tannins converse on mid field with an unctuous lychee nectar, grass, vanilla and a thread of minerality throughout. 93 Del Rio Vineyards 2015 Rosé, Rogue Valley, Oregon ($15) A blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, both estate-grown off the 300-acre vineyard, from a growing season on record as having the earliest start and finish of the region's harvest. This resulted in a full-bodied wine. The grapes spent extended time on the skin for a deep crimson-tinged rose. The winery overlooks the Rogue River between the Siskiyou and Cascade ranges of Southern Oregon. Low notes of deep, ripe peach and raspberry, earthy undertones and sweet watermelon are just some of the characteristics of this personality-plus wine. The mouthfeel is buoyant and generous with pineapple cake and a surprise stone finish that snaps on the tongue. 90 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. PHOTO: DAVID GADD

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