The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2017

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Folie à Deux 2014 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast ($20) Perfumed with cinnamon-sea- soned plums, pomegranate and spiced figs, this "big" Pinot Noir shows off the rugged nature of the maritime-influenced region in which it's grown. Raspberry pre- serves, black cherries, cranberries and lilac form a parade of layers, while white pepper delicately dots for complex character. 92 TRINCHERO FAMILY ESTATES Whitehall Lane 2014 Tre Leoni Red Wine, Napa Valley ($26) A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel had each varietal fermented and aged in separate lots in French and American oak barrels. A restrained roar comes from this sumptuous red named for three generations of the Leonardini family. Aromas of earth and mocha, with a dense blueberry, come in before the "mane" event. Bittersweet dark chocolate works well with round tannins, making for a texturally broad wine. 92 Kings Carey 2015 Grenache, Sta. Rita Hills AVA ($29) A single-vineyard, single- varietal Grenache from the John Sebastiano Vineyard, with a low 13.5% ABV crafted by Liquid Farm winemaker James Sparks. The nose bears scents of pome- granate and salted strawberries, with a hint of tobacco leaf. A lean, dry, chalky entry persists, with the red fruit carrying that salinity along. It seems as if a microphone is hidden inside the fruit keeping a vibrant tone. 92 Stokes' Ghost 2014 Petite Sirah, Monterey ($34) There's a reason to call this wine haunting: Dark, shadowy fruit is ripe on nose and palate. Even at 14%, the balance of fruit and acid possesses an uncanny elegance. Additional specters of blueberry, croissant, beetroot, violets, black cherry and sweet tobacco hinge on an ethereal string of white pepper. Aged in Hungarian oak for 14 months. 93 SCHEID FAMILY WINES J. McClelland 2013 Merlot, Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley ($35) A blend of 83% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in French oak for 28 months, this big-boy red melds a rose-petal delicacy and a slate gravitas on the nose. From its dry, chalky tannins to its dark double- espresso profile, the fruit, although present and accounted for, is secondary. Ageworthy and noteworthy. 93 Lucienne 2015 Pinot Noir, Lone Oak Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands ($50) A husky nose of cinnamon and pipe tobacco. Broad tannins, rich, bold fruit and a spicy heartiness ramp this baby up from zero to 60 by the second sip. Salted caramel apple and peppered strawberry keep it revved up, with an underlying frame of coffee and charred cedar. The liquid, aged 15 months in French oak, goes into glide gear with a reverie of fruit and savory. 94 HAHN FAMILY WINES Robert Mondavi Winery 2014 Maestro, Napa Valley ($50) Named for the opening of Robert Mondavi's To Kalon Cellar in 2000, when the man himself threw a huge "cellar-bra- tion" featuring a commissioned chamber-orchestra piece aptly named "Ode to To Kalon." It was there that Mr. Mondavi leapt to his feet to lead the music. As a tribute to the pioneer- ing Maestro of Napa Valley's success, this wine—a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc and 2% each of Merlot and Petit Verdot—offers up a meaty nose of deep, dark chocolate-covered strawberries. Flavors of tobacco, soil, slate, tar and olives go long on gritty tannins, and with a wave of the baton, it finishes on a high note of lilacs and caramel-coated coffee bean. 94 CONSTELLATION WINE U.S. Wakefield 2014 St. Andrews Shiraz, Clare Valley, Australia ($60) A very precise Shiraz, with aromas of black plum and spiced oak. Rich and concentrated notes of roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate are savory, with the dark blackberry riding in tandem, not dominating or jammy, but lush and long. 93 Wakefield 2013 The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley, Australia ($140) Exquisitely presented red and blue fruit: sherry and boysenberry, with a touch of raisin "ripasso." Sensually sound on the palate, round and juicy with a drying effect, headed by spearmint, underbrush, mocha and violets. 95 76  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2017 Publisher's PICKS

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