The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2018

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Page 24 of 112

24  /  the tasting panel  /  march 2018 The Ransom Note is a monthly column by The Tasting Panel's East Coast Editor, David Ransom. Each month, David connects readers with some of the people, products, and events that are making news along the Eastern Seaboard. Fair-Weather Whites I t's finally March and the grip of winter is slowly fading away. If your annual tasting calendar follows a course similar to mine, this means it's time to begin weaning yourself off your red wine regimen to focus a bit more attention toward whites in your daily repertoire. I recently had the chance to try some stellar Italian white wines made from classic European varieties that will keep me entertained through springtime and beyond. First, at a tasting of the wines of Alto Adige—a wine region known to produce some of Italy's most sophisticated and elegant white wines—I found two that struck me as exceptional. Both were Chardonnay blends: Beyond The Clouds Grande Cuvée (SRP $66) from Elena Walch (importer: USA Wine West), one of the region's most notable independent producers, and Stoan (SRP $35) from the cooperative producer Cantina Tramin (importer: The Winebow Group). The former is "predominantly" Chardonnay while the latter is an exotic blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewürztraminer, but both wines showed the classic Alto Adige traits of voluptuous texture and fruit coupled with well-balanced acidity. I was also fortunate enough to taste the limited-release 2015 Ornellaia Bianco (SRP $240) at an intimate luncheon hosted by the iconic Bolgheri producer Ornellaia (importer: Vintus Wines). A 100% Sauvignon Blanc wine made with grapes from three select vineyard sites on the estate, it features a flavor profile of ripe citrus wrapped in vanilla and subtle toasted notes. The Bianco is simply gorgeous on the palate, reflecting the same high standards Ornellaia is known for in the production of its acclaimed Super Tuscan Ornellaia Rosso red wine. Lastly, at the Domaine Select Wines & Spirits portfolio tasting in New York City, I tried the 2014 Alberico Bianco—a 100% Semillon wine that hails from the Antinori family's Alberico property in Lazio near Rome. The Bianco (SRP $50) is a passion project for winemaker Alessia Antinori, who reclaimed an old-vine Semillon vineyard originally planted by her grandfather, Prince Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi, to grow the grapes. Fermented in casks and aged six months in oak prior to bottling (then 24 months in bottle before release), the Bianco is textbook Semillon with complex aromas of tropical fruit, citrus, and hints of oak. Cheers to spring! A SELECTION OF BENCHMARK ITALIAN WINES TO WHET THE SPRINGTIME PALATE story and photos by David Ransom Winemaker Alessia Antinori with the Alberico Bianco at the Domaine Select Wines & Spirits portfolio tasting in New York City. The 2015 Ornellaia Bianco. Stoan from cooperative producer Cantina Tramin. The Elena Walch Beyond the Clouds Grande Cuvée from Alto Adige.

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