The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2018

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march 2018  /  the tasting panel  /  81 SOMMCON T he illumination from the harbor glimmered off the bay as we gathered on the balcony of the Marina Kitchen Restaurant & Bar on a warm November evening. It was the first day of SommCon at the Marriott Marquis in San Diego, and The Tasting Panel hosted an intimate dinner for ten elite sommeliers to commence the three-day experience. Publisher/Editorial Director Meridith May greeted the sommeliers and a few esteemed guests from international wineries, among them Lars Leicht of Banfi Wines and Péter Molnár, Ph.D., of Patricius Winery. Vinum Tokaj International President/CEO Attila Balla and Wines of Excellence Project Director Eniko˝ Magyar, both representing MAD Wine Winery, were also in attendance. Molnár first introduced the 2015 MÁD Furmint from Tokaj, an alluring, fresh wine with characteristics of kumquat, slate, and petrol. The low-alcohol, high-acid wine has broad palate appeal, especially for those who enjoy racy white wines with dense minerality like Chablis and Riesling. The effort to push forth innovations like dry Furmint is transform- ing the country's winemaking traditions and increasing Tokaj's presence in the market as Hungary continues to modernize its wine industry in the post-communist era. During the meal, the Furmint was paired with bites of poke in ponzu and a light rice crisp, amplifying the wine's notes of juicy pear and cherimoya. "It's really delicious and makes for a very versatile pairing," Advanced Sommelier Tami Wong noted. Sommeliers tasted five wines from international wineries at SommCon in San Diego. THE TASTING PANEL HOSTED TEN ELITE SOMMS TO KICK OFF SOMMCON 2017 by Michelle Ball photos by Jeremy Ball FOR THE MAIN EVENT A Palate Primer

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