The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2017

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may 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  73 95 Gamba Vineyards and Winery 2014 Old Vine Zinfandel, Gamba Estate Vineyard, Russian River Valley ($49) This Sonoma County Zinfandel specialist has the chops. This one—one of three distinct bottlings—is intense and rich with concentration of berry fruit and lovely style. 93 St. Francis 2014 Reserve Merlot, Sonoma Valley ($50) A warm, velvet-texture beauty with lush flavors of plum, blackberry and vanilla. Quite special. (Miles who . . . ?) KOBRAND 94 Tonti Family Wines 2014 Artisan Series Old Vine Zinfandel, Russian River Valley ($60) It's Zin all the time at Tonti. Rich black cherry and spice; intense and racy with complex flavors and notes of chocolate. 93 Schug Winery 2013 Heritage Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley ($60) A German-American family now in its third generation in Sonoma. Bright, supple and juicy with lively plum and black raspberry fruit; elegant and long. 93 Priest Ranch 2013 Coach Gun, Napa Valley ($80) Winemaker and viticulturist Craig Becker draws on a variety of Napa vineyards for this dense, toasty blend with deep plum and berry fruit. 30% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 15% Malbec, 15% Petit Verdot. 93 Goldeneye 2014 Pinot Noir, Split Rail Vineyard, Anderson Valley ($84) Duckhorn's Mendocino sibling is dedicated to Pinot Noir. Pale ruby with suave texture and toasty style; rich and dense with a long, bright finish. DUCKHORN WINE COMPANY 95 Halleck Vineyard 2013 Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast ($110) One of several very impressive Pinot Noirs from Sonoma Coast producers Ross and Jennifer Halleck. The gorgeous texture and elegant cherry fruit show the cool Sonoma Coast AVA at its very finest. IMPORTS 91 Pighin 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Grave del Friuli DOC, Italy ($18) Smooth, sweet nose; clean, round and ripe with juicy style and lovely balance. An Italian spin on this white Bordeaux variety. KOBRAND 90 Viña Casablanca 2016 Nimbus Sauvignon Blanc, Valle de Casablanca, Chile ($20) Chilean wines are getting noticeably better as time passes. Spicy nose with smooth, mellow tones backed by nervy acidity and lovely structure. CAROLINA WINE BRANDS USA 91 Massolino 2014 Chardonnay, Langhe, Italy ($29) The noted Barolo producer goes international with this golden Chard. Silky and fresh; rich and dense with ripe, balanced fruit; lush and creamy. VINEYARD BRANDS 90 Trivento 2014 Golden Reserve Malbec, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina ($21) Dark and intense Argentine Malbec from Chile's Concha y Toro; velvety texture and rich style. EXCELSIOR WINES 91 Château Gassier 2016 Le Pas du Moine Rosé, Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire, France ($25) Pale pink color ; citrus nose; juicy, rich and dry with hints of orange, grapefruit and citron; dense, floral, flavorful, rich—and meant for food. 34% Syrah, 33% Grenache, 16% Cinsault, 12% Rolle, 5% Ugni Blanc. WILSON-DANIELS 93 Campo alla Sughera 2011 Arnione, Bolgheri Superiore, Italy ($76) From the intriguing berry- and-spice nose to the stylish palate of soft herbs with notes of earth, spice and toast, this Bolgheri Super Tuscan is a winner. 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot. CURIOUS CORK IMPORTERS VALUE AND BY-THE-GLASS RECOMMENDATIONS 88 Ironstone 2016 Chenin Blanc, Lodi ($12) An underappreciated varietal with clean, ripe fruit and mellow style. Nice for BTG. QUINTESSENTIAL WINES 89 Prophecy 2016 High Priestess Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($14) A Kiwi label with New Age appeal. Smooth citrus and spice; tangy and earthy with a smooth, dense mouthfeel. E&J GALLO 89 Kendall-Jackson 2015 Avant Chardonnay, California ($17) A by-the-glass go-to. Silky and juicy with bright, crisp acidity and good balance; tangy, clean and fresh. 2013

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