The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2013

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PHOTO COURTESY OF WINE AUSTRALIA SAN FRAN INSIDER Shiraz style parade led by (left to right) Mark Davidson, Brendon Keys, Matt Fowles, Craig Holme, Ian Riggs, Matt Stamps, MS and John Duval. Welcome Back SHOW TIME FOR AUSTRALIA AND BORDEAUX by Deborah Parker Wong PHOTO COURTESY OF BALZAC COMMUNICATIONS W The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting in the Garden Court at San Francisco���s historic Palace Hotel. ine Australia embarked on the next chapter in its evolution with an impressive day of tasting, seminars and a blind tasting challenge at San Francisco���s Farallon restaurant. While this was the irst trade tasting hosted by the Australian government in Northern California since 2007, many producers including Angove, John Duval and Robert Oatley have been actively working to keep their wines top of mind here and Wine Australia Education Director Mark Davidson delivered a dazzling session focused on regional classics at the 2012 Society of Wine Educators conference in San Mateo. Not one but two seminars headlined by vintners and winemakers along with Matt Stamp, MS and Davidson explored classic, contemporary and ���curious��� wines that illustrate the regional expression and diversity found in both long-established brands and in scores of newcomers to the American market. BK Wines Brendon Keys stood up for McLaren Vale with his Cult ���12 Shiraz and led a style parade of Shiraz across six terroirs. Both Keys and Ian Riggs��� Brokenwood ���10 Hunter Valley wines were leaner and aromatic with Rhone spices like cinnamon, sandalwood and star anise. Styles from the Yarra Valley were richer with Matt Fowles ���10 Strathbogie Ranges and Luke Lambert ���10 showing complexity from stem inclusion and toasty French oak. Craig Holme���s estate ���09 from Mt. Benson, 30 / the tasting panel / march 2013 one of the country���s youngest regions, delivered intense dark mulberry and graphite while John Duval���s Entity ���10 was signature Barossa blackberry and blueberry fruit and structure. Old-vine Grenache earned some respect with Ochota Barrels Fugazi Vineyard ���11 McLaren Vale and Yalumba Tri-Centenary ���08 Barossa Valley both of which won raves from many tasters as did classic Vasse Felix Heytesbury ���10 Margaret River Chardonnay. Even in spite of price points that relect high quality, the gauntlet has been lung down. We���re betting there���s going to be a scramble to sign producers like BK Wines and Ochota who aren���t currently being distributed in California. The winner of the blind challenge tasting and a trip to Australia was Eric Entrikin, MS. The Garden Court of the historic Palace Hotel was the destination for the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux���s 2010 vintage tasting. Overall, this was a solid showing of producers from St.-Emilion, St. Julien, Margaux and Pauillac, with only a handful of better-known Left Bank ch��teaux absent. 2010 revealed itself to be a brighter vintage and one that���s a bit more reticent than the ���09 wines were at this stage. One of the best surprises was the irst taste of the day; a Pessac-L��ognan white from D. de Chevalier that showed loral purity and intense minerality. St. Emilion producers including Ch. Franc Mayne and Ch. Villemaurine showed very well, as did much of St. Julien with Ch. L��oville Barton and Ch. Talbot seeming quite open. Ch. Lynch Bages and the biggest names from Pauillac were compelling and Margaux delivered its share of winners like the surprising beauty of Ch. Lab��gorce. Of the sweet wines, Barsac producer Ch. Coutet was simply unbeatable for quality and value.

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