The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2010

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Publisher’s Willamette Valley ($38) Sweetened cherries in a brilliant light; high acidity allows a pageant of flavors to follow: cinnamon, clove, red flowers, Wine 90 In each issue THE TASTING PANEL’s Publisher and Executive Editor, Meridith May, selects her favorite wines and spirits of the month. Check here for the latest arrivals in our offices, the hottest new brands on the market and an occasional revisited classic. Island Red, Augusta Bixler Farms Vineyard, California Delta ($15) A supervalue, ethereal blend of Merlot, Syrah and Petite Sirah from an underappreciated AVA. Mint, mocha and lavender is a bundle of food-loving acidity. Cherries ripen and roses bloom to the end. 90 Toscana, Italy ($29) High acidity leans to a lean body with dramatic notes of 89 deep, dark chocolate and ripe plummy fruit. Still youthful, this blend of Merlot, Sangiovese and Cab offers a hint of green pepper and a salty, stony back, but its ageworthiness is telltale in its defined backbone. FOLIO WINE PARTNERS way, from its rich mocha nose and first entry, to a charming cherry core. Vibrant acidity amidst a ripeness that keeps circling back with generous fruit and toasty mocha. 93 88 30 / the tasting panel / june 2010 Peju 2006 Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley ($45) This red defines the word “seamless.” Coffee, cherry and strawberry weave into deep, velvetly cedar. Pig & Poke 2007 Merlot, Napa Valley ($20) Merlot-able in every Luce 2007 Lucente, strawberries, some root beer, ginger and tea. REVANA FAMILY WINES Bixler Vineyards 2007 Union PICKS Alexana 2007 Pinot Noir, Revana Vineyard, Dundee HIlls, Reserve Syrah, Santa Ynez Valley ($42) From the winery that was first to plant Syrah in the Santa Ynez Valley comes a blend of three clones that set a benchmark for the region’s prowess. While blackberry and mocha are deliciously pleasing, an earthy core reveals itself amid dry tannins that accentuate the wine’s serious nature. Spiced, smoky cedar and white pepper adds dimension to a richly received “primo” red that 94 offers the character of both SoCal and the Rhône. WILSON DANIELS LTD ($30) Spicy brown sugared chestnuts make way for a beam of agave pungency and an unmasked cup of lime, peppermint, cucumber and pomegranate. A peppered finish Spirits 95 is smooth and satisfying. XAMAY IMPORTERS/ GREAT WESTERN burnished copper hue is dazzling. Several layers of aromas waft up from the glass, from salty sherry, oak and cocoa to maple syrup–drenched walnuts. On the palate, sumptuous notes of vanilla extract and nougat take this Thoroughbred to the finish line with satin smooth chocolate and maple bliss generously coating the palate. IMEX SPIRITS 95 Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 Rum, Dominican Republic ($50) The Zaca Mesa Winery 2006 Mesa Alma Añejo Tequila, Mexico

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