The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2013

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The stainless steel–fermented Sivas-Sonoma Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc was paired with an heirloom tomato salad with goat cheese. "It over-delivers on the price point, but at the same time, its cherry spice, vanilla and great acidity typifies what people expect from a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon," offers Jennifer Ingellis of Cindy Pawlcyn's Wood Grill and Wine Bar. "B Side is our 'alternative red,' named for the flip side of Napa Valley," explains Donny. "These grapes are sourced from Napa Valley's eastern edge—just a few miles from the highprofile wineries along route 29. High-toned fruit is the result of the five varieties that make up the B Side 2010 Red Wine Blend ($27), a Meritagestyle blend: 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, The Crusher Petite Sirah was served with dessert: molten chocolate cake with salted caramel. 23% Merlot, 16% Syrah, 11% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. "The Petite Sirah adds a tanginess and spice that most Meritage wines don't have," insists Chris Sawyer. "Plus, proprietary blends are in right now." Fourth Course "I purchase the wines for my customers who are willing to learn," states Chris Sawyer. James Dick of Mustard's Grill in the heart of Napa Valley concurs, and adds that price point continues to be a factor. "The wine director needs to feel comfortable about selling his or her wines to our customers—and the wines need to be up-to-date in quality and style too. The Crusher Petite Sirah fits this 'modern' image," he notes. "I like the tightly wound tannins, the dark black fruit, the blue flowers and the crushed pepper." Sourced from the Wilson family, long-term growers in the Clarksburg AVA, an up-and-coming wine region in California's Sacramento Delta, The Crusher 2011 Petite Sirah ($13) exudes a jammy black fruit and vanilla quality that motivated the team to pair it with a molten chocolate cake with salted caramel. The panel agreed on the wine's chalky tannins and fine acidity. A Fine Ending "Don & Sons is working into styles, not slaves to trends, says Jon " Toulze of Sonoma restaurant the girl & the fig. "The wines are so approachable with lower alcohol, good acidity and a talent at the art of blending. " Anani Lawson, who works with an upscale clientele at Lucy Restaurant & Bar at The Bardessono agrees, adding, "Today, what matters most for a successful wine company is experience. Be prepared to wow your customers with your arsenal. Don Sebastiani & Sons does just that. " september 2013  /  the tasting panel  /  97 TP0913_063-103.indd 97 8/22/13 9:24 PM

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