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Page 36 of 116

2010 The members of our wines and spirits graduating class for this year—our fi rst ever—truly represent the “class” that we’ve come to expect of the products that grace the pages of THE TASTING PANEL. These are our top choices for the year, having received the highest-scoring reviews or in some other way impressing our palates and creating a vivid lasting memory. Congratulations to the year’s “Seniors”—some of them newcomers, some returning alums—who make us proud to the be stage on which brands can shine. Most Likely To Succeed AVIÓN SILVER TEQUILA, Mexico ($50) When HBO’s hit television series Entourage featured Avión tequila on its seventh season, tongues were wagging in Hollywood—and around the coun- try—about this hot new brand. But there’s more to this smooth sipper than lip service and hype. Sourced from blue Weber agave found only in the highest regions of Jalisco, Avión is small-batch-distilled then ultra-slow-fi ltered in a process that takes up to ten times longer than traditional fi ltration. Launched in July, the brand’s Silver, Reposado and Añejo expressions are smoothly nuanced and have found rave reviews from consumers and industry professionals alike, setting Avión up for continued success long past Entourage’s run. Perfumed and fl oral from the start. Lime and papaya lilt on the tongue in a soft bubble of texture and smoothness. Oats and chamomile give notice mid-pal- ate while a brown sugar and chocolate powder melts on the fi nish. 36 / the tasting panel / december 2010 Most Likely To Succeed CASA NOBLE AÑEJO ($60) With 3,000 acres of agave plants to choose from, Casa Noble is one tequila producer that can afford to be picky. Once the fi nest piñas have been selected and hand-harvested, they are steam cooked in traditional stone ovens for 36 hours and three-times distilled before being aged in French oak barrels from Limosin. As if all this weren’t enough to be particular about, Casa Noble manages to produce its fi ve stunning tequilas according to certifi - ably-Organic meth- ods, the result of an all-natural cultivation and production that put this noble quaff in a class of its own. Pale amber color; lovely caramel and vanilla nose; stewed agave with smooth texture and spice with dense, complex, fl eshy fl avors. INFINIUM SPIRITS

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