The Tasting Panel magazine

January 2014

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Page 30 of 108

SAN FRAN INSIDER The Noblest Search story and photos by Deborah Parker Wong As we embark upon another year of research, contemplation and revelation, San Fran Insider bids farewell to 2013 with a photo essay that captures some of the passion we encountered while on the beat. Whether winemakers made their way to our door or were extending their hospitality to the trade, these moments brought all of us one step closer in our search for excellence. Randy Lange of Lodi's LangeTwins Family Wine (right) is immersed in deep conversation with Don Neel is Technical Editor for Practical Winery & Vineyard (which is owned by Wine Business Monthly). Randy and Charlene Lange brought a full-blown harvest celebration to San Francisco for an al fresco lunch (prepared by yours truly) paired with their LangeTwins wines. Favorites included the '11 Clarksburg Pinot Noir aromatic with iris, cherry skin and brown spice and flavors of raspberry, cola and a crisp cherry finish with Chinese-style roast duck. In October, LangeTwins opened their new tasting room, Press Room, in Lodi to rave reviews. Family-owned Spelletich Winery, part of Napa's newly-formed Crusher Wine District coalition, is celebrating its 20-year anniversary with a brand makeover under the direction of daughter Kristen Spelletich. The winery recently opened a custom crush facility, Crush 94, in the Napa Commons and winemaker Barb Spelletich is sourcing domestic fruit and bulk wines from the south of France for the winery's four labels. Kristen helps blend 3 Spells and Spellwine, quality-for-value labels that appeal to Millennials. McEvoy Ranch vineyard manager Samantha Dorsey (left), winemaker Margaret Koshi-Kent (center) and owner Nion McEvoy (background) poured their estate wines—Rosebud Rosé, Red Piano and The Evening Standard—during a wine and olive oil tasting at the McEvoy Ranch Shop at Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market. Koshi-Kent works closely with Italian agronomist Dr. Maurizio Castelli on the estate's olive oil and wine production, which includes Pinot Noir, Syrah, Montepulciano, Grenache, Viognier, Alicante Bouschet and the rare Refosco. Not one but two Master Sommeliers, Tim Gaiser (far left) and Frank Kämmer (far right), accompanied CEO Philipp G. Axt, winemaker Mia Fischer (center) and Guido Polko from South Africa's 4G Wine Estate as they presented two vintages of G, South Africa's priciest Bordeaux-style blend. The brand has been four years in the making under the guidance of consultants Denis Dubourdieu and Giorgo Dalla Cia. G, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz–dominant blend from 15 sites across the Western Cape, retails for $360 and is available through Cult Icon Wines. The Dreaming Tree, a label created with and inspired by musician Dave Matthews, is crafted by the dream team of (left to right) Tom Gore, Sean McKenzie and Simi winemaker Steve Reeder. What began as a fan-based brand, Dreaming Tree has struck a cord with retailers and demand for Reeder's easy-drinking blends has surpassed even the dream team's expectations. Everyday White, an aromatic blend of Riesling, Viognier and Albariño sourced from the Central Coast, and Crush, a Syrah/Merlot/Zinfandel North Coast blend bursting with pomegranate and cassis, sing right out of the glass. Castello di Amorosa winemaker Brooks Painter (left) collaborates with Tenuta San Guido's Sebastiano Rosa (center), maker of Sassicaia, the wine that inspired the moniker Super Tuscan, in crafting a Napa equivalent: La Castellana. Painter and Rosa pictured here with Associate Director Peter Velleno led an instructive blending exercise that demonstrated Sangiovese's vital role as a component in the style. The 2008 La Castellana (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 15% Sangiovese) shows complex aromas of star anise and leather, pure, forward black fruit with licorice, vanilla and silky, drier tannins. 30  /  the tasting panel  /  january 2014 TP0114_001-33.indd 30 12/19/13 9:23 PM

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