The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2014

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Page 26 of 128

26 / the tasting panel / march 2014 NEW YORK CITY SIPS W e rang in the New Year with excellent vintages and company, which we hope heralds a tasty and interesting year ahead. We were surprised by the aging ability in a vertical of white wines—some of which dated back to the mid-century—from Cantina Terlano, a 100+-member cooperative in Italy's Alto Adige region. The century-old winery is noted for Pinot Biancos (we tasted 1979, 1966 and 1956), Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blanc, all showing steely complexities and rich texture. The last blind flight positioned the Terlano 2011 Terlaner I Grande Cuvée against two Bâtard-Montrachets. Not one taster at the table could distinguish co-op from cru. Now, that's a coup. Benoît Gouez was in New York overturn- ing a few assumptions about his job as cellar master at Moët & Chandon. It started with his recent nod as winemaker of the year—the first Champagne-maker to be so awarded. "I thought to make a joke that finally [Americans] realize Champagne is a wine," he said. Furthering that thought, Gouez eschews the flûte, preferring his bubbly in a wine glass that enhances the aromas. "I think the pleasure of wine is to smell and drink it at the same time," he said. We wondered what the well-dressed Monsieur Gouez thought of the trendy coupe. "It's very glamorous, but it has no focus; it is a style statement." He is working on a glass design especially for vintage Champagnes, something he says that will be a "combination of science and sensitivity." Christopher Taranto from the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance accompanied several Paso winemakers to an industry event honoring the region for its excellence. We tasted with Paso pioneer Gary Eberle of Eberle and Jason "JC" Diefenderfer of Hope Family Wines at Gramercy Tavern, where Eberle's 2012 Viognier- Marsanne blend and Diefenderfer's flagship Treana (Cabernet, Syrah) were on the table. Nonplussed by the reported December ouster at his eponymous winery, Eberle was optimistic about Paso's future. Of the region he helped put on the map, he said "We've been around 44 years and have now reached critical mass with quality producers. It's just the beginning." Diefenderfer agreed, saying "There's a vibrancy. We are one; we stand on top of the hills and scream, 'We are Paso!' " From Alto Adige to Paso Robles . . . with a Stop in Champagne by Lana Bortolot Coup de co-op: Klaus Glasser of Cantina Terlano and Lia Banville of importer Banville and Jones. Passionate about Paso: Jason "JC" Diefenderfer (left) and Gary Eberle. Through a glass, brightly: Moët & Chandon's Benoît Gouez.

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