The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2014

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82  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2014 WINES Valley of the Moon 2010 Barbera, Sonoma County ($30) Just a superb specimen of California Barbera: black cherry is peppered and inky—its purple rim gleams in the glass. High sour acidity and Italian herbs are an underlying foundation for this solidly built wine of depth and character. 90 Pago Casa del Blanco 2006 "In Celebrations of 1605," Spain ($25) A single-vineyard estate, Pago Casa del Blanco is one of the only 13 certified "pagos" in Spain, the highest category a winery can reach within Spanish legislation. Earning the "pago" designation is equivalent to being a single-producer DOCG. Pago Casa del Blanco is located about 120 miles south of Madrid in central Spain. The blend of 50% Merlot, 25% Tempranillo and 25% Petit Verdot offers up tannins shellacked with cherry wood. Savory herbs are forward and an ink/ espresso blackberry curd picks up the texture mid-palate. Exciting and modern. 93 VINAMERICAS Early Mountain 2012 Block Eleven White Blend, Virginia ($25) Orange, tangerine and a hug of cinnamon oatmeal with maple makes this comfort white a standout. A blend of 65% Petit Manseng and 35% Muscat, this toned-down sweet and floral beauty grows in Virginia's extended, humid growing season, but like the Southern belle it is, perspires gorgeous perfumed notes of peach and honeysuckle. 91 Campus Oaks 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi ($14) If we overuse the word "lush," then our apologies, because we should have saved it for this bodified red. Classy, weighty, with mouth-watering plum and blackberries you can sniff across the room. 90 GNEKOW FAMILY WINERY CRU 2012 Vineyard Montage Chardonnay, Monterey County ($23) Buttered and battered: There's an ecstasy effect when you add in the high acidity and the clean pear, pineapple, peach and melon juice that drips, drips, drips into oaky notes. No bitter edge, it's round and spreads widely, generously into a bed of shale, honey and oak. 93 Hawk and Horse Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake County ($65) A whoosh of blackberry cream is the luxe texture of one of our favorite reds from Lake County. There's a textural stampede of rich coffee mocha, churning with a dollop of soy and a nuance of cedar. What a ride! Aged in 100% new French oak, made by consulting winemaker Dick Peterson, who was behind the original Screaming Eagle. Hawk and Horse is celebrating its tenth year as certified Organic. 94 PICKS 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. Worthy of a smooch. French-style double bizou. Wildly infatuated. Seriously smitten. Head over heels in love. PHOTO: ERICA BARTEL Publisher's Meridith May at the Wente Legacy Awards with James Bradney, VP/GM for SWS of SoCal; Julie Wente and Christine Wente. See the complete story on page 92. TP0414_072-101.indd 82 3/21/14 2:52 PM

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