The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2014

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Page 84 of 132

84  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2014 WHO'S NEXT JANELLE DUSI, J DUSI WINERY Long before Bordeaux and Rhône varieties became popular in Paso Robles, the principal grape was Zinfandel. At the Dante Dusi Vineyard, Janell Dusi has fond memories of pruning old Zinfandel vines planted by her grandparents in the 1920s at the age of three, and making her first barrel of wine shortly after her sixteenth birthday. Inspired by these childhood memories, she launched the first commercial release of the J Dusi Zinfandel in 2006. The newest example is the J Dusi 2011 Zinfandel. Laden with charm- ing aromas and rich flavors of wild berry, raspberry coolie, licorice, allspice, chocolate nibs and espresso, it's a wine that expresses a true sense of place without being over-ripe, jammy or too high in alcohol. "My style represents the character of my family and the distinctive flavors of the vineyard," says Dusi, whose family still sells 90 percent of the estate fruit to other wineries including Turley, Tobin James, JC Cellars, Cypher and Four Vines. Paso Robles CHRIS SAWYER GIVES A SHOUT-OUT TO THE WINEMAKERS TO WATCH IN CALIFORNIA'S MOST DYNAMIC AVA photos by the author KEVIN SASS, HALTER RANCH WINERY Prior to becoming the head winemaker at Halter Ranch in 2011, Kevin Sass worked with high-quality fruit from the historic property during his 11-year stint at JUSTIN Vineyards. But today Sass has the luxury of tapping into the top fruit from the hillside estate and unlimited access to the state-of-the-art equipment installed when the new eco-conscious winery was finished in 2011. In addition to the 2010 Ancestor, an elegant Bordeaux blend named after the historic property originally developed in the 1880s, and the 2011 Côtes de Paso, a food-friendly Rhône-style blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Tannat; another delectable gem from the estate is the Halter Ranch 2012 Côtes de Paso Blanc, a sexy white Southern Rhône blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier and Picpoul Blanc. "This is a wine buyer and chef's wine with a lot of acidity," says Sass, on the flavor profile of the Côtes de Paso Blanc. "It's never going to get 99 points from the big publications, but it's going to appeal to consumers who enjoy expressive wines that work with fine cuisine." Up-and-Comers TP0414_072-101.indd 84 3/21/14 2:52 PM

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