The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2014

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22  /  the tasting panel  /  may 2014 NEW YORK CITY SIPS N ew Yorkers are grid-obsessed whether we're walking our streets or being über-connected, so it was a pleasure to go "Beyond Napa" with two winemakers who presented their off-the-grid / out-of- the-box wines at Saxon + Parole in the Bowery. Ed Sbragia from the Sbragia Family Vineyards offered the wines made off the plot of the traditional family vineyard—a ten-year-old lot in a remote area of Dry Creek, where he's making cold-climate Chardonnays. Dry Creek, he says, "has its own set of characteristics and flavors" you can't find in Napa. Even further off the grid, Chris Upchurch from DeLille Cellars showed wines from the Red Mountain AVA, part of the Yakima AVA. A transplanted Easterner, Upchurch has been advocat- ing Washington State wines since the '70s, saying the state is "really a grand cru growing region. We've always believed we should be in the same sen- tence as all the other prestige regions." His Four Flags Bordeaux-style wine, a blend from four vineyards, is "a step away for us, but exhibits that the whole is greater than the parts." Between the Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia (Mendoza's Grape Harvest Festival) and World Malbec Day on April 17, spring is a busy party season for Argentine winemakers. But Trivento winemaker Victoria Prandina, who, if she were not making wine, could pass for the Malbec Queen, put us on her itinerary to introduce Eolo, an old-vine, single-vineyard Malbec. Prandina says few winemakers have the opportunity to work with such old vines—these were planted in 1912. For her, it was an opportunity to step back from the "Malbec as powerhouse movement" and re-interpret terroir. The super-premium ($79 SRP) wine is a deep, rich potpourri, with violets, plum, dark cherry and blackberries backed up by acid and minerality. Chef de Cave Régis Camus arrived in town to show off his recent triumphs with Piper-Heidsieck. Last year at the UK's International Wine Challenge, Camus won the top prize for sparkling winemaker for the seventh consecutive year. We tasted the pinot-noir based Brut Champagne, which has been a work in progress for the past decade. Camus now calls it "the pret-a-porter of our wines": ready for spring with floral notes, green apple and lively citrus. Once tired, now, the winemaker says the Brut is the "national anthem of the house." We sort of wanted to get up and sing, too. From Mendoza to Midtown WE GO OFF THE GRID WHILE STAYING RIGHT HERE IN TOWN PHOTO: LANA BORTOLOT PHOTO: LANA BORTOLOT PHOTO: LANA BORTOLOT Off-the-grid winemakers Chris Upchurch (left) and Ed Sbragia. by Lana Bortolot Silvina Barros (left) and Victoria Prandina from Trivento. Régis Camus in Midtown. TP0514_001-33.indd 22 4/24/14 10:44 PM

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