The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2014

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80  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2014 WINES Montevina 2013 "Glass Falls" Pinot Grigio, California ($11) An airy, transparent white-gold hue turns to a breeze of sweet white melon on the nose and more than a whisper on the palate. Cut-glass acidity is modern and entertains vibrant, mouth-filling peaches and stay-with-you wet stones. A lemon-tart juiciness almost makes you pucker, but the white summer pears rescue that sensation with a honeyed finish. 93 TRINCHERO FAMILY ESTATES Salvestrin 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, LeBlanc Crystal Springs Vineyard, St. Helena–Napa Valley ($24) Crisp and luminous from within and out. Brine-kissed pineapple, white pears and petals are edgy and alive with flavor. Sophisticated stainless-steel sipper. 93 Brassfield Estate 2012 "Eruption," High Valley, Lake County ($24) The chalk-like tannins and lean lines of stoniness are evident from Volcano Ridge Vineyard at 2,200 feet above sea level on the eastern end of High Valley. The wine was blended early from Syrah, Malbec, Mourvèdre and Petite Sirah, and bottled without filtration. The erup- tion does indeed commence with the first sip: a flow of black fruit, coffee beans, currants, red berries and a nice touch of cherries dipped in cocoa powder. A definitive black pepper thread runs throughout the juicy, texturally satin, concentrated mouthfeel. 92 Gehricke 2012 Pinot Noir, Los Carneros ($40) This 100% Pinot 1,000-case stunner opens right up with a plum-brandied nose dotted with spiced cinnamon. A textural bounty of fruit envelops the palate with brambly berries and cocoa. Mocha espresso surges midway and glides to the finish line, poised and polished. 95 THE OTHER GUYS Robert Hall 2012 Hall Ranch Meritage, Paso Robles ($40) Diverse soils from Paso Robles—stony alluvium for the Cabernet Sauvignon and sandy loam for the Petit Verdot and Cab Franc, along with clay from vineyards across the appellation for the 48% of Merlot— are the foundation for this outstanding blend. French oak creaminess and a lingering fragrance offer up charm from nose to palate: violets and other exotic floral tones, plums, vanilla and cassis. "I look for color first, then power, when it comes to Merlot," says Winemaker Don Brady. He nailed it. 92 Raptor Ridge 2012 Crawford Beck Vineyards Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon ($45) Dijon 115 clone Pinot Noir planted in Jory soils at a 460-foot elevation in this new Willamette Valley sub-appellation showcases a wine with allure and New World raspberry-chocolate jamminess. Earthen cherries, stone and tea spice make for a toned and lengthy sipper. Exciting to drink! 96 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. Publisher's Meridith May with Arizona's Peter Kasperski, owner of Cowboy Ciao, Scottsdale and Michael Robb, Sommelier at Sedona's Enchantment Resort. Photo taken at our SOMM Camp at Sanford Winery in the Sta. Rita Hills. PHOTO: JEREMY BALL

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