The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2011

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Page 54 of 128

Publisher's 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. WINES Francis Ford Coppola 2009 Votre Santé Pinot Noir, California ($14) In a dra- matic sotto voce, this autumn- inspired Pinot Noir, using a mixture of Dijon clones and Burgundian coopers, whispers of falling leaves, cooking spices and holiday cranberries. The grapes are sourced from several regions including Sonoma Coast, Carneros and Monterey. 91 Meridith May and her McNab Shepherd, Pokey. Dreaming Tree 2009 Crush, North Coast ($15) A wine venture between acclaimed Simi Winemaker Steve Reeder and rocker Dave Matthews, this sustainable, vine- to-table red blend (67% Merlot and 33% Zinfandel) uses half the glass than regular bottles to hold an especially food-friendly, balanced raspberry jam session of a wine. 90 Worthy of a smooch. French-style double bizou. Wildly infatuated. Seriously smitten. Head over heels in love. Grgich Hills Estate 2010 Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley ($30) She'll trick you: this stunningly sleek white has what it takes to be a Sauv Blanc (citrus verve) but the weight, texture and honeyed character (a Riesling came to mind at second sip) speaks as much to the use of French oak as it does to spending six months on the lees. But this 100-percenter Sauv Blanc is a floral flirt, and her tone remains crisp and whetted our appetite with every bite of our meal. 93 54 / the tasting panel / december 201 1 PICKS Curtis Winery 2010 Heritage Rosé, Estate, Santa Ynez Valley ($18) Orange candies and dusty watermelon enlist the senses, but this refreshing rosé is a food-magnet on the palate. Taste the mineral-lit soil underneath—a beautiful balancing act. Raspberry plays the role of the juggler. 90 CLASSIC WINES OF CALIFORNIA/FOLEY WINE ESTATES Tercero Wines 2010 Viognier, White Hawk Vineyard, Santa Barbara County ($20) Clean and refreshing, this floral beauty displays lean peachy perfection. I can envision the dripping juice off the fruit. 92 Willamette Valley Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir, Signature Cuvée, Willamette Valley ($50) A coastal saltiness and edgy earth tones make this a nature's lover Pinot, as it really defines that forest floor image. A peppered acidity characterizes it further. 89 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 2009 Chardonnay, Karia, Napa Valley ($34) A modern crispness melds with a rounded bready texture and perfumed tropical fruit. Named after the Greek word for "grace," we noted just a smidgen of spice and a dollop of lemon meringue, but at its core, this polished white has the freshest presence of ripe stone fruit. 90 STE. MICHELLE WINE ESTATES PHOTO: FRED MINNICK

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