The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2015

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may 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  67 New Faces for Classic Terroirs With more than a decade of brand-building to their credit, it's no surprise that the McBride sisters have created and brought to market a wine that capitalizes on the serendipity of their personal story. By sourcing from Central Coast AVAs, including limestone-rich Chalone and the unique micro-climates found in San Benito, and then producing their wines in collaboration with Diageo Chateau & Estate winemaker Monica Belavic, the whole becomes far greater than the sum of its parts. Both the name Truvée (true-vay)—a feminine play on the French trouvé (found)—and the label designs—a ying and yang play of black and white— were chosen to convey personal meaning; the labels include a modern family crest, hidden symbols and private references that inspire a wine label-version of Where's Waldo. Sourced from cool sites in Edna Valley and the heralded Chalone AVA, Truvée Chardonnay is styled with 20 percent new oak with a small percent- age of ML. The McBrides and Belavic spent a considerable amount of time together crafting the blends which, according to Andréa, "are exactly the wine styles we were looking for." "Truvée Red is a riff on a GSM blend," says Robin, who points out that the blend of 100-year-old San Benito Grenache, Chalone Syrah and Central Coast Merlot and Zinfandel spends time in neutral oak. "We've been listening to our consumers and they're asking for stylish, terroir-specific wines that deliver quality for value," says Andréa, with a hint of her New Zealand accent creeping through. "With team- work and these fantastic vineyards, we knew that we absolutely could do it." Once Lost, Now Found Growing up without knowledge of one another and living on opposite ends of the world, Andréa and Robin McBride found each other after their father's death in 1999. Robin, eight years her sister's senior, grew up in Monterey, California, while Andréa was being raised in Marlborough, New Zealand. Their partnership began in earnest in 2005 when U.S. consumers were just discovering the pronounced, pungent flavors of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Initially, they imported one pallet of Central Otago Pinot Noir and learned the ropes as they hand sold the wine to accounts in Los Angeles. "We built our business at restaurants like Patina, Waterbar, Spago and CUT," says Andréa. "Not long afterwards, we were calling on Ken Wagstaff and Daniel Fish at Aqua [now Michael Mina] in San Francisco, who put our wine on his list at $16." While thirst for New World–style Sauvignon Blanc fueled the growth of the brands they were importing, the McBride sisters developed brands through direct to consumer online plat- forms like and built a strong social media following. "From day one we've done business using social media," says Robin. "It's been an important way for us to differentiate our brands and to engage our audience so we've put it to work." By 2009, the successful importers were ready to become negociants and plans were laid to import their own brand——which they source in Marlborough from Andréa's estate and grower contracts. Seeking inves- tors to expand the business and keep pace with the growing demand for their fashionable wines, they pitched the brand to Alain Barbet, who was then the President and Chief Operating Officer for Pernod Ricard USA. Barbet saw an opportunity to reach growing audiences of coming-of-age Millennials and wine drinkers of color. After his departure from Pernod Ricard, he helped them polish their business plan, line up investors and secure distribution. Within two years, the brand was launched in California and the portfolio found a ready market with regional restaurant groups. The Power of Branding As the faces of Truvée and new mem- bers of the Diageo Chateau & Estate family, this launch marks the industry's first collaboration of its kind. Being 'first' implies a leadership role, and as such, the McBrides are finding their footing as role models. "As women of color, it's another way that we can differentiate our brand and engage consumers," says Robin. With EU wine imports more price-competitive than at any time in the past five years, differentiation is key, and brands—like Truvée—that engage consumers are going to have an edge in the category's fastest-growing price segment of $10-15. For more information or for ordering, please contact a Diageo Chateau & Estate representative. TASTING NOTES Truvée White ($15.99) A blend of 93.3% Chardonnay, 4.7% Muscat Canelli and 2% Chenin Blanc shows white flowers, vanilla and nutmeg with crisp, cool-climate flavors of young pineapple, lemony citrus and lively acidity. An utterly refreshing and food- friendly blend that expresses the Chalone and Edna Valley AVAs where it is sourced. 89 Truvée Red ($15.99) This dry red blend of 100-year-old San Benito Grenache and Chalone Syrah with Central Coast Merlot and Zinfandel is a New World riff on a clas- sic GSM. Ripe red cherry, strawberry and just a touch of orange zest are anchored by cedar and graphite from time in neutral oak. One of the most appealing Central Coast red blends we've encountered. 89 "We've been listening to our consumers and they're asking for stylish, terroir- specific wines that deliver quality for value," says Andréa McBride.

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