The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2015

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may 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  77 Kuleto 2012 Frog Prince, Napa Valley ($35) This outgoing blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 5% Cab Franc and 3% Syrah has us jumping for vinous joy. Winemaker Dave Lattin's rivet- ing combination of estate fruit shows off fresh soil, dark cherry mocha and a high pitched acidity that pulses through chalky, dusted rhubarb, red tea and nut tannins. Due to its sunny disposition, it's a glorious match with veal, chicken, pork and grilled meats. 93 FOLEY FAMILY WINES KRSMA Estates 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Hampi Hills, India ($50) Krishna Prasad and Uma Chigurupati have been running a successful pharmaceutical company when they decided to invest in their real passion: wine. They fell in love with the rocky, iron schist terrain in India's Hampi Hills. The wine, aged in French oak for 12 months, shows anise spice and dark chocolate blueberry on the nose. On the palate, the juice glides, spiced with basil and structured with black tea tannins. The black, concentrated fruit plunges deeper into a convolution of mountain brush, cedar and sweet tobacco. 95 METRO WINE, STAMFORD, CT Summit Lake Vineyards 2010 Estate Zinfandel, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley ($30) A luxury model: new boysenberry-blackberry leather trim and an engine that purrs with brambly fennel, black pepper and dense bittersweet chocolate. Mocha-coconut latte goes zero to 60 in 10 seconds on calcareous tannins but the finish of soy, black raspberry compote lingers on cruise control. 92 Saintsbury 2013 Pinot Noir, Pratt Vineyard–Sexton Road, Sonoma Coast ($54) An eye-opening raspberry-tar- ragon is a wild mix for starters. Black cherries reserve space on mid-palate while the wine softens, rounds out and rushes forward on a cocoa path. Elegant, light and ethereal in a rich velvet setting. 94 SPIRITS L'Unvero Basilico Basil Liqueur, Italy ($30) Basil from Italy's Amalfi Coast is the base for this exquisite liqueur. In the bottle it resembles olive oil, but in fact it takes 30 giant basil leaves for each 750-ml. bottle. Clove and mild ginger notes accent the spicy "pesto" taste profile, but the clean citrus sweet finish makes for true elegance. Use this 60-proof liqueur for cocktails or cooking. 93 VINUM IMPORTING & DISTRIBUTING Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin, Yarra Valley, Australia ($40) The behind-the-scenes cast for Four Pillars consists of "Wilma," a German-made copper pot still, as well as Yarra Valley water and an array of native Australian and global aromatics. The result is a "rare" 82-proof gin with a peppermint-juniper-rose petal nose. Sleekly textured, floral notes of lavender and jas- mine stay pressed on the tongue, while dainty nuances of candied blueberry, watermelon and ginger fly around with scented wings. 95 SEEKING U.S. IMPORTER Don Q 151° Rum, Puerto Rico ($25) Caramel and cocoa wafts from the glass, a faded burnt orange peel in the background. Hints of rancio, cedar closet and orange liqueur come forward. Despite the high proof, this is the elegant Don Q we know and admire. 94 SERRALLES USA Alberta Rye Whisky "Dark Batch," Canada ($30) A touch of Sherry is an obvious addition to this 90-proof pot still-produced Canadian blended rye. The nose speaks of salinity, jasmine, magnolia and French toast with maple syrup. The deep chocolate-sarsaparilla palate matches its color. Dusky and tinged with orange blossom and burnt orange peel, this is a masterfully tuned beast that offers a graceful caraway–crème brûlée finish. 93 BEAM SUNTORY Agnitio 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley ($30) Green-yellow in hue, this outstanding Sauv Blanc won our hearts. Rich, tropical juiciness spirits up a pineapple-lime chiffon that squeeze of pink grapefruit on top. Mouthwatering, puckering, yet creamy—what a treat. Spiced pear, lemon bars and a grassy salted peanut finish keep us in love. Fruit was sourced from Coombsville and Oakville AVAs, and aged sur lies fines for six months. 95 ATLAS WINE CO.

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