The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2015

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Page 30 of 136

30  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2015 OVER THE TABLE Salton: Wines from Brazil When I received a shipment of wines from Vinícola Salton, which claims to be the oldest "still operating winery in Brazil," I was, admittedly, unsure of what to expect. It's true that Brazil is the fifth-largest producer of wine in the Southern Hemisphere, though 85 percent of that wine, much of it sparkling, is produced in Serra Gaúcha a very warm and humid mountainous region in the state of Rio Grande do Sul that receives on average 69 inches of rain annually (Napa Valley averages about 25 inches in non-drought years). Salton's history begins in 1878 when Antonio Domenico Salton emigrated from Italy to Brazil, and settled in the Italian Dona Isabel colony, now the present-day city of Bento Gonçalves within Rio Grande do Sul. Fourth- generation Mauricio Salton spearheads domestic and foreign exports. Of the fives wines sampled, stand- outs were the Salton Classic 2013 Tannat Reserva Especial, a lush, boasting dark red and blue fruit char- acter, nicely integrated oak, moderate alcohol, but was lacking in verve; the Salton 2012 Intenso Cabernet Franc was too bell peppery for my tastes, but not totally overpowering; the Salton 2012 Intenso Tannat was most promising, offering fresh, blackberry and blueberry notes in the nose and palate, minty spice, all underscored by a solid tannic backbone. Find out more at I n the world of online retail, one company, Naked Wines, is clearly onto something big. In just three years since their launch, they've attracted more than 75,000 "Angels," who invest in the company's indie winemakers in exchange for certain benefits. "Angels put $40 a month in their account," explains Ryan O'Connell, Naked Wines' Public Relations Manager, "but that's money they get to spend on wine, so it doesn't really cost anything [as opposed to a membership fee or a subscription fee, which are non-refundable]." Anyone can buy wine from the site, but those who opt to pay full retail price won't get other Angel perks like free samples, a personal wine advisor, 40–60 percent off retail prices and "the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting indie winemakers," says O'Connell. "Naked Wines is a very cool place to work," says Jacqueline Person, the Director of Winemaking. "There are about 25 winemak- ers making wines out of our winery in Kenwood, California, which we run like a custom crush facility. So, at any given time, I'm work- ing with our winemakers on 50–100 wines, all in different stages of production. We also work with around 150 winemakers worldwide and the feedback we receive [from our Angels] influences our decisions going forward because we truly are making the wines for the customer." Find out more at Jacqueline Person, Director of Winemaking, Naked Wines. PHOTO COURTESY OF NAKEDWINES.COM Naked Wines: A Thriving Community of Angels stories and and photos by Jonathan Cristaldi

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