The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2015

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20  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2015 SAN FRAN INSIDER by Deborah Parker Wong I t comes as a surprise to many first-time visitors that summer weather in San Francisco is largely windy and foggy. While it's tough on sightseers, it's good weather for wine, and the wind has been blowing a steady stream of winemakers into town from around the globe. Pictures tell the story this month with a photo essay of recent tastings. Let the Winds of Trade Blow From the Cordoníu Raventós portfolio, Raimat winemaker Elisabeth Figueras Mestre (left) from the Catalan region of Costers del Segre, and Paula Borgo, winemaker at Bodega Septima in the Gualtallary micro-region of Tupungato in Mendoza's Uco Valley. Their aromatic, characterful wines are like a breath of fresh air. The Septima Obra 2013 Malbec ($25) is opulent with fresh prune, black spice and a hint of yerba mate, while the 2012 Gran Reserva ($35) is beautifully aromatic and inky black with silky, spiced-coffee tannins and persistent minerality. Raimat 2014 Albariño was highly floral with extended flavors of lime and steely minerality ($13), while the Tempranillo ($13) showed smoky, tart red and black fruit with tobacco, licorice and granular tannins. Beaujolais met Japanese cuisine head on during a tasting led by Inter-Beaujolais Export Manager Charles Ramboud at Pabu Izakaya. Ramboud (left) was joined by Top Somm 2014 Joshua Orr in navigating a masterful pairing of cru producers with pan-Asian–inspired dishes. New on the horizon for Beaujolais: a push for more single plots and a sparkling AOP. Master of Moscato d'Asti Paolo Saracco, of Azienda Agricola Paolo Saracco, raises a glass to us over a dim sum lunch at Hakkasan SF. Saracco, whose name is synonymous with Moscato Bianco Canelli, is also passionate about Pinot Nero. He produces small quantities from the one-hectare Bricco Quaglia vineyard in the village of Castiglione Tinella that show pro- found varietal typicity, and a rare amount of intensity and persistence. Matua Chief Winemaker Nikolai St. George, whose winemaking credits in New Zealand include Amisfield in Central Otago, stopped by the office with his Lands & Legends Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. While he didn't regale us with the Maori legend of the knock-down, drag-out fight between Kupe and the octopus that inspired the memorable label, we appreciated his interpreta- tion of Marlborough's Awatere Valley terroir. Winemaker and General Manager Peter Fraser's Rhône mono-varietal wines and blends from Yangarra in Australia's McLaren Vale were a treat over lunch at Prospect. Even in a cold, wet vintage, 2011 Old Vine Grenache ($25), planted to decomposed sandstone over ironstone in the St. Vincent vineyard, shows focused spiced-red and black cherry, oolong tea, dusty tannins and tart cherry flavors. Fraser's icon wines, High Sands Grenache ($110) and Iron Heart Shiraz ($110), are powerful, amplified beauties. PHOTO: DEBORAH PARKER WONG PHOTO: DEBORAH PARKER WONG PHOTO: DEBORAH PARKER WONG PHOTO: DEBORAH PARKER WONG PHOTO COURTESY OF MATUA

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