The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2015

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24  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2015 NEW YORK CITY SIPS by Lana Bortolot A fter a season of fun and fizzy drinks, we started the slow wind-down into fall in the company of drinks that promise to warm the soul once summer has passed. Piedmont-born Marco Galeazzo, Director of Fattorie Melini, has a somewhat unusual coming of age story into wine. He was at the tender age of five when his grandfather gave him his first bottle of wine—a small flask and somewhat watered down, and with a custom label. After that, you might say the rest of his voyage is history. Marco was in town to present a vertical of his flagship, the decidedly not watered-down La Selvanella Chianti Classico Riserva. "I like to make wine in a modern style, but not an international style," he said. And for that reason he eschews Super Tuscans, saying, "You can make a Super Tuscan in every country of the world." For him, La Selvanella, whose first vintage was 1969, is the "real taste of Tuscany." Others agree. The wine has been a four- time Tre Bicchieri winner. We tasted the new 2011 vintage, followed by 2010, 2006, 1999 and 1993. The middle of the vertical, 2006, provided a turning point, the first of the pours to express secondary notes of leather, while still keeping its sour cherry pucker. The bookends on either side showed Tuscan herbs and dust, bright and mellow. Heaven Hill Brand President Max L. Shapira and Master Distiller Denny Potter hit the pike for downtown Manhattan for the launch of the new, super-premium Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey. Though the brand— originally from Maryland—has been around since 1895, it proved not to be young enough to entertain a six- year-old, 110-proof great-grandchild. The new expression, now made in Kentucky, "brushes off the dust for today's palate," Shapira notes. And to prove that, mixologist Jim Kearns of Slowly Shirley put the new rye to the test in updated versions of three classic cocktails: the Old Fashioned, Boulevardier and Manhattan, served in the Deco- themed speakeasy. We usually drink our whisky with a bowl of that overpriced nut mix at some fancy uptown hotel bar, but we couldn't resist an invitation for a downtown whisky-pairing dinner prepared by Chefs David Bouley and Isao Yamad and hosted by Suntory Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo. The East-meets-West team pre- pared a multi-course tasting menu as a platform for Hibiki Japanese Harmony, the newest release of the noted Hibiki line. The new blend is complex in both taste and composition: It incorporates more than ten malt and grain whiskies derived from the parent Hibiki blend, and the Hibaki 17 Years and 21 Years. The base includes a base spirit from American white oak, with Mizunara Japanese oak and Sherry cask whiskies rounding it out. And there's more: All three of Suntory's distilleries contributed to the blend, which also includes elements across all five different types of cask aging. Now, that's a mouthful, and so much tastier than that stale Chex Mix on Central Park South. Plus, at $64.99 SRP, a bargain. Rounding Out the Summer with Wine, Whisky and Whiskey Marco Galeazzo of Fattorie Melini at Craft Bar. Chef David Bouley and Suntory Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo at the New Museum on the Bowery. President Max L. Shapira, Co-Master Distiller Denny Potter at Slowly Shirley in downtown Manhattan. PHOTO: MAX ZAGOR PHOTO: LANA BORTOLOT PHOTO: JOE LEONARD

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