The Tasting Panel magazine

January 2016

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Page 104 of 148

104  /  the tasting panel  /  january-february 2016 Tognetti Family Vineyard 2013 Chardonnay, Aloise Francisco Vineyards, Carneros, Napa Valley ($55) This family of farmers (three generations strong) first planted their vineyard estate in 1964. The lemon oil on nose and palate is subtle—brilliant against mineral tones which luxuriously envelop the senses. This French oak–aged wine seems to glide with grace; the pineapple cake, the rush of lanolin, white tea and vanilla latte are admirable. 92 Rombauer 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stice Lane Vineyard, Napa Valley ($90) The black opaqueness of the wine and the mocha-currant-graphite nature of this virile red establish themselves early on, making this a lean machine. The earthy-mineral drive behind the secondary flavors of blackberry and coffee urge one to say the word "brooding" aloud. Good acidity, power-packed energy and a depth that spreads dramatically yet still showcases elegance. Blame it on Stice Lane's gravelly river beds—this was the site that was once a source of some of Beaulieu Vineyards' top wines. 94 Bennett Lane 2014 Reserve Chardonnay, Sangiacomo Vineyard, Carneros, Napa Valley ($45) Caramel, lemon-lime and baked apple make for Chardonnay typicity on the nose, but on the palate, a hedonistic tribe of flavors is unleashed. The spice and liveliness, along with honey-butter and chamomile, integrates well with acids. A superb pairing with chicken sausage, Dijon sauces and savory foods. 92 Robert Mondavi Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, To Kalon Vineyard, Oakville, Napa Valley ($155) To K alon lives up to its phenomenal reputation in this dynamic interpretation of its dusty, earthy, sweet chocolate-brandied soil. Soft and rich with underlying muscle (but no tight grip, no bite or greenness) that is bathed in violet, graphite and a preternaturally divined plum and blueberry. 95 CONSTELLATION WINES U.S. Publisher's PICKS Robert Mondavi Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Oakville, interpretation of its dusty, earthy, preternaturally divined plum and SPIRITS SPIRITS O'Danagher's Hibernian Whiskey, USA ($65) The grains for this triple-distilled, pot still single-barrel five-year- old American whiskey may be grown in Eastern Washington, but it carries an Irish lilt. The 90-proof whiskey, aged five years, is distilled and bottled in Spokane by Dry Fly Distilling, produced in the Celtic tradition in collaboration with local whiskey maker Tim Danagher for an Irish whiskey–style spirit ("Hibernian" refers to the dialects of Irish English). The nose is gentle, a whisper of butterscotch, honey-scented white petals and fresh cream. More diligent on the palate, white pepper, cardamom and tarragon season the core of this youthful lass. 95 DRY FLY DISTILLING Azuñia Special Edition 2 Year Aged Añejo Tequila, Mexico ($99) Chocolate brings love-at-first-nosing for this spirit rested in American oak, a one-of-a-kind proprietary blend. Old museum woodwork comes to mind with aroma and taste, the spicy brown sugar effect of the oak curving its way past lime, baked agave and vanilla bean. This is a memo- rable sipper that gains ground on the palate with warmth and persistence. 94 INTERSECT BEVERAGE Egan's Single Malt Irish Whiskey, Ireland ($50) With a nose of apple pie à la mode, spiced with black pepper and tamed by heather, the aromas alone of this ten-year-old are enough to lift you off your feet. Six generations of Egans continue to hold up the tradition to produce this superior 94-proof single malt. The pepper nips the front of the tongue and caramel coats mid-way. Orange rind, wild flowers and brush tickle the back of the mouth. Cigar and peat are subtly integrated for added depth. 92 P&H EGAN USA Kikori Whiskey, Kumamoto, Japan ($50) The rice that is the base for this whiskey is grown in rich, volcanic soil alongside the Iwase River in Southern Japan, and the spirit's water source swirls through volcanic rock. Aged in new Kentucky oak, French Limousin and Sherry barrels for a minimum of three years (and as long as ten) the offering is a melding of subtle spice, floral spring petals and creamy, sweet aromatics. On the palate, toasted almond, delicately bright green apple, melon, caramel and a noticeable absence of peat or smoke makes this a feminine charmer. With a kiss of salinity on the back and a perpetual perfume exuding from the glass, this is one to watch. 96 SOH SPIRITS INTL

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