The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2016

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60  /  the tasting panel  /  march 2016 Our Wine Editor, Jessie Birschbach, CS—or JABS, as we call her in the office—uses her experience as a som- melier and her background in marketing to rate retail wines on both the inside and outside of the bottle. Let's face it, in off-premise environments, and for most of us, it's usually the packaging that hooks us, then it's up to the wine to lure us into the boat. For that reason, she'll employ both the classic 100-point number scale on taste, and the "JABS" rating system to assess packaging and brand identity. 1 JAB Clear, legible label, solid branding. Pow, right in the kisser. 2 JABS Eye-catching label and memorable branding. This one's got a one two punch. 3 JABS Creatively inspiring in both packaging and branding. I'm seeing stars and parakeets. 4 JABS A near work of art and meaningful branding. Might not last another round. 5 JABS A masterpiece in packaging and new benchmark in branding. An instant knock-out! Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir, Valle Central, Chile ($7.99) A solid, medium-bodied Pinot Noir that flexes raspberry jam, mesquite and chocolate cherries. The label is clean, simple and the fact that it almost matches the unique pull off "cork" is kind of neat. Extra JAB awarded for not being afraid to use a different kind of cork. Incredible value! 89 DON SEBASTIANI & SONS Le Rosé de Mouton Cadet 2014 Rosé, Bordeaux, France, ($11) Just ripe strawberry, cucumber and citrus spa water. A little Bordeaux funk on the nose of this rosé made up of 74% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon vinified in both the saignée and direct press method. The film strip on the bottle signifies the limited edition bottle made for the Festival de Cannes. 87 CONSTELLATION WINES U.S. Republic of Wine 2014 Côtes du Rhône Rouge, France ($12.99) Violets, ripe raspberries and dried blueberries dance around a smoky campfire then washed down with a spot of Earl Grey tea. Medium plus body blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah. The label is a little busy, but I do appreciate the world traveler look and feel. 89 TRUETT-HURST, INC. Cannonball 2013 Merlot, Sonoma County ($14.99) Dark raspberry and plum, with a dark chocolate crème brûlée finish. The label is bold, simple and evokes the footloose and fancy-free character of this wine in a clean way. 89 CANNONBALL WINE COMPANY SketchBook 2013 Pinot Noir, Mendocino County ($20) Strawberries, raspberries and lots of dried leaves in a nice medium body. This is a 100% Pinot Noir from Mendocino County that's been aged in new and seasoned American oak barrels, redwood tanks and stainless steel. The label, appropriately so, looks like a spiraled sketch pad. 89 SKETCHBOOK WINES If you would like your wine to be considered for review in this column, please email for requirements. March Madness by Jessie Birschbach Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir, Valle Central, Chile ($7.99) Purple Heart 2013 Red Wine, Napa Valley ($19.99) Ripe blackberry, black amber plum and black cherry folded into an extensively plush texture that finishes with hazelnut. The wine is called Purple Heart to honor the men and women serving in the military; and in fact, this producer makes an annual donation to the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Grab a bottle to support the veterans, and you'll find yourself returning for more because it's so darn drinkable. This wine picks up an extra JAB for the good-hearted cause. 92 C. MONDAVI & FAMILY A Great Cause

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