The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2016

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40  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2016 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! Merryvale 2014 Chardonnay, Carneros ($35) Red ripe apple, ripe pineapple, creamy fresh butter and a touch of zesty celery salt in this Chardonnay, birthed in the midst of Napa's 2014 earth- quake vintage. The fruit is mostly Stanly Ranch Estate with a dollop of the beloved Hyde and Poe Vineyards. 30% new French for 12 months. Although the name already sells the wine, the packaging is simple and clean with a touch of gold. I hope they never get rid of the triangle cutout that suggests an "M." 92 Crazy Creature 2013 Grüner Veltliner, Kremstal, Austria ($17) Fresh peas, ripe grapefruit, green apple and a lemon-lime juicy pith over a layer of wet river rock. A little more body too than you might expect. This is great value behind a fantastical label. 90 CIRCO VINO 13 Celsius 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($17) Salty, fresh grape- fruit and rounded melon follow a pretty lemongrass aromatic. This is classic Marlborough Sauv Blanc with a touch more salinity than I'd expect, and ol' Birschbach is into that. This is also on the higher end of the body/alcohol spectrum, or at least perceivably so. The packaging has garnered three JABS not necessarily because of design, but because the label turns from gray to blue at 13 degrees Celsius. What can I say, I'm a sucker for these kinds of tricks. 90 June's Top Picks by Jessie Birschbach Our Wine Editor, Jessie Birschbach, CS—or JABS, as we call her in the office—uses her experience as a sommelier and her background in mar- keting to rate retail wines on both the inside and outside of the bottle. Let's face it, in off-premise environments, it's usually the packaging that hooks us, then it's up to the wine to keep us on the hook. 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. This month consists of wines that should be enjoyed with a myriad of summer activities. My personal pairing suggestions? Outdoor movies played in cemeteries, tanning on a pizza shaped pool float while eating pizza, handboarding (look it up) and intensely competitive Bocce ball. PHOTO: DOUG YOUNG

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