The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2016

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22  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2016 W hen christening a boat or toasting a marriage, it's only appropriate to do so with a bottle or two of bubbly. So let's launch The Ransom Note by raising a few glasses of sparkling wine I recently tasted at a trio of celebratory events in New York, all perfect for late summer enjoyment. I tend to think outside the box, so none are from Champagne. First up, one of this year's Belmont Stakes sponsors, Castello delle Regine Spumante Brut (SRP $19.99) from Italy's Umbria region. I think Castello delle Regine (imported by Golden Ram) is one of the unsung jewels of Italian wine. Husband-and-wife team Paolo Nodari (winemaker) and Livia Colantonio bought and revitalized the estate in the 1990s, reclaiming some of Umbria's oldest vine- yards in the process. Maybe the most important of those are the property's Merlot vines. Certified as the delle Regine clone, they are some of the oldest Merlot plantings outside of Bordeaux. Livia was in town for the races in June and invited The Tasting Panel along to join in the festivities. The Spumante Brut, a bright, refreshing wine of intense rose/pink color, was flowing freely. New York also saw the first annual CitySip Spirit of Cava week in early June. The Campo Viejo Cava Brut Rosé (SRP $12.99), traditionally bottle fermented from 100% Trepat, was the featured sparkler at the opening event, Cava and Conservas, held at Bar Jamón. Campo Viejo wines (imported by Pernod Ricard USA) are known to be some of Spain's best values, and their Brut Rosé is one of the offer- ings raising the bar for the Cava category. Other events included a tapas party at Basque-focused restaurant Donostia and a Cava cocktail competition. Lastly, during an intimate lunch at famed Mario Batali NYC eatery Babbo, I fell in love with Medici Ermete Lambrusco from Emilia Romagna. Possibly the most versatile sparkling wine made—anywhere—Lambruscos, with their lively efferves- cence, vibrant fruit and tannic structure, are some of the most complex and delight- ful bubblies on the market. Medici Ermete (imported by Kobrand) makes a variety of styles from dry to sweet, all at the highest level of quality; SRPs range from $13.99 to $22.99. Fourth-generation family member Alberto Medici led the tasting. Three great events with a lineup of delicious sparklers perfect for late summer sipping. Welcome to The Ransom Note, a monthly column by the newest member of The Tasting Panel's editorial team, David Ransom. Each month, he will check in on some of the people, products and events that are making news along the Eastern Seaboard. Let's Do Launch CitySip's Blaine Ashley (second from left) and friends—(left to right) Jonathan Dwyer, Romain Guille and Frankie Marshall—celebrate the Spirit of Cava at NYC's Donostia Restaurant. Livia Colantonio (fifth from right) and friends celebrate in the Winners Circle at Belmont Park. PHOTO: JENNIFER MITCHELL PHOTO: ADAM COGLIANESE PHOTO: DAVID RANSOM Medici Ermete's Alberto Medici with East Coast Editor David Ransom. by David Ransom

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