The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2016

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30  /  the tasting panel  /  august 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! O l' Birschbach finds that the best time of year for a sunset is in August; at dusk, the air is still warm, but cooler than on a hot summer's day. I could say the below wines pair well with a sunset, but the truth is I can't think of a wine that doesn't. Kuleto Estate 2013 India Ink Red Wine, Napa County ($25) Black cherry, cigar box, blueberry, ripe blackberry and a handful of potting soil on the finish in this silky blend from eastern Napa Valley—in close proximity to the prestigious Pritchard Hill. Creative, eye-catching packaging with a neat little detail. I also think a name like India Ink—simi- lar to wines like Layer Cake and somehow reminiscent of a wine's character—is always a good move. Excellent value. 92 FOLEY FAMILY WINES LangeTwins 2013 Caricatures Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi ($15) Cherry filling, blackberry compote and dark chocolate with a smattering of vanilla against a smoky background. The burlesque label footed with the phrase "Wines of Character with Great Legs" tells me they're not taking themselves too seriously, which makes me like the wine all the more. I can even hear the old-timey fellows on the label muttering indecipherable compliments in British accents. Jolly good value. 89 Bewitched 2012 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley ($24.99) Candied cherry, raspberries, spicy oak character and a cool faint undercurrent of menthol in this fuller-bodied Pinot Noir. The matte black label and raised gold print is also pretty wonderful. I bet this makes a killing in October, but it is still just as easy to drink the rest of the year. 88 TRUETT-HURST River Road 2014 Mills Cuvée Chardonnay, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Sonoma County ($24.99) Yellow apple, ripe apricot and baked peach, chopped up and thrown into but- tery, creamy Malt-O-Meal; lemon blossoms in the background of this fuller-figured Chardonnay from Green Valley. The delicious almost tropical Chardonnay inside the bottle does most of the talking for this offering. 91 RUBIN FAMILY VINEYARDS & WINERY The Runaway Convict 2014 Shiraz, Pyrenees, Victoria, Australia ($20) Dried plum, dried boysenberry, anise and a spoonful of peppery barbecue sauce. The label and branding, which I love, pays homage to the runaways of Australia's British penal colony in the early 1800s. 90 GUMTREE VINEYARDS INC. The August Cut 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 marketing to rate retail wines on both the inside and outside of the bottle. After all, 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. PHOTO: DOUG YOUNG For info on submitting samples, email

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