The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2016

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22  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2016 The Ransom Note is a monthly column by The Tasting Panel's East Coast Editor, David Ransom. Each month, David connects readers with some of the people, products and events that are making news along the Eastern Seaboard. F all is a busy time in the wine business and not just on the production side. It's also the most important period for selling product, with winery teams crisscrossing the country for a seemingly endless number of promotional and tasting events. It's obviously a busy time for those covering the industry, too. On any given day in New York City, they easily can attend an event, or three, to keep them away from their desks (and slightly nervous about meeting deadlines as a result). Such was the case recently when the venerable Alsace producer Dopff & Irion (imported by Dreyfus, Ashby & Co.) invited a select group of sommeliers and writers—including me—to a vertical tasting showcasing eight decades of their Château de Riquewihr Rieslings. Led by Dopff & Irion Director General Frédéric Raynaud, vintages included the 2010, 2001, 1992, 1989, 1976, 1969, 1953 and 1945. All showed well. My favorite was the 1953, a simply stunning wine, but the 1945 was still solid and full of acidity. Deadlines be damned! Just to sip on wine made of grapes harvested from the war-torn vineyards of Alsace the year World War II ended was something I will always cherish. Another must-go-to for me was a tasting of wines from Northern Italy's Lugana DOC, a small yet historic region that straddles the border of Lombardy and the Veneto on the south side of Lake Garda. While some red wines are produced here, the real focus is on white wine, with Trebbiano (locally Trebbiano di Lugana or Turbiano) being the principal variety. Still wines range from fresh, floral steel-aged wines to wonderfully complex wines aged up to two years before release. There is also a significant focus on sparkling wine production, both Charmat and metodo classico, with the latter reminiscent of those sparklers from Franciacorta to Lugana's west. A couple of favorite producers were Selva Capuzza, whose owner, Luca Formentini, makes some of the region's top still wines and is also President of the Consorzio Tutela Lugana, and Cantina Bulgarini, a sparkling wine specialist, whose Stella di Lugana DOC Brut Metodo Classico was a favorite wine of the day. A Holiday Preview story and photos by David Ransom Frédéric Raynaud of Dopff & Irion with The Tasting Panel's East Coast Editor, David Ransom. (right) Dopff & Irion vertical from 2010 to 1945. Luca Formentino (left) and Carlo Veronese (right) of the Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC.

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