The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2012

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Page 114 of 128

SPEED TASTING REPORT REVEAL NUMBER FIVE: BLEND IT TO BEND IT B Cellars 2011 Blend 23, California (SRP $33) Vin DiVino Western Regional Manager Jim McGuire represents B Cellars. Blending is an art form at B Cellars, where co-founders Duffy Keys and Jim Borsack work with winemaker Kirk Venge to explore wines with nuance. "We make wines for chefs," says Borsack. "They can craft dishes that meld with the components of our wines." Ingredient- driven wine is a concept, and this fusion Chardonnay is a fine example: a blend of 51% Chardonnay from vineyards in Carneros, Green Valley and Rutherford, 37% Sauvignon Blanc and 12% Viognier from Pope Valley. While the barrel- fermented Chardonnay offers citrus and minerality, the Sauv Blanc is the tropical section; the Viognier adds body and a garden of flowers. The Panel's comments: "Well-structured with lemongrass, crème brûlée and vanilla bean. This is seamless, smooth and rich with a finish of juicy white peach; great for customers who enjoy crisp whites." —Shelley Lindgren "Tastes like a super blend: a little spice on the nose with a hint of orange blossom and jasmine. It's a fruit and floral medley. Lovely, lean and elegant." —Tim McDonald REVEAL NUMBER SIX: BEND IT WITH CHALK Rodney Strong Vineyards 2010 Sonoma County Chardonnay, Chalk Hill AVA (SRP $18.99) Synonymous with Sonoma County, Rodney Strong Vineyards' was the first to designate a wine from the Chalk Hill AVA after planting Chardonnay there over 30 years ago. The white reflective soil is actually derived from volcanic ash that leaves that stony or "chalky" sensation on the tongue. This Chardonnay is barrel fermented and aged in new and seasoned oak for nine months, with regular lees stirring that shows off its creamy rich texture. Our Panel's comments: "Vanilla bean custard is enticing on the nose. The palate is extracted and concentra- tion of guava and melon play to a long finish." —Eduardo Dingler Quinn McManus, Northern California Area Manager for Rodney Strong Vineyards. "Toasted marshmallow is a sweet start – and further along, the oak is well integrated so you can actually call this rather creamy wine "lithe," with a mineral back." —Meridith May 114 / the tasting panel / august 2012

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