The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2017

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76  /  the tasting panel  /  march 2017 WINES The White Knight 2015 Viognier, Clarksburg ($12) Fermented and aged in stainless steel, this Viognier is expressive in ultra-aromatics and texture. With just a dab of Chardonnay blended in, the flavor sensation and scents of just-ripened white peaches and honeyed apples offer a sumptu- ous quality. White petals bloom, while lemon-dill edges in to add a crisp tonality. 91 3 BADGE BEVERAGE Okapi 2013 Chardonnay, Oak Knoll, Napa Valley ($40) Buoyant and light-hearted with a marshmallow/ lemon drop thrill commencement. Texturally developed and balanced. Notes of savory spiced chai, buttered chamomile and a French toast–apple finish. A wow of a white! 93 Champagne Lombard Brut Nature Le Mesnil sur Oger Grand Cru, France ($80) This 100% Chardonnay blanc de blancs has zero dosage. Its flinty nature and chalky finish are softened by lemon blossoms and apple pie. A hint of caramel toast adds body and the tickling bubbles are fresh and clean. 92 Stemmari 2014 Nero d'Avola, Sicilia IGT, Italy ($10) Owing to a thrilling acidity, this red over-delivers in fruit and savory. Raspberry and soy sauce greet on the nose, with a chocolate cake middle and an earthier exterior. Spiced nutmeg adds another layer of vibrant flavor. Wonderfully food- friendly, with a roundness that makes it a sensual sip. 90 PRESTIGE WINE IMPORTS Michael David Winery 2014 Petite Petit, Lodi ($18) The blend of 85% Petite Sirah and 15% Petit Verdot is a fruit bomb—no question. But it's also a class act, with ripe raisins, dark chocolate, plums and lilacs creating a balance of jammy fruit and fine acidity. 90 Maddalena 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles ($20) Ripe, with gritty, grainy tannins. Tobacco and dark cherry take the lead, painting the palate with some Old World acidity. Earth and Italian herbs add another dimension. In fact, if we were blind- tasting, the panel agrees we would have thought this a Tuscan gem. For Paso, it's equally admirable. 93 SAN ANTONIO WINERY PICKS In each issue, The Tasting Panel's Publisher and Editorial Director Meridith May selects her favorite wines and spirits of the month. Check here for the latest arrivals in our offices, the hottest new brands on the market and an occasional revisited classic. Publisher's Worthy of a smooch. French-style double bizou. Wildly infatuated. Seriously smitten. Head over heels in love. Hopes End 2015 Red Blend, South Australia ($12) From the Angove family comes this modern, energetic array—Shiraz, Grenache, Malbec and Petit Verdot—awash with dense, ripe, summer-sweet fruit. Boysenberry, blueberry, cherries: wound together and tied with a chocolate string. Sumptuous and silky, a broad surge of licorice and salted caramel mocha latte on the finish. 91 TRINCHERO FAMILY ESTATES Best Value! PHOTO: DAVID GADD

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