The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2017

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Page 89 of 136

august 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  85 few grains of desert sand hopped across the empty parking lot of the University of Las Vegas Nevada's Stan Fulton building on a hot spring day. Like so many things in Vegas, however, this abandoned scene was only a façade. Inside the International Gaming Institute, ten of Sin City's best sommeliers were involved in a spirited debate regarding the contents of each of their 14 wine glasses. The man to settle the score after the blind tasting? Banfi National Ambassador and Wine Educator Luciano Castiello, was also the hero of the day, as he coolly covered for the Banfi Cru Artisan winemakers, scrambling to get from San Francisco to Las Vegas. Tacked onto the end of a wildly successful Cru Artisan College tour was the blind tasting and awesome luncheon prepared by UNLV's very own Executive Chef, Mark Sandoval. This was to be the winemakers' last stop, and their plane was severely delayed, but the somms, as clever as they are, hadn't a clue. They were far too busy proclaiming their conclusions and favorites. Then, during the reveal of the 13th wine, like some sort of Italian deus ex machina, the winemakers burst through the hall doors, and after they caught their breath, briefly offered their own two cents, coloring the technical specifica- tions with their own experience. This delay, dare I say, better served the wines. They deserved the attention; the Cru Artisan portfolio is a selection of Banfi's finest wines. Translating when necessary was the master- mind behind Banfi's Cru Artisan College, Lars Leicht, National Director, Cru Artisan Wines. The Cru Artisan winemakers at at UNLV: Gabriele Pazzaglia, Cellarmaster, Castello Banfi; Giuseppe Roncoletta, Cellar Ambassador, Fontana Candida; Lars Leicht, National Director, Cru Artisan Wines, Banfi; Roberto Magnisi, Quality Control Director, Florio; Andrea Sartori, family proprietor, Sartori di Verona and Christian Zulian, Director, Bolla. Mark Sandoval, Executive Chef, UNLV Banfi National Ambassador Wine Educator Luciano Castiello, passing the baton to Lars Leicht and his team of winemakers.

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