The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2012

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SAN FRAN INSIDER Well Traveled T The Road story and photos by Deborah Parker Wong he world of wine and spirits grew a little smaller last month as producers from around the globe made their way to San Francisco to pour current releases and share firsthand news of the 2012 harvest. From the Old World Sicily's Francesca Planeta is an advocate for Nero d'Avola and the new Sicily DOC. came Sicily's Francesca Planeta, Rowald Hepp of the Rheingau's Schloss Vollards and Speyside's Stewart Buchanan for the BenRaich and Glendronach distilleries. From the New World there was McLaren Vale's Richard Angove and John Duval for Chile's Viña Ventisquero. Tot them all up and you've got a decent snapshot of what's happening. With the new Sicily DOC in place, producers like the vivacious Francesca Planeta can now list both sub-region and Sicily on their labels. Planeta may single-handedly reclaim the authenticity of Nero d'Avola after exploitation of the variety by producers from outside the region undermined the industry's perception of its quality and potential. "My father fought to preserve the identity and the quality of our indigenous varieties," stated Planeta. "He introduced Fiano to the region, and we now have many Mediterranean varieties in our portfolio." Planeta, who with her cousins Alessio and Santi operates six boutique wineries, presented crisp mono-varietal whites from Grecanico, Carricante and Fiano, the Nero d'Avola-Frappato blend Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG 2010 and an elegant "Santa Cecilia" Nero d'Avola at 45 Mint restaurant (see Meridith May's review on p. 55. —Ed.). "2012 is the best vintage McLaren Vale has seen in 30 years," declared fifth-generation winemaker Richard Angove and, given the family's long his- tory there, we'll take his word for it. The company's Vineyard Select wines ($20 SRP) are small 2,000-case lots that include winners like the 2010 McLaren Vale Shiraz with bright, plumy black fruit and pepper or a medium-bodied 2008 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon with black currant, thyme and lean, dark red fruit. Watch for the release of their new icon wine, The Medhyk, so named for winery's Cornish founder Dr. William Thomas Angove. Angove was the first Australian producer to the U.S. market with a Moscato, which is in demand at popular upscale dining chains like P.F. Chang's. "We've seen a 33 percent increase in the price for Muscat at the winery and have since intro- duced Zibibbo, a Muscat-based sparkling and rosé in addition to our 9 Vines still Moscato," said Angove. Catchy, as Zibibbo is, after all, a synonym for Muscat. Barossa native John Duval, whose long tenure at Penfolds made him an industry icon, presented a vertical tasting of two Syrah-based wines—Pangea and Vertice—from Chile's Viña Ventisquero at Lolinda restaurant. Duval, who has consulted for almost ten years with winemaker Felipe Tosso, finds similarities in the 2005 and 2007 vintages and in the warmer 2006 and current release 2008. Viña Ventisquero is located in the Maipo Valley and sources these premium wines in the Casablanca and Apalta Valleys. 28 / the tasting panel / november 2012 Fifth-generation winegrower Richard Angove is keeping an eye on trends and releasing his family's first icon wine, The Medhyk, this month.

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