The Tasting Panel magazine

January / February 2018

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As we kick off our 11th year, The Tasting Panel is proud to be the national voice for the wine and spirits business. We feel proud to have been on-topic for well over a decade when reporting the trends—and even some of the passing fads—that have impacted us all. Reflecting the "best in class" spirits and wines from 2017, our Yearbook lists the high-scoring, over-delivering liquid sensations of the year as reported by our editorial team. This special section (starting on page 105) gives some insight on which brands—from the thousands of products we tasted over the course of last year— have achieved substance, perfected style, and staying power in our industry. It's a true testament to the talented people behind these shelf-worthy labels. For 2018, we look to the thought leaders—mixologists, wine buyers, restaurateurs, distributors, and educators—who will give us their expert opinions on emerging trends for the coming year . . . and possibly years to come. These are the people on the front lines who influence all of us and make our publication viable. Whether the spirits trends are culinary cocktails, regionally- inspired ingredients for signature drinks, or barrel-aged concoc- tions created on-premise, the base spirit still has to be superior to make these ventures fly. On the wine side, selections on wine lists have never been more diverse and exciting, and we're happy to be part of that evergrowing passion on the part of wine buyers, sommeliers, and their enophile clientele. I always hoped The Tasting Panel would be around for at least a decade, but I didn't imagine its growth would be so phenomenal. Our readership continues to grow, reaching top professionals of the highest caliber, as well as those talented up-and-comers who will continue to set a positive tone for the future of this important industry. It's a neverending pursuit, but we're having the time of our lives in the name of drinkable exploration. HAPPY NEW YEAR! — Meridith May January + February = GINUARY! LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER 4  /  the tasting panel  /  january/february 2018 PHOTO: JOHN CURLEY The Jan./Feb. issue is our only combined issue of the year, providing the perfect excuse to dub it "Ginuary." Our annual gin category report starts on page 77.

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