The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2018

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Page 22 of 124

22  /  the tasting panel  /  may 2018 The Ransom Note is a monthly column by The Tasting Panel's East Coast Editor, David Ransom. Each month, David connects readers with some of the people, products, and events that are making news along the Eastern Seaboard. W ine regions come in and out of focus as tastes and buying habits change and evolve. This past month, I had the opportunity to taste releases from some well-estab- lished regions that produce wonderful wines but are sometimes overlooked due to their minimal exports. Vinexpo, a wine and spirits trade show long-established in France, has only been held in the U.S. a handful of times. At the New York event this spring, I sampled wines from the country of Uruguay. While quite well known for its Tannat, which comprises almost 40 percent of vineyard produc- tion, Uruguay is South America's fourth-largest wine producer and actually makes a breadth of wines from a long list of grape varieties, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and even Albariño. Like with many globally-emerging regions, price-to-quality ratio is high, making for good value on restaurant lists. However, with only about 3 percent dedicated to export, Uruguay is currently no match for neighbors like Argentina and Chile in the U.S. market. With exposure to buyers at shows like Vinexpo, this will surely change. Participating producers included Alto de la Ballena, Antigua Bodega Stagnari, and Bodega Garzón, among others. Next, at a dinner at the Michelin three-starred Eleven Madison Park, I got acquainted with wines from one of Europe's most elusive winemak- ing countries: Switzerland. Though less than 2 percent of production is exported, the Swiss actually have a very robust wine industry with approxi- mately 40,000 acres of vineyards. Fifty-eight percent are dedicated to red grapes including Merlot, Syrah, and Pinot Noir (sometimes called Blauburgunder), and 42 percent to white grapes including Chardonnay, Sauvignon, and the indigenous Chassalas. Three regions—Ticino, Valais, and Vaud—provide the bulk of the wines. Fortunately for us non-Swiss resi- dents, as a new generation of winemak- ers takes over the industry, they are more focused on entering the global market and are taking steps to ramp up production accordingly. Three produc- ers were on hand to pair their wines with Swiss-born chef Daniel Humm's inspired cuisine: Ticino-based Castello Luigi and Valais producers Domaine Jean-René Germanier and Provins. Two Under-the-Radar Wine Regions That Are Set to Impress story and photos by David Ransom Tasting Panel East Coast Editor David Ransom with Anna Ehrbar of Zanini/ Castello Luigi, Raphael Garcia of Provins, and Gilles Besse of Domaine Jean- René Germanier. Alvaro Lorenzo of Uruguay's Alto de la Ballena at Vinexpo New York.

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