The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2018

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58  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2018 Publisher's PICKS Ravenswood 2015 Big River Zinfandel, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County ($39) From a 13-acre, 100-year-old vineyard straddling the Russian River and the Alexander Valley appella- tions, this elegant Zin is aged 19 months in French oak barrels. With a ripe cherry nose and a hint of bark, this thrilling red has a juicy nature that shines through. White pepper dots red-fruit tones and the palate weight gives it a true presence. 93 CONSTELLATION BRANDS Ravenswood 2015 Old Hill Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley ($60) Century-old grape- vines have been restored to yield grapes of complexity and generosity. Aromas of bramble, heather, and cocoa create allure as pepper/ capsicum spices the palate and intertwines with fine tannins. It's a standout. 94 Sonoma-Loeb 2016 Cold Creek Vineyard Viognier, Carneros ($32) From two great winemaking families, the Loebs and the Chappellets, this label was founded in the early 1990s. Chappellet Winemaker Phillip Corallo-Titus crafts this wine from the Sonoma side of Carneros, where soils are rocky and gravelly. Aging for eight months in neutral French oak brings out a richness that Viognier can handle—and at 15.2% ABV, it still maintains balance. The flavors are fruity and savory, with stone fruit and pineapple melding with clove and vanilla. 91 Nagy Wines 2013 White Hawk Vineyard Syrah, Santa Barbara County ($20) Juicy and sexy with gritty tannins, peppered dried meat, and plum—and that's just the nose. The palate is round and graceful with blue petals and a splash of soy sauce. 91 Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, California ($20) This red overdelivers from nose to palate. From its deeply rich dark chocolate aromas to its equally indulgent flavor profile, this is structure without tannic tightness. Blackberry jam pervades and the acid is bright for pairing with lighter fare (chicken, grilled fish) to the beefiest dishes. 93 Chappellet 2016 Chardonnay, Napa Valley ($35) Here's winemaker Phillip Corallo-Titus's Chardonnay, grown in Napa Valley's coolest marine-influenced regions. Following the nose of lemon curd and apricot, the palate offers concentrated flavors of lemon-lime and grapefruit with an edgy, vibrant acidity. It becomes increasingly creamy toward the finish with hints of butter and papaya. 93 Gehricke 2014 Zinfandel, Ponzo Vineyard, Russian River Valley ($30) Spiced plum and scrub brush plus a sweet berry compote make up the marvelous perfume that comes off the richness of this single-vineyard Zin. The creamy, generous palate has flavors of nutmeg, clove, and late-summer blackberries embedded with a juiciness that keeps it mouthwatering. 94 3 BADGE BEVERAGE CORP. Gehricke 2016 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley ($32) Enveloped in minerality and perfumed with lemon oil and jasmine, this is a bright and sassy Chardonnay. While oak plays into the texture and taste in the most graceful manner, crisp McIntosh apple, candied pineapple, and lemon zest come into the fore and stay to the long finish. 93 3 BADGE BEVERAGE CORP. Hawk and Horse Vineyards 2014 Petite Sirah, Red Hills, Lake County ($65) This small-production, exciting, show-off red grows in elevations up to 2,200 feet above sea level on rocky red volcanic soil. The Petite Sirah grapes are grown on a single acre of the 18-acre mountain vineyard site. Aromas of tobacco, violets, and espresso beans give it an immediate gravitas. The palate is tight with chalky tannins and soon opens with an expres- sive, chewy nature. Blue flowers are prominent but blueberry inches its way into the lengthy finish. 93 Robert John Vineyards RJV 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($90) Bold, peppered nose with a body that's generous and not tightly wound. Dark chocolate raspberry/blue- berry notes coexist with a bright acidity. Ripe and structured! 92 Kir-Yianni Diaporos 2015 Single Vineyard Xinomavro, Naoussa, Greece ($57) Cassis and plum liqueur greet the nose as spice livens the dark fruit with nutmeg and clove. Tart rhubarb and teeth-gripping tannins show off for a searing acidity in this food-friendly, unique red (with an addition of 13% Syrah) from the slopes of the Vermio Mountains in northwestern Greece. 90 DIAMOND WINE IMPORTERS Castello di Amorosa 2017 Rosato, Morning Dew Ranch, Anderson Valley ($39) This 100% Pinot Noir is grown on the winery's 12-acre, sustain- ably farmed estate vineyard in Mendocino County. Aged in a concrete fermentation egg, beauti- ful juicy red fruit and fragrant roses shine through. Great acidity, minerality, and a vibrant palate feel add to the tenor of this wine. 93 WINERY DIRECT

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