The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2018

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Page 63 of 100

june 2018  /  the tasting panel  /  63 PHOTO COURTESY OF DELICATO With Napa Valley winemaker John Killebrew behind the wheel, the brand has proven it's more than just another celebrity-fronted label. Brown, who is intimately involved with every vintage, explains, "I've always been fascinated with wine because of its inherent con- nection to the land. For me, I'm always on a journey to discover new wines and how new appellations can set them apart—there are different characters that come out of the wine for different reasons. Like with music, you'll never master all of it, but the journey and the people you meet along the way . . . that's the good stuff in life." The new releases continue Z. Alexander Brown's tradition of easy-to-drink wine at an affordable price point with its Uncaged 2016 Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. During the production process, richer lots were pressed in French and American oak barrels with leaner lots fermented in stainless steel before malolactic fermentation. "All of the Uncaged wines are complex, juicy, and dynamic," notes Killebrew. "We wanted to craft a food-friendly, versatile Chardonnay in a bold style with excellent acidity and balance. This wine is true to the variety, with a bright acidity attributed to the cool climate of Santa Lucia Highlands." The Uncaged 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, meanwhile, features grapes "sourced from Napa Valley, warmer Lake County vineyards in the North Coast, and cool southern Suisun Valley vineyards just south of Napa County," according to Killebrew. "This Sauvignon Blanc expresses flavors indicative of the region in which the grapes were grown: Juicy, tropical passionfruit, mango, and guava flavors are balanced by lemongrass notes and rounded out with refreshing and zesty lime and lemon citrus flavors," he adds. Warm-weather dishes like fish tacos or lemon risotto meld particularly well with the bright acidity of the wine, making it an ideal option for the summer months. With the brand's steadily growing popularity and a success- ful wine company like Delicato supporting its winemaking efforts, the release of these two new vintages will surely prove it's not just Zac Brown's music that's deemed a smash hit. Z. Alexander Brown 2016 Uncaged Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands ($20) Aged in a combination of oak and stainless steel, the expressive aromas of pineapple upside-down cake, caramel, and baked apple lend an imaginative air of depth and agility. With medium weight and a seam- less texture, the wine features an acidity that's able to pop through the sumptuous flavors of tanger- ine, vanilla candles, and stone fruit, which come together in total balance. 92 —Meridith May Z. Alexander Brown 2017 Uncaged Sauvignon Blanc, North Coast ($20) Lemon ver- bena combines a citrus floral perfume for this lighthearted white. On the palate, tart, mineral-driven stone and lime notes ascend with a vibrant acidity. Building character up the lean and edgy staircase of flavors are underlying flavors of pineapple and mango. This is a food-worthy partner with a touch of salinity of the finish, reminiscent of a Sancerre. Oysters, anyone? 93 —M.M. Warm-weather Z. Alexander Uncaged North bena perfume white. The brand's newest releases are the 2017 Uncaged Sauvignon Blanc and a 2016 Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay. Musician and Z. Alexander Brown Proprietor Zac Brown with Winemaker John Killebrew.

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