All posts filed under: The Tasting Panel

THE TASTING PANEL magazine is the most widely circulated trade publication in the beverage industry focused on beverages, the beverage trade and the people who make the industry tick. Print and digital editions published monthly with a combined January/February issue. www.tastingpanelmag.com

Sparkling Toast to a Still Future

The Los Carneros was pioneered twenty five years ago by sparkling wine producers who brought cache and joie de vivre to what is, in effect, the gateway to Napa and Sonoma Valley wine country. 2016 has seen a flurry of expansion there by still wine producers who are confident there’s a lifestyle proposition that goes hand in hand with selling Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A veritable force in raising the visibility of Carneros Pinot Noir, Anne Moller-Racke, President and Winegrower of Donum Estate, is spearheading an expansion that includes the construction of a new production winery and tasting room scheduled for completion in 2017. Once a dairy farm, the estate was planted to vines in 1985, came under Moller-Racke’s supervision in 2001 as Donum and was purchased by Danish investors in 2011. “Site is quality; clone is personality,” said Moller-Racke as we tasted current release 2012s sourced from the winery’s four vineyards: Donum and Lawler in Carneros, Winside in Russian River and Angel Camp in Anderson Valley. East Slope ($90), a Calera clone on the …

A Prima Vista

A prima vista [at first sight] is an Italian saying that typically applies to love, or—in our case—a first encounter with an Italian wine and its maker. A trio of producers from Italy’s pristine Alto Adige region—Tobias Zingerle, Martin Hoffstätter and Ines Giovanett—were in town for a masterclass led by Tim Gaiser, MS at Epic Roasthouse. “Alto Adige is a four-dimensional region,” said Gaiser, who shed some light on the Adige Valley’s diverse terroirs—white volcanic pryazinic soils of the northeast, glacial soils or scree around Bolzano, calcareous clay of the cooler southeastern slopes and the crystalized porphyry rock found at Cantina Terlano. Each producer addressed a flight of four like-variety wines that included current and older vintages: Zingerle, his own Kaltern Caldero Pinot Biancos and those of Cantina Terlano; Hoffstätter, his Gewürztraminer and those of Tramin; Giovanett’s Girlan Pinot Noir and examples from Castelfelder. Intensity, minerality and purity are hallmarks for these wines, with oak playing a secondary role. Gaiser remarked on the diversity of Pinot Noir styles as ranging from Volnay to Central Otago. …

Journey to the west

San Francisco has long been a destination for travelers. Some, like Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, arrive and spend a lifetime realizing their dreams, while others cross the globe for the purpose of sharing their dreams. Croatian-born Mike Ggrich made his way west in 1958 and set the wheels of his destiny in motion when he began making wine at Souverain Cellars. Mike’s legacy is a familiar one, and now, at age 91, the man whose hands made the Chardonnay that helped put California on the map when it won the Paris Tasting in 1976, is a bona fide and well-deserved bon vivant. At a recent retrospective tasting hosted in the newly-renovated Ranch House at his Napa estate, Mike, his nephew and winemaker for Grgich Hills Ivo Jeramaz and daughter Violet seemed as much a part of the terroir as the wines themselves. Together they presented a vertical of Grgich Hills Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 1991, 1994, 1997, 2004, 2007 and the just-released 2010 for almost 20 years of perspective on the vineyard. Grgich Hills Yountville Selection …

Eclectic, Electric Lodi Zinfandel

Lodi has long been synonymous with Zinfandel. The region which is defined by seven sub-regions produces 40 percent of the state’s crop. Vineyards of old and downright ancient vines have survived due largely to sandy, Phylloxera-free soils and the popularity of white Zinfandel. As a mono-varietal red, Zinfandel’s exuberant character has made it a favorite among consumers and fueled Lodi’s focus on the production of world-class wines. As early as 2003, when there were 50 wineries in the AVA, the Lodi Winegrape Commission began evaluating wines submitted by producers as part of a selected case known as the 12 Zins of Lodi. A decade later and with over 80 bonded to its credit, Lodi Zinfandels are being made in a broader range of weights and styles which makes the prospect of a representative case even more intriguing. Read the article here: Lodi Zinfandel 42014

A Rising Tide: Rosé Carries the Reds of Northern Provence to Shore

A rising tide lifts all boats is an aphorism that neatly applies to the winegrow- ing economy of Provence. The red and white wines—from region whose identity has been associated with pink wine since it was settled by the Phoenicians in 600 BCE—are riding to shore on a growing wave of Provençal rosé. According to the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP), 2014 marks the 11th consecutive year of double-digit market growth for rosé in the U.S. and retail sales of premium rosé wines—now averaging about $17 a bottle—have jumped by 53% in value. Read the entire article here: A Rising Tide

An Oakville Retrospective: A Look at 19 Vintages of Groth Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

  For the maker, wine requires patience; it seems to mark time at a different pace than much of the world around it. Imagine a chef who had 30 tries in as many years to master a recipe or a musician who plays one performance a year for three decades to master a symphony. For the casual consumer, however, wine is, more often than not, immediate gratification. Read the article here: An Oakville Retrospective