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

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 Advertisements

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Sprucing Up The Goose: A New Chapter For Goosecross Cellars

“We’re in pop-up mode,” said vintner Christi Coors Ficeli who purchased Goosecross Cellars in 2013 and broke ground on a winery expansion in November 2014. Closing the tasting room during construction wasn’t an option for Coors Ficeli, whose fiercely loyal club members are content to taste her current releases in a single-wide trailer with a view of the construction. “We’re engaging our club members in the next chapter of our winery’s story,” says Coors Ficeli.“When completed, the new winery will have a large patio area devoted to outdoor seating so we can take full advantage of our west-facing view of the Mayacamas.” Read the entire article here: Sprucing Up The Goose

Fanfare for Castello di Nipozzano’s Vecchie Viti

Story and photos by Deborah Parker Wong

Anderson Valley’s Pinot

Many Anderson Valley Pinot Noir producers time the commercial release of their wines around the annual Pinot Noir Festival and technical seminar, now in its sixteenth year. This year’s event took place in May, and some 40 producers poured their wines at Goldeneye Winery in Philo. As vintages go, 2010 and 2011 challenged producers in more ways than one. Yields were down in 2010 by as much as 30 percent due to a blast of heat in August. Fruit that wasn’t scorched that year ripened, but not overly, resulting in wines with good acidity and flavors. A wet 2011 had many producers scrambling to pick before October rains intensified pressure from botrytis. While Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs can be roughly sorted as one of two broadly-defined wine styles we’ll call “fragrant and sleek” and “bold and deep,” the string of cooler La Niña vintages that started in 2009 and continued through 2011 has closed the gap somewhat on that divide. With more generous vintages such as 2012 and 2013, which is shaping as warm and …

Rutherford Dust 2010

We’re kicking up the dust once again with the 2010 vintage presented by the Rutherford Dust Society at a blind tasting held at Beaulieu Vineyards’ Rutherford House in July. According to President Davie Piña, the Society is in the last stages of their watershed restoration project which has lessened erosion and reduced disease pressure along the 4.5 miles of riverbank that bisect the AVA. “Rutherford growers have given up eight acres of vineyard to restore the river,” said Piña who was met with a round of much-deserved applause for his pivotal role in managing the project. Across the 18 red wines shown that morning, vintage events in 2010 including cool, grey La Niña conditions punctuated by a severe heat spike and untimely rain during harvest produced a narrower range of styles. The tasting was organized moving clockwise around the AVA from west to east and conditions at Rutherford House were ideal with the wines being given time to aerate prior to the tasting. Read the full article at Rutherford Dust 2010.

Grands Crus Classés of Saint Émilion 2010

It’s alive! Unlike its Left Bank counterpart, the Saint Émilion classification is indeed a living thing. The promotion of 17 châteaux not previously classified to the status of Grands Crus Classés in 2012 made this year’s tasting of 33 (of the 63 classified) all the more interesting. Having tasted the 2009s during visits to several of these estates prior to their promotion, focus was squarely on the 2010s during the San Francisco tasting held at Terra Gallery in early November. It’s fascinating to witness change, and the châteaux, which were on an upward trajectory in 2009 for the most part, didn’t disappoint. Read the full article here at Grands Crus Classés of Saint Émilion.

Turning Data into Dollars

A virtual tidal wave of data is fueling the race toward accurately predicting consumer preferences and buying behavior. With intelligent computer systems now gathering information in real time, businesses of all sizes are experiencing a sea change in the way they and their customers use technology. Until very recently, we looked to the past and relied on historical data to identify current trends and to predict consumer behavior. But now we’re looking forward. Information technology has spun us around 180 degrees and given us the ability to use data to extrapolate and make predictions. With a new generation of applications being developed to predict consumer preferences and wine-buying behavior, companies of all sizes are clearly pursuing the promise of big data. “Predication is the nut that everyone is trying to crack,” said data scientist Michael J. Tompkins, cofounder and chief science officer for Houston-based startup VineSleuth. For Tompkins, whose typical project may involve millions of unknowns, wine has its own unique set of challenges. “It’s not as if we have the answer yet,” he said. …

Going to Extremes

On the first day of spring in the Southern Hemisphere, a cold, dry Zonda or rain shadow wind swept down the eastern slopes of the Andes and dropped a blanket of snow over the vineyards of Mendoza, Argentina. “It’s a beautiful sight but devastating to budding vines and fruit trees when followed by a frost,” said Andrés Rosberg, President of the Association of Argentine Sommeliers. Early-budding Chardonnay (and the stone fruit trees) in the Valle de Uco and San Rafael suffered this vintage, but frost and hail storms are the exceptions in Mendoza, where wine-growing conditions are considered less than extreme. Argentina’s most rigorous wine-growing conditions are found at the country’s extremes: from remote 10,000-foot sites in Salta to the north and the cold, arid steppes of Patagonia to the south. But the country’s wine culture traces its roots to more hospitable sites. Vines first arrived in the northern province of Santiago del Estero and were brought from Chile to the San Juan and Mendoza regions in the mid-16th century. The arrival of European immigrants …

Long-lived Lake County

Wine quality has been on the rise in Lake County and winegrowers there have their sights set determinedly on the future—and it’s a very bright one at that. Driven by increased demand for high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Sauvignon Blanc, the value of the region’s wine grapes climbed by 20 percent in 2012, reaching a ten-year high, while yields inched up by just three percent. Here at THE TASTING PANEl, we’ve been following winegrowing in Lake County closely for the last five years. When questions arose about the age ability of the region’s wines, we were quick to take up the challenge. More often than not, exposure to Lake County wines is limited to the supporting role they play in blends from nearby appellations. When this point was raised during a technical seminar hosted in June at MacMurray Ranch by the appellation’s winegrowers, Steele Wines’ Joy Merrilees had answers at the ready but no proof positive that the region’s high-elevation wines can withstand the test of time. Read the complete article here…Long-lived Lake …

Blind Wine Review: Premiere Napa Valley’s 2013 Multi-Vintage Perspective Tasting

While it’s possible to barrel taste recent vintages at many of the preview parties that take place around Premiere, the Napa Valley Vintners’ annual tasting and live barrel auction, a three-vintage, blind perspective tasting of ’08, ’09 and ’10 Cabernet Sauvignons and ’09, ’10 and ’11Chardonnays from 24 Napa Valley wineries was made to order for this column. Designed to demonstrate how Napa Valley vintages unfold over the short term, the multi-vintage tasting of 72 wines was held at the CIA’s Rudd Center on Friday, February 22. The wines presented were whittled down from more than 90 submissions in each category by a jury of local winemakers, buyers and educators including the CIA’s own Traci Dutton and Bob Bath, MS. Release dates are still in the works for many of the ’11 Chardonnays and the majority of ’09 and ’10 Cabernets. It’s worth noting that all of the wines were decanted into hourglass-shaped carafes which tended to work against the Chardonnays when they were poured through the necks of decanters being gripped by warm hands. …