Cheers - November 2015

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 43 of 51 44 • November/December 2015 THE BEST WINES OF 2015 As 2016 approaches, we look back at the best wines reviewed by our national operator/ retailer panel in 2015. The panel this past year tasted and rated sauvignon blanc, malbec, merlot, rosé, and American cabernet sauvignons. The following wines were all received fi ve stars, meaning they earned at least 92 out of 100 points from one of our panelists. If you're a beverage professional with a specialty in wine and you're interested in participating in the panel, please contact associate editor Kyle Swartz at kswartz@ or 203-855-8499 x2225. FIVE STARS (98) Altamira Navigato Grand Reserve Malbec 2008 (Argentina). High-altitude fruit from the Uco valley. Old-vine designa- tion using plantings from 1947. An exotic blend of malbec, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc aged 24 months in French oak. Intense purple, soft aromas of apricot, plum, and bright cherries. Elegant, supple mouthfeel, and a long, smooth fi nish. ($52) (97) Champagne Henriot, Brut Rosé (France). A stunning example of a world-class rosé Champagne. Brilliant salmon-pink in color, with delicate strawberry and cherry on the nose followed by a palate of complexity and elegance. A long, balanced fi nish confi rms the wine's pedigree and class. Outstanding. ($70) (97) Fiddlehead Cellars Goosebury Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (California). A "New World" style, fermented in stainless steel and unoaked to display the beautiful aromas and fl avors characteristic of sauvignon blanc grown in the unique microclimate of Happy Canyon. Fresh hints of peach, mango, and zest of mandarin RATING SYSTEM (92-100 points) A top-fl ight wine. Superior in taste and character and providing an outstanding price/value relationship. (86-91 points) A very good wine and an excellent value. A wine for which customers will keep coming back. (80-85 points) An above-average wine at a reasonable price point, which many consumers will enjoy. mingle with a mineral nuance on the nose. Those tropical fl avors gently take over the palate and carry through to the fi nish where the terroir and crisp, lively acidity make you smack your lips. Reminiscent of pouilly- fumé or sancerre, this is a must try for the connoisseur of sauvignon blanc. ($35) (97) Pahlmeyer Merlot 2012 (California). A real powerhouse of a wine. Dense, nearly purple color in the glass, with dark fruit dominating the nose and palate. Hints of spice follow from the nose to the taste, with great fruit and density. An exceptional wine; a real keeper. ($70) (97) Saracina Malbec 2011 (California). John Fetzer has been producing great organic wines since the '80s, now his Saracina winery continues the passion. Rich and full bodied, with soft hints of raisins, plums, coffee and dark chocolate. Soft, supple tannins lead to a long, lingering fi nish. ($45) (96) Gallo Estate Northern Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). A dense ruby purple, the nose is dominated by lovely black berry and plum fruit, with just a hint of toasted oak. Solid on the palate, balanced by its acidity. A brilliant ex- ample of restraint and power in the bottle. Wonderful now, but capable of aging. ($95) (96) Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot 2012 (Washington). A partnership with Michel Rolland, this Washington State wine shows power with elegance. Nearly opaque in the glass, the nose is dominated by black fruit, with hints of spice and smoke. Quite weighty on the palate, the fi nish is long and superbly balanced. ($60)

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