StateWays Nov/Dec 2015

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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43 StateWays n n November/December 2015 (97) Saracina Malbec 2011 (California). John Fetzer has been producing great organic wines since the '80s, now his Saracina winery continues the passion. Vineyard-designated grapes shine in this California interpretation. Rich and full bodied, with soft hints of raisins, plums, coffee and dark chocolate. Soft, supple tannins lead to a long, lingering finish. ($45) (96) Susana Balbo Malbec 2012 (Argentina). Argentina's flying winemaker shows her talents with this one. Malbec and 8% cabernet make this a uniquely styled wine. Aromas of violets, black cherries, and plums dominate. Rich and supple, with a strong tannic backbone, this wine finishes with vanilla, tobacco, and dark chocolate flavors. ($37) (95) Lionel Osmin Cahors 2011. Classic Old-World malbec (100%) from a great producer, the wine is aged 10 months, 25% in oak barrels. The color is deep blue—almost purple. Aromas of black fruits, mocha, and "cigar- box" spiciness lead to bold flavors of blackberry and plum balanced with firm tannins and a hint of lovely terroir. Nice now, it will cellar for several years. ($20) (95) Chateau Nozieres Ambroise de l'Her Cahors 2010. Ninety percent malbec and 10% merlot aged 14 months in oak barrels. Blue/black in color and viscous in the glass. A bouquet of lilacs and berries leads to lovely flavors of blueberry and spice with a touch of sweet and toasty oak. Tannins are supple with a touch of earthiness on the finish. Very French, very good! ($20) (95) Lionel Osmin La Reserve Malbec 2011 (France). An excellent example of malbec (100%) from Southwest France, home of the grape's origins. Aged 10 months, 80% stainless, 20% oak. The wine has a beautiful deep- blue color. Aromas and flavors of berry, black cherry, coffee, and some sweet spice finish with soft tannins and a hint of terroir. This is a great introduction to "old-world" malbec and a terrific value! ($13) (95) Decero Malbec Remolinos Vineyard- Agrelo 2011 (Argentina). The vineyard is located at 3,500 feet in Mendoza's sub-region of Agrelo where the grapes are hand picked. The wine, aged in French oak barrels for 14 months, is a superb example of modern Argentine winemaking. A floral nose leads to concentrated flavors of sweet/tart red fruits with nuances of cedar, spice, and vanilla. The tannins are firm and linger with some lip-smacking acidity. Pair this with a good steak! ($23) (95) Luigi Bosca Malbec 2011 (Argentina). Intense with sweet tannins, ripe red fruits, cassis and black pepper tones. A pure and full- bodied malbec. This bold gem pairs nicely with braised short ribs, stews and game. ($17) MALBEC (98) Altamira Navigato Grand Reserve Malbec 2008 (Argentina). This is one serious malbec. High-altitude fruit from the Uco valley. Old-vine designation utilizing plantings from 1947. An exotic blend of malbec, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc aged 24 months in French oak. Intense purple color, soft aromas of apricot, plum, and bright cherries. Elegant, supple mouthfeel, and a long, smooth finish. ($52) As 2016 approaches, we look back at the best wines reviewed by our retailer panel in 2015. The panel taste tests numerous wines annually. This year, they sipped and rated sauvignon blanc, malbec, merlot, rosé, and American cabernet sauvignons. The following wines were all graded as 5-star, meaning they earned at least 92/100 points from one of our retailers. 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 or 203-855-8499 x225. Retailer Wine Selections HHHHHHHH The Best Wines of 2015 HHHHHHHH Rating System HHHHH Five Stars (92-100) A top-flight wine. Superior in taste and character and providing an outstanding price/value relationship. HHHH Four Stars (86-91) A very good wine and an excellent value. A wine for which customers will keep coming back. HHH Three Stars (80-85) An above-average wine, at a reasonable price point, which many customers will enjoy. HH Two Stars (70-79) An average wine. H One Star (50-69) A below-average wine.

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