WINE TASTER INDEX
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|Van de Water||Mia||116|
FROM ISSUE 132:
We send three wine professionals and unmarked bottle, they taste, give us their impressions on a classic varietal from a classic appellation, and guess what the wine is. Keep in mind: a different conclusion can sometimes be the highest compliment a wine can hope to receive.
Wine director, PRESS,
While working in restaurants in New York and simultaneously pursuing acting roles, Amanda McCrossin got bit by a bug called wine. Infected, she eventually worked her way to a sommelier position at Rotisserie Georgette. “One day I got a call from Scott Brenner and Kelli White asking if I was interested in moving to Napa Valley to work with them at PRESS, a restaurant that served only Napa Valley wines. Three and half years later they gave me the reigns and now I run the show.” McCrossin manages a list of 1,500 evolving wines. “We ask our winemaker neighbors to raid their cellars for us, then we go to our network of collectors, and after that a few grey market sources that we trust for care in storage. One of the advantages of being in Napa is that so many winemakers dine with us that we can get real-time perspective on the older vintages we open.” Another advantage: staff outreach outings. “We have weekly field trips where we go feel the sun the grapes feel, and put our hands on the vines that hold them. We gain such great, valuable personal perspectives that we implement talking with guests on the floor.” As a champion of Napa Valley wines, PRESS has added a monthly program called Sunday School that invites vintners to pour wines and talk about whatever he or she has on their mind for 90 minutes. McCrossin documents many of these chats and her winery visits on her YouTube channel, SommVivant.
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Issue 132: Amanda says yes to a blind tasting for @artculinairemagazine without realizing what was actually on the line and then miraculously crushes the blind and narrowly escapes public humiliation 😅 In all honesty, It legitimately didn’t occur to me until 5 seconds before walking through the door that my blind tasting results would be IN PRINT. I have absolutely why this very obvious notion never so much as crossed my mind, but there I was at compline with a notebook filled with a list of sommelier’s who had been tasked with the challenge before me and a glass of wine – and off I went. “You’re the best damn blind taster in the world” I said silently to myself. Those who have taken Blind Tasting with @andrewfbellwine will recognize that mantra as one of the cornerstones of the @amsommelier organization. And so, Like a soldier praying before heading into battle, I took a deep breath, uttered the mantra once more, and picked up the glass. Truth be told, it’s a pretty damn helpful little confidence booster and something I’ve utilized in situations like these many times before. Blind tasting, like so many things, is a battle of the mind. Can you sit down and focus for 5 minutes on a problem without getting distracted, disenchanted, delirious, or second guessing yourself? Somewhere in your sensory bank and mind is the answer, It’s just a matter of following the yellow brick road. As I set out on a different path a few years ago that no longer involves me testing for pins or diplomas, blind tasting isn’t something I do with as much academic regiment as I used to. But it’s still a muscle that needs to be exercised. I may not do regular flights of 6 or attend weekly blind tasting groups, but I do pay attention to everything I taste and take mental notes. It’s a process that works for me, feels organic, and has served me well in the long term. After reading my notes, I was happy with my performance and pleasantly surprised that I arrived at the right answer. I’m certainly not the definitive source on how to do this shit, but it’s clear to me there’s no right or wrong way to blind taste. I just recommend doing it, & often. #artculinaire #blindtasting #winepro
SIGHT: Reflectively youthful and surprisingly nuanced on the color spectrum. At first glance the wine appears quite yellow, but illuminated by a dramatic green tinge, it looks like a sunrise atop a lush mountainside. Fresh after a rainfall and bursting with reflection. I’d rather enjoy a dress fashioned from these colors to wear on Memorial Day next year. I could continue to wax poetic, but back to the task at hand. Clear and day-bright, no evidence of gas, and as noted, streaks of kafir lime green.
AROMA: Obnoxiously and fragrantly aromatic in the best way. Notes of beeswax, to acacia, to pineapple, and finishing on something greener and herbal. It’s a wild roller coaster of intense aromatics that pulls you in and surprises at each turn. Has a youthfulness and pleasing softness. Pronounced and lush fruit. Ripe, but not appearing to come close to anything baked. It does, however, remind me of canned peaches and pineapple, or the fruit cup I ate in elementary school. Not unpleasant in the least, but certainly not freshly picked from the tree.
PALATE: Peach and pineapple diced up and thrown into a fruit salad. Weight and texture with a touch of phenolic tension that pricks the tongue. A nice juxtaposition against the silky and oily viscosity. I detect fresh grass and greenness at the finish, but alcohol, a touch on the hot side, indicates a warm vintage and climate. As the temperature warms in the glass the fruit becomes more and more pronounced. While there is definitely acidity, it seems to defer to its fruity cohorts.
INITIAL CONCLUSION: The color, with all its greenness and reflectiveness, struck me first. Compared with the tropical fruits and herbaceous, I’m inclined to lean toward Sauvignon Blanc from a New World region. It also wouldn’t shock me to learn that there might be a touch of Semillon based on the texture and waxiness. The wine is youthful.
FINAL CONCLUSION: 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley.