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We send 3 wine professionals 1 unmarked bottle they tell us what it is.

TASTING BLIND--EVEN FOR THE MOST ENLIGHTENED PRO--IS TRICKY business. What path does one follow to arrive at an answer? We find out, highlighting and learning from the subtle differences perceived. There are no egos. No wrong answers. We're not trying to trip anyone up. Just gather impressions on a classic varietal from a classic appellation. And, keep in mind: a different conclusion can sometimes be the highest compliment a wine can hope to receive.

Ruben Sanz Ramiro

Head Sommelier, PM & Vanner, Vaxjd, Sweden

Ramiro was born in Aranda de Duero, Burgos, Spain and moved to America in 2005. He now calls Vaxjo, in the Southern region of Smaland, home. Ramiro brings his experience working with great wine lists (he was at New York's Veritas and Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck) to PM & Vanner, a restaurant-hotel that houses one of the largest wine cellars in all of Scandinavia. Ramiro is intrigued by Sweden's contemporary culinary scene and challenged by the country's complex wine laws that face stringent government regulations. He's a passionate impresario of fine wine with considerable tasting acumen.

SIGHT: Pale, green color with a slightly golden edge

SMELL: Medium intensity of ripeness aromas suggesting notes of pears, apples, yellow stone fruits, and minerals. Slightly reduced, quite closed down still. Complex aromatics, yet very youthful, unfolded aromas. Citrus notes and quite mineral driven. There is a sense of concentration, reduction, and austerity that will evolve in the next 10-15 years. Mineral-driven.

PALATE: Dry with restrained power, relatively generous, yet very mineral-driven, energetic. Crisp and tight, very much driven by high acidity and minerality rather than fruit. Firm and focused, austere, yet concentrated and precise. Long length and finish-driven by mineral acid nerve. Not unfolded yet. Seems rather youthful and concentrated, needing time to give more. Apple, floral notes, citrus and flinty nose.

INITIAL CONCLUSION: Concentrated, crisp minerality and long length and finish. Youthful, 5-7 years old. Concentrated, powerful, yet austere and serene. From a traditional producer. No new oak and mineral driven. Very good. Will improve during the next 10-15 years when the aromas and flavors will blossom and the acidity will soften.

FINAL CONCLUSION: Very good Chardonnay from Burgundy, possibly Chablis. A high level Grand Cru.

YOSHI TAKEMURA

Wine Director, iwine.jp, Tokyo, Japan

Takemura came to the United States from Japan at the age of 11. An alumnus of Cornell School of Hotel Administration, he got a taste of large inventory having worked at New York's Tribeca Grill and Veritas. Since 2009, Yoshi has been wine director for iwine. jp, Japan's largest Internet wine store, stocking over 1,200 fine and rare selections. Reserved, gracious and generous, he emanates the true core qualities of a great sommelier. Yoshi also holds certifications from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, Court of Master Sommeliers, and Japan Sommelier Association.

"This is something I would drink every day. I'd love to drink this with tempura, vegetables, cheese, and risotto."

SIGHT: Yellow, fading to pale yellow. Slight green tinge. Daybright.

SMELL: Freshly squeezed lemon, gunpowder, SO2. Evidence of oak, but very balanced. Explosive minerality.

PALATE: Medium to high acidity, minerality is high. Racy, clean finish. Long, balanced finish. Tasty, nutty finish.

INITIAL CONCLUSION: Old world. Cool climate. High quality producer. Excellent vintage. 2-4 years old. Mineral-driven. Vinegar and vintage. Chardonnay. Burgundy, France.

FINAL CONCLUSION: 2010 Meursault Chevalier Coche-Dury

PASCALINE LEPELTIER, M.S.

Beverage Director/Sommelier, Rouge Tomate, New York City

Born in the Atlantic coastal town of La Rochelle, Lepeltier abandoned her M.A. in philosophy to pursue her M.S. in wine. She arrived in New York at Rouge Tomate in 2009 after managing the wine program at the company's Brussels location. Mining an evolving list of 900 labels, she seeks out world wines with non-interventionist provenance. A theoretical taster Lepeltier is a joy to watch as she goes through her complex set of evaluations. In 2014 the Court welcomed her as a M.S.

"Always before tasting, smell the wine a first time without swirling to get the more ethereal, higher aroma and have an idea of the intensity. Then swirl, but not too much."

SIGHT: Clean, clean and brilliant. N+ intensity of pale yellow with light green lime and confirming youth of the wine. No gas. No sediment. Medium viscosity. Fresh and young vintage, probably filtered.

SMELL: First nose: Medium + intensity. Fresh, touch of green varietal (slight under ripeness, fresh vintage?). Bright (young vintage?). Lingering. No obvious oak. Touch lean. Clean. No reduction. No TCA. No oxidation. Just slight green/ pyrazine. Second nose after two swirls and with a taste at the same time. I smell and taste with my retro nasal. Medium + intensity. Fresh, confirming young vintage. No lees aroma for the final. Complexity N+. Bright. Fruit: Citrus medium + of fresh lemon, white pear, yellow apple, mandarin skin, crisp, fresh orchard. Non fruit: floral medium +, elderflower and lilac. Savory Medium + lees, almond milk, smoked salt, hazelnut, indicating lies stirring. Oak: French Medium toast. Vegetal: Sage, fennel, cilantro, light hint of sulfur. Oak confirmed. Light or medium toast. Minerality: slight sulphur then bright minerality. Conclusion: medium aromatic grape, young fresh vintage. Wine aged in French oak with work on the lees. Minerality discreet.

PALATE: Clean Medium + intensity, N+ length. Acidity N+ to high. Alcohol N+ around 12 percent. Sweetness is bone dry. Tanins: from the oak, no skin contact. Build the palate little by little to reach an N+ volume in the mid palate. Supported by the alcoholic ripeness of the fruit and the lees treatment. Final is a little marked by the oak and the stirring. Salty note of minerality in final. A little short today. S02, probably youth of the vintage and recent bottling.

INITIAL CONCLUSION: Cool climate, old world. Chardonnay. Cool, young vintage with hint of green, pyrozine element like 2011. Burgundy.

FINAL CONCLUSION: 2011 Chablis. Grand Cru Les Clos. Chablis for light minerality-acidity. Les Clos because it's opulent; ripe core. 2011 because it's typical of the vintage.
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Title Annotation:LOOKING GLASS
Publication:Art Culinaire
Date:Sep 22, 2014
Words:989
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