The Sommelier’s Case
Julie Dalton is sommelier at Wit & Wisdom by Michael Mina located within Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. In addition, Dalton is a member of the Texsom international wine awards sommelier panel, which tastes and reviews gold medal-winning wines selected by the judges during the blind tasting competition. She chooses twelve of the competition’s medal-winning wines and explains why she finds them especially intriguing.
Chateau Musar Jeune White ’13 (Bronze)
Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
What a delicious wine! Almost equivalently Viognier, Chardonnay and Vermentino, this wine has so many personalities. Its naked canvas has been unadulterated with oak so therefore pure fruit and varietal character shines through and it changes every time you put your nose in the glass. Sometimes it’s floral, other times it’s herbaceous. This is a wine that gives so much for the price that it’ll have you stocking it up for all your spring flings. And summer soirees. And fall festivals. And winter interludes.
Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2006 (Silver)
This Champagne is showing so beautifully this vintage – the bulk of the cuvée is Chardonnay which gives it a smoky elegance which I just love with (don’t judge) BBQ flavored potato chips! Sweet and salty with smoky and crunchy? Talk about a perfect party on the palate!
Veramonte Ritual Sauvignon Blanc ’13 (Bronze)
Casablanca Valley, Chile
My days of recommending Sauvignon Blancs are few and far in between…it’s the popular kid in school that doesn’t need any more attention. And its herbaceous aggression overpowers most food in my opinion. But this example is exceptional. It’s a blend of techniques including fermentation in barrel, stainless steel and concrete eggs. Then the blend marries for 3 months. The result is a wine that is smoky, creamy due to lees aging and crisp without the harshness. Let’s remind our guests that Chile was making wine before New Zealand was.
Banfi Rosa Regale Dolce Brachetto D’Acqui ’13 (Silver)
This wine is one of my guilty pleasures. This is a wine that disappears before you know it and it has your lips smacking for days. It’s so delicious in the summer time with balsamic-stewed strawberries covered in mascarpone cheese.
Mark Ryan Dead Horse ‘12 (Silver)
Columbia Valley, Washington
What I love about Washington State wines is that they give our guests the Napa Valley experience without its parallel price tag. This wine is everything those guests want – intense yet supple black fruit, toasty sweet vanilla and clove, high notes of mint and sage. Tiny quantities and top notch packaging is worthy of a price tag that’s twice its price.
Cavallotto Barolo ‘Bricco Boschis’ ’10 (Silver)
For me, this producer is the King Midas of everything they touch. Classic, timeless, precise. These wines are sexy beyond words. 2010 was such a great vintage for Barolo also…the particularly long hang time generated a crazy punch of flavor and structure that will haunt you weeks after you taste it.
Pearmund Cellars Petit Verdot ’13 (Silver)
Fauquier County, Virginia
Virginia is the new frontier, folks. And if you’re not convinced by their Cabernet Franc, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, then you’ve got to go for their Petit Verdot. Virginia Petit Verdot is a wolf on the eyes but a sheep on the palate. Dark, concentrated, inky…it looks terrifying to the uninitiated, looks like paradise to the hedonist. The palate satisfies both parties here with a power that is perfectly balanced.
Beaumont Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc ’13 (Gold)
Bot River, South Africa
I love this wine because it gives my guests who love broad, expansive rich wines a break from a traditional New World Chardonnay alternative…and it might be just a scosche more interesting. It’s honeyed without being sweet, ripe without being weighty. It’s just plain delicious.
Robert Weil Riesling Kabinett ’13 (Gold)
This wine is just electricity in a glass. You smell it and you can feel the energy. You taste it and you light up from the inside out. The intensity of aromatics and flavors in this glass will have your head spin. The tiny kiss of residual sugar fleshes out the angles that this producer is known for having. AmaZING
J. Christopher Dundee Hills Pinot Noir ’12 (Silver)
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Juicy, earthy, toasty, smokey and yum. That’s this Pinot Noir. Just yum. It has nothing to hide, its transparency is one of its lovely features. It’s certainly not shy – especially this vintage – but just unapologetically ripe, friendly and ready to two-step with lamb carpaccio.
Skouras Megas Oenos ’10 (Gold)
A ‘Super-Greek’ with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon blended into the indigenous Agiorgitiko and eighteen months in 100% New French Oak, there’s no reason we can’t take our New-World-Cabernet-Sauvignon -wanting guests to Greece with this wine. I’ve had this wine with some age on it and the oak settles down, the Cabernet integrates beautifully and it reminds me of a deliciously perfect Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Commanderie De La Baremone Rosé ’14 (Bronze)
Coteaux D’aix En Provence, France
This is a wine that when you smell it you just immediately get all smiley. Provençal rosé wine is just so aromatically inviting and this one especially – with over 30% Syrah, its captivating savory and floral notes begs for a chorizo-heavy untraditional bouillabaisse.
Reprint from TEXSOM presents SOMMELIER Volume 000, pages 68–80
Hero picture: Moët & Chandon
Photographer: Ahna Hubnik