January 2009

Industry Spotlight

By: The Tasting Panel Editorial Team

Schramsberg Reserve Gift Box

The 2001 Schramsberg Reserve (SRP $100) is the winery's top Pinot Noir–focused brut sparkling wine. Six years old upon release, this fruitful, yet dry, toasty and creamy bubbly will age gracefully for a good 20 years beyond the vintage date. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay; 2,232 6-bottle cases produced. (WILSON DANIELS)
Fleming's Culinary Competition

Skip Fox, President, Fleming's; Russ Bendel, operating partner, Fleming's Newport Beach; Kevin Bui, Cypress College culinary student and first place winner; and Russell Skall, Fleming's corporate chef.
Fleming’s Newport Beach, CA, sponsored a culinary competition as part of its tenth anniversary celebration. Six finalists created a two-course menu utilizing Fleming’s core ingredients of jumbo shrimp, beef tenderloin, potatoes, mushrooms and spinach or asparagus. The dishes for the 90-minute cook-off were evaluated on taste, creativity and plating.  The three judges were Orange County Register food editor Cathy Thomas, celebrity chef and radio personality Jamie Gwen and Fleming’s executive company chef Russell Skall.  

In a surprise upset, the winner was the youngest and least experienced of the six culinary student finalists:  Kevin Bui, 19, a freshman in Cypress College’s Hotel Restaurant Culinary Arts program, walked off the with the $5,000 first prize. 

Bui’s winning dishes were “Gone Shrimpin,’” shrimp in an avocado salad served in a Martini glass, and “Je Ne Sais Quoi,” roasted beef tenderloin with Cabernet Sauvignon veal demi-glace. Thomas described the dishes as “irresistible.”
Malibu in Miami

Singer Gloria Estefan joins the Malibu Noche Blanca dancers at a recent Malibu rum event held at Bongo’s in Miami in November.


Robert Mondavi Private Selection Meritage
Robert Mondavi Private Selection announces the introduction of Meritage, a Bordeaux blend inspired by the European travels of the late Robert Mondavi.

The 2006 vintage Meritage is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 8% Malbec. Fruit for the wine is sourced from premium vineyards along California’s Central Coast, a growing region Robert Mondavi was among the first to champion in the early 1990s.

Originally called Vinetta, the wine has been given a new name to underscore its California roots. (VINEONE)

Kunde’s Green Award
Kunde Family Executives Marcia Kunde Mickelson (far left), Don Chase (center front) and Jeff Kunde (holding award) accepted the prestigious 2008 Governor's Environmental Leadership Award from CA State Government leaders in November.

With more than a century of grape-growing experience to inform its true green practices, Kunde Family Estate was recognized by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for its leadership role in sustainable winegrowing, being awarded the State of California’s highest environmental honor. These sustainable practices are reflected in the vineyards, winery facilities, estate eco-tours and, of course, the bottle.

TGIC Appoints Bob Guinn

TGIC Importers, specializing in importing South America’s best wineries, has recently hired Bob Guinn as Senior Vice President and General Manager reporting to Alex Guarachi, owner and President of TGIC. Guinn brings over 20 years of sales and marketing experience with suppliers and wholesalers.  Prior to TGIC, Guinn was the National Director of Sales for Joshua Tree Imports.  Previous to JTI, Guinn was with Pacific Wine Partners.

New Cruzan Rum Marketing Team

Peter Wijk

Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. announces the appointments of marketing veterans Peter Wijk and David Turo.
Wijk has been appointed U.S. Senior Director, Lifestyle Brands, which includes Cruzan rum and Beam Global’s tequila portfolio, Sauza and El Tesoro de Don Felipe.  Turo is now the Senior Brand Manager for Cruzan, moving from his former position in Beam Global as Marketing Director for the West Coast Division.
David Turo

“With the addition of Cruzan to our portfolio, we not only gained one of the world’s leading rum brands, but also the marketing expertise of Peter and David,” said Bill Newlands, President of Beam Global’s U.S. business.  “Peter has international experience in brand marketing; David has been a critical player in building our brands on the West Coast, and we’re excited to lend his energy, talents and creativity to Cruzan.”

JESSICA ALBA is the New Face of Campari Calendar

Jessica Alba.

Campari unveiled its 2009 calendar, Club Campari, featuring actress Jessica Alba and her interpretation of “Red Passion,” captured by the lens of acclaimed photographer Mario Testino and legendary director Jean-Paul Goude. “Red Passion” is the “fil rouge”— the shared attribute linking each annual edition of the Campari calendar, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. More can be found at www.clubcampari.com.

A.Hardy USA introduces Single Malt Vodka

A. Hardy USA, Ltd. has released Single, a single malt vodka. A product of Italy, Single is distilled from barley malt. The inspiration was attributed to a Scottish nobleman’s formula, drawing on the same ingredients that are the basis of single malt whiskies. According to A. Hardy USA Sr. VP Mark Levinson, “Our product offers distributors something unique and very different from other vodkas. There is nothing else like it on the market.” Suggested retail price for the 750-ml. bottle is $39.99. View the company’s web site at www.ahardyusa.com


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