Virtual luxury marketplace launches wine section

A luxury online food market has launched a new wine section curated by some of the best-known - and, coincidentally young and photogenic - sommeliers in the US.

Gilt Taste, helmed by food writer and former Gourmet editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl, added a cellar to its virtual marketplace this week, with more than 50 labels from California and France. Wines start at $12 and go up to $449 for a single bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and many are exclusive to Gilt Taste, the site claims.

A panel of a dozen wine authorities, sommeliers, and culinary experts, including Reichl, made their picks in a blind taste testing at the Brooklyn Winery in New York after tasting 80 different wines.

The experts - mostly hailing from New York - also happen to be a young crew who make for pretty pictures on a site where aesthetics is as important as the fare.

Laura Maniec, for instance, is one of only 18 female Master Sommeliers in the world and at 31, is also the youngest.

While the panel's choice included a 2008 $449 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bryant Family Vineyard in Napa Valley, the wine that got the highest score in the panel's blind tasting was a 2005 Blanc de Valandraud N2 for $149.95 from Bordeaux, France.

The wine, a mix of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Semillon, was described as complex with notes of melon rind and lime, with a 'refreshing acidity.'

The suggested food pairing with the wine's oak-aged gentle, 'creamy' texture is freshly steamed Dungeness crab.

The section will also feature regular columns by wine writers like Restaurant magazine editor Tejal Rao in the UK, and New York Times columnist Melissa Clark.

Meanwhile, Food & Wine Magazine released its list of the top 10 online wine shops, which includes K&L Wine Merchants and Vinfolio.com.

http://www.gilttaste.com/market/wine

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