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San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Results: January 2006

Sonoma Scores Big at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Sonoma County wineries and growers racked up many of the most impressive awards given at this year’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The Sonoma team participated in bagging all three sweepstake titles – best sparkling wine, best white wine and best red wine. And to add to the honors, over a dozen Best of Class awards were also picked up by the home team.

The professional judging took place in Cloverdale at the Citrus Fairgrounds from January 10-13. 55 judges from around the country participated in evaluating over 3300 entries. This judging which began over twenty years ago with a few entries from local wineries is now the largest competition of American wine in the world.

Entries were submitted from across the United States, though the overwhelming majority originated with wineries here in California. The competition is tough and not everyone walks away with a medal. But those that do, especially the coveted Best of Class and Sweepstake awards, have a year’s worth of bragging rights and a promotional story that can move pallets of wine to the mouths of consumers.

Here is a recap of the big winners.

  • Sparkling Sweepstakes Winner:
    1996 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Cuvée – Sonoma winery, Carneros fruit.
  • White Sweepstakes Winner:
    2005 Windsor Vineyards Mendocino County Private Reserve Sauvignon Blanc – Sonoma winery, Mendocino fruit.
  • Red Sweepstakes Winner:
    2004 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – Napa winery, Sonoma Coast fruit.

The consistent quality of the fruit and winemaking in the sweepstakes winners is verified by their repeated garnering of awards. Gloria Ferrer won top honors for another of their bubblies during the most recent Harvest Fair. Carol Shelton made Windsor Vineyards the winningest winery in the universe during her tenure there and the tradition has been maintained with the new team. And lastly Patz & Hall took the top red wine honor two years ago at the Chronicle and returned for a repeat performance. They continue to source great fruit across Napa and Sonoma to create show-stopping wines.

Each of the Sweepstakes winners above had to first be judged the best of its class, or the best of its category of judging. While numerous gold medals were given to the entries in class #200, titled Sauvignon Blanc up to $13.99, only one was chosen as the best of that class. The honor went to Geyser Peak for their 2005 California Sauvignon Blanc, which can be found locally for less than $10. This wine out-performed others that are more expensive and produced in smaller quantities. Kudos to Geyser Peak for giving us affordable wine in ample supply!

Here is a complete list of the Best of Class Superstars where Sonoma growers and wineries were the lynchpin of success. I’ve included the published retail prices as well.

  • Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves 1996 Cuvée Carneros $50.00
  • Geyser Peak Winery 2005 Sauvignon Blanc California $12.00
  • Windsor Vineyards 2005 Sauvignon Blanc Mendocino Co Private Reserve $16.00
  • Roche Carneros Estate Winery 2004 Chardonnay Carneros American Oak Res $30.95
  • Gundlach Bundschu 2004 Gewürztraminer Rhinefarm Vineyard $22.00
  • Martin Ray Winery 2004 Pinot Noir Angeline Russian River Valley $10.00
  • Gallo Family Vineyards 2004 Pinot Noir Sonoma County $15.00
  • De La Montanya Winery 2004 Pinot Noir Russian River Tinas Vineyard $30.00
  • Patz & Hall 2004 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast $36.00
  • Starry Night Winery 2003 Zinfandel Tom Feeney Russian River $26.00
  • Wilson Winery 2003 Zinfandel Reserve Dry Creek Valley $38.00
  • Trois Voyelles 2003 Syrah Alexander Valley $25.00
  • Annapolis Winery 2004 Syrah $30.00
  • Sidney 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County $19.99
  • Clautiere Vineyard 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Clautiere Vineyard $24.00
  • Wattle Creek Winery 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Vintage Select Alexander Valley $85.00
  • Kendall-Jackson 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Highland Estates $50.00
  • deLorimier Winery 2002 Malbec Alexander Valley Estate $24.00
  • Lancaster Estate 2002 Bordeaux Blends Lancaster Estate Red Wine $65.00
  • De La Montanya Winery 2003 Cab/Zin/Syrah Pinup Cabaret Sonoma Co $38.00
  • Artesa 2003 Tempranillo Alexander Valley $25.00
  • Geyser Peak Winery NV Port Cucamonga Valley Tawny Port $19.00

Check out the rest of the winners online at www.winejudging.com.

You can taste the stars of the judging at Fort Mason on February 25. Complete details are also available at www.winejudging.com/public_tasting.htm.




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