Category Archives: Judging

Experience the North Coast Wine Challenge 2018!

Last week I spent a few days in the midst of Northern California’s best wines.  Results have been posted and this article in the Press Democrat talks about the selection.  I have shared some pictures and the list below, however there is a much more thorough list of Gold Medal Winners in the D-section of Wednesday’s PD print version.  Peruse, pontificate and plan to attend the North Coast Wine & Food Festival on June 9, to try out these fabulous wines!

North Coast Wine Challenge Winners

Best of the Best: Kokomo 2016 Pinot Noir Gopher Hills Block Peters Vineyard Sonoma Coast

Best of Show Red: Kokomo 2016 Pinot Noir Gopher Hills Block Peters Vineyard Sonoma Coast

Best of Sonoma County: Kokomo 2016 Pinot Noir Gopher Hills Block Peters Vineyard Sonoma Coast

Best of Show White: J. Rickards Winery 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Croft Vineyard Alexander Valley

Best of Show Rose: Rodney Strong Vineyards 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

Best of Show Sparkling: Domaine Carneros 2013 Brut

Best of Show Dessert Wine: Sonoma Cutrer Vineyards 2015 Late Harvest Chardonnay

Best of Lake County: Cache Creek Vineyards 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Lake County

Best of Marin County: DeLoach Vineyards 2015 Pinot Noir Marin County

Best of Mendocino: Soda Rock 2016 Chardonnay Mendocino

Best of Napa County: Mudita 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Circle S Ranch Atlas Peak Napa

Best of Sonoma County: Kokomo 2016 Pinot Noir Gopher Hill Block Peters Vineyard Sonoma Coast

SAVE THE DATE! June 9th

#PDNCWC

CA State Fair: Wine Competition Winners Announced

Just a little trek to the State Capital over spring break and guess what we did?  While the fam was out exploring Old Town Sacramento and William Land Park, I participated in this amazing competition! Here are some highlights, with links to more winners at the bottom as well as your chance to taste them for yourself. CHEERS!

Top right photo, at the Sugar Mill in Clarskburg: El Dorado winery owners Greg and Susan Boeger were honored for their family’s achievements in the California wine industry.  In the background is our Chief Judge, Mark Chandler.  www.boegerwinery.com; Other photos showing professional wine judges at work & play!

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Best of Show Red: Double Gold 99
St. Amant Winery
2016 Touriga, The Old Soldier
Amador County

Best of Show White: Double Gold 99
Picchetti Winery
2017 Sauvignon Blanc
Cedar Lane Vineyard
Arroyo Seco

Best of Show Sparkling: Double Gold 99
Gwinllan Estate
2016, Pinot Noir Rose, Brut Sparkling Wine
El Dorado

Best of Show Pink: Double Gold 99
Malene
2017 Rosé
Santa Barbara County

Best of Show Dessert: Double Gold 98
Stephen & Walker
2012 Botrytis Chardonnay, Late Harvest
Mendocino Ridge

Golden State Winery of the Year
Imagery Estate Winery

Golden State Vineyard of the Year Award
Paraiso Springs Vineyard

Wine Lifetime Achievement Awards
Greg Boeger
The Bogle Family

California All Stars Awards
Ken Fugelsang
Dennis Martin

Here is a  searchable list of the 2018 CA State Fair Commercial Wine Competition winners Several opportunities to try these wines upcoming include the Best of California Tasting Event on June 21, or through Taste of California Experience Classes from July 13-29.

Listen Here! The KGO Interview from February 8th.

Here is a quick and easy way to listen to my short discussion on KGO 810AM at 5:30pm with Chip Franklin from February 8th!  Just kick back with cup of something warm and your device now to hear about the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Competition results.

Cheers! Christopher

February 8th: Sawyer Radio-rama on KGO & KXSF!

I will be making the rounds via airwaves to discuss the results of the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Competition.  So on Thursday February 8th, set your tuner for the following:

  • KGO 810AM at 5:30pm with Chip Franklin
  • KXSF (SFCR) 102.5 FM at 7pm with Steve King
  • Or follow the links to listen online

To followup, the list of big winners will be posted in the Sunday issue of the San Francisco Chronicle on Feb 11 and the Grand Tasting of the winners will happen on Sunday, Feb 18.  It is a great Valentine Day Weekend gift idea! Info is available at www.winejudging.com.

Results! 11th annual American Fine Wine Competition

As some of you may know already, I spent the middle of January in the balmy climes of Miami.  It is a ritual these past few years to participate in judging at the American Fine Wine Competition.  Lucky for you as well that I have some splendid results for your perusal.  This is a partial list, but you can check the  AFWC website for final results in the next few days.

The 2018 Top Awards
CONGRATULATIONS TO THESE TOP WINNERS

BEST OF SHOW

Selfie with Carol Shelton, who won the best Red Wine at the AFWC!

Sparkling Wine
Domaine Carneros 2011 Le Reve, Carneros ($110)

White Wine
Fox Run Vineyards 2015 Riesling, Finger Lakes ($18)

Red Wine
Carol Shelton Wines 2013 Petite Sirah “Florence”, Dry Creek ($40)

Sweet/Dessert Wine
Ferrante Winery Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, Ohio 2016 ($30)

BEST OF CLASS

Sauvignon Blanc: TIE!
Hoopes Family Vineyard 2016 $35
and Kelleher Family Vineyard 2016 $34

Chardonnay: Eleven Eleven Wines 2015 $95

Dry Rosé: Shadowbox Cellars 2016 $35

Pinot Noir: Mi Sueno Winery 2013 $55

Zinfandel: Brown Estate Chiles Valley 2015 $55

Cabernet Franc: Detert Family Vineyards 2015 $95

Merlot: Muscardini Cellars 2015 $60

Syrah: Klinker Brick “Farrah” 2014 $65

Red Bordeaux-style Blend: Ahnfeldt Wines “Quid Pro Quo” 2015 $59

Cabernet Sauvignon: Frank Family Vineyards Rutherford Reserve 2015 $95

Other Red Single Varietal: VIE Winery “L’Intruse” Mourvedre 2014 $45

Grenache VIE Winery “L’Imaginaire” 2014 $45

Other White Single Varietal: Reustle-Prayer Rock Vyds, Gruner Veltliner “Smaragd” 2015 $25

Other Red Blend: Buena Vista “The Sheriff” 2016 $40

Hanging with my judging crew!

Harvest Fair: The Judgement in Santa Rosa!

Fresh off the Harvest Fair judging this week, an amazing day of twenty different varieties in multiple forms that showcase the diversity of what Sonoma County has to offer; White wines from Albariño, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Muscat; Red wines from Old Vine Zinfandel, Tannat, Syrah, Grenache and individual bottles of Alicante Bousche. An amazing experience and team effort by the 21 judges present!

Check for our results in today’s Press Democrat (September 24th) and get your Harvest Fair tickets to try all the winning wine and food on October 6-8 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

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Catch the California State Fair: July 14-30

Earlier this year I participated in a judging of over two thousand wines for the California State Fair! Here is the entire California Commercial Wine Competition Results for you to peruse. You also might make those plans to hit the big event starting this Friday July 14th in Sacramento. If not there are other more local fair opportunities to hit all summer long!

North Coast Wine & Food Festival on June 10th

I participated as a judge back in April, now here is your opportunity to taste the best wines from the North Coast American Viticulture Areas (AVA).  These are wines that achieve both a Gold Medal status and 90+ points in The Press Democrat North Coast Wine Competition.  The North Coast AVA consists of wines made from grapes grown in Napa, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Solano and Sonoma counties. The winning wines are selected by prestigious judges in a blind taste test.  Mark your calendar for June 10th and get your North Coast Wine & Food Festival tickets soon!

Judging at Concours Mondial in Spain 2017!

Just finished this amazing competition in the spectacular city of Valladolid, Spain and on the way home now. Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is the only touring competition in the world: Next year? China!

This year over 9080 wines from 50 countries competed for a Silver, Gold, and Grand Gold Medals. Two new categories, for old vintage and organic wines, were introduced this year.

Check out the 2017 Concours Mondial results next week at: http://results.concoursmondial.com

Epic view from the Penafiel Castle we visited in the famous winegrowing area of Ribera del Duero D.O., which is an hour away the provincial city of Valladolid, where we are staying in the Castilla y Lyon region of Spain.
Epic view from the Penafiel Castle we visited in the famous winegrowing area of Ribera del Duero D.O., which is an hour away the provincial city of Valladolid, where we are staying in the Castilla y Lyon region of Spain.
#SawyerSelfieDeluxe with my fellow American wine judges at the Concours Mondail de Bruxelles International Wine Competition (from left): Master Sommelier Robin O'Conner; Wine Business Monthly Assistant Editor Eric Kirschenmann; Wine Guru/Sommelier Charlie Arturaola of Grappolo Blu, Inc; Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen of the Wine Enthusiast/World Wine Guys.
#SawyerSelfieDeluxe with my fellow American wine judges at the Concours Mondail de Bruxelles International Wine Competition (from left): Master Sommelier Robin O’Conner; Wine Business Monthly Assistant Editor Eric Kirschenmann; Wine Guru/Sommelier Charlie Arturaola of Grappolo Blu, Inc; Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen of the Wine Enthusiast/World Wine Guys.

Rosé Today & Everyday!

Take a moment to peruse this press release of the winners for Rosé Today for which I participated as a judge.  You can also read up on the fabulous varietal in this article I am featured in, U.S. Producers Betting on Rosé and Challenging French Dominance published by the Wine Industry Advisor.

Heads up as well about the Rosé Today Country Garden Party to taste some of the winners on Saturday, June 17th from 11-4 at Jaxon Keys Winery & Distillery in Hopland.

Press Release:

Healdsburg, CA – Friday, March 24, 2017 —Announcing Rosé Today 2017 Competition Winners of its 2017 Competition held at Soda Rock Winery on March 22, 2017. Rosé Today’s Wine Director Bob Ecker conducted the double-blind competition judged by nine preeminent judges which included Sean Brosnihan, Francois Cordesse, Debra Del Fiorentino, Rick Farga, Denise Gill, Teejay Lowe, Lucio Matricardi, Ph.D, Christopher Sawyer, and Leslie Sbrocco. On behalf of the entire staff of Rosé Today, producers Craig Palmer and Allen Habel extend their thanks to all competition entries and their heartiest congratulations to all these exceptional winners.

Taking home Best of Show, Best of Class and Double Gold in Domestic Sparkling, for the second year in a row is Gloria Ferrer 2013 Brut Rosé.

Best of Class (with Double Gold) are awarded to: Bonterra Organic Vineyards 2016 Rosé, Domestic Dry; Mezzacorona 2016 Rosato, International Dry; Veuve Ambal NV Marie Ambal Brut Rosé, International Sparkling; and Pratsch 2016 Rosé, International Sweet; Del Rio Vineyards NV Rose Jolee, Domestic Sweet.

Double Gold awardees include: Ascension Cellars 2016 “Siren” Rosé, Benziger Family Winery 2016 Rosé, Fleur 2016 Pinot Noir Rosé, Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé 2016, Darkhorse 2015 Rosé, Ferrari-Carrano Lazy Creek Vineyards 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Sassoferrato 2016 Rosé, Lawer Estates 2016 Rosé, Luis Felipe Edwards Loma Negra 2016 Rosé, Luis Felip Edwards Autoritas 2016 Rosé, LXV 2016 Sangiovese Rosé, Proulx 2016 Grenache Rosé, Sonoma-Cutrer 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, St. Anne’s Crossing Winery 2016 Rose of Zinfandel, Santa Rita Limited Release Rosé 2016, and Wollersheim Winery 2016 Prairie Blush.

Gold recipients are: Apriori 2016 Rosé, Locations NV F Rosé, Collection des Anges 2016 Rosé, Six Degrees 2016 Rosé, Phillips Dublanc NV Brut Rosé Sparkling, Cache Creek Vineyards 2016 Rosé, Chacewater 2016 Rosé, Clos LaChance 2016 Colibri, D’Alfonso-Curran Curran 2016 Rosé, Del Rio Vineyards 2016 Rosé, Domaine de Baccari 2015 Cinsault and Grenache, Domaine Serene NV “r” Rosé IX, Due Ruscelli 2016 Rosé, Ferrai-Carano 2016 Dry Sangiovese Rosé, Fess Parker 2016 Pinot Noir, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards 2016 Rosé, Black Ink 2015 Rosé, Fleur 2016 Rosé, Handley Cellars 2015 Pinot Rosé, J. Rickards Winery 2016 Rosé, King Estate Winery 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Kobler Estate Winery 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Dazzle Cellars 2016 Julia’s Dazzle Rosé, Matrix Winery 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, McCay Cellars 2015 Reserve Rosé, McPherson Cellars 2016 Les Copains Rosé, Pennyroyal Farm 2015 Pinot Noir Rosé, Peltier Winery Black Diamond 2016 Rosé, Soda Rock 2016 Rosé, St. Francis 2016 Rosé, Terra d’Oro 2016 Rosé, Coeur Clementine 2016 Rosé, Veuve Ambal NV Brut Rosé, Rivarose 2016 Brut Rosé, Wakefield/Taylors 2016 Pinot Noir Rosé, Abbazia NV Moscato Rosé, and Vinum Cellars 2016 Rosé.

Read the complete list here!