And for the perfect Sawyer Somm Pairing, accompany that with my post of the SFIWC Press Release.
SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION
CELEBRATES 35th YEAR WITH GLOBAL ARRAY OF WINNERS
26 Countries, 29 states with a total of 4,902 entries compete in America’s largest International Wine Competition
SAN FRANCISCO, CA June 23, 2015– A celebratory 35 years of the pre-eminent international wine competition in the United States wrapped up on June 14th with the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
Surpassing last year’s record number of entries, this year’s competition had a 7% increase in contenders from the year before. The elegant downtown Hotel Nikko was once again the headquarters for this competition, judged by 50 leading palates from around the U.S. as well as Australia, Germany and New Zealand. Judges from the sectors of retail, restaurants, winemaking, media, and consulting judged over 4,902 wines from 26 countries and 29 states. Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the two top selling wines in the U.S., remained dominant categorically this year with 544 entries, the largest category of the competition. Pinot Noir showed its continual winning streak with 32 Double Golds, 20 of which were from the 2013 vintage.
It was also the 4th year in a row that a Riesling wine won BEST IN SHOW WHITE. The WINERY PORTFOLIO OF THE YEAR went to DELICATO FAMILY VINEYARDS of Napa, California; the TASTING PANEL MAGAZINE WINERY of the Year went to WOLF BLASS WINES, South Australia; and the ANDRÉ TCHELISTCHEFF WINEMAKERS OF THE YEAR award went to Chad Richard, Robert Zeches and Shalini Sekhar of FURTHERMORE Pinot Noir, California.
The competition continued its 100-point scoring system for all Gold and Double Gold medals, which was implemented last year. Several new judges were added in 2015 including Eduardo A. Dingler, Corporate Beverage Director, Morimoto Restaurants in Napa; Ryan McHendry, Coordinator of Category Management, The Kroger Co., Cincinnati; and Bob Paulinski, MW, Senior Vice President of Wine at BevMo!. They joined noted wine talents such as winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett; Wine Enthusiast critic Virginie Boone; Court of Master Sommeliers’ Fred Dame, MS; and leading wine blogger Joe Roberts among others. When queried about the competition this year Bob Paulinski MW stated, “I’ve judged in wine competitions all around the world, but this was my first at the SFIWC.
It impressed me with a great cast of judges, along with a thoughtful process that fairly judges each wine on its true merit.” Phil Market, Liquor Manager of the Southern California division of Safeway who judged for the second time this year stated, “I’m truly amazed at the caliber of the judges at this competition. You have 50 judges from around the world with years of experience in wine, from retail, wholesale, restaurants, wineries, journalism and consultants, all at the top of their game.”
The medal count for 2015 included 254 Double Golds, a distinction given when a wine unanimously wins a gold medal by all the judges evaluating it, 538 Gold medals, 1,742 Silver medals and 1,568 Bronze medals. A complete listing of winners can be found at www.sfwinecomp.com  on June 30, 2015.
BEST IN SHOW awards went to CHAMPAGNE COLLET from France for their 2004 Brut Millésime (BEST IN SHOW SPARKLING for the 2nd year in a row), JEFF REHNQUIST WINES of Paso Robles for their 2013 Syrah (BEST IN SHOW RED), FRAMINGHAM of Marlborough, New Zealand for their 2013 Riesling (BEST IN SHOW WHITE), and AVIGNONESI for their 2000 Vin Santo di Montepulciano, Occhio di Pernice, DOC Tuscany (BEST IN SHOW DESSERT WINE).
Other VARIETAL AND BLEND-SPECIFIC “BEST” awards were presented to 40 wineries from 8 different countries; eighteen different U.S. American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) were also awarded. BEST OF VARIETAL award winners include Chateau Frank of the Finger Lakes, NY; Fess Parker Winery, Los Olivos, CA ; Spy Valley, New Zealand; Baileyana, Edna Valley, CA; Hiro Sake, Japan; Harney Lane, Lodi, CA; Eberle, Paso Robles, CA; Shenandoah Vineyards, Amador County, CA; Catena Zapata, Argentina; Church & State Wines, Okanagan Valley, Canada; Becker Vineyards, Texas; Wolf Blass Wines, South Australia; Quinto do Tedo, Douro Valley, Portugal among many other notable winners.
The 2015 Label Competition was held on June 16th. Of the 152 entrants,
12 merited a Double Gold award for excellence in label design, more than any previous year. The 2015 Label Design judges included Joel Blum of the San Francisco International Wine Competition, Thomas Gronbukt of the Academy of Art University, and Patti Mangan from Imagine That Design Studio.
Competition director Anthony Dias Blue, renowned food and wine authority and publisher, leads and organizes one of the most important and comprehensive wine competitions in the world. Of this year’s competition he stated, “It is hard to believe that each year can improve upon the last, but it happened again this year. At 35 years, we show no signs of slowing down. Like a focused athlete, we’ve refined our judging roster, trained our staff who manages the logistics for close to 5,000 wines flawlessly, and continue to attract great entries from wineries around the globe. I’m thrilled to see the bar of wine quality continue to rise for the trade and consumers. Our job is to deliver to the consuming public the best of the best.”
Tim McDonald, Director of Judging, said, “I am beyond honored to work with Anthony Dias Blue and such a terrific pool of wine judges who cover every aspect of the wine industry and represent over $2 billion in wine sales collectively. Sommeliers, journalists, buyers, producers, importers and wholesalers make the San Francisco International Wine Competition the most prestigious wine competition held in America every year, as is evident in the results from our 35th year.”
For a complete list of winners and judges, visit the San Francisco International Wine Competition’s website on June 30th: www.sfwinecomp.com
Find more on twitter at #SFIWC and @SFIntlWineComp
Time for a spring awakening with a pink twist: I’m happy to say that the results are in from the Rosé Wine Competition I judged on March 25 at Simi Winery in Healdsburg. Started by my pal, Napa-based wine and travel writer Bob Ecker, this is the largest competition of pink wines in the United States. Of the 192 entries, 155 received medals.
The Best in Class from the “Dry” Rosé Category was won by Martin Ray Vineyards of Santa Rosa, California. The Best in Class from the “A Little Sweet” Rosé Category was a Rose from Truett Hurst Winery from Healdsburg, California. These wines were from 19 different states and all the unique interpretations of pink wines were tasted blind.
My fellow judges at the competition included Denise Gill, Debra Del Fiorentino, Sue Straight, Debra Parker Wong, Rick Fraga and Ray Johnson. The full list of awards can be found at The Rosé Competition.
The Gold Medal winning Rosé wines will be featured at a special tasting at Simi Winery on May 30th. Stay tuned for more details about the event. In the meantime, don’t forget to drink pink!
Begining this week, on Thursday April 16th, I will be at the Mt. Veeder Spring Tasting, discussing the 25-year anniversary of the appellation at their media luncheon.
This is an exciting event so take advantage to participate in their public tasting, tickets are available at Mt Veeder Appellation.
Even sooner, I will be judging two prestigious wine competitions. The first is the Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge, April 14-15, at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country Hotel at Fountaingrove in Santa Rosa. Winners of the event will be announced in the Press Democrat. On May 17, many of these award winning wines will be featured along with dishes made by some of Sonoma County’s top chefs at The Barlowe in Sebastopol.
Then, for the long haul south, I will be at the Sunset International Wine Competition judging between April 26-28. Besides being one of the top wine competitions in the nation, this year also marks the last time the competition will be held at the expansive Sunset Headquarters in Menlo Park. For that reason, the other judges and I will be sure to make the most out of this experience, before final sale of the property. Entries for this competition end on April 17th.
Last note, don’t forget that Friday, April 24th is International Sauvignon Blanc Day! When posting use #SauvBlanc, #nzwine, etc, and don’t forget to spread the word! -CS
Happy New Year! As per usual I find myself up in Cloverdale the first week in January judging at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest in the United States, with over 6400 wines being judged.
Put Saturday February 14 on your calendar to attend their public tasting at Fort Mason in San Francisco: 2015 Sweepstakes Award Winners and Tickets available through www.winejudging.com.
Keep posted for updates via my Sawyer Sommelier Blog!
So there we were: Twenty wine judges tasting through the over 70 Best of Class gold medal winners at the Sweepstakes Round of Vineyard & Winery Management’s 24th Annual Grand Harvest Awards. It was so quiet in the room you could hear a pin drop and an occasional chime of two glasses making incidental contact. But when all the contenders were tasted, the Best of Show wine was the fabulous Miro Cellars 2012 Petite Sirah, Dry Creek Valley ($30).
In hindsight, I remember our panel tasting this wine and thinking how generous the fruit was, the layers of flavors and spice, and that long smooth finish. So once the winner was revealed, I wasn’t surprised that this magnificent Petite Sirah was made by Miro Tcholakov, one of the great winemakers of Sonoma County who tends to roll under the radar. After coming to California from his home country of Bulgaria, Miro worked at Dry Creek Vineyards and eventually became head winemaker at Trentadue Winery in Geyserville. On the side, Miro and his family started making Miro Cellars wines in 2001. Coincidentally, the debut release was…Petite Sirah, of course. For more info on Miro’s new releases, visit www.MiroCellars.com.
From a pool of nearly 1100 entries, the other awards included 82 Best of Class, 39 Double Gold, 161 Gold, and 450 Silver medals. Judges included winemakers, wine buyers, distributors, media personnel and other wine industry professionals who not only recognized the best wine submissions but possessed the level of knowledge and expertise needed to assess the wine’s terroir.
The following wines took best their categories:
Best White Wine: Hunt Country Vineyards, 2013 Seyval Blanc, Finger Lakes ($10.99)
SawyerSomm notes, as tasted with fellow judges Alisa Nemo of Handley Cellars and Thrace Bomberger of Walt Wines: Seyval Blanc is a French-American hydrid created by Frenchman Bertille Seyve around 1920. Made in stainless steel, this bright and expressive white wine has lively floral aromas of spring flowers, geranium and citrus. On the palate, a mixture of ripe melon, papaya, grapefruit, mineral, and a long graceful finish. Pairings: gourmet salads, grilled fish, chicken skewers with tangy citrus aioli. www.HuntWines.com.
Best Rose Wine: Truett Hurst Winery, 2013 Salmon Run Rosé, Dry Creek Valley ($18)
SawyerSomm notes, as tasted with fellow judges Alisa Nemo of Handley Cellars and Thrace Bomberger of Walt Wines: Not to be mistaken with Pink Zinfandel, this is a fantastic example of a classy dry Zinfandel rosé with fragrant aromas and lively flavors of wild strawberry, peach, plum, red cherry, anise and orange rind. Pairings: tangy cheeses, fresh berries, tostadas, Paella and spicy Indian cuisine. www.TruettHurst.com.
Best of Show and Best Red Wine: Miro Cellars, 2012 Petite Sirah, Dry Creek Valley ($30). www.MiroCellars.com.
Best Sparkling Wine: Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyard, 2006 Royal Cuvee, Carneros ($37). www.GloriaFerrer.com.
Best Spirit from Grapes: Petroni Vineyards, Grappa di Lorenzo, Sonoma Valley ($45) . www.PetroniVineyards.com.
Best Fruit Wine: Heritage Vineyards, Jersey Blueberry, Outer Coastal Plain ($10.99). www.HeritageWineNJ.com.
Best Late Harvest/Dessert Wine: Stephen & Walker Winery, 2012 Chardonnay Botrytis, Mendocino Ridge (Tbd). www.trustwine.com.
For more juicy information…
Established in 1990, Grand Harvest Awards seeks to uncover the distinctions of terroir by grouping wines for evaluation by appellation and variety. Wines are judged in the context of their viticultural regions in order to recognize the complexities and nuances of regional wines, and also to observe the influence of regional soil and climate characteristics on the taste and quality of individual wines.
“This unique wine competition showcases the diversity of terroir and we are pleased to be part of the research and promotion of allits regions in the U.S. and beyond,” said Robert Merletti, President and Publisher of Vineyard & Winery Management magazine.
And as the official GHA spokesperson, here’s my quote on the awards press release: “For decades we have been trying to interpret the styles of wines made in America. Now, thanks to the use of new technology and fruit from more mature vines, the unique flavor profiles are becoming more defined. For those reasons, it’s exciting to see that the diverse list of winners at the Grand Harvest Awards 2014 really demonstrate how terroir makes a difference in the flavor profiles of grapes planted in special regions across the nation.”
Full results for the competition are posted on www.winecompetitions.com, a website developed by EnofileOnline for Vineyard & Winery Management to house all six of its wine competitions, and on www.enofileonline.com.
Official sponsors of the competition included Hilton Sonoma Wine Country, Penta Ultra-Purified Water, Graber Olives, Wine Country Shipping, Alsco, Costeaux French Bakery, Lagunitas Brewing Company and Sonoma Cider. And last but not least, great thanks to my good friend Debra Del Fiorentino, who did a great job as the Chief Judge at this year’s competition. See www.vwmmedia.com for more information.
Next Up: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, January 6-9
Stay tuned for news from the upcoming San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2015, the largest competition of American wines in the world, January 6-9. To enter wines in the competition before the deadline on December 10th or for information about the special early bird’s ticket price to the SFCWC Public Tasting on Saturday, February 14 which ends on New Years Eve, visit www.winejudging.com.
First Annual Petaluma PRO-AM Homemade Wine Competition will be held this Tuesday afternoon, September 30, 2014 under the auspices of “Sommelier to the Stars” Christopher Sawyer.
That evening Chris and several other noted wine experts will share their opinions with you – after you have tasted and scored the same wines. Compare your opinions with the experts! Rare opportunity to taste Gold Medal Winning wines from the recent professional International Wine Channel TV Wine Competition by Gloria Ferrer, Kokomo Wines, St. Anne’s Crossing and Muscardini Cellars.
The Petaluma Museum Association and the Petaluma Chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows invite you to a World Class tasting of Homemade Wines at:
Petaluma Historical Library & Museum
Tuesday September 30th at 6 PM.
20 4th Street, Downtown Petaluma
Limited to 72 Ticket Sales Total
Tickets $20 at the Museum Door
Results are in for the California Sate Fair Wine Competition! Follow this LINK to download details.