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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Trione 2007 Block Twenty One Cabernet Sauvignon

The Award-Winning Wine:
Trione 2007 Block Twenty One Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley

Reason for Reviewing:
Trione 2007 Block 21 Cabernet Sauvignon earned a Best of Class, Cabernet Sauvignon, at the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Noteworthy:
For 35 harvests, three generations, Henry Trione, sons Mark and Vic, and Mark’s daughter Denise have farmed and managed grapes in Sonoma County and earned a reputation for producing premium Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley wines.

Winery Notes:
"Aromas of currant, sage and allspice dominate the nose. The palate is vibrant and with velvety tannins. This wine is drinking wonderfully now and will age gracefully over the next 5-10 years."

AlaWine Notes:
Trione 2007 Block Twenty One Cabernet Sauvignon shows as a dark garnet color in the glass. A bouquet of ripe berries, herbs and spice grace the nose. Abundant flavors of dark berry and cherry fill the palate in a smooth opening and linger across a long dry finish with a toasty oak highlight.

Bottom Line:
Trione 2007 Block 21 Cabernet Sauvignon is a statuesque Cab with rich flavors and interesting layers and complexities. Can be enjoyed best on its own, or if with food, grilled steak. Suggested retail price is $64. Overall composite score: 97 points.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Christopher Creek Winery 2010 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

The Award-Winning Wine:
Christopher Creek Winery 2010 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

Reason for Reviewing:
Christopher Creek Winery 2010 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel was named a "Best of Class" winner at the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Noteworthy:
The winery is owned by the Wasserman Family who, in addition to growing grapes, has been farming oranges and olives in the Central Valley of California for the past 35 years and lives on a Cabernet vineyard (Finlay’s Vineyard) in Dry Creek Valley.

Winery Notes:
Tastes of strawberry and raspberry fruits with hints of vanilla and spice.

AlaWine Notes:
Christopher Creek Winery 2010 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel is a dark ruby color on pouring into the glass. Aromas of ripe brambleberry and fruitcake lift to the nose. Rich red berry flavors wash across the palate and hold persistently through a dry, spicy, light pepper finish with a leather highlight.

Bottom Line:
Christopher Creek Winery 2010 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel is a full-flavored Zin with interesting layers and a satisfying finish. Quite quaffable and a good value at a suggested retail price of $28. Overall composite score: 95 points.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Winners of the 2012 American Fine Wine Competition

The American Fine Wine Competition, now in it’s 5th year, has announced the super-awarding wines of the 2012 competition. More than 600 wines from across the United States were blind tasted and judged before naming the winners — Best of Show and Best of Class.

Best of Show Medals were awarded to 2009 Il Passito, a late harvest dessert wine from Castello di Amorosa from the North Coast and a 2009 Manchester Ridge Pinot Noir from La Follette Wines in Mendocino County. Best of Class Medals were awarded to the following:

* 2009 Daou Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
* 2008 Rocca Family Vineyard Merlot
* Prager Companion & Port Works Noble Companion 10 Year Old Tawny Port
* 2007 Merriam Vineyards
* 2009 Jada Vineyard & Winery Hell's Kitchen
* 2010 Ledson Winery & Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
* 2005 Mumm Napa 2005 DVX Rosé
* 2010 Ferrante Winery Golden Bunches Riesling
* 2009 Michael David Winery Gluttony Zinfandel
* 2008 Sol Rouge Syrah
* 2007 Peju Province Winery Cabernet Franc
* 2009 Mumm Napa Chardonnay
For more information, click here.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Best of Class Pinot Noirs, 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Eight Pinot Noirs won Best of Class awards at the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. All are from California, with five coming from Russian River Valley. The Best of Class Pinots, across various price categories, are:

* Lucky Star 2010 Pinot Noir California $8.99
* Mark West 2010 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley $24
* Francis Coppola Winery 2009 FCR Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Dutton Ranch $26
* Fritz Winery 2009 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley $30
* MacPhail Family Wines 2009 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast MacPhail $39
* Fog Crest Vineyard 2009 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Fog Crest Vineyard Estate $49
* Davis Family Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Horseshoe Bend Vineyard $42
* Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards 2008 Cheval Sauvage Santa Maria Valley $60
For more information click here.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sobon Estate 2009 Fiddletown Zinfandel

The Award-Winning Wine:
Sobon Estate 2009 Fiddletown Zinfandel, Lubenko Vineyard

Reason for Reviewing:
Sobon Estate 2009 Fiddletown Zinfandel won a Best of Class award among Zinfandels at the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Noteworthy:
Founder Leon Sobon was a Senior Scientist with the Lockheed Research Lab. His wife Shirley is the lead Tasting Room, Gallery & Museum Manager, and their two sons and one son-in-law manage the business.

Winery Notes:
The 2009 vintage ...has intriguing aromas of spice, cherry, and concentrated fruit: restrained, but very complex. The multiple flavors feature a toasty, dusty cherry component typical of the Fiddletown area. The finish is long and lingering...

AlaWine Notes:
On pouring, Sobon Estate 2009 Fiddletown Zinfandel displays as a medium-dark ruby color. Ripe berry aromas radiate to the nose. Loads of rich berry-cherry flavors fill the palate in a super-smooth opening, and hold persistently through a nice long, dry finish.

Bottom Line:
Sobon Estate 2009 Fiddletown Zinfandel is a round, flavorful Zin, with a plethora of ripe fruit, with a light-spice (pepperless) oak finish. An excellent value at a suggested retail price is $22. Overall composite score: 97 points.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Best of Class Merlots, 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Seven Merlots, all from California, won Best of Class awards, across various price categories, at the recent 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The Best of Class Merlots are:

* Turning Leaf Vineyards 2010 Merlot California $8
* McManis Family Vineyards 2010 Merlot California $10
* J. Lohr 2009 Merlot Paso Robles Los Osos $15
* Cuda Ridge Wines 2009 Merlot Livermore Valley $23
* Soda Rock Winery 2006 Merlot Sonoma County Meeks $28
* Christopher Cameron Vineyards 2009 Merlot Dry Creek Valley Van Alyea Ranch $32
* Bravante Vineyards 2008 Merlot Howell Mountain Napa Valley $60
For more information click here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition Winners

The results are in from the third annual 2012 Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition which included more than 800 entries from 12 countries. Nineteen wines earned Best of Class honors in 17 wine categories. Here are all of the super-award-winning wines this year, including Best of Show, and Wine and Winery of the Year:

2012 Wine of the Year
Gloria Ferrer 2000 Carneros Cuvee, Carneros $50

2012 Winery of the Year
V. Sattui, Napa Valley

Best of Show White
Milbrandt Vineyards 2010 Riesling, Traditions, Columbia Valley $12.99

Best of Show Red
Falkner Winery 2008 Syrah, Rock Creek Vineyard, Temecula Valley $26.95

Best of Show Dessert
Inniskillin 2008 Riesling Ice Wine VQA, Niagara Peninsula, Canada $79.99

Best of Show Sparkling
Gloria Ferrer 2000 Carneros Cuvee, Carneros $50

Best Barbera
Pianetta Winery 2009 Barbera, Paso Robles $28

Best Bordeaux Rhone Blend
Peter Lehmann 2009 Clancy's Shiraz-Cabernet-Merlot, Australia $17

Best Cabernet Franc
Barboursville Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Franc Reserve, Virginia $23

Best Cabernet Sauvignon
J. Lohr 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Hilltop Vineyard, Paso Robles $35

Best Chardonnay
Cakebread Cellars 2008 Chardonnay Reserve, Carneros $54

Best Malbec
Puro Uno 2008 Malbec Gran Reserva, Mendoza, Argentina $100

Best Merlot
Trefethen Vineyards 2008 Merlot, Oak Knoll District $35

Best Pinot Grigio
Estancia 2010 Pinot Grigio, California $11.99

Best Pinot Gris
Milbrandt Vineyards 2010 Pinot Gris, Traditions, Columbia Valley $12.99

Best Pinot Noir
Rapaura Springs 2009 Pinot Noir, Vineyard Reserve, Central Otago, NZ $26.99

Best Riesling
Milbrandt Vineyards 2010 Riesling, Traditions, Columbia Valley $12.99

Best Rhone Blend
South Coast Winery 2008 GSM, Temecula Valley $14

Best Rioja
Beronia 2004 Rioja DOC Gran Reserva, Spain $27.99

Best Sauvignon Blanc(s)
First Fleet 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills, Australia $6.99
J. Lohr 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Carol's Vineyard, Napa Valley $25

Best Syrah
Falkner Winery 2008 Syrah, Rock Creek Vineyard, Temecula Valley $26.95

Best Viognier
Barboursville Vineyards 2010 Viognier Reserve, Virginia $23

Best Zinfandel(s)
Rock Wall Wine Co. 2009 Zinfandel, Stagecoach Vineyard, Napa Valley $40
V. Sattui Winery 2009 Zinfandel, Gilsson Vineyard, Russian River Valley $37

For more information, and a complete list of all medal-winning wines, click here.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Rodney Strong Vineyards 2009 Reserve Chardonnay, Russian River Valley

The Award-Winning Wine:
Rodney Strong Vineyards 2009 Reserve Chardonnay, Russian River Valley

Reason for Reviewing:
The Rodney Strong Vineyards 2009 Reserve Chardonnay Russian River Valley earned Double Gold honors at the recently completed 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Noteworthy:
Rodney Strong, one of the pioneers of Sonoma County’s modern wine industry, established Sonoma County’s 13th bonded winery in 1959.

Winery Notes:
Frequent stirring of the lees during barrel aging added a creamy texture to an already full-bodied wine, making for a rich, round mouth feel, balanced with vibrant acidity. Powerful aromas of spiced apple, pear, and pie crust join minerally lemon-cream and toasty oak on the palate...

AlaWine Notes:
Rodney Strong Vineyards 2009 Reserve Chardonnay pours into the glass as a light, straw-yellow color. Tart apple aromas lift to the nose. Lemon and melon flavors wash across the palate with a smooth texture, accented by a crisp acidity.

Bottom Line:
Rodney Strong Vineyards 2009 Reserve Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, is an elegant wine, quite quaffable, flavorful, and bright. Suggested retail price is $35. Overall composite score: 96 points.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Best of Class Chardonnays, 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Twelve Chardonnays took home Best of Class awards from the recently completed 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. All are from California, three are from Napa Valley and two from Carneros. The 2012 Best of Class Chardonnays, sorted by price, are:

* Turning Leaf Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay California $8
* Cupcake Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay Central Coast $13.99
* HandCraft 2010 Chardonnay California $14.99
* Francis Coppola Winery 2010 Diamond Chardonnay Monterey County $16
* Chamisal Vineyards 2010 Stainless Chardonnay Central Coast $18
* Jax Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay Napa Valley Y3 $22
* Roche Winery 2010 Chardonnay Carneros $23.95
* Rock Wall Wine Company 2010 Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands $25
* Kokomo Winery 2009 Chardonnay Russian River Valley Peter's Vineyard $28
* Frank Family Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay Napa Valley Frank Family $32.50
* Antica Napa Valley 2010 Chardonnay Atlas Peak - Napa Valley $35
* Flora Springs Winery & Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay Carneros Toad Hall Lavender Hill $40
For more information click here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Best of Class, Red Blends, 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Eight red wine blends won Best of Class awards across various price categories at last week's 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The first five are Bordeaux Blends, and the other three are from the category of Other Red Blends. And, the Best of Class winners among red wine blends are:

* Charles B. Mitchell Vineyards NV Monsieur Omo's Red Sunshine Fair Play $12
* David Girard Vineyards 2009 Rive d'Or Sierra Foothills $24
* Whalebone Vineyard 2008 Bob Wine Paso Robles Whalebone $30
* La Rusticana d'Orsa 2008 Bordeaux Blend Santa Cruz Mountains La Rusticana Cinque $45
* William Harrison Vineyards 2008 Rutherford Red Rutherford - Napa Valley Estate $75
* Charles B. Mitchell Vineyards NV Cote du Cosumnes Fair Play $12
* Bennett Lane Winery 2008 Maximus Red Feasting Wine Napa Valley $35
* Rock Wall Wine Co. 2010 Obsidian Red Hills Lake County Black Rock Ranch $22
For more information click here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Best of Class Zins, 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Ten Zinfandels, from among all price categories, were named "Best of Class" at last week's 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, held in Sonoma County. Mazzocco Winery won in two price groups. The Best of Class Zin winners (including one Primitivo) are:

* Klinker Brick Winery 2009 Zinfandel Lodi Old Vine $18
* Gnarly Head 2010 Zinfandel Lodi Old Vine Zin $11.99
* Sobon Estate 2009 Zinfandel Fiddletown Lubenko Vineyard $22
* De Paola Vineyard 2008 Zinfandel Arroyo Grande Valley Emilio $29
* Christopher Creek Winery 2010 Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley $28
* Kokomo Winery 2009 Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Pauline's Vineyard $32
* V. Sattui Winery 2009 Zinfandel Russian River Valley Gilsson Vineyard $36
* Mazzocco Winery 2009 Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Maple $42
* Mazzocco Winery 2009 Zinfandel Reserve Dry Creek Valley Smith Orchard $52
* Mutt Lynch Winery 2009 Primitivo Knights Valley Speedy Creek $24.99
For more information click here.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Best of Class, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Ten Cabernet Sauvignon wines earned Best of Class awards in nine different price categories at the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, held last week here in Sonoma County. The McGrail Vineyards 2008 Cab was named the Sweepstakes Winner among all red wines in the competiton. The top 10 Best of Class Cabs are:

* Hacienda Wine Cellars 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon $6.99 - Up to $14.99
* The Crusher 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Clarksburg Wilson Vineyard $12.99 - Up to $14.99
* Rodney Strong Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County $17 - $15 to $19.99
* Milbrandt Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Wahluke Slope The Estates $24.99 - $20 to $24.99
* Bent Creek Wines 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley $25 - $25 to $29.99
* Carruth Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley $32 - $30 to $34.99
* McGrail Vineyards & Winery 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley Reserve $36 - $35 to $39.99
* Dutcher Crossing Winery 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Cooney Vineyard $43 - $40 to $49.99
* Trione Vineyards & Winery 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Block Twenty One $58 - $50 to $59.99
* Black Stallion 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley $65 - $60 & Over
For more information click here.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Big Winners at the 2012 Chronicle Wine Competition

The 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition has set a new American wine competition record with an astounding 5,500 entries, surpassing its previous record of 5,050 last year.

Jon Bonné announced the Big winners of the Chronicle Wine Competition and they are:

Sparkling
2006 Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs Carneros ($28)

White
2010 Dr. Konstantin Frank Reserve Finger Lakes Gewurztraminer ($25)

Pink
2011 Barnard Griffin Columbia Valley Rosé of Sangiovese ($12)

Red
2008 McGrail Vineyards & Winery Reserve Livermore Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($36)

Dessert
2010 Castello di Amorosa Anderson Valley Late Harvest Gewurztraminer ($35)

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