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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Gold Medal Cabs from 2008 Dallas Competition

Of hundreds entered, just 27 Cabernet Sauvignons earned top-honor Gold Medals at the recently completed 2008 Dallas Morning News Wine Competition, and they are:

* B.R. Cohn, Sonoma Valley, Olive Hill Estate Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
* Benziger Family Winery, Sonoma County, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
* Beringer Founders' Estate, California, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
* Bianchi, Paso Robles, Signature Selection, Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
* Bighorn Cellars, Napa Valley, Coombsville Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
* Bonterra Vineyards, Mendocino County Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
* Buehler Vineyards, Napa Valley, Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
* Charles Creek Vineyard, Sonoma Valley, Las Pasiones Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
* Chilensis, Colchagua Valley DO, Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 * Columbia Crest, Columbia Valley, Grand Estates, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
* Ecluse, Paso Robles, Lock Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
* Forgeron Cellars, Columbia Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
* Graffigna, Argentina, San Juan, Centenario Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
* Hawk Crest, California, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
* Irony, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
* Kiona Vineyards, Washington State, Cabernet-Merlot 2003
* Llano Estacado, Texas, Newsom Vineyard, Cellar Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
* Mirassou, California, Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
* Pedroncelli, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley, Three Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
* Pietra Santa, California, Cienega Valley, Signature Collection, Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
* Reynolds Family Winery, Stags Leap District, Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
* Sadler-Wells, Sonoma Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
* San Marcos Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles, Estate Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
* Sequoia Grove, Napa Valley, Rutherford Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
* Vina Robles, California, Paso Robles, Huerhuero, Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
* Wattle Creek, Alexander Valley, Vintage Select, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
* Windmill, Lodi, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

For a complete list of all medal winning wines, click here.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Open Winners '08 National Women’s Wine Competition

Out of thousands of wines entered from 30 states and 10 foreign nations at the second annual National Women’s Wine Competition, held recently here in Santa Rosa, just four earned top honors. Those wines and awards include:

Judges Choice Open:

* Category of Red Table Wines:
2005 Volcano Vineyards Syrah Oregon, Rogue Valley Volcano Vineyards $32

Open Sweepstakes Winners:

* Category of Late Harvest and Other Non-Fortified
2006 Chateau Ste Michelle Ethos Columbia Valley Ste Michelle Wine Estates $39

* Category of Sparkling Wines (Vintage Dated 4 Years or Younger, Methode Champenois)
2004 Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs Carneros Freixenet USA, Inc. $24

* Category of White Table Wines
2007 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand, Marlborough Spy Valley Wines $18

For a complete list of all medal winners, click here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ventana Vineyards 2005 Syrah

The Award-Winning Wine:
Ventana Vineyards 2005 Syrah

Reason for Reviewing:
Ventana Vineyards 2005 Syrah is one of just six Syrahs that earned Double Gold Medal honors at the 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Noteworthy:
All of Ventana's wines are Estate grown and bottled from their single vineyard, "the most award-winning single vineyard in America."

Winery Notes:
The Ventana Syrah shows a bright ruby-purple color. The bouquet is lively with fresh cracked black pepper and black cherry. On the palate, the wine is lush and full with flavors of black cherry, blackberry, and spice. This wine is well balanced having vanilla and cedar tones from American Oak barrel aging as an accompaniment to the fruit components.

AlaWine Notes:
Ventana Vineyards 2005 Syrah displays in the glass as a medium purple red. Aromas of black cherry and black berry lift to the nose. Ripe cherry and berry flavors carry over on the palate in a smooth mouthfeel. Moderate tannins frame the fruit in a long, spicy, peppery finish.

Bottom Line:
Ventana Vineyards 2005 Syrah is a smooth drinking, fruit forward Syrah. The flavors are rich and ripe and the finish is complementary and satisfying. A good value at a suggested retail price of $18. Overall composite score: 95 points.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Finger Lakes Double Gold Medal Winners

At the recently completed 2008 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, 2,350 wines were entered, from nearly 500 wineries, spanning 39 states, and 14 different countries. Just 36 of those wines earned Double Gold Medal honors, and they are:

* Benmarl 2006 Baco Noir
* Blue Sky Vineyard NV Cabernet Franc
* Adobe Road Winery 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon
* Hagafen Cellars 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon
* V. Sattui Winery 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
* South Coast Winery 2007 Chardonnay
* Biltmore Estate Wine NV Chenin Blanc
* Les Vergers Petit et Fils 2006 Cider
* Casa Larga Vineyards 2005 Icewine
* Mountain Road Wine Company 2003 Icewine
* Oliver Winery 2005 Icewine
* Reif Estate Winery 2005 Icewine
* Royal DeMaria Wines 2002 Icewine
* Chateau Ste Michelle Wine Estates 2006 Late Harvest White
* Vignoble du Marathonien 2006 Late Harvest White
* Weingut Anita & Hans Nittnaus 2004 Late Harvest White
* Whitewater Hill Vineyards 2007 Late Harvest White
* Torrey Ridge Winery 2006 Lemberger
* Winehaven Winery and Vineyard 2006 Marechal Foch
* Jarvis Winery 2005 Merlot
* M.A. Marketing 2005 Merlot
* Earle Estates Meadery NV Niagara
* Chameleon Cellars 2005 Red Varietals
* Weingut Werner Anselmann 2006 White Varietals
* Swedish Hill Winery 2006 Riesling Dry
* Penguin Bay Winery NV Riesling Semi-Sweet
* Hagafen Cellars 2007 Riesling Sweet
* Pinnacle Ridge Winery NV Rosé
* Summerside Vineyards & Winery NV Sherry
* Beans Creek Winery NV Traminette
* Tabor Hill Winery 2006 Traminette
* Penguin Bay Winery 2006 Valvin Muscat
* Wagner Vineyards 2006 Vidal Blanc
* Jefferson Vineyards 2007 Viognier
* Adobe Road Winery 2005 Zinfandel
* Maryhill Winery 2005 Zinfandel

For a complete list of all medal winners, click here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Wood Winery 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon

The Award-Winning Wine:
Wood Winery 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon

Reason for Reviewing:
Wood Winery 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon is one of just 22 Cabernet Sauvignons that won Double Gold Medal awards at the 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Noteworthy:
The unique microclimate is ideal for growing wine grapes unique to the Central Coast of California. The first blocks of vines were planted in 1999 with the inspiration of two Cal Poly Viticulture Graduates.

Vineyard Notes:
Jackson's Vineyard produced small, dark, and concentrated clusters of rich complex fruit. The grapes were hand harvested at full maturity and barrel aged in American and French oak for 18 months. The result is a ripe, complex and elegant wine that represents the expression of its terroir and vintage.

AlaWine Notes:
Wood Winery 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon pours as a dark garnet color in the glass. Fragrant aromas of ripe berries fill the nose. Blackberry and blackcurrant spread across the palate, with overtones of plum skin. Moderate tannins frame the fruit in a long dry finish with a leather highlight.

Bottom Line:
Wood Winery 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon is a hardy Cab with full fruit flavors and a range of layered complexity. A good all-around dinner wine to pair with a variety of meats. Suggested retail price is $35. Overall composite score: 94 points.

Best of Varietal Winners, NWIWC

Only 24 wines (out of more than 2,000 entries) earned Best of Varietal honors at the recently completed 2008 New World International Wine Competition. They are:

* Bell Wine Cellars 2005 Merlot
* Hahn Estates 2006 Pinot Noir
* Joseph Filippi Winery Port
* Bell Wine Cellars 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah/Shiraz
* Wollersheim Winery 2007 Dry Riesling
* San Saba Vineyards 2007 Sauvignon Blanc
* Kendall-Jackson 2005 Syrah
* Collier Falls 2004 Zinfandel
* Gruet Winery 2000 Chardonnay
* Korbel Champagne Cellars Brandy XS
* Goose Watch Snow Goose
* Grgich Hills Estate 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon
* Quail's Gate 2005 Chardonnay
* Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate 2006 Meritage White
* PKNT Winery 2006 Carmenere
* Soaring Wings Vineyard 2007 Vignoles
* Tsillan Cellars 2007 Pinot Grigio
* (oops) 2006 Cabernet Franc
* Cline Cellars 2006 Rhone Blend Cashmere
* Les Bourgeois Winery Missouri Riverboat Red
* Mountain Spirit WineryApple/Pear/Raspberry
* Oveja Negra 2007 Rosé
* Torrey Ridge Winery Catawba
* Wollersheim Winery 2007 Seyval Blanc

For more information on these wines and a complete list of all medal winners click here.

Monday, April 07, 2008

McManis Family Vineyards 2006 Petite Sirah

The Award-Winning Wine:
McManis Family Vineyards 2006 Petite Sirah

Reason for Reviewing:
McManis Family Vineyards 2006 Petite Sirah is one of just five Petite Sirahs that earned Double Gold Medal honors at the 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Noteworthy:
McManis Family Vineyards is a grower and vintner of premium varietal wine grapes located near the cool confluence of the San Joaquin and Stanislaus Rivers, just south of Lodi, California, now known as the River Junction appellation.

Winery Notes:
The 2006 Petite Sirah is deep purple in color with a bright hue. The nose is of jammy Boysenberry intertwined with Creme brulee and a subtle smokiness. Dense ripe fruit flavors are abundant. The finish is long and succulent.

AlaWine Notes:
McManis Family Vineyards 2006 Petite Sirah displays as a very dark purple color on pouring. Aromas of ripe dark berries exude from the glass in a smoky earth context. Fruity flavors of brambleberries fill the palate and hold through a long, moderately tannic finish with modest oaky, tobacco, leather highlights.

Bottom Line:
McManis Family Vineyards 2006 Petite Sirah is abundant with full fruit flavors, interesting layers of complexity, and full and satisfying finish. This wine is an outstanding value at a suggested retail price of $10.99. Overall composite score: 96 points.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Finger Lakes Wine Competition Winners

More than 2,350 wines, from nearly 500 wineries, spanning 39 states, and 14 different countries, were entered into the recently completed 2008 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Just four wines earned top honors, and they are:

Best Ice Wine, Magnotta Riesling Ice Wine L.E. VQA, 2004
Best Riesling, Fenn Valley Riesling, 2007
Best Chardonnay, Chateau Lafeyette Reneau Chardonnay, 2006
Best Cabernet Sauvignon, Adobe Road Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005

For a complete list of all medal winners, click here.

Friday, April 04, 2008

New World International Wine Competition Winners

Just 14 wines, out of more than 2,000 wines entered from around the globe, earned top Trophy Winner honors at the recently completed 2008 New World International Wine Competition. They are:

New World Grand Champion
Best New World Dessert Wine
Magnotta Winery 2004 Riesling Ice Wines Niagara Peninsula Canada Limited Edition, VQA

Best New World Merlot
Bell Wine Cellars 2005 Merlot Napa Valley California

Best New World Pinot Noir
Hahn Estates 2006 Pinot Noir Monterey California

Best New World Port
Joseph Filippi Winery NV Port Cucamonga Valley California Alicante Bouschet

Best New World Red Wine
Bell Wine Cellars 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah/Shiraz Napa Valley California Talianna, Unfiltered

Best New World Riesling
Wollersheim Winery 2007 Dry Riesling Wisconsin American

Best New World Sauvignon/Fumé Blanc
San Saba Vineyards 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Monterey California

Best New World Syrah/Shiraz
Kendall-Jackson 2005 Syrah Alisos Hills Santa Barbara County California Highland Estates

Best New World Zinfandel
Collier Falls 2004 Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley California Private Reserve

Best New World Sparkling Wine
Gruet Winery 2000 Chardonnay New Mexico Gilbert Gruet Grande Reserve

Best New World Spirit
Korbel Champagne Cellars NV Brandy California XS Extra Smooth

Best New World White Wine
Goose Watch NV Snow Goose Finger Lakes New York

Best New World Cabernet Sauvignon
Grgich Hills Estate 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley California Estate Grown

Best New World Chardonnay
Quail's Gate 2005 Chardonnay Okanagan Valley Canada Family Reserve

For a complete list of all medal winners click here.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

De Novo Wines 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

The Award-Winning Wine:
De Novo Wines 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

Reason for Reviewing:
De Novo Wines 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon is one of just 22 Cabernet Sauvignons that won Double Gold Medal awards at the 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Noteworthy:
"De Novo" is Latin, signifying "to begin again." From the winery: "Like the new moon, our wines are about beginning anew - taking stock of what life offers and savoring what you make of it. We invite you to taste and share our wines among friends."

AlaWine Notes:
De Novo Wines 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon pours as a medium dark garnet color. Aromas of dark, ripe berries lift to the nose. Flavors of blackberries and black currant fill the palate with lots of fruit and a moderate pepper highlight. A complementary smooth mouthfeel and moderate tannins lead to a long fruit filled finish.

Bottom Line:
De Novo Wines 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon is a medium-bodied, round and satisfying Cab Sauv. Ripe fruit berry flavors and good quaffability make this a very good table wine to complete a wide range of dinner meals. A very good value at a suggested retail price of $16. Overall composite score: 94 points.

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