The ultimate winner in the first annual Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge, held last week in Santa Rosa, was the Beaulieu Vineyard 2009 Tapestry Reserve, a classic red Bordeaux blend. Two dozen judges sifted through 930 wines in the blind tasting, then voted to find the best from throughout the heart of Wine Country.
The Trombetta Family Wine 2011 Pinot Noir, Gap's Crown Vineyard, sourced from vineyards in the Petaluma Gap region of the Sonoma Coast AVA, was deemed "soft, sultry, deep" by the judges, who gave it a score of 98. The Navarro Vineyards 2012 Late Harvest Gewurztraminer ($59) won "Best of Mendocino County" and received 97 points for its "bright honeysuckle" flavors, perfect for outdoor sipping.
Winning the Best of Class award for "Best Sparkling Wine," the Breathless Wines North Coast NV Brut ($25) received 98 points and was described as "perfectly balanced" and "delicious" by the judges.
Led by Chief Judge Daryl Groom of Groom Australian Premium Wines, the judges, drawn from all over Northern California, holed up for two days at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country Hotel in panels to work through the entries. The Press Democrat will host a public tasting of the winning wines on July 14 at Santa Rosa Junior College's Shone Farm near Forestville.


In the future, organizers said, the idea is to move the contest around so that each of the participating counties will have a chance to host it. Groom said the response of the North Coast wineries exceeded the organizers' initial expectations.
By comparison, judges at the 2012 Sonoma County Harvest Fair wine competition received and reviewed 949 wines made from grapes grown in Sonoma County. The 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition tasted through more than 5,500 entries from across the country. The judging panels were assembled to reflect diverse points of view, with one winemaker, one sommelier and one retailer or media person serving on each panel.
We work with retailers to bring your registries together in one place to make it easy to share and for guests to find. Mark has a love for Burgundy and is a fan of Dujac, Jayer, Leroy and Meo-Camuzet (who isn’t?).


The Rutherford vineyard was established in 1900 by Georges de Latour and has served as a benchmark for Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon ever since. Pauline's Vineyard Estate ($22); and Trombetta Family Wine 2011 Pinot Noir, Gap's Crown Vineyard ($58). The sparkler was made with a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir grapes using the venerable "m?hode champenoise" (a secondary fermentation in the bottle). The wine was sourced from four different vineyards in Marin County, one of the coolest American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in California. The cool temperatures translate into a longer growing season, resulting in balanced wines with natural acidity.



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