2015 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Wine Competition
Judging the annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair Wine Competition this month was invigorating, stimulating and clearly reinforced the bountiful goodness, or better said, greatness, of Sonoma County wines. The highlighted wines below were among the Double Gold Award winners from my panel. A Double Gold (GG) award goes to wines receiving a Gold vote from each of the judges on the panel. Many GG and Gold medals were awarded. You can view the full medal tally by visiting www.harvestfair.org (click on the Drink tab, and then Award Winning Wines).
J Vineyards & Winery Cuvee 20 Brut NV; Russian River Valley, California: Alluring aromas and a dynamic tiny bead will have you hovering over the glass as if in a dream before the wine meets your lips. Crafted of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, this precise and vivacious sparkling wine showcases creamy pears, spiced lemon bars, crisp apples and crème brûlée melding harmoniously through the persistent finish; let the celebration begin! SRP: $28 www.jwines.com
Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards 2006 Extra Brut Reserve Cuvée; Carneros, California: Wow; floral and yeasty aromas join well delineated layers of freshly baked bread, apple pie, brown spices and a zesty splash of lemon zest dancing on the palate. This wine teems with purity, complexity and fine balance. An exhilarating stream of tiny bubbles lingers from the first sip to the memorable last one. SRP: $47 www.gloriaferrer.com
Balletto Vineyards 2014 Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir; Russian River Valley, California: Scents of a delicate rose bouquet fill the senses with this elegant dry Rosé. Delighting the palate are pretty flavors of strawberries and Rainer cherries, citrus blossom and a touch of herbs. Perfectly balanced and crisp, with brisk acids keeping the wine remarkably bright and refreshing. SRP: $18 www.ballettovineyards.com
St. Anne’s Crossing Winery 2014 Zinfandel Rosé; Dry Creek Valley, California: Here is a brilliantly expressive, unabashed dry Rosé that completely engages the senses. Layers of red raspberries, succulent red plums and savory spice accents fill the mouth. Well balanced with lively acidity, this savvy wine is every bit as juicy and full flavored as one could desire from America’s sweetheart grape. SRP: $18 www.stannescrossing.com
Kelley & Young Wines 2014 Robert Young Vineyards Nuit de Young; Alexander Valley, California: This very sophisticated dry Rosé boasts elements of fresh cherries, blueberries, cranberries, a tinge of graphite and tea spice on the nose and through the flavorful palate. Crafted of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it is complex, well structured and beautifully food friendly. The texture is smooth, the balance spot on, and the engaging finish leaves you wanting more! SRP: $32 www.kellyyoungwines.com
Kobler Estate Winery 2014 Bacigalupi Vineyards Chardonnay; Russian River Valley, California: An intensely aromatic Chard opening with tree fruits and hints of vanilla exciting the senses. Spilling onto the palate are delectable flavors of spiced apple and pear compote, warm buttered toast and vanilla bean accents. Full bodied and well composed with a lasting aftertaste. SRP: $46 www.koblerestatewinery.com
Pezzi King Vineyards 2013 Reserve Chardonnay; Russian River Valley, California: This well balanced Chardonnay broadcasts perfumed floral aromas. It fills the mouth with flavors of delectable creamy lemon custard, caramelized bananas, a touch of oak and citrus blossom accents. Nicely structured with a smooth texture, it remains lively through the long finish. SRP: $36 www.pezziking.com
Kunde Family Winery 2014 Reserve Chardonnay; Sonoma Valley, California: Full bodied and confident, this dazzling Chardonnay draws you in with aromas of fresh picked apples and a kiss of citrus. Creamy and well crafted, it is brimming with pear, apple and key lime pie flavors that interlace with brown spice and underlying cedar notes. The captivating finish is bright and extended. SRP: $45 www.kunde.com
Gustafson Family Vineyards 2011 Heritage Tree Vineyard Zinfandel; Dry Creek Valley, California: Aromas of licorice and ripe berries engage the senses with this mouthwatering Zinfandel. On the palate are well defined layers of wild berries, chocolate covered cherries, vanillin, anise and cloves that entwine in harmony. There is a purity about this wine that shines, and it offers good lift throughout. SRP: $32 www.gfvineyard.com
DeLoach Vineyards 2013 OFS Zinfandel; Russian River Valley, California: Here’s an enticingly aromatic, firmly structured Zin that tantalizes the senses. Rich and lip-smackingly delicious, it is chock full of juicy boysenberries, warm, cinnamon-scented blackberry pie, savory spice and oak nuances. Lush, dense and smartly balanced with a persistent aftertaste. SRP: ~$35 www.deloachvineyards.com
Matrix Winery 2013 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir; Russian River Valley, California: This generously fruited wine opens with aromas of a mixed floral bouquet and wild berries. It’s plush, velvety and full of black cherry, spiced marionberry pie, toffee and boysenberry jam at the core. Underbrush, tinges of herbs and oak spice weave deliciously on the palate. A full bodied, well balanced and mouth filling Pinot Noir. SRP: $52 www.matrixwinery.com
Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards 2012 Vine Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir; Russian River Valley, California: Deeply hued and complex, this aromatic Pinot Noir is lush and juicy. Sweet black cherry and black raspberry fruit meld with earthiness and exotic spices, and hints of toasty oak provide a complementary underlying note. Well placed acidity keeps it bright, and the finish is focused and satisfying. SRP: ~$46 www.sonomacutrer.com
MacMurray Estate Vineyards 2013 Winemaker’s Block Pinot Noir; Russian River Valley, California: In this glass a classy Pinot Noir awaits. Provocative forest floor aromas set the stage for the burst of flavors exciting the palate. Black cherry, raspberry, exotic tea spices, licorice and subtle oak spices integrate like a finely woven fabric. Silky refined tannins and lively acidity keep the wine in precise balance. SRP: $60 www.macmurrayestatevineyards.com
Congrats to each and every Sonoma County producer who earned medals from this year’s competition. I encourage all to take advantage of tasting these well made award winning wines before they sell out!