Now that the California State Fair is in full swing (July 10th-26th), and Save Mart Supermarket’s Wine Country is open for tasting, I wanted to give you a heads up on my favorite wines this year from the Winners of the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.
Andy and I attended a media event a few weeks ago at which the 2015 Best of Show winners were announced, and here’s what we liked best:
2012 Handley Pinot Noir (Mendocino County)
Andy and I discovered Handley Cellars at the Pinot on the River event last year in Healdsburg, and we have been buying their Pinot Noir ever since. Not a shock to see them win an award. They took silver for the pinot noir pictured above and their 2013 Anderson Valley Gewürtztraminer pictured below. Congrats to a well-deserving winery!
The Rosé of Barbera pictured above from Gold Hill Vineyard took Best of Show Pink DOUBLE Gold 98. If you remember a few years ago, I told you it was hip to drink rosé, and I chose some of my favorites at Total Wine. You can read those picks here. If I were to rewrite my list of summer sippers this year, the 2014 Gold Hill Barbera Rosato would be one to buy!
Speaking of rosés, here’s one from Zucca Mountain Vineyards, the 2014 Belle Nipoti a rosé blend. This wine earned a Silver for Best of Class of Region.
Upon the suggestion of California State Fair wine judge and co-host of the Bottle Talk with Rick and Paul radio show and podcast Rick Kushman, I visited the table where Robert Hall wines were featured. I found this Orange Muscat I liked very much, even though I am not typically a fan of dessert wines. It won a Gold honor for Best of California, Best of Region ‐ White.
I also found this sparkling wine made by Barsetti quite delightful. It was actually the first wine I tasted when we arrived at the event. What a way to kick things off. This wine scored a Gold Best of Class of Region.
This Rosato di Primitivo was Amador’s Uphill Vineyards first attempt at making a blush wine. Nice job there, because it made my list of wine picks and more importantly, took a Double Gold honor from the wine judges.
Last but not least, we have a Chardonnay produced by one of my favorite local wineries, Matchbook Wine Company. You might remember my recent tour of their facilities. Matchbook’s The Arsonist Chardonnay won a Silver, and even though I knew exactly how the wine tasted, of course I had a little taste anyway. 😉
There’s Andy and Rick deep in discussion, no doubt. 😉 Actually, Andy met Rick through running before he met me. And I met Rick through the whole Sacramento food and wine scene before I met Andy. So now it’s always fun to see him at events and get each others’ opinions on what we liked (and didn’t like) and why. Good times! 🙂
About the State Fair Wine Competition
The first State Fair Wine Competition was held in 1855. The competition is the oldest and one of the most prestigious wine events in the country. Top wines including Best of Region and Best of California winners will be featured at the State Fair in the Save Mart Supermarkets Wine Garden for visitors to enjoy July 10-26.
A complete listing of award-winning wines can be found at castatefair.org. Hope to see you at the fair (most likely in the Save Mart Supermarket Wine Country)! 😉
Wine lovers, you won’t want to miss this!
Over 7,000 bottles of wine will be uncorked on NakedWines.com road trip across California, and this coming Wednesday, May 13th, the tour makes a stop right here in Sacramento at the Vizcaya!
More than 30 of your winemakers are hopping on the Naked Tour Bus and roaming around California to share their best wines with all the people (like you!) who funded them.
Every wine you’ll taste was crowd-funded by regular wine drinkers, and the winemakers didn’t pay to attend and share their wines. We recommend going up to a table and asking one of the winemakers to explain it. (They’ll be wearing blue shirts).
Who is behind all of this? 300,000 wine drinkers realized they could get better wines at better prices if they supported winemakers to cut out all the costs you can’t taste, like marketing. They weren’t rich enough to do it alone, so they teamed up and invested people like Ken, Tom and Carmen below.
After winning fifty 90+ scores for his wines at Flora Springs, Heitz and Joseph Phelps in a 4 decade long career making Napa Cab, Ken is finally striking out on his own with a personal range of Napa wines at unbelievable prices. Even reserve barrel-aged Napa Cabs for under $30.
One of our first thousand Angels revealed a hidden talent for making world-class wines in his garage at home. 75,000 Angels teamed up to invest in Tom’s first professional range of wines made with award-winning fruit from Pickberry Vineyards.
Carmen is an amazingly talented winemaker, but she had a hard time getting funding as South Africa’s first black woman to graduate in oenology since Apartheid. Angels saw her qualifications and immediately agreed to fund her personal project in exchange for exclusive access to these delicious treats.
To purchase tickets to the event, you can go here. The Vizcaya is located at 2019 21st Street, Sacramento, CA 95818. The event begins at 6:30pm and goes until 9pm.
My number five selection of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover belongs to the California Wine Club. And my recommendation applies especially to non-California residents who are not as fortunate as I am to live within an hour of hundreds of small production wineries.
The California Wine Club focuses on small family wineries handcrafting extraordinary wine in quantities too limited to be found in local stores or shops. In 1990, wine club founders Bruce and Pam Boring discovered that these wine making families were the most passionate in the wine world and that their wines were the hidden gems of wine country! Together Bruce and Pam embarked on a journey to help these artisan wineries introduce their exquisite wines to the world.
Each month they visit all areas of California’s wine country. Then they share their delicious discoveries with you and your gift recipients, along with the rich stories of each winery. Plus you can reorder your favorite wines at up to 50% off normal retail.
The reason I am recommending this wine club as a gift idea is because you can pay month to month and cancel at any time. Also, Bruce and Pam the time to personally visit each winery (can you say dream job?), meet the families, the winemakers and then select two bottles of their best to ship to their customers. There are never any private labels and no bulk wine.
You can find the California Wine Club on Facebook here on Twitter here and they have a Pinterest page here. Check back tomorrow for day six of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers!