I get a bit giddy when results of a major wine tasting are released, I can’t help it. Forty-eight elite wine tasters judged nearly 3,000 wines in the 2017 Sunset Magazine International Wine Competition. Results of the silver, gold and best of class winning wines are listed in the October issue. My giddiness kicks in when I see wines I’ve selected in this column take home some of the hardware.
Here are value wines that took best of class awards; the 2016 Bokisch Terra Alta Albarino ($18), the Dona Paula Los Cardos Chardonnay ($10), the 2016 Mendocino Castle Rock Rose of Pinot Noir ($13), the 2016 Prospect Cellars Zinfandel Rose ($20), the 2016 Skinner Rhone Blend Rose ($18), the 2015 Don Sebastiani & Sons “The Crusher” Merlot ($15), the 2014 Skinner Red Blend “Smithereens” ($20), the Lange Twins 2014 Lodi Red Tail Vineyard Nero d’ Avola ($20) and, saving the best deal for last, the 2015 Gnarly Head Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel ($12). All are under $20 and sale prices should be a few dollars less.
Pinot Noir gold or silver medal winners that won’t break the bank include; the 2014 Carneros Fleur ($19), the 2015 Central Coast Wild Horse ($20) the J. Lohr Estates “Falcon’s Perch” ($17) and a favorite, the 2014 Monterey Noble Vines 667 ($15). My merlot quest continues; the 2015 Central Coast Cupcake ($13), the 2015 Central Coast Ryder Estate ($17), the 2015 Paso Robles Ancient Peaks ($20), all gold or silver and “The Crusher” (above). As summer winds down, roses usually go on sale. These three would be great buys; the 2016 Monterey Seaglass ($12), the 2016 Central Coast Ryder Estate ($16) and the 2016 Sonoma County Pedroncelli Zinfandel Rose ($14). Good luck finding these value priced medal winners.
Barbera Festival 2017
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If Italian wine varietals like montepulciano, vermentino, sangiovese, nebbiolo, aglianico and barbera bring on major salivation, keep September 2018 open for the next Barbera Festival. This year was another sell-out, with 1,500 tickets sold. Counting volunteers, vendors and media, more than 2,100 people participated. A twist this year was the addition of other Italian varietals. The event was held at the beautiful Terra D’ Oro Winery. Keep reading Wine Line for the exact date of the 2018 Barbera Festival and make sure you buy tickets early.
What’s on our Table
Cabernet Sauvignon fan and looking for a bargain? Try the 2014 La Merika Central Coast ($5.99 Grocery Outlet in Turlock). Blackberry, dark plum flavors, spice notes and moderate tannins. The handy screw-cap makes it very easy to taste. Cheers!
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