by: Karina Mendoza Calayag
The annual San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition has concluded and the list of 2013 winners is out. The award-winning wines and wineries themselves, as presented by BevMo!, were out celebrating their honors with San Francisco’s wine community at the SFCWC Public Wine Tasting event February16 at Fort Mason Center’s Festival Pavilion.
It was the Saturday of the President’s Day long weekend but one could also say it was a wine-Valentine’s weekend for the Bay Area’s wine lovers who were romanced not only by the latest and greatest wines but also by the venue’s picturesque views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin County and San Francisco Bay.
Because the US wine growing industry has grown dramatically, particularly over the last few decades, in direct proportion and response to the growth in consumption and demand, it is not surprising that the entries in the 60-professionally-judged wine competition, the largest match up of American wines in the world, were in t h e t h o u s a n d s. The select and “relatively-chosen-few” who made the SFCWC cut was still so extensive that their volume was enough to fill the entire pavilion that afternoon.
Widely popular Tyler Florence brought added interest and excitement as he was among the ranks of fellow winemakers present at the event. Well known for his Food Network TV show which he hosts and the successful restaurant empire he has built, he also holds the title of multi-award-winning vintner through his eponymous wines, Tyler Florence, a neat addition to his golden celebrity chef’s hat. He was the down-to-earth, gracious and amiable guy-next-door, in-spite of the spotlit attention he gets, and did what all other wine presenters did that day, with rolled up sleeves hard at work pouring wine and informing the tasters about their wines and, because it’s Tyler, of course food too. Imagine what an exceptional resource for wine and food pairing he is. But unlike all other wine presenters that day, the well-liked and very accommodating winemaker spent a little more time autographing and posing for photos to a seemingly endless line of adoring fans.
Time spent having fun is time well spent and when learning from masters in the industry is a big part of it then it is even more worthwhile. For the many wine lovers out there, the information garnered from prestigious wine competitions such as the SFCWC and tasting events, serve as an excellent guide in future wine selection saving one from anxiety, time and money. So that the next time one holds that big binder of wine menu or is dizzy-lost in a store full of wines, the elevated awareness to distinguished wines and wine appreciation, in general, will make way for an easier and more relaxed time navigating through the potentially confusing myriad of choices thus making what should be a simple decision, obvious, on what should be a mundane question as: “What wine will be best paired with ones next meal”, commonplace.
The following are just some of the winners in an assortment of grape varieties that caught our attention: (Awards: Best of Class, Double Gold, Gold, Silver, Bronze)
THE EXQUISE CUT:
TRENTADUE WINERY‘ 2010 LA STORIA ESTATE - BEST OF CLASS : ZINFANDEL
BAREFOOT BUBBLY‘ MOSCATO SPUMANTE - BEST OF CLASS : SPARKLING WINES (SWEET)
STARRY NIGHT WINERY‘ 2010 MOONHEAD RED - BEST OF CLASS : ALL RED BLENDS
KITSON WINES‘ 2010 PINOT NOIR - DOUBLE GOLD
KUNDE FAMILY ESTATES‘ 2010 CABERNET SAUVIGNON – GOLD
LAVENDER BLUE 2008 CABERNET SAUVIGNON - DOUBLE GOLD - CABERNET SAUVIGNON
MARIO PERELLI-MINETTI WINERY‘ 2008 CABERNET SAUVIGNON – GOLD
TAFT STREET WINERY 2009 PINOT NOIR – GOLD
KENWOOD VINEYARDS 2011 PINOT NOIR – DOUBLE GOLD; 2011 ZINFANDEL - GOLD; 2011 CHARDONNAY - GOLD
KIMMEL VINEYARDS 2010 CABERNET SAUVIGNON - GOLD; 2010 CHARDONNAY - GOLD
LAETITIA VINEYARD & WINERY 2010 NADIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON – GOLD
SYCAMORE CREEK 2010 BORDEAUX BLENDS – DOUBLE GOLD
MIRO CELLARS 2011 RHONE BLENDS – DOUBLE GOLD
MACRAE FAMILY WINERY‘ 2007 CABERNET SAUVIGNON – SILVER
VINO VARGAS 2011 PINOT NOIR – SILVER; 2011 CABERNET SAUVIGNON – SILVER
FRANK FAMILY VINEYARDS 2011 CHARDONNAY – BEST OF CLASS
LANDMARK VINEYARDS 2010 CHARDONNAY – DOUBLE GOLD
MACROSTIE WINERY AND VINEYARDS 2011 CHARDONNAY – DOUBLE GOLD
THOMAS FOGARTY 2011 GEWURZTRAMINER – SILVER; 2011 RIESLING – SILVER
*Spiced is mulled wine (for the British) or glogg (for the Scandinavians) co-founded and owned by the young couple, Anders and Crystalyn. Its story is as interesting as the drink itself which in a nutshell was based on a wager from a unique German libation, Gluhwein, Crystalyn discovered during her European adventure straight out of college. Spiced is unclassified in the SFC Wine Competition because it is a cocktail with a proprietary blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Syrah, and Grenache with a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc Brandy and hints of spice and fruit in it. But because of its popularity, according to Anders, it was voted third most favorite by the public, it earned them a prominent spot to be among the stars at the wine tasting event.