The Sun Drinks ~ Sarah Stierch

Sarah Stierch Sarah Stierch is the Food + Drink Editor of the Sun (with occasional visits to other areas of the paper). Stierch has eaten, drunk, and written her way through 13 countries and the hottest food trends and communities in the USA. She's also a racing and travel geek, venturing beyond food/booze to cover subjects that connect to Sonoma Valley, such as IndyCar racing and other wine making regions. Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, the Independent, Salon, Gawker, Smithsonian and on National Public Radio, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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2016 Sonoma Valley Harvest Fair wine winners

Posted on September 22, 2016 by Sarah Stierch
Gloria Ferrer's Royal Cuvee
Gloria Ferrer’s Royal Cuvee took home Best of Class (Photo: Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards)

Sonoma Valley-based wineries took home big wins in this year’s Sonoma County Harvest Fair wine competition. Here are highlights from this year’s winners in Best of Class and Gold. Check out the food winners here. Buy local!

Best of Class winners

Benziger Family Winery won Best of Class in the Rhone varietals category for their 2014 Joaquin’s Inferno, Sonoma Mountain ($70). This “heavyweight” wine is named after the Benziger’s “grape whisperer” Joaquin Corona, who tends to the steep grapes sitting atop Sonoma Mountain which overlooks the estate winery.

Gloria Ferrer won Best of Class in Sparkling Wines for their Royal Cuvee ($39). One of my favorite California sparklers, the wine was introduced in 1987 when it was served to the King and Queen of Spain.

Highway 12 was awarded Best of Class for their 2013 Highwayman Proprietary Red ($48) in the Bordeaux Blends category. The reserve wine has been racking up points since its release and has been described as “dark” and “brooding.” Woe is me!

Imagery's 2015 Wow Oui wine
Imagery’s 2015 Wow Oui (Photo: Imagery Estate Winery)

Imagery Estate Winery scored Best in Class for two wines: their 2015 Wow Oui ($27) in the Other White Blends (read my review here) and their 2015 Upper Ridge Riesling ($26) in Other White Varietals. The Riesling will make an appearance in my next Oktoberfest themed wine column.

Kenwood Vineyards won two Best of Class awards this year. First, for their 2014 Six Ridges Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($24), which will please the palette of fruity, barrel aged Chard fans. The second award was for their 2015 Russian River Pinot Gris ($16), a screw cap that has a touch of sweetness due to touches of Muscat and Gewurztraminer. It won in the Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio category.

Mayo Family Winery‘s 2014 Delaney Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($60) Cabernet Sauvignon retail price $50 and up category. The winery has won big with this vineyard before, which is located near Healdsburg. They also won Best of Class in Merlot retail price $40 and up for their 2014 Francis Riggins Vineyard Merlot.

St. Francis Vineyard won for their tasty and reasonably priced 2015 Sonoma County Pinot Noir ($22).

Gold

Buena Vista Winery was awarded Gold for their 2014 Sheriff of Buena Vista ($40) red blend. The now-iconic wine, which has a sheriff’s badge as its label, scored in the Other Red Varietal category. The wine is a big, bold tribute to Count Harazathy, who was the Sheriff of San Diego County in 1850.

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Blonde Ambition Chardonnay by Deerfield Ranch

Deerfield Ranch won four Golds this year! Deerfield’s 2014 Chardonnay Blonde Ambition, with it funky “is that a naked lady in heels?” wine label, won in the Chardonnay category. Additional winners include their 2013 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($75), 2012 Running Rabbit Ranch Malbec ($65), and their 2012 Red Rex proprietary blend ($32).

Kunde Family Winery won Gold in Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc categories. Winners include their Kunde Estate 2015 Chardonnay ($45), 2015 Kunde Sauvignon Blanc, Block 4SB20 ($25), and 2014 Kunde Merlot ($22).

Larson Family Winery gave Gloria Ferrer a run for their money by winning a Gold medal for their Sparkling Rose ($40). Additionally, they won gold for their 2012 Meritage ($50).

Ledson Winery won a Gold for their 2014 Russian River Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir ($56). Fruit forward and floral, it is what you expect from a Russian River Pinot.

Little Winery, based in Glen Ellen, won three Golds. One each for two different vintages of their 2013 and 2014 Center Stage blends ($45) and one for their inky, estate grown 2013 Syrah ($38).

Madrone Estate Winery won two Gold medals for two wines that put the old Valley of the Moon Winery on the map. One of my favorite blends, the 2012 Bough ($45) and their Old Vine 2013 Zinfandel ($65).

Mathis Wine‘s win comes as no surprise: a Gold for winemaker Peter Mathis’ 2013 Grenache ($32). Don’t forget: he grows it and he makes it.

Muscardini's 2013 Sangiovese Alice's Vineyard
Muscardini’s 2013 Sangiovese Alice’s Vineyard

Muscardini Cellars took home Gold medals for four big and bold, red wines, including two from Glen Ellen’s Cassata Vineyard: their 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Cassata ($60); 2012 Tesoro ($50); 2013 Cassata Reserve blend ($65); and their 2013 Sangiovese Alice’s Vineyard ($72).

St. Anne’s Crossing, which specializes in Zinfandel, won a whopping 5 Gold medals. Zin winners include their 2014 Split Rail ($36) from Dry Creek, 2013 Ami Cheri ($36), and their 2014 Tripi Vineyard ($36).

Wellington Vineyards won four Golds for four red wines: their 2012 Mohrhardt Ridge Cabernet ($30); 2013 Estate Grenache ($25); 2013 Meeks Hilltop Ranch Zinfandel; and NV Field Blend ($30).

Westwood Estate won three Gold medals. Winners were their 2014 Elevation ($38), an estate Rhone blend; their 2014 Legend Red Blend ($64); and their 2014 Reserve Pinot Noir ($64), which is a blend of two my of favorite Pinot clones, Pommard and 667.

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