Sierra Vista Vineyards and Winery didn't win the sweepstakes at today's annual El Dorado County Fair wine competition in Placerville, but it turned in the most impressive overall performance. It's even conceivable that it defeated itself by having so many wines in contention for the fair's highest honor.
Of the 21 wines vying for sweepstakes, three were by Sierra Vista, an unusually consistent and perhaps unprecedented showing. Each of the 21 was a double-gold wine. Double-gold medals are given only those wines that panels unanimously agree deserve a gold medal during the competition's early rounds. Some 570 wines were in the judging.
Sierra Vista's sweepstakes nominees were the zippy 2006 Sierra Foothills Fume Blanc ($14), the delicate 2006 Unoaked El Dorado Chardonnay ($14), and the spicy and complex 2005 El Dorado Fleur de Montagne, a blend of grenache, syrah, mourvedre and cinsault, grape varieties commonly associated with France's Rhone Valley.
While Sierra Vista is a longtime winery just outside Placerville, the sweepstakes win went to a newcomer, Auriga Cellars of Camino, for its 2005 El Dorado Zinfandel, the price of which wasn't available immediately.
Three wineries each had two wines vying for sweepstakes - Monetvina for its 2006 California Pinot Grigio and its non-vintage Amador County Zinfandel Port; Toogood Estate for its 2005 El Dorado Cabernet Franc and its 2005 California Tempranillo; and Iverson for its 2005 El Dorado Barbera and its 2005 El Dorado Cabernet Franc.