Judges who predicted that the Dry Creek Valley in northern Sonoma County was the source of the grapes that went into the zinfandel that won the sweepstakes at the 2008 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition were on the money.
When the competition concluded May 30 the judges knew only that they'd elected a 2006 zinfandel as the best of the 3,500 wines they'd spent three days evaluating. Late last night, however, at a gala on the grounds of the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona, competition officials revealed that the winning wine was the Armida Winery 2006 Dry Creek Valley Maple Vineyards Zinfandel. (The price wasn't available immediately, though the 2005 version sold for $36.) The runnerup, the best white wine of the judging, was the Penguin Bay Winery 2007 Finger Lakes Gewurztraminer.
Seven wines with ties to the Sacramento area won best-of-class honors, including two by Bogle Vineyards of Clarksburg, the 2007 California Chenin Blanc and the 2006 California Sauvignon Blanc. The others were the Chasing Venus 2007 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, a New Zealand wine made by Crew Wine Co. of Sacramento; the Jessie's Grove Winery 2005 Lodi Old Vine Westwind Zinfandel; the Crystal Valley Cellars 2006 Lodi Tannat; the McManis Family Vineyards 2006 California Zinfandel; the C.G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery 2005 Shenandoah Valley Zinfandel; and the Michael-David Winery 2005 Lodi Lust Zinfandel.
For the Sacramento region, the most striking results of the competition may not be wine, at all, but olive oil. More than 500 olive oils from around the world were being judged by separate panels at the same time the wines and spirits were being evaluated. When the results of the olive-oil competition were announced last night, the top three American entries all were made with olives grown in the Sacramento Valley: The Olive Press Butte County Sevillano (best extra-virgin olive oil, domestic, delicate); Apollo Olive Oil Sacramento Valley Yuba County Mistral Organic (best extra-virgin olive oil, domestic, medium); and Calolea Early Harvest Yuba County Mission (best extra-virgin olive oil, domestic, robust). Italian and Spanish olives oils won the top honors in the international division. Olivas de Oro's rosemary flavored olive oil from the Central Coast won the top award as best flavored olive oil.
For complete results of the wine, spirits and olive-oil judging, visit the competition's Web site.