June 2, 2009
Amador County Fair wine judging: and the winners are ...

Check out my "Wine Buzz" column today and you'll read about my first foray as a wine judge. I spent Saturday morning and early afternoon at the Amador County Fairground in Plymouth, with the task of considering 69 wines for possible medals. My three-person panel sampled 22 sangioveses, 31 cabernet sauvignon, 11 red Bordeaux blends, three "other white varietals blends" and two apple wines. The event can be summed up like this: good times, many glasses and a seriously stained tongue by the end of it all.

Here are the "best of class" winners selected by my panel:

Sangiovese - Macchia 2007 Sangiovese (This wine featured some stiff competition with a Cooper Vineyards 2006 Estate Sangiovese, but the edge went to the Macchia for its overall balance and fruity, long finish. Sangioveses from Vino Noceto also showed especially well).

Cabernet Sauvignon - Iverson Winery 2006 El Dorado Cabernet Sauvignon (a well-structured wine that also won us over for its flavors and aroma).

Red Bordeaux Blend - Winery by the Creek 2007 Grand Reserve (My personal favorite was the Hatcher Winery 2006 Meritage, but this wine was certainly fine and noted for its expressive bouquet and balanced fruit).

Other White Varietal Blends - Avanguardia Wines 2006 Selvatico (Out of the three wines in this flight, we all agreed that this wine had the best aromatics and flavor).

Apple Wine - Boa Vista Vineyards 2006 (Compared to the somewhat cloying Kandi Apple Wine from Boa Vista, this apple wine from the same producer was simply more refreshing and balanced - especially after a long morning of tasting).

But the competition featured nearly two dozen judges hosting many different panels. And by the end of it all, one wine reigned supreme: Sobon Estate 2007 Primitivo. This wine swept all of its fields and emerged as the "best of show" bottle. Wasn't on the panels for primitivo or "best of show," so I'm looking forward to tasting this one myself. Have fun tracking this bottle down ... and now, here are more "best of show" winners:

Best of Show - Sobon Estate 2007 Primitivo

Best Red - Sobon Estate 2007 Primitivo

Best White - Sierra Vista Winery 2008 Viognier

Best Desert Wine - Chateau Routon Winery 2005 Sierratage Vintage Port '05

Best Rose - Bray Vineyards 2008 Barbera Rosato

Best Amador Rhone - Karmere Winery 2007 Syrah

Best Amador Red Zinfandel - Obscurity Cellars 2007 Old Man Murrill Vineyard Zinfandel '07

Best Amador Italian - Sobon Estate 2007 Primitivo

Best Sauvignon Blanc - Wildrotter Winery 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

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