Posts Filed Under wine industry events
Personally, I didn’t need any more evidence that Sonoma generally has its mojo working and is making some of the best wines ever to come out of the region. But I got a thoroughly inundating reminder of that when I visited the second (2016) incarnation of the Sonoma County Barrel Auction as a media guest this past April (and yes, I’m just getting around to writing about it now).
Auction-wise, it seems to me t hat most of the initial kinks have been worked out; the event was entertaining, and the group of MSs and MWs (several of which I’m happy to call friends… which shows you just how crazy the wine biz really is… Doug, I owe you for sharing your liquor, buddy!) that they brought in to the vet the one-of-a-kind entries did a stellar job in teasing out the region’s best.
I suppose that the SoCoBA is the Sonoma counterpoint to Premiere Napa Valley. And in many ways, it compares favorably to PNV, though it does so in Sonoma’s more down-home, farmer-centric style. In my view, there were so many excellent wines on offer over the two days of tastings held at the event, that I’m going to have to keep the descriptions short-and-sweet. Hopefully these highlights will clue you in on a producer or two (or four) that hadn’t been on your California wine radar, but probably ought to be.
And, yeah, it’s mostly Pinot (get over it), but there are a handful of nice surprises in here…
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Ah, San Francisco… sourdough, trolley cars, wine competitions…
If you’re so inclined, you can now browse the medal-winning results from the 2016 San Fransisco International Wine Competition in which I was fortunate enough to have taken part once again (for more details, see the 2014 and 2015 results write-ups).
Judging in that event has become one of my favorite weekends of the year, thanks in no small part to the competition’s excellent staff, its professional organization, the ever-increasing quality of its wine submissions, and (primarily) the caliber and dispositions of the other judges. The judges list (present company excluded) reads like a Who’s Who compendium of the people who totally rock the judging circuit in the wine biz.
Over the past few years, wine competitions in the U.S. have taken hits from their share of critical salvos. I’m happy to report that fire seems to have abated a bit. I suppose that, at this point, I could be considered a veteran of the American wine competition judging scene, and while I understand that competition circumstances are likely to encourage some inconsistency in results, I’m confident that the best competitions (in which SFIWC should undoubtedly be included) take great pains to maximize the professionalism involved, and give each wine the fairest shake possible.
Some of the SFIWC’s Usual Suspects…
As to the usefulness of such competitions, I’m like a broken record on that topic for the last few years: differentiation is important, and wine competition medals potentially differentiate you from the competition. Interestingly, I’m actually quoted on the same topic in the SFIWC 2016 results press release:
“Wine is an extremely competitive product, and being judged by industry tastemakers and receiving a top award here at the San Francisco Wine Competition can help a wine stand out amongst its peers,” says wine writer, blogger and competition judge Joe Roberts.
Which begs the question: did I really use the word “amongst?” I must have, because Jarvis Communications’s Sam Dependahl was using a voice recorded when he asked me for a quote about it. Dang it!…
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image: Texas Monthly
Ahhh, Dallas, where the rain is big, the convention center is even bigger, and the wine competitions are downright huuuuuuge.
I had such a splendid time judging alongside the consummate professionals at the 2016 TexSom International Wine Awards that I didn’t even mind that Dallas is totally dirty with Cowboys fans (Go Steelers!). Hell, I even had a date while I was in town (because, well, we are talking about my crazy life here).
The results of the 2016 TexSom competition have now been published in their entirety, so I am happy to share with you some of the highlights from my panels there. First, here’s the skinny on the results, as worded by the TexSom crew:
“Entries in the TEXSOM International Wine Awards were blind-tasted and judged by 67 internationally renowned industry influencers from 10 countries. Of these entries, the judges awarded 2,133 medals: 273 Gold medals, 798 Silver medals, and 1062 Bronze medals. Suggested retail pricing of medal-winning entries ranged from US $2.99 to US $770.00. Vintages spanned 75 years, with the oldest being 1941. All winners have been announced, and the winning wines are listed on the Texas Monthly website at http://www.texasmonthly.com/article/tiwa2016/.”
Told ya it was big, pardner!…
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“As the world fell, each of us in our own way was broken. It was hard to know who was more crazy… me… or everyone else.”
– Max Rockatansky, Mad Max: Fury Road
I think the wine judging world has officially gone batsh*t crazy. More on that in a minute.
As many of you might have already surmised from my recent updates on The Book of Face, my recent press jaunt to Madeira was, from a tasting perspective, extraordinary. So, there will likely be much more info. to come from that trip soon (after I catch up on writing up some Napa shizzle from the fourth quarter of 2015).
Today, however, I am still reeling (in positive ways) from finally getting my hiney to Madeira, and am just dropping a quick line to let you know about two upcoming wine competitions in which I’ll be playing a small part.
First up: the TexSom International Wine Awards, taking place later this month. This is my first judging stint with TIWA, the organizers of which have apparently lost their minds entirely, as evidenced by my inclusion on a judging lineup consisting primarily of baddass wine people with either “MW or “MS” after their names. I know, I don’t get it, either, but I’m excited to check it out and to return to the Dallas/Fort Worth area (despite the spot being overrun with Cowboys fans).
Next, I’ll be returning as a judge to the venerable Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition, this year moved up to March. This will be, I think, my fourth stint with CC, and as always I considered myself blessed to be able to work with such a professional, well-organized, and fun group of organizers, volunteers, and judges. I have been lucky enough now to have judged in a not-insignificant number of wine competitions, and I would easily rank CC as one of the best worldwide; it has become one of my favorite long-weekend work gigs of the year.
I know, I know… that was all way too much positivity for a single 1WD post. In fact, we might have just fulfilled the feel-good quotient here for the entire first quarter…