The ultimate winner in the first annual Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge, held last week in Santa Rosa, was the Beaulieu Vineyard 2009 Tapestry Reserve, a classic red Bordeaux blend.
Two dozen judges sifted through 930 wines in the blind tasting, then voted to find the best from throughout the heart of Wine Country. When their scores were tabulated, a total of 121 wines received gold medals, six won Best of County awards, five won Best of Class and the Beaulieu red was judged to be the biggest winner of all, the “Best of the Best.”
Its stated price at contest entry time was $60.99 a bottle. The Rutherford vineyard was established in 1900 by Georges de Latour and has served as a benchmark for Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon ever since. The wine garnered 98 points and inspired one judge to comment, “Please pour this over my naked body.”
“Best of Sonoma County” was a three-way tie for winner, among Sivas-Sonoma 2011 Sauvignon Blanc ($22); Kokomo 2012 Grenache Rosé, Pauline's Vineyard Estate ($22); and Trombetta Family Wine 2011 Pinot Noir, Gap's Crown Vineyard ($58).
The Sivas-Sonoma 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, a wine produced by Don Sebastiani & Sons from Sonoma County grapes, also won Best of Class award for “Best White Wine.” It received 98 points and was described as “fragrant and extremely complex” by the judges.
The Kokomo 2012 Grenache Rosé, Pauline's Vineyard Estate, also won the Best of Class award for “Best Rosé,” garnering 98 points for being “elegantly made.”
The Trombetta Family Wine 2011 Pinot Noir, Gap's Crown Vineyard, sourced from vineyards in the Petaluma Gap region of the Sonoma Coast AVA, was deemed “soft, sultry, deep” by the judges, who gave it a score of 98.