Sunday, 16 June 2024

Lake County wines take top awards

LAKE COUNTY – Lake County wines are claiming “Best of Class” awards at this year’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, and several other Lake County wines are winning medals at the prestigious annual event.


Wildhurst Vineyards, Steele Wines, Shannon Ridge Winery and Shed Horn Cellars are among the producers receiving the Best of Class distinction for their wines, according to judging results posted recently.


More than 60 professional judges tasted over 4,700 wines earlier this month. The public will have an opportunity to sample the competing wines on February 28 in San Francisco.


“It’s not surprising to see that Lake County wines are among those chosen as the best by the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition judges,” said Shannon Gunier, executive director of the Lake County Winegrape Commission. “Our wineries are making some of the top vintages in the nation. California and the rest of the country is hearing about Lake County because of our wine.”


“Lake County made a very good showing at this competition,” Wildhurst winemaker Mark Burch agreed.


Wildhurst’s 2007 Reserve Chardonnay took Best of Class in the “Chardonnay: $14 to $19.99” category. Burch noted that Wildhurst also garnered awards for its 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (double gold), 2007 Home Ranch Zinfandel (Gold), and Merlot (silver) in their respective categories.


Both the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc have been “very consistent” winners in competitions since 2006, according to Burch. The Chardonnay is produced from “outstanding stock” and is competing with cooler climate Chardonnays, he explained. Chardonnay from our region “is getting a lot of interest.” As for the Sauvignon Blanc, Burch looks to produce a 2008 with “more intensity” this year and continue the award-winning reputation.


Cabernet Sauvignon from Lake County took the top honors in two categories.


Shed Horn Cellars and Shannon Ridge Winery took Best of Class in the “$25 to $34.99” and “$15 to $24.99” divisions, respectively.


Both award winners can be credited to winemaker Mike Wood, according to Adawn Wood who, along with Mike, owns Shed Horn Cellars.


The Woods are “so excited” to have won, said Adawn, because the wine came from “a little winery” – 400 cases produced each year – which entered its first competition only last year.


At the Orange County Fair, Shed Horn received a gold for its 2007 Sauvignon Blanc and a silver for its 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. Mike Wood, also the winemaker for Shannon Ridge, has 26 years of winemaking experience, said Adawn, but this year was Shed Horn’s first time competing in the San Francisco Chronicle’s contest.


Touted as the “largest competition of American wines in the world,” the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition features a record number of competitors from throughout the United States. This year’s Sweepstakes winners include four from California, one from New Mexico, and another from New York.


Other Lake County award winners include Ceago Vinegarden (gold, “Merlot up to $14.99,” and gold, “Syrah/Shiraz $15 to $24.99”), Langtry Estate (double gold, “Cabernet Sauvignon $5 to $44.99”), Writers Block (gold, “Petite Sirah”), Benziger Family Winery (gold, “Bordeaux Blends $45.00 and over”), Steele (gold, “Dry Rose” for its Cabernet Franc Rose), Brassfield Estates (gold, “Zinfandel $15.00 to $24.99”), and many silver and bronze winners.


For a complete list of winners, including additional Lake County winery and vintage winners, see the San Francisco Chronicle’s Wine Competition Web site, www.winejudging.com/medal_winners_2009/index.html.


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