In early March, I was a judge at the Monterey Wine Competition. The entries were mostly from the US, but there were some significant import entries as well. Overall, the quality of the wines was quite good. Approximately 15% of the entries were awarded Gold or Platinum medals.
From those top medal winners I have listed here, in no particular order, my top ten favorites:
2011 Goose Watch Winery Finger Lakes Traminette – Goose Watch continues to impress with its exceptional Traminette The 2011 has opulent aromas of flowers, tangerine, peach and spice. The flavors are ripe and round with peach, mandarin orange, and pineapple elements underscored by its exotic spiciness.
2012 Carol Shelton Mendocino Rendevous Rosé – One starts yearning for hot weather to fully enjoy a wine like this Carignan-based Mendocino delight. Luscious strawberry, cranberry, cherry and watermelon fruits combine with subtle herb and spice nuances to form a seamless, compulsively gulpable whole.
2012 Echo Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – A delicious New Zealand Sauvignon with all the intense fruit and zesty style one hopes for. It lively lemon and grapefruity nose is enhanced by its clean, layered and elementally refreshing character on the palate.
2007 V. Sattui Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – A big red with bold black cherry and blackberry fruit tones underscored by hints of olive, cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla. Layers of red and black fruits engulf the palate and the creamy vanilla, cocoa, herb and spice nuances linger nicely at the finish.
2001 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Cuvée – This is outstanding bubbly by anyone’s measure. Its beautiful bouquet is of citrus, apple and tropical fruits backed by yeasty, creamy and buttery hints. The flavors are delicate and exquisitely nuanced with layers of fruit interwoven with subtle butter, cream, yeast and spice hints.
NV Weibel Family Peach Sparkling Wine – OK, this is perhaps not the most “serious” of wine categories, but it is captivating when you try it. When I judge flavored wines, I look for pure expression of fruit. The Weibel absolutely captures the essence of peach in this bottling. If you want a delicious summertime picnic wine that packs a delicious and different flavor punch, try this one.
2012 Dry Creek Sonoma Fumé Blanc – This is a rich and lovely Sonoma Sauvignon. It shows the classic nose of grapefruit and green apple fruits with hints of green herbs and lemon zest. Its racy minerality makes is a supremely refreshing white that other growers would do well to emulate.
NV Goose Watch Winery Classic Cream Sherry – This is a lovely dessert wine from New York State. It recalls the fine cream Sherries of Spain with its caramel, hazelnut and maple nuances. One trip across your palate and you’ll know why it’s called Cream Sherry. It has a lovely rich texture and long, pleasing finish.
2004 Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvée Brut – Another excellent American bubbly with lively citrus and apple fruit plus classic toasty and yeasty nuances imbued by the méthode traditionelle. It has a rich texture with layers of delicate flavors and a vibrant and refreshing finish.
2010 Baileyana Edna Valley Grand Firepeak Cuvée Chardonnay – The Baileyana Chardonnay combines all the attractive characteristics one seeks in California Chardonnay. The wine is vivid and complex, with apple, peach, and pineapple fruits enhanced by its velvety texture and fine balance of toasty oak, butter, cream and spice tones.
TOP WINES FROM THE TRE BICCHIERI TASTING
2007 Les Crrêtes Valle d’Aosta Fumin : Pure, juicy, black cherry and blackberry fruits plus subtle spices
2010 Velenosi Offida DOC Pecorino Villa Angela: Fresh lime and lemon peel plus green herb hints
2008 Nino Negri Valtellina Superiore Vigna Fracia: Pale color, ; silky texture with raspberry and red cherry fruits plus dried flower and sandalwood nuances
2009 Sergio Mottura Grechetto Latour a Civitella (Lazio): Rich texture ; ripe apple, pear & citrus fruits with a creamy, nutty richness
2010 Cantina Lunae Bosoni Colli di Luni Vermentino Etiquette Grigia (Liguria): Delightful, fresh, white flowers , tangerine and tropical fruits ; layered & long
2008 Frecciarossa Oltrepo Pavese Pinot Nero Giorgio Odero ; Exceptional Pinot with ripe cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruits plus subtle herb and spice tones ; layered, lively and long. Bravo !
2007 Capichera Mantenghja (Sardegna Carignano) Plush black cherry, plum & blackcurrant fruits with subtle lavender and spice hints
2009 Cusumano Sàgana (Sicily) Ripe pear & tropical fruits; rich texture; creamy but lifted and lively
2010 Marisa Cuomo Costa d’Amalfi Furore Bianco (Falanghina blend): Floral perfume – fruitblossom, ripe pear, tropical fruit, layered, long
2009 Nanni Copé Sabbie di Sopra il Bosco (Campania): 85% Pellegrllo Nero – Red & black fruits , herbal tones, layered, lifted, long
2008 Tenuta Olim Bauda Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza: Pure & vibrant fruit; plums, cherries, raspberries; layered & spicy
2008 Angelo Negri & Figli Roero Rosso Riserva Sudisfà: Black & red cherries, raspberry, dried flowers, spices, silky texture