San Francisco International Wine Competition 2012 Page 2
Katie Ballou Calhoun led Panel G's intrepid bunch through numerous flights of
fancy and not-so-fancy.
In real life, Katie works in the world of public relations.
Ellen Landis is a certified sommelier and runs the wine
program at a fancy
Bed & Breakfast in Half Moon Bay.
posts tasting notes on her interesting blog...ELLEN
William Bloxsom-Carter prepares meals for Hef and other celebrities in Holmby
Hills at the Playboy Mansion. The wine-tasting chef was recently Mister
May and pictured on the cover (and centerfold) of What's Cooking magazine!
McMahon is a globe-trotting wine educator based in Australia.
You can tell he's from Down Under as he swirls the wine in his glass in a
Mr. McMahon also currently advises Virgin Australia Airlines and the Mercure
hotel group for Australia as to wine selections for their various enterprises.
Panel H was my group this year...
Jim Harre, Kevin Vogt and Moi.
We struck gold and then some as our Passito ended up as the Best of Show Dessert
Chairing Panel I was Dr. Valery Uhl, famous globe-trotting wine judge and
A man of many talents, Michael has been seen (and heard)
trusty guitar and singing tunes made famous by Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan,
John Denver, James Taylor...
...and he sings The Anthony Dias Blues!
Preacher Bill McNabb spreads the gospel about sparkling pink wines (as you can
We're hoping Bill will bring his strings to a tasting so he and Michael can
entertain the other judges with Dr. Valery singing lead vocals.
Bill plays a mean banjo, too.
Panel J (for Jim)...
Panel leader Jim Trezise.
Here's a rare photo of Jim, Mister Riesling, shown with a glass of red wine.
Jim heads the International
Riesling Foundation as well as leading the New
York Wine & Grape Foundation.
Ann Littlefield of Littlefield Wine & Spirits Marketing...she's based in
Napa and spends many days of the year on the wine judging 'circuit.'
Scott Clemens, who's both an epicurean and a traveler, is the man behind EPICUREAN
TRAVELER DOT COM.
"This wine hurts my teeeeth!"
Rosina Tinari Wilson hosted Panel K. Rosina
is an enthusiastic wine & food person and has a nice little website
The organizers of the SFIWC must know Rosina to be a
supremely patient and strong individual.
Here are two reasons why:
Mendel Kohn captained Panel L...The Kohn Heads.
Mendel represents numerous California wineries as well as a bunch from Oregon
He's affiliated with Vinifera Wines and Northwest Wines, two wonderful sales
companies operating in Northern California.
Another member of the Kohn Heads is Sommelier Dana Farner who certainly knows
which wines make The Cut and which don't.
Dana is one of the more bubbly judges, perhaps due to her love of Champagnes and
other sparkling wines.
She's the wine guru at Wolfgang Puck's "CUT" in the Beverly Wilshire
hotel in Beverly Hills.
The third member of the triumvirate, Steve Izzo.
Steve has a Joie de Vivre (which means he's the life of
the party and may even speak French) and is the Wine Director at a fancy San
Francisco institution called Waterbar.
He's philosophical in his approach towards
judging the numerous flights during the course of the weekend. He's the
"surf" to Dana Farner's "turf."
We're pretty sure we heard Mendel asking "Izzy or Ain't He gonna give that
wine a gold medal?"
M as in Michael (Feil)...
Michael has been running a New York Country Club, but as with so many New
Yorkers, there's a mysterious "pull" which often leads Empire State
residents to take root in Florida, The Sunshine State.
Feil, who is already known as Mister Sunshine, is pleased to be in an area with
three NFL teams, NHL hockey squads, two MLB baseball teams and two NBA
Also chiming in on Panel M was Charles Krug's Steve Bell.
And we even found a "ringer" for Mr. Bell at the very same tasting
table a while later:
Adding even more dignity to such a dignified panel was the one and only George
George has an eye for good wine (as you can see here) and he's quite the
"I am not influenced, I am dedicated..." he says.
George was an Olympic Kayaker, so he does know Port from starboard.
He also knows Sherry from Spain.
Conducting the harmonious fiddlers of Panel N was Robert
His propensity to "listen" for medals is remarkable.
"This sounds like a gold to me," we heard his say.
"You know, I have 20/20 hearing. That's on the UC Davis Scoring
System." Bob explains.
Ziggy The Wine Gal.
Ziggy Eschliman can be heard on Sonoma's "The Krush" radio...
She's a Rock Star in her own right and a Sommelier to Rock Stars, too.
Marcus Garcia, who looks like one of Ziggy's rock stars, is the general manager
and wine director at San Francisco's "Fleur de Lys" restaurant.
John Cunin chaired Panel O.
John has been the Service Director for the Patina Restaurant Group and he's also
consulting with software developers in designing the CityEats websites.
He is a proponent of the notion that if you're "not livin' on the edge,
you're takin' up too much room."
Cunin had been affiliated with several Northern California landmarks:
Auberge du Soleil, Masa's and The Cypress Club.
John is a fan of the Cleveland Indians, which may explain why his colleagues
refer to him as Chief Wahoo.
Greg publishes the Pinot
This license plate is on Greg's Ford...
He lives in Wine Country (Sonoma) and is a
passionate Pinot aficionado, a fan of the San Francisco Giants as well as
classical guitar music.
This license plate is on Greg's Semi...
Tonya Pitts is a sommelier and wine director at San Francisco's One
She practices the fine art of wine tasting and has a palate and a colorful
Tonya's wine list features American wines and she posts her recent faves on
twitter as the noirsommelier.
After our first day of tasting, we're
hosted way up atop the Hotel Nikko for the Judges' Dinner.
There's usually some "finger foods" and little
nibbles along with a bit of bubbly.
Michael Feil asks Dana Farner about her golf game and her predictions for
this weekend's US Open in San Francisco.
"Yes, I heard there were a lot of puttses in town."
John C, Scott G, Greg W and Steve I.
You can bet there's Wine being Spoken Here!
George Skorka put two brown-bagged bottles out for people
to try (and guess)...
I thought the wine which turned out to be Kalin Chardonnay was some sort of
older vintage of a wacky Hungarian white which Monsieur Skorka might have
tricked us with...Maybe a Hßrslevelű, for example.
The Semillon was so nicely aromatic and fruity, I thought it might be a
Cserszegi Fűszeres, Irsai OlivÚr or maybe even an older, rustic Riesling.
Goldilocks, Silverstein & La-Bronze James!
Anne Littlefield & Sting
Anne wanted her picture taken with all the cool guys.
Ms. Littlefield with Giants' relief pitcher Brian Wilson.
Anne Littlefield with George Clooney, I think.
Scott Clemens, Mike Dunne and Katie Ballou-Calhoun.
Rosina is always one of the most colorful wine judges!
El Grande Andy.
Old McDonald with the Forever Young Valery Uhl.
Thanks to Mike "Easier Said Than" Dunne for snapping this shot of the
Wine Tasting Legend Jim Harre with Mrs. Harre and Football Legend Jim
Ron Washbag, The Hosemaster of Wine.
Doctor Valery and Mister Bob.
We then sat down and had dinner...
Jim Harre shows off a bottle of Le Fraghe's splendido bottle of 2011 Garganega.
A Mystery Wine with The Hosemaster label.
It was a Zocker Gruner Veltliner which Mr. Washam proclaimed to be "Not
We then had a bottle of Zilliken's Saarburger...
Most guesses pegged it as being a 5 to 8 year old Riesling.
In fact, thought, it was a 20 year old bottle!
The Great Kate was smitten by this little red from Sicilia...
A Nanfro Frappato.
Terry enjoyed the CUNE 1999 Imperial Gran Reserva.
The 2008 Mongeard-Mugneret was a nice little Burgundy!
And then, dessert...
Linda and Brian then stood up and sang some Gershwin tunes.
And so, on that note...
...we adjourned the proceedings.
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