PAGE 2-2007 SF International Wine Competition
I'm pretty sure it was Valery Uhl who set the Whoopee Cushion on the chair
where Andy sat down...
Carl Grubbs was so fatigued after his morning flights of fancy, he needed a few
minutes to rest up for the afternoon tastings.
Meanwhile, a few spirited fellows posed for a shot...
KeVino Vogt, Dan "Contra" Kosta, Don Charles (singing soprano) and the
well-manicured Michael "Nail" Feil.
New Zealander Jim Harr tries swirling the wines in clockwise fashion...being
from the Southern Hemisphere he's accustomed to swirling the wines
Jim and his wife run a comfy little lodge an hour and a half north of
Christchurch (when he's not tasting wine in San Francisco!).
Meanwhile, someone is lobbying vehemently for a gold medal
for his favorite wine of the flight.
"And another thing..."
The Mad Hungarian (probably a better title than calling George a "Green
Hungarian") knows a good wine when he tastes it.
George Skorka is "da man" at the famous Los Angeles institution:
This is a very exclusive organization and George knows the secret handshake as
well as keeping the keys to the wine cellar.
Ron Brown-san resides in Japan...
Meridith May (who tastes in June, July and August, too) is one of the shining
stars of the tasting.
She's from Southern California...
Ron Washam traded his dining car for a bag of golf clubs and moved north to
Sonoma as wine director for the Mayacama Golf Club.
Now he's dealing with Eno-Celebrities instead of Hollywood-types.
No sub-par wines are given medals by Washam.
Obviously too much "back spin" on this wine.
Erna's daughter, the famous Renee-Nicole Kubin turbo-swirls a glass of a
slightly sweet white wine. R-N nursed this with such speed, the wine
actually became drier, losing residual sugar, after such a spin.
Ms. Kubin bats left-handed and can open a wine bottle right or
left-handed. When she's not giving wine advice to guests at Gary Danko's
little dining room in The City, she's sending suggestions on strategy to San
Francisco Giant's manager Bruce Bochy.
"More hit & run. In fact, some hits, period, would be good."
Meanwhile, a couple of tasters were looking to have a new "layer" of
"skin" exposed on their palates...
Seor Ray Posado and Ms. Anne Yayho.
Tim McDonald found everything to be coming up roses.
Our Fearless Leader.
Meanwhile, my panel cohorts worked diligently to assess and evaluate nearly two
dozen flights of wines.
Patrick Comiskey of Wine & Spirits Magazine (and whose handiwork often
appears in the L.A. Times) is always willing to give new wines a spin.
Sean Ludford says "One man's treasure is another man's shiver."
I think it was former wine merchant Mike Lynch who said
"One man's fish is another man's poisson."
Katie Ballou-Calhoun (Scripps 88) is a seasoned veteran on the wine judging
circuit. She's highly-regarded in the wine arena for her "P-R"
P-R on this weekend being "Palate Reliability."
One wine was so unusual it was truly hair-raising.
A Belgian beer made for a refreshing palate cleanser...
"Double Gold" all the way around!
A big thanks to this great trio of people who organized the 20-something flights
of wines we evaluated.
Left to right:
"Auntie" MAME CAMPBELL
These folks pour the wines, bring coded glasses of wine for us to taste, clear
glasses that have been tasted and rated, etc.
Palate-cleansing bread from Semifreddi's...
It's remarkable how they keep track of 4,000 entries...
Much credit for the smooth sailing of this ship goes to
Chandler Moore & Carol Seibert.
As we wait for the Sweepstakes tasting in the afternoon, Wilfred shows off his
collection of corks and screw-caps from bottles rated 90 points or higher on the
Michael Hantman catches up on the latest issue of The Wine
Play-by-Play announcer Rosie-T Wilson interviews Valery Uhl.
"We take it one wine at a time. Some of these wineries have
brought their 'A' game. I tasted some wines where you can tell the
winemaker is swinging for the fences. On the other hand, I couldn't decide
if it was the wine or the winemaker which was on steroids in that last flight."
We had many "Double Golds" to evaluate for "Best of Show"
Andy, of course, is ready for this challenge.
So are others...
Then we vote on our favorites...
And the votes are tabulated...
Rosie is riveted by Andy's announcement of the winners...
The panels of judges, typically comprised of three or
four tasters, must all vote for a "Gold Medal" for a
particular wine to have it merit the "Double Gold"
From 4,000 entries, this year's "sweepstakes" tasting featured
56 Double Gold Medal winning wines.
BEST OF SHOW SPARKLING WINE:
1988 VEUVE CLICQUOT "RARE
BEST OF SHOW WHITE WINE:
CHOUINARD VINEYARDS 2006 Monterey
BEST OF SHOW RED WINE:
CANIHAN WINES 2004 SONOMA VALLEY
BEST OF SHOW "FORTIFIED"
MAZURAN'S 1948 VINTAGE PORT (New
And so, we wound up a very busy weekend of tasting...
A "newsworthy" weekend...
An on-the-scene reporter is interviewed on TV about the results of the
marathon of tasting...
Some wineries would like to put stickers on their awarding winning
We found a few wines worthy of a different kind of sticker...
Many thanks to all those wineries who submitted their wines.
Well, almost all of them.
To the one winemaker who must have taken a three month vacation or who lost the
keys to the cellar for a few months and who didn't top the barrels, try to
remember "wine" is the goal, not salad dressing. I think Drano
is probably less caustic than your product.
To the rest: thanks for your diligent efforts to put a nice bottle of wine on
the table of wine drinkers!
Thanks to Carol, Chandler and Andy for inviting me to participate.
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