Stand Outs from the San Diego Wine and Spirits Challenge

Posted on June 9, 2016

Wine and Spirits Challenge

The San Diego International Wine Competition had a face lift this year.  It now features a spirit competition. The new name after decades of existence is the San Diego Wine and Spirits Challenge. I had the pleasure of judging both wine and spirits this year.  There were about 10 tables with 3 judges per table.  My fellow judges were Nick Passmore from Forbes Magazine and Michael Cervin from the Hollywood Reporter.  The wines and spirits were brought out to us in flights of 6-10 glasses.  We judge each fight blind.  The flights were served in order of type.  For example, we started with a flight of Pinot Noir and then a flight of Red Bordeaux Blends.  This year we were not told the price of the wine, so there could have been $8 Pinot along side $40 Pinot.  I guess that makes sense, we judge the wines on what they are, Pinot Noir and not what they should taste like for their price.

So how do the medals work?  Each wine receives a numeric score between 87-100.  An over all score of 87-89 is awarded a Silver Medal, 90-93 a Gold and 94-100 a Platinum or Double Gold if it is spirits. The scores were done individually.  After we tasted and rated the flight, we each gave the wine a score.  I may give an 88, another judge gives a 93 and another no award.  Our moderator would take an average of our scores and award the wine that number. So a wine as in this example received a Silver medal with a score of  88.  There were times where we all agreed and other times when we were way off each other, as in the example above.

You can see the full results from both competitions here.  What I would like to do today is show you the wines and spirits which I scored highly.  Some received the medal I awarded them and some did not.  It is very humbling to see the results.  If I saw some of these wines at the store, I would not buy them because I am a prejudice wine snob.  It just goes to show that you cannot judge a wine by its label.

Organizer extraordinaire, Robert  Whitley did a nice article on the wine which won best of show, Trinchero Forte. Check it out here.

ROSE

Boschendal “The Rose Garden Rose” Coastal Region South Africa ’15  Awarded 94 pts…received 94pts $16

Chateau d’Esclans “Whispering Angel” Provence France ’15  Awarded 90 pts…received 90 pts $22

Handley Cellar Pinot Noir Rose Anderson Valley California ’15  Awarded 90 pts…received 88 pts $25

 

WHITE WINES

Reustle “Prayer Rock Vineyard” Gruner Veltliner Umpqua Valley Oregon ’14  Awarded 90 pts..received 88pts $29

Zocker “Paragon Vineyard” Gruner Veltliner Edna Valley California ’14  Awarded 90 pts…received  no award $20

Rebel Coast Winery “Sunday Funday” White Blend California ’13  Awarded 90 pts…received no award $12.99

Little Lakes Chardonnay Russian River Valley California ’14  Awarded 92…received 90 pts $14.95

Frei Brothers Reserve Chardonnay Russian River Valley California ’14  Awarded 90 pts…received no award $20

Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay Monterey/Santa Barbara ’14  Awarded 94 pts…received 87 pts $20

Kendall-Jackson “Avant” Chardonnay California ’14  Awarded 90 pts…received 94 pts $17

Talbott “Kali Hart” Chardonnay Monterey California ’14  Awarded 92 pts…received 90 pts $23

Chateau St. Jean “Robert Young Vineyard” Alexander Valley California ’13  Awarded 92 pts…received 88 pts $25

Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen “Eroica” Riesling Columbia Valley Washington ’14  Awarded 90 pts…received 89 pts $20

 

RED WINES

Chateau Elan Winery Reserve Pinot Noir American ’15   Awarded 90…received 91 pts $24.95

D&L Carinalli Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir Russian river California ’14  Awarded 92 pts…received 95 pts $25

Gallo Signature Series Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands ’14  Awarded 91 pts…received 91 pts $13.99

Randall-Monroe Pinot Noir California ’14  Awarded 90 pts…received 89 pts $8.99

Dry Creek Vineyard “The Mariner” Meritage Dry Creek California ’12  Awarded 90 pts…received 89 pts

Opolo “Rhapsody” Reserve Meritage Paso Robles California ’13  Awarded 93 pts…received 90 pts $47

V. Sattui Winery “Paradiso” Bordeaux Blend Napa California ’12  Awarded 90 pts…received 90 pts $85

Raymond Reserve Selection Merlot Napa California ’13  Awarded 90pts…received 88 pts $24

Columbia Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Washington ’13  Awarded 90 pts…received 90 pts $16

Frei Brothers Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley ’13  Awarded 91 pts…received 91 pts $27

Peju Cabernet Sauvignon Napa California ’13  Awarded 90 pts…received 90 pts $50

Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma California ’13  Awarded 91 pts…received 91 pts $28

Gallo Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon Napa California ’13  Awarded 92…received 90 pts $40

 

SPIRITS

Scoring the spirits was a bit different. They too were judged blind.  If all three judges gave an award of gold, then it automatically received a double gold and no point is attributed.  Otherwise, our scores are tallied and it receives the average score of the three judges. For final results visit here.  Below were my favorites of the bunch.

 

Johnnie Walker Double Black Blended Whisky Scotland  Awarded Gold 91 pts…received Double Gold $42

Glenmorangie Single Malt Highland Scotland  Awarded 93 pts…gold 93 pts $40

Kichoman Single Malt Sanaig Islay Scotland  Awarded 94 pts…received Double Gold $80

Ardberg Single Malt Islay Scotland  Awarded 90 pts…received 90 pts $55

Domaine de Papolle Armagnac Hors d”Age France  Awarded 92 pts…received 89 pts $110

Krupnik Spiced Honey Liqueur American  Awarded 93 pts…received 89 pts $25

Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka Pennsylvania  Awarded 90 pts…received 88pts $33

Purity Wheat Vodka Sweden  Awarded 93 pts…received Double Gold $40

Familia Camarena Blanco Tequila Mexico  Awarded 93 pts…received 88pts $50

Tres Agaves Reposado Tequila Jalisco  Awarded 91 pts…received 92 pts $33

Tequila Chamucos Reposado Tequila Jalisco  Awarded 92 pts…received 88 pts $50

New Amsterdam Gin American  Awarded 92 pts…received 88 pts $14

Beefeater 24 London Dry Gin London  Awarded 91 pts…received 91 pts $30

Kinahan’s Irish Blended Whiskey Ireland  Awarded 94 pts…received Double Gold $40

The Irishman Blended Whiskey Ireland  Awarded 93 pts…received Double Gold $30

Canadian Club Rye Canadian Whiskey  Awarded 93 pts…received Double Gold

John Barr Reserve Blend Blended Whisky Scotland  Awarded 92 pts…received 92 pts $25

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