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New Fine Wine Competition Chooses the Winners

by Monty and Sara Preiser

The inaugural South Florida Fine American Wine Competition in Boca Raton, Florida, last week was a smashing success. Sponsored by the South Florida Business Journal, it is believed that this event is the first wine competition in the country to limit entries to American products only, as well as establish a threshold wine value which must be reached in order for a wine to participate.

From the week’s initial removal of a cork from, and the judging of, a fine Sauvignon Blanc, to a gala celebration dinner where all the wines that were evaluated were available for the 400 attendees to taste, the week was one
of great anticipation and triumph for the Journal, its publisher Gary Press, the participating sponsors, the Journal’s event chair Shari Gherman, and your co-founding humble writers. Monty also supervised the judging while
Sara was responsible for wine acquisition, a task at which she excelled (this part written by Monty), as you will see when you review the wines and their awards. In fact, not only did the number of wines submitted
for judging exceed expectations, but so did the amount of money bid for wines and art at the dinner – over $170,000.00, most of which will go to benefit two worthwhile charities, Kids in Distress and Homesafe.

For many years we have brought you the results of various wine competitions with the idea that a good panel of judges tasting blindly is likely, for the most part, to award medals to properly deserving wines. Of course, this reasoning does not hold true for every competition, since sometimes there are outside forces (even subconsciously) pushing one to award a medal for reasons other than simple merit. This might occur when judging panels include, for example, vintners who understandably want to promote their award winning wines, or distributors who just as judiciously want to push these same wines to retail stores. There are no problems with these motives in usual circumstances, but at the least they cast a shadow over a judging. At other times, the panel approach might not be the best when it is comprised of individuals who grant awards based solely on their own taste rather than a wine’s inherent characteristics, or whether it achieves varietal correctness.

For this competition the judges were selected by Shari Gherman and Monty, who sought out those with no conflicts - perceived or otherwise. The three of us also spent a great deal of time studying and analyzing how competitions were run nationwide so that our ultimate event combined what we felt was the best of all others. Most importantly, we required fine wines and unbiased, highly skilled judges.

And there was no disappointment. By the time the wines were logged in, over 400 had been sent to Florida from about 160 wineries in California, Oregon, Washington, New York, and Virginia. Each judge below who accepted the task more than fit the established criteria, and as a group they meshed to form the kind of panel vintners like to see. In fact, numerous vintners have written that it was the quality of this panel that helped sway them to enter this competition when they usually enter none at all.

Matt Adler Wine writer and merchant consultant, he is the publisher of the soon to be seen Wine Guardian, a multi media consumer wine guide
Charlie Arturaola Legendary sommelier for some of the country’s finest restaurants, and now consulting for insurance companies and large private collectors
Fred Barger Wine writer for such publications as Ocean Drive and the Miami Herald, he serves as consultant for Crown Wine and Spirits
Jenny Benzie Having earned the Advanced Sommelier certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers, she is now head sommelier at Café Boulud in Palm Beach
Chip Cassidy Former head sommelier at the Breakers in Palm Beach, wine educator,
and presently wine director for Crown Wine and Spirits
Brian Chamis Sommelier for 14 years at one of Florida’s great wine establishments, Café Chardonnay
Philippe Cherruault Head sommelier at The Four Seasons in Palm Beach
Barry Gump Emeritus Professor of Chemistry and Adjunct Professor of Enology at
California State University, Fresno
Jan Jorgenson Chef/owner of Two Chefs restaurant, and internationally acclaimed as a
leader in food and wine pairings
Jen Karetnick Wine and restaurant critic with reviews published in numerous magazines and newspapers nationwide
Dale LoSasso Former corporate wine director for China Grill Management and presently owner of North One 10, one of Florida’s finest restaurants
Angelo Morinelli Owner of Cucino D’Angelo, with a highly honored wine list        
Kyle O'Brien Wine merchant and partner in the Wine Warehouse, a retail establishment with numerous locations
Virginia Philip A Master Sommelier, she was selected as the country’s best by the American Sommelier Association in 2002, and is now at The Breakers in Palm Beach   
Monty Preiser Wine writer for the Boca News, South Florida Business Journal, and
sallybernstein.com, he co-publishes The Preiser Key to Napa Valley 
Delius Shirley Long time restaurateur, consultant, and creator of award winning wine lists, he has owned many restaurants, including the acclaimed Ortanique in Miami
Zachery Smith Former sommelier at some of Florida’s most well known restaurants, he is now carrying out that duty at Opus 5 in Boca Raton
Patrick Sullivan Currently the wine and spirits editor for Dine magazine, he trains
food and beverage staffs in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico

So what wines did this group like the best? Well, they liked almost all of them – no surprise given the quality of what was being poured for 9 hours over two days. Yet we do not have room to list all the results. So, following is the Best of Show in red, white, and dessert wines; the Double Golds (100% of the panel had to agree to award this color); and the Golds and Silvers (requiring at least 75% of the panel to concur). Medals were not easy to come by, so if one was awarded, the wine earned it. And wineries should be proud of any medal from this event, especially Silver and above.

So get your printers ready, as the following should prove a great guide for the next year or two.

Best of Show (White Wine): 2006 Summers Alexander Vlly Chard ($22)
Best of Show (Red Wine): 2005 Brochelle Paso Robles Syrah ($39)
Best of Show (Dessert Wine): 2005 Chalk Hill L. H. Semillion ($55/ 375 ml)

Double Gold Medal Winners:
Sauvignon Blanc:
-2006 Hall Napa Valley ($20)
-2005 Kunde Magnolia’s Lane ($15)
-2006 Rodney Strong Charlotte’s Home ($14)

-2005 Truchard Carneros ($30)

Pinot Noir:
-2005 Picket Fence Russian River ($29)
-2004 Rodney Strong Jane’s Vineyard ($35)

Rhone Blend:
-2004 Clautiere Mon Beaux Rouge Paso Robles ($29)

Bordeaux Blend:
-2002 Gordon Bros. Tradition Columbia Valley ($45)
-2004 Peachy Canyon Para Siempre Paso Robles ($40)

-2003 Arcadian Hommage a Max Santa Ynez ($80)

-2005 De Loach Forgotten Vines Sonoma ($32)

Cabernet Sauvignon:
-2004 Brochelle Napa ($43)
-2004 Darioush Stags Leap ($74)
-2005 Honig Napa ($40)
-2004 Pelton House Knight’s Valley ($37)
-2004 Rombauer Napa ($38)
-2004 Verasion Stagecoach ($50)

Dessert: -n/v Merryvale Antigua Muscat ($32)

Gold Medal Winners:
-2005 Château St. Michelle Ethos Columbia Valley ($30)
-2005 Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills Washington ($30)
-2005 Frank Family Carneros ($33)
-2005 Hartford Court 4 Hearts Russian River ($36)
-2005 Landmark Lorenzo Russian River ($48)
-2005 Rodney Strong Reserve Russian River ($30)
-2006 Rombauer Napa ($30)

Pinot Noir:
-2005 Dierberg Santa Maria ($42)
-2006 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast ($42)
-2005 Robert Stemmler Carneros ($36)
-2005 Russian Hill Estate ($34)
-2005 Russian Hill Tara Vineyard ($45)
-2006 Schug Carneros ($26)
-2006 Trinitas Carneros ($27)

-2004 Chateau St. Michelle Horse Heaven Hills ($30)
-2005 O’Brien O Napa ($35)

Rhone Blend:
-2005 Cass Rockin’ One Paso Robles ($42)

Bordeaux Blend:
-2002 Boorman Metaphor Temecula ($40)
-2003 Conn Creek Anthology Napa ($54)
-2004 Cosentino Legends Napa ($80)
-2004 Meador Estate Magnus Arroyo Secco ($60)
-2004 Robert Foley Claret Napa ($110)
-2004 Sullivan Coeur de Vique Rutherford($90)
-2004 Trentadue La Storia Alexander Valley ($45)

-2004 Brassfield Estate Monte Sereno ($30)
-2004 Clautiere Estate Paso Robles ($24)
-2005 Eric Ross Catie’s Corner Russian River ($28)
-2005 Krupp Brothers Black Bart Napa ($52)
-2004 Robert Biale Hill Climber Napa ($42)
-2005 Sequel Columbia Valley ($55)

-2005 Tres Sabores Porque No? Napa ($20)

Cabernet Sauvignon:
-2005 Cass Napa ($38)
-2004 Ehlers Estate 1886 Rutherford ($95)
-2003 Frank Family Napa ($45)
-2005 Justin Paso Robles ($25)
-2004 Monticello Corley State Lane Napa ($58)
-2004 Parry Cellars St. Helena ($60)
-2003 Raymond Rutherford ($55)
-2004 Robert Craig Mt. Veeder ($70)
-2004 St. Helena Rd. Roy J. Maier Sonoma ($49)
-2005 Shypoke Napa ($30)
-2002 Stryker Sonoma Monte Rosso ($48)
-2003 Trinchero Lewelling St. Helena ($45)
-2004 Von Strasser Post Napa ($75)

-2006 Bouchaine L.H. Bouche d’Or Chardonnay ($24/375 ml.)
-n/v Quady Sweet Vermouth Aperetif ($21)
-2003 Thomas Fogarty L. H. Gewurztraminer Monterey ($45)



Sauvignon Blanc

2006 Honig   Napa $22
2006 Honig   Napa $16
2006 Saint Supery Napa $19
2006 Merryvale   Napa $18
2005 Handley   Dry Creek $16
2005 Ceja   Napa $26
2005 Raymond   Napa $14
2006 Peju   Napa $18
2006 EOS   Paso Robles $15
2006 Source Napa   Napa $29
2006 Chalk Hill   Sonoma $28


2005 Schug   Carneros $26
2005 Sullivan   Napa Reserve $30
2005 Figge Cellars   Santa Lucia $30
2005 Domaine Alfred   Chamisal $24
2006 ZD   Napa $34
2006 Schug   Sonoma Coast $22
2006 Saint Supery   Napa $22
2005 Kendall-Jackson   Santa Maria $25
2005 Russian Hill   Russian River $30
2005 Dierberg   Santa Maria $36
2004 Thomas Fogarty   Santa Cruz $27
2004 Rutz   Russian River $30
2006 Testarossa   Central Coast $30
2005 Elkhorn Peak Napa $28
2005 Patz & Hall   Russian River $39
2005 Paul Hobbs   Russian River $48

Rouge Blend

2004 Clayhouse   Paso Robles $29


2003 Northstar   Columbia Vlly $41
2004 Frazier   Napa $40
2005 Woodward Canyon Columbia Vlly $40
2004 Rombauer   Napa $29
2005 Schug   Sonoma $35
2004 Pedestal   Columbia Vlly $55
2004 Verasion   Atlas Peak $50
2003 Chalk Hill   Chalk Hill $68


2005 The Terraces Napa $28
2005 Seghesio   Sonoma $24
2003 Ballentine   Block 9 Napa $27
2005 Peachy Canyon   Paso Robles $36
2005 Rodney Strong   Knotty Vines $20
2004 Titus   Napa $30
2005 Cosentino Cigar Zin California $30
2005 Robert Biale Zappa Napa $45
2005 Frank Family Napa $35
2005 Robert Biale Monte Rosso Sonoma $50


2001 Broman   Napa $30
2005 Justin   Paso Robles $26
2003 Truchard   Carneros $28
2005 Cass   Paso Robles $34
2004 Justin   Paso Robles $24
2003 Turnbull   Oakville $35
2004 Columbia Crest   Columbia Vlly $30
2004 Tallulah   Sonoma Coast $28
2004 Cline   Carneros $25
2005 Kinton   Santa Barbara $17
2005 Copain   Santa Ynez $40
2003 Rocca   Yountville $42
2004 Rockblock   Rogue Vlly $40


2006 Quady Black Muscat California $25
2006 Saint Supery Muscato California $20
2006 Quady Orange Muscat California $25
NV Wilson Creek Cream Sherry Temecula $15
2006 Calera Wines Dessert Viognier Mt Harlan $30
2006 Wolffer Estate L. H. Chardonnay Hamptons, LI $37
2006 Ceja Dulce Beso Carneros $45
2005 Macari Block E Chardonnay North Fork, LI $40
2006 Prix Res. L.H. Chard Napa $36
NV Quady (Port) Starboard Batch 88 California $25

Pinot Noir

2005 Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvee Willamette Vlly $30
2005 Erath   Dundee Hills $38
2001 Cottonwood Cyn Santa Maria $39
2005 Rutz Maison Grand Cru Russian River $30
2006 DeLoach Green Vlly Russian River $45
2005 Domaine Alfred Chamisal Vineyard Edna Valley $38
2005 Handley   Anderson Vlly $30
2005 Pessagno   Monterey $21
2004 Carrefour   Carneros $30
2005 Hartford Court Land's Edge Sonoma Coast $30
2006 Eric Ross Poule D'Or Russian River $35
2005 Byron   Santa Maria $25
2005 DeLoach O.F.S. Russian River $38
2004 Arcadian Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia $80
2003 Arcadian Francesca Santa Lucia $90
2005 Bouchaine   Napa $40
2004 Calera Wines Ryan Mt Harlan $40
2004 Chehelem Reserve Oregon $60
2005 Donum Estate   Russian River $65
2005 Figge Cellars Paraiso Vineyard Santa Lucia $40
2005 Meador Est Arroyo Seco $40
2005 Miner Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia $60
2005 Tantara La Colline Arroyo Grande $45

Bordeaux Blend

2003 Falcor Le Bijou Napa $42
2005 O'Brien Seduction Napa $40
2004 Clayhouse Hillside Cuvee Paso Robles $29
NV Eagle Eye Voluptuous Napa $22
2005 Clautiere BDX Paso Robles $36
2004 Cliff Lede Claret Napa $37
2003 Ballentine Integrity Napa $32
2003 Northstar Stella Maris Columbia Vlly $29
2004 Columbia Crest Walter Clore Res. Columbia Vlly $44
2004 Cosentino Poet Napa $65
2004 Jericho Canyon Red Wine Napa $75
2002 Rodney Strong Symmetry Alexander Vlly $55
2004 Prix Melange Reserve Napa $75
2003 Selene Chesler Napa $70
2003 St. Supery Elu Napa $65
2003 Oakville Ranch Robert's Blend Napa $80
2004 Kluge Estate New World Red Albemarle, VA $58
2002 Spring Mt Elivette Reserve Spring Mt $90
2004 Von Strasser Sori Bricco Diamond Mt $70
2004 Miner The Oracle Napa $70
2004 Cht. St Michelle Artist Series Columbia Vlly $52
2002 Stryker Sonoma E 1 K Sonoma $65

Cabernet Sauvignon

2005 Terrano Cali 351 Napa $45
2004 The Terraces Napa $48
2004 Reynolds   Napa $45
2003 Carrefour   Napa $40
2004 Buehler Vyds Sonoma $40
2004 Peachy Canyon De Vine Paso Robles $40
2005 Amavi Cellars Walla Walla $25
2004 Justin   Paso Robles $25
2003 Saint Supery Napa $28
2004 Hall   Napa $40
2002 Truchard   Carneros $35
2005 DeLoach Wild Creek Dry Creek $38
2003 Markham   Napa $29
2004 Roth   Alexander Vlly $40
2004 Columbia Crest Reserve Columbia Vlly $34
2004 Gabrielle Juxta Position Napa $36
2004 Merryvale Starmont Napa $34
2003 Elodian Cellars Napa $40
2005 Eberle   Paso Robles $33
2004 Rodney Strong   Sonoma $40
2004 Neal Family Napa $45
2002 Broman   Napa $48
2003 Brassfield Est Monte Sereno High Vlly $40
2004 Tres Sabores Rutherford Napa $56
2003 Spring Mountain   St Helena $50
2004 Anomaly   Napa $75
2004 Swanson Alexis Oakville $70
2002 Anakota Helena Montana Knight’s Vlly $85
2003 Eponymous Napa $55
2003 Thomas Fogarty Vallerga Napa $59
2003 St Helena Road Roy J. Maier Sonoma $60
2004 Sullivan Reserve Napa $100
2004 Bennett Lane Napa $55
2003 Rocca   Yountville $55
2004 Turnbull   Napa $52
2004 H’lywood & Vine 2480 Napa $78
2005 ZD   Napa $50
2004 Monticello Corley Reserve Napa $65
2004 Robinson Family Estate Stags Leap $56
2002 Eberle Reserve Paso Robles $64
2004 Hall Kathryn Hall Napa $76
2004 Frazier   Napa $55
2004 Krupp Brothers Stagecoach Napa $110
2003 Chalk Hill   Chalk Hill $60
2003 Falcor H Block Howell Mt $56
2004 Von Strasser   Diamond Mt $50
2003 St. Supery Dollarhide Napa $70
2004 Paul Hobbs Napa $75
2004 Frank Family Reserve Rutherford $85
2005 Star Lane Vyd Santa Ynez Vlly $50
2004 Laurel Glen Sonoma Mt $60
2003 Raymond   St. Helena $55
2003 Hunt Cabovation Paso Robles $75
2004 Woodward C’yn Old Vines Columbia Vlly $75

In only one year, as evidenced by the quality of the wines and judges, we believe this South Florida event already takes its place among the nation’s most prestigious competitions. We congratulate Gary Press and the South Florida Business Journal for undertaking the sponsorship, as well as their dedication to wine and the children of the charities. It’s wonderful to have a resoundingly good time at a fine wine dinner, but it is even better when worthy causes are attached.

Wine writers and educators Monty and Sara Preiser divide their time between Palm Beach County, Florida and the Napa Valley in California. They publish the world's most comprehensive guide to Napa Valley wineries and restaurants titled, appropriately, The Preiser Key to Napa Valley.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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