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2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Results

The reliability and usefulness of medals awarded to wines in major competitions is open to much controversy. Recent studies of competitions reported by Robert Hodgson found that the probability was high of a wine winning a gold medal in one competition and none in another. Medals seemed to be spread around randomly. Wine writer David Williams, noted in his article in The World of Fine Wine (Issue 23, 2009) titled, “Competition or Exploitation?”, “They (competitions) are certainly no more culpable than individual wine critics, many of whom promote a specious precision with their pseudo-scientific points systems. Indeed, if we are going to view the world in this pseudo-objective way, better the relative democracy of an accountable wine competition drawing on the views of many different individuals than the lordly diktats of an emperor of wine.” Paul Symington of the Symington Port family agrees and points out, “I think that the competitions with their drawbacks are a useful counterbalance to the ‘personal assessment’ judges that are inevitably very subjective.”

I look at certain wine competition results as another piece of information to alert me to Pinot Noirs that might have appeal to me or the consumer. The results give me more incentive to investigate the producer and their range of wines rather than the specific gold medal winning wine. I really only pay attention to the top awards such as double gold or best in class or sweepstakes since these awards represent a firm consensus of the judging panel that the wine is deserving of special recognition.

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest competition of American wines. This is one of the competitions for which I pay attention to the results. 63 judges evaluated 4,913 wines from 1,500 wineries across the United States. A public tasting of the most awarded wines in the 2010 competition is scheduled at Fort Mason in San Francisco on February 20. For a full list of medal winners, visit www.winejudging.com.

Red Sweepstakes 2007 Graton Ridge Cellars Paul Family Vineyard Est Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($40)

Best of Class Judges‘ Choice

Up to $19.99 2008 Castle Rock Central Coast Pinot Noir $12.99

$20 to $24.99 2008 Schug Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $24

$25 to $29.99 2007 Eddy Family Wines Elodian Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Pinot Noir $27.99

    Double Gold
    2007 Artisanal Wine Cellars Adams Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir $28
    2006 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Monterey Pinot Noir $25
    2006 Villa Mt. Eden Bien Nacido Vineyard Grand Reserve Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir $25

$30 to $34.99 2008 Merryvale Vineyards Carneros Pinot Noir $34.99

    Double Gold
    2008 Balletto Vineyards Winery Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $34
    2007 Elkhorn Peak Estate Napa Valley Pinot Noir $34
    2006 Lumos Wine Co Temperance Hill Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $32
    2008 S&S Carmel Pinot Noir Phoenix Vineyard Monterey County Pinot Noir $30

$35 to $39.99 2007 Hook & Ladder Winery Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $35

    Double Gold
    2008 De La Montanya Tina’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $39

$40 to $49.99 2007 Graton Ridge Cellars Paul Family Vineyard Estate RRV Pinot Noir $40 and 2007

    Double Gold
    2007 Cuvaison Estate Wines Block FS Carneros Pinot Noir $45
    2007 Kenneth Volk Vineyards Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir $48
    2007 Kenneth Volk Vineyards Garey Ranch Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir $48
    2007 Manzoni Estate Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir $48
    2008 Phillips Hill Beeson Tree Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir $42
    2006 Robledo Family Winery Rancho Rincon Los Carneros Pinot Noir $40
    2007 Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir $42
    2008 Summerland Winery Odyssey Thurlestone Vineyard Edna Valley Pinot Noir $45

$50 2007 Pacific Coast Vineyards Babcock Estate Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir $62.50

    Double Gold
    2007 Domaine Carneros Famous Gate Los Carneros Pinot Noir $68
    2007 Sanford Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir $60
    2006 Soquel Vineyards Lester Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir $50
    2007 Terlato Family Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $60
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