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Wines reviewed last year score well in international contests

April 9, 2018

Starting this week with some Berger's International Wine Competition 2017 results. When you look through the site, you may note that many of last year's reviews did well. Following are a couple that you should be able to find locally. These are all excellent buys and right in the wheelhouse on QPR.

Congrats to Frank Family Napa Chard 2015 and Cakebread Reserve Carneros 2014 – both won gold at Berger's IWC. DeLoach Best of Class PN double gold $24; Louis Martini Napa Cab '15 Best of Class $24; Echo Bay Sauvignon Blanc NZ 2016 Best of Class double gold; Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir Best of Show sparkling $18.

Berger, in conjunction with International Riesling Foundation, awards four special trophies for various categories. Best Dry went to NY's Sheldrake Point Finger Lakes 2015 ($16); Best Medium Dry Riesling went to 2015 Hillersden Marlborough New Zealand ($16). Best Medium Sweet Riesling went to 2015 Wagner Riesling Finger Lakes Semi Dry ($15), and Best Sweet Riesling trophy went to 2016 Glenora Late Harvest Finger Lakes Scott William ($30). Riesling is a category I don't cover enough. The wines shown are excellent choices for those who wish to acquaint themselves with the various profiles of Riesling. View the entire 900-plus IWC selections with complete results at www.dbiwc.com as well as www.enofileonline.com. Entries for 2018 are being solicited now. It may also be possible to be on a panel.

Here are a few unique ideas for curious consumers. Ferraton Pere et Fils Cote du Rhone Samorens Rosé 2017 is a new release from a solid producer associated with Michel Chapoutier; 50 percent Grenache/30 percent Syrah and Cinsault are fermented separately in stainless, keeping it fresh. Dark rose with pink highlights; berry aromas evolve to cherry, with supporting minerality; proper acidity provides an enhancement to the fruit, 88 points. The 2016 is also excellent. Those who enjoy crisp, tart wine may enjoy Samorens Blanc: 35 percent Roussanne, 30 percent Viognier, 25 percent Grenache Blanc, 5 percent Clairette and Marsanne; stainless fermentation by varietal, pale golden yellow; apples, flowers and pears supported with a dry palate and a palate-cleansing tart finish. No oak! McD 88 points, under $14 gets price points.

The 1000 Stories Zin Batch 41 2016 from Mendocino has a different approach to red wines. Started in American and French oak, they finish aging in barrels previously used to produce bourbon. I had the opportunity to sample Batch 41. Winemaker Bob Blue provides an interesting look at Zinfandel. The 2016 needs several years to come together, so I contacted my brother, who was able to send me a 2013 (please don't tell the "revenoors"). 2016 definitely needs cellar time but the components are there to support aging. I do think the read I got on the '13 was similar to my anticipation for the 2016, so here it is: Deep, purple color, intense red fruit aromas with black pepper, cloves and dried herb undernotes. On the palate, ripe tannins, raspberry, cranberry and black fruit with more pepper spices. The wine finishes slightly alcoholic but not offensively so. Can still cellar; I decanted the '13 before evaluation. McD 91 under $19.

Let's wrap up with two recent releases from Frank Family. No, they are not relations. They are just consistent with their product and often provide samples. As you are aware, I very rarely review wine I haven't sampled. Since each critic has a varied palate and I want to be your favorite guru, I try to review wine that those reading here will enjoy and that is also great value. The Frank Family cool-climate Carneros Chard 2016 fills the bill. Aged and stirred on lees for nine months in 33 percent new oak providing depth and round mouthfeel. Pale straw-colored with lemon, buttery toast, and pie spice aromas. Leads to a creamy palate with apple, lemon curd, melon, baked pear flavors pleasantly balanced with proper acidity. Closes long and cleanly with slight oaky nuance. This looks like another gold medal winner to me, 90 McD. This is a fair value around $70. The Carneros PN 2016 is a steal; I've seen some at $30. Medium dark ruby-colored, cherry, pie spice and maybe slight orange aromas. On the well-integrated, balanced, slightly earthy palate, licorice, cherries and hints of clove; 90 plus 2 price points, and that's a wrap!