The Ledson 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc won “BEST OF CLASS” and “DOUBLE GOLD” and the 2007 Knight’s Valley Cabernet Sauvignon won “DOUBLE GOLD” at the 2012 American Fine Wine Competition.
Monty and Sara Preiser, co-founders of the competition (along with certified sommelier Shari Gherman), came to the winery last week to personally present me with medals for our two big wins! I’ve entered a lot of wines in competitions over the years and have won a lot of awards, but this is the first time anyone delivered them in person! We also spent about an hour tasting new releases and futures. It was great!
It was interesting to discover more about the competition. It’s unique, because it’s by invitation only.
Monty explained how it works. “I taste wine throughout the year and make notations of the wines I want to invite to the competition. I invite about 80% of the wineries, and Shari the other 20%. So you’re competing against other wines that have already been judged and deemed good enough to get gold, in our opinion.”
Four-member panels of judges are pulled together from an impressive mix of industry wine educators, wine writers, restaurateurs, and sommeliers. All the wines are tasted blind. They’re poured in private, and glasses are numbered to correspond with numbered wine bottles, which are kept in a secret staging area.
To receive any medal, three out of the four judges have to vote the same. That 75% requirement is another thing that sets this competition apart. To get a Double Gold, the vote has to be unanimous. The “Best of Class” is a competition among wines that were awarded Double Golds. To win “Best of Class,” one wine must get the majority of votes.
We re-tasted the Sauvignon Blanc at a recent Friday Morning Tasting Panel, after learning it had won “Best of Class.” All fifteen of us were smiling from ear to ear. We didn’t want to pour this one out, even if it was 9 a.m. I could drink it with breakfast, lunch and dinner. . .
The Knights Valley Cab, which comes from Bellisimo Ranch, lives up to its place of origin. Bellisimo translates as “most beautiful,” and this wine truly is. It’s majestic and powerful, with tons of blackberry and hints of chocolate, and a long, lingering elegant finish. Most beautiful!