10 of the wines most worth tasting at the North Coast Wine & Food Fest

The Press Democrat’s North Coast Wine & Food Festival, featuring 30 of the region’s top chefs and 90 gold-winning wines from the North Coast Wine Challenge, will be held from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, June 18 at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

The afternoon includes tastings of the award-winning wines, food, music and interactive activities.

VIP tickets are $135 per person and include early entry to the event at noon and all-day access to the VIP lounge and its sparkling wine and specialties.

General admission is $95 per person and includes 1 p.m. entry to the main event, which features caviar, donut and grilled cheese tasting stations alongside award-winning wines.

Designated driver tickets are $50 per person, which includes 1 p.m. admission to the main event and food. Non-alcoholic beverages will be available.

For tickets: northcoastwineandfood.com. 50 Mark West Springs Rd.

This file photo shows the North Coast Wine and Food Festival at Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park. The event returns this weekend to the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat file)

It’s a rare treat to have the chance to taste 90 gold-winning wines at a single event. So to help you navigate the many choices, we’ve put together a list of 10 wines we consider to be among the most worth drinking, including whites, rosés, reds and more. All won gold or better at this year’s North Coast Wine Challenge in April.

1. Roth Estate 2019 Heritage Red Wine, Sonoma County
Let’s start at the top. The Roth Estate 2019 Heritage Red Wine won Best of Show, Best of Sonoma County, and Best of Show Red, making this wine a must-have for lovers of Bordeaux blends. The jury, who tasted the wine in the first blind tasting round on April 5, described it as “robust and beautiful, polished and fruity, like a movie star with a chiseled chin”. Yum.

2. Gloria Ferrer 2012 Carneros Cuvée, late disgorged sparkling wine, Carneros, Sonoma County
Gloria Ferrer’s 2012 Carneros cuvée won first place for best sparkling wine, which we think is a valid excuse to drink more bubbles. The Carneros cuvée is only produced in certain years with the best fruit from the estate and offers layers of complexity that have come with age.

3. Brassfield Estate Winery 2021 Sauvignon Blanc, High Valley, Lake County
This 2012 Sauvignon Blanc from Brassfield Estate Winery was recognized as the best wine in Lake County for its notes of lemon curd, bright grapefruit and intense aromas. The winery is located in America’s Upper Valley Wine Zone, defined by its wide temperature swings and steep mountain ridges that soar up to 3,000 feet.

4. Portalupi 2021 Vermentino, Mahoney Vineyard, Carneros, Napa/Sonoma Counties
Portalupi’s 2021 Vermentino won Best of Show White, making it the first time the Italian varietal has won the North Coast Wine Challenge. The grape is grown primarily in Sardinia and Tuscany, and Portalupi’s version is “refreshing and delicious” according to Chief Judge Daryl Groom. Another judge compared it to “a carousel ride in the mouth.”

5. Husch Vineyards 2021 Gewurztraminer, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County
Husch Vineyards first planted Gewürtzraminer in 1968, and the old vines continue to produce exceptionally aromatic fruit with characteristic vibrant acidity. The 2021 vintage is no exception, with 93 points and a Best in Class rating. Dry in style, this wine is a very interesting addition to your glass.

6. Pennyroyal Farm 2021 PinoTrio, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County
A remarkable blend of pinot noir, pinot blanc and pinot gris, this 2021 PinoTrio from Pennyroyal Farm is “a real crowd pleaser”, according to judges who loved the white wine’s vibrant acidity and mineral finish. The fruit comes from Navarro Vineyards, founded by the parents of winemaker Sarah Cahn Bennett in 1973.

7. Navarro Vineyards 2021 Rosé from Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County
Winner of Best Rosé Wine and Best Mendocino County Wine, this Navarro Vineyards 2021 Pinot Noir Dry Rosé is worth seeking out for its notes of raspberry, cherry and crisp acidity. Pale in color, the wine is aged on lees in neutral oak barrels, which gives it a soft and supple mouthfeel.

Navarro Vineyards 2021 Rose of Pinot Noir Anderson Valley Best Rosé Wine Winner. (Christopher Chung / The Press Democrat)

8. Bricoleur Vineyards 2019 Special Selection Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
A double gold medal has been awarded to this 2019 Special Selection Pinot Noir from Bricoleur Vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Intense and spicy, with distinct aromas of cherry and mushroom, this is a classic Russian River Pinot Noir you won’t want to miss.

9. Greystack Cellars 2018 Four Brothers Vineyard Grenache, Bennett Valley, Sonoma County
A delicious Grenache-led field blend, with Syrah, Carignan and Petit Sirah, this 2018 Grenache from Gray Stack Cellars Four Brothers Vineyard has notes of raspberry, strawberry and a hint of spice.

10. Enkidu Wine 2019 Humbaba, Sonoma and Lake Counties
This gold-winning Rhone blend from Enkidu Wine focuses on Syrah and Petite Sirah, with a touch of Grenache and Mourvèdre. With hints of spicy black pepper, black cherry and camphor, it would be the perfect accompaniment to barbecue or grilled meats.

You can reach editor Sarah Doyle at 707-521-5478 or [email protected]

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