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NorCal Wine Blog

A Taste of the Food & Wine Magazine American Wine Awards Ceremony

Last night, Food & Wine Magazine presented their American Wine Awards at FARM restaurant at The Carneros Inn. I was there along with the award winners, other notable winemakers, winery owners, celebrity chefs and media people. The event is structured as a large, wine country cocktail party rather than as a traditional awards ceremony. The actual hand-off of awards is rushed through in less than 10 minutes so as to allow people to focus on conversation and tasting the award winning wines.

Here’s a complete list of the winners:
Best New Winery:
Gramercy Cellars, Washington State
Importers of the Year: Domaine Select Wine Estates
Winemaker of the Year: Thomas Rivers Brown (Schrader, Rivers-Marie, Hestan, Black Sears, Outpost, Maybach, etc.)

Best Wines $20 and Under
Sauvignon Blanc: 2008 Honig
Chardonnay: 2008 Mount Eden Vineyards Wolff Vineyard
Pinot Gris: 2008 Elk Cove
Pinot Noir: 2008 Wallace Brook
Merlot: 2007 Columbia Crest H3
Zinfandel: 2007 Four Vines Old Vine Cuvee
Syrah: 2008 Red Car Boxcar
Cabernet Sauvignon: 2007 Louis M. Martini

Best Wines Over $20
Sparkling: 2006 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs
Sauvignon Blanc: 2009 Merry Edwards
Chardonnay: 2007 Hanzell
Pinot Noir: 2008 Brewer-Clifton Mount Carmel
Merlot: 2007 Pepper Bridge
Zinfandel: 2007 A. Rafanelli
Syrah: 2006 Qupé Bien Nacido Hillside Estate
Cabernet Sauvignon: 2007 Buccella
Bordeaux-Style Blend: 2007 Continuum

While I didn’t get a chance to taste every one of the wines, I did try most of them and enjoyed them all. Standouts for me were the Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc, both Chardonnays, the Four Vines Zinfandel, Qupé Syrah, Buccella Cabernet and the Continuum. After I was done with my judicious sipping, I went back for a glass of the Qupé. If not for all the red wines I’d just tasted, the Hanzell would have been very tempting as well.

Speaking of tempting, Ryan Jetté, chef de cuisine at FARM, and his team turned out a delicious array of passed hors d’oeuvres. They were interesting, delicious and visually attractive. My favorite was probably the braised pork belly, but it had a head start in my view since it was made from... pork belly. While Ryan was busy in the kitchen, other star chefs were enjoying his food and wine while mingling. Among them were Christopher Kostow, chef at the two Michelin-star restaurant at Meadowood. Kostow recently defeated Cat Cora on an episode of Iron Chef as well (Battle Oats). Also in the crowd was Duskie Estes of Zazu Restaurant and Farm in Santa Rosa. She's currently competing in the Food Network's The Next Iron Chef competition.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

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