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Greetings from beautiful northern Sonoma County. This morning I finished judging the very prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition for the fifth consecutive year. The SFCWC is the first (and largest) American wine competition of the year. This year we had over 6700 entries from more than 1500 wineries representing at least 13 states. I was fortunate to be one of 65 judges from around the country.
The past four days I have judged close to 400 wines, and in the next couple weeks I’ll share lots of cool insights into the event, including how our beloved GCV wines fared. Right now, however, I’m pretty damn tired, but before I drag my purple teeth to bed I want to share my coolest experience to date.
In my last flight of three days of medal rounds (the fourth day is the Sweepstakes round), my panel judged a flight of 69 Cabernet Sauvignons priced $90.00 and up. I’ve mentioned before that judging the SFCWC is like playing in the World Series. Being assigned this flight, however, is like being given the ball to pitch game 7. Great googley moogley, this is the most coveted flight in the event, and beyond a doubt the most difficult challenge in my 40 year wine career.
More about this later as well, but right now I really need to get horizontal.
Hey, Hey, Hey, and Happy, Happy New Year
Well, our cat Rio Frio had a memorable first Christmas, and managed to make her way into the dog house big time. She gave Kath THREE really cool gifts, and I got nothing! No cat nip for her for a long time coming.
Anyway, we took some time out (as promised last episode), and enjoyed some quality porch therapy with some older (meaning not current) vintages of GCV wine. I didn’t make “formal” notes, but here are some thoughts the little Elf and I shared regarding some lovely wines.
Kathy and I are having a bit of a Tannenbaum crisis this year. We want to decorate our traditional tree, but we know our sweet little catten, Rio Frio, will destroy it. She gets the devil-in-the head and can’t help herself, and I can’t think of anything more beckoning than an indoor tree with lots of lights and shiny glass orbs hanging on it.
So, I want to share my favorite Christmas post from a few years ago so all of you can understand just how big a threat the little fur-ball really is. Here we go...
Howdy, Howdy, Howdy
It’s great to be back in my Corner again after some really good chill time in Santa Fe and Colorado visiting Kath’s sister Kerry and her hubby Bill. We’ve been close for forty years, and it’s always special when we get to share time together.
Kerry likes bubbles in her wine, so before we left we sent her a box of Heath Sparkling, and we showed up on their mesa with an iced-down bottle of ’16 Adoration. The sun was going down, the moon was rising (almost full) over the mountains, and all was perfect.
Then Kerrs said, “Check this out guys, it’s pretty cool” and she broke out a jar of wild Hibiscus flowers in a barely sweet syrup. She said to drop it in the flute, and when we did the rising bubbles opened the petals of the flower and they danced like a sea anemone.
Now, I’m usually way too much of a traditionalist for a flower in my wine, but this was really cool. Visually it was mesmerizing, the hint of sweetness was delightful, and the flower was really good to eat when the wine was gone. I liked it a lot, and the sisters agreed, it had a unique texture and flavor they had never before experienced.
The website for this product is www.wildhibiscus.com, and they have all kinds of really interesting flower products for food and beverage. It’s definitely worth checking out...
Finally, here’s a big thanks to Kerry and Bill for all the great hospitality, love, and friendship. You’re an amazing cook, Ker, and no-one can wash and dry dishes quite as well as we can, Bill.
Photo Cred: @gusherphotagraphy