The sheer amount of sipping makes it look like a bacchanal of the highest order. We’re talking 2,854 wines from from than 750 California producers, a veritable ocean of fermented grape juice.
But for the 55 judges at the 2016 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition, evaluating all these wines isn’t an excuse to get loose, but a serious exercise in wine sensory analysis.
These judges spent three days deconstructing these wines in terms of taste, aromatics, color and other factors to see which wines were indeed the best.
The results have been tallied, and we now know which wines reigned supreme in this wine showdown.
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Some of the top winners hailed from the greater Sacramento area, including a 2014 St. Amant Winery The Road Less Traveled Tempranillo that was named “best of show red.”
Yolo County was also represented in “best of microwinery white,” a category that recognizes small producers, for the 2015 Turkovich Family Wines Albarino.
Many local wines also fared well in the “best of California” categories, which acknowledge the best wines by varietal.
Among these winners: “Best zinfandel” went to the 2014 Sobon Estate Paul’s Vineyard Zinfandel ReZerve from Amador County, and “best grenache” was claimed by Villa Vallecito from the Sierra Foothills.
For those looking to score the latest winning wines from the California State Fair, here’s a searchable database of the competition’s medalists.
Winners from the “best of region” and “best California” categories will also be for sale at the California State Fair, which runs July 8 –24. For more information: castatefair.org