The Sonoma County Harvest Fair counts as the biggest regional wine competition in the United States, and no one is better positioned to offer you these superb wines online than Bottle Barn of Santa Rose. These are our friend, neighbors, and customers.
How Were the Harvest Fair Wines Judged?
Who could enter? Any wine made with Sonoma County-cultivated grapes, with a Sonoma County designated AVA as the only region listed on the bottle, was eligible for entry. This Professional Wine Competition has a unique way of judging wines, which is always done blind, in using a collaborative style among the judges. As one judge explained: “Instead of each judge assessing and scoring the wines confidentially, we could share our thoughts with the other panel members before giving a wine its final score.” This method draws on the judge’s personal experience and expertise, but also assures an overall expert consensus from highly qualified wine professionals.
What are the Winning Wines from the Sonoma County Harvest Fair?
Bottle Barn has an amazing 94 wines from the Harvest Fair available! Let’s take a look at some of these tantalizing vinous offerings, among the best wines made in the United States is recent years.
We’ll start with small producers, many of which claimed Double Gold and including some Best of Class winners. Among the latter, there’s the 2019 Hart's Desire Eastman Lane Pinot Noir from the chilly Sonoma Coast AVA. This is a true boutique winery, producing 16 different wines, but never more than 500 cases per varietal. Sticking with Pinot Noir for when you buy wine online is the 2019 DRNK Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir, a Double Gold winner. This single-vineyard red wine is from Green Valley of Russian River, another excellent location for this varietal. Hallberg Vineyard consistently delivers a rich wine full of typicity with layered fruit and floral aromas with a savory character. The winemaker says this is “a perennial favorite because of the consistent elegance this vineyard produces, our Hallberg has darker tone fruits, black tea, and baking spice with great concentration.”
Moving to a Double Gold white wine that truly constitutes a great value ($9.99 a bottle), we have the 2020 D & L Carinalli Vineyards Estate Pinot Grigio from the Russian River Valley AVA. The Carinalli winemaker crafts this Pinot Grigio in a traditional Italian style. With a profound golden color, you will encounter aromas of peach, melon, citrus as soon as its poured in the glass. From the same AVA is the 2020 Langhart & Hill Adam and Eve Redwoods Vineyard Chardonnay, a Gold Medal winner at the Harvest Fair this year and produced using sustainable viticulture. The winemaker informs that the grapes were whole cluster pressed after which the wine experienced sur lie ageing for eight months, giving a rich mouthfeel and distinctive brioche flavor complemented by aromas of pineapple, lime, and green apple with an enduring finish.
Moving onto other Best of Class winners from producers large or small, these included the 2019 Rodney Strong Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2021 Rodney Strong Rose of Pinot Noir. The latter is from Sonoma Coast, featuring a beautiful rose color and wafting aromas of strawberry, melon, and a hint of mango. This wine has plenty fresh acidity with citrus notes. The former red wine is packed with Sonoma County fruit and is ready to drink now, with medium tannins, also showcasing dark cherry, plum, and allspice. You will not miss the black pepper notes, violets, and cassis in this wine from your favorite wine store California either.
Among the 18 judges this year were wine journalists, winemakers, educators, wine buyers and retailers, restaurant owners and sommeliers. The hottest competition was for the Sweepstakes Winners. In that category is an amazing value, the 2021 Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Sauvignon Blanc available when you buy wine online at only $15.99. The Harvest Fair judging team said of this white wine: “Young summer love in a glass, fragrant field grasses, grapefruit, great fruit complexity with incredible acidity balance and restraint. The loveliest finish!”
Another is the 2019 DeLoach Maboroshi Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. The judges said: “Beautifully pronounced fruit with elegance, spice, cherry cola, black tea. One for the record books.” The winemaker believes the high quality of this varietal wine stems from its terroir. The vineyard is located in Sebastopol Hills at 600 feet above sea level. The fog clears here early than many other vineyard locations ensuring ideal growing conditions, with both sufficient sunshine and temperature moderation at night. “Maboroshi” means whimsical dream in Japanese.
In all, the 2022 Sonoma County Harvest Fair assembled any astounding selection of high quality local wines judged by a team of professionals using a unique method of evaluation of each wine.
Did you like learning about this year’s Harvest Fair and some of its superb finalists? Please read our other wine information pages and leave us a comment!