Italy's Castello Banfi served an impressive Super Tuscan and a sensational Brunello from a so-so vintage.
Australia's Mr. Riggs did what Aussie wineries often do: It dominated
with delicious wines at price points typically reserved for second-tier
V. Sattui Winery of Napa Valley soared as usual, and neighboring
Imagery Estate — just over the Mayacamas Mountains in Sonoma County —
was the life of the platinum-award party.
But the greatest performance of all was given by a winery from Texas
Hill Country, due west of Austin, Texas. Grape Creek Vineyards of
Fredericksburg, Texas, entered 18 wines and bagged 14 medals, including
one platinum (the top award) and four gold.
What made the Grape Creek performance especially noteworthy was the
relative obscurity of a wine from the Texas wine industry appearing
outside of Texas. It is somewhat rare to see a Texas wine entered in a
major international wine competition, and most unusual to see so many
entries from one Texas winery.
Grape Creek's platinum award went to a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah
that retails for $37. This wine was released with the generic "American"
appellation, suggesting it is composed of a blend of grapes — some from
Texas and some from another part of the country — which seems to be the
Grape Creek model.
That being said, Grape Creek's list of medals is a reflection of some serious know-how in the winery cellar.
Speaking of know-how, Jen Wall, winemaker of the value brand Barefoot
Wine & Bubbly, did her usual number, winning 10 medals for Barefoot
Bubbly and 10 medals for Barefoot Cellars. The most expensive Barefoot
wine retails for $9.99, but the modest price hardly suggests mediocrity.
There were nine gold medals and one platinum in Barefoot's 20-medal
Banfi Wines took home four medals — two platinum, two gold — for its
Montalcino estate, including the 2011 ExcelsuS ($90), which was one of
the three best wines I, as director and overseer of the Best of Class
and Best of Show awards, tasted over the course of the competition.
Banfi's other division, which includes the Chianti and Piedmont regions,
bagged five medals, including one platinum and two gold.
For a complete list of competition awards, including the Best of Show and Best of Class, visit www.SanDiegoWineChallenge.com.