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Posted by Robert Whitley on October 3, 2015 at 12:59 PM

Pioneering Winemaker Gary Eberle Answers the Call to be Chief Judge

We are pleased to announce that Gary Eberle, long ago dubbed 'The Godfather' of Paso Robles wine, has agreed to serve as Chief Judge at the seventh annual Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition in January.

Eberle was recently honored by the California State Fair with its Wine Lifetime Achievement Award, joining the likes of wine industry legends such as Robert Mondavi and Richard Peterson.

Gary launched his winemaking career in the 1970s at the Estrella River Winery in Paso Robles. He led the charge to gain American Viticultural Area (AVA) status for Paso Robles, and his 1980 Eberle Winery Cabernet Sauvignon was the first wine to have the Paso Robles AVA on its label.

"Before that, all of the wines from Paso Robles were designated San Luis Obispo County," Eberle said.

Gary also was the first vintner to plant Syrah along California's Central Coast, and the first winemaker in America to bottle a 100 percent varietal Syrah.

Eberle has served as a judge at all six of the previous Winemaker Challenges.

Information about wine competition can be found at www.WinemakerChallenge.com

Château Peuch Haut, Coteaux du Languedoc St. Drézéry (Languedoc-Roussillon, France) 2011 ($18, European Cellars)
Languedoc-Roussillon red wines rank among the best values of all.  At their best, they can combine an enchanting range of fruit, floral, earth, herb and spice nuances.  The 2011 Château Peuch Haut from the village of St. Drézéry definitely exhibits these attractive characteristics.  Made from old-vine Grenache (55%) and Syrah (45%) grapes, it offers a luscious combination of juicy ripe fruit, sun-baked herbs, flowers and spices.  The bouquet reveals luscious black cherry, strawberry and blackcurrant fruits backed by hints of lavender, thyme and cinnamon.  On the palate, the layers of ripe black cherry, strawberry and blackcurrant fruit are enhanced by the exotic floral, herb and spice tones.  The Château Peuch Haut offers a rich flavor and a fine balance that bodes well for further development.
92 Wayne Belding

Dr. Michael
This Issue's Reviews
A Golden Age for Wine Buyers
Michael Franz

Yes, the world is full of political problems from Ukraine to Syria and across central Africa, and yes, everybody wishes that economic growth was more robust than it is. Still, it is always difficult to assess the present without the benefit of hindsight, and there's a strong chance that we're failing to appreciate some current realities precisely because of our economic and political problems. Here's one to consider: There has never, ever, been such a great time to buy wine. For this we can thank a sustained period of price softening coupled with continuing improvements in production quality, plus a strong dollar and important developments enabling us to buy wines in a commercial environment that is more transparent and competitive than ever before.
Exciting Wines from Secret Spain
Rebecca Murphy

In 2014, Spain was number three in the world in wine production behind France and Italy. Spain's tradition of wine production began when the Phoenicians planted vines 3,000 years ago in the area where sherry is now produced. I like Spanish wines for the variety of styles and the usually high quality-to-price ratio. So, it was not a difficult decision to participate in a Wines of Spain webinar about the lesser known wine regions of Spain hosted by Lucas Payà, a Washington DC food and beverage consultant who has worked as a sommelier at Ferran Adrià's Il Bulli and wine & beverage director for the José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup. We visited several Spanish wine regions via the wines in our glass and commentary from Lucas.
Wine With
WINE WITH…End-of-Summer Lobster and Corn Salad

Summer is officially over but there is still a fair amount of good corn at the farmers' market, and the tomatoes still taste awesome. In an effort to maximize as much of this summery goodness as possible, we decided to make a big main course salad for dinner. To add protein and an extra dose of fun, we topped our salad with lobster tails, which had the further advantage of making this a very wine friendly dish. You can use our recipe as a springboard from which to dive into your own creative additions of summer veggies (green beans, diced zucchini, cubes of fried eggplant--any or all of these would be delicious embellishments). Or you might consider substituting fried oysters for the lobster tails, and pork belly for the bacon. Though we used arugula in our salad, mâche would be a wonderful substitute, or you could try chopped romaine, red leaf lettuce or chicory. The important thing is to remember that the greens are there to add a footnote of color and a little crunch, not to dominate.
On My Table
A Perennial Good Choice
Mary Ewing-Mulligan

Every time I taste Dry Creek Vineyard's Dry Chenin Blanc, I am impressed. I admire the wine on three counts: individuality, quality, and value. Being a Chenin Blanc, it's unusual for California and as such it's a refreshing alternative to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is very well made, showing the appropriate flavor concentration, depth, palate length and richness of finish to mark it as high quality. And yet its price is a mere $12. Although Chenin Blanc is not mainstream for California -- in 2014, the total tonnage of the grape in the state was only six percent that of Chardonnay -- this grape has been a cornerstone of Dry Creek Vineyard's white wine production since Day One. The winery first produced Chenin Blanc 43 years ago, in 1972, with grapes grown in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley. In the early 1980s, the source of grapes shifted to the Clarksburg AVA, southwest of Sacramento, a region that benefits from a cooling influence from San Francisco Bay.