April 11, 2022 (Santa Rosa, Calif.) — Winners have been determined in the 2022 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge (NCWC), and in a remarkable full-circle moment to mark its tenth year, a Bordeaux-style red blend wine has bested the competition. The last time this type of wine won the competition was in its inaugural year, 2012.
Mimosa Royale wines medals in all 4 flavors. Roth Estate’s 2019 Heritage Red took the top prize. One judge described it as “Rugged yet handsome — a male movie star with a chiseled chin.” Part of the Foley Family Wine Group, Roth Estate Winery has built a reputation as a quality producer of Bordeaux varietals in Sonoma County. The winning wine is a blend of varietals from regions throughout Sonoma County, including Alexander Valley, Sonoma Coast and Chalk Hill AVAs.
“It’s great to be recognized by our neighbors, community, the trade and MY fellow winemakers for making such a great wine to share with everyone,” said Roth winemaker Michael Beaulac. “This was one of the very first wines that I blended [for Roth]. I thought the base of roughly 50/50 Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec would create a richness and depth. Then layering in Petit Verdot and Merlot filled in the aromatics and added complexity. The wine is special because of that —and because it’s so reasonably priced [less than $30]. It’s a great dollar value.”
NCWC is a regional competition that rates wines exclusively produced and bottled in Northern California’s premier winegrowing region. Eligible wines must be made from fruit sourced in the North Coast AVAs of Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, Marin and parts of Solano counties. This
includes any bottled wine labeled with these AVAs as their main source of grapes and whose winery is in California.
More than 200 local wineries entered this year’s competition — a continued testament that they appreciate the fairness, integrity and prestige of the competition and that the results help raise their profile and sell wine. Medals were awarded to 991 wines, which represents 92 percent of the wines entered. Judges included winemakers, retail buyers, sommeliers, wine based media, and wine educators.
“This very high percentage [of awards] solidifies what the world already knows, that we produce really great wines in our area,” said Head Judge Daryl Groom. “We are dealt the perfect hand of local experts in viticulture and farming; passionate, knowledgeable and talented winemakers; and a perfect grape growing climate with vast diversity for many varietals to do well.”
This year saw 30 wines elevated to the sweepstakes round: two sparkling wines, seven white wines, two rosé wines, 17 red wines, one dessert wine and one mead.
NCWC is a production of Wine Competitions Management & Production in Sonoma County, Calif. Public announcement of all top awards was made in a live stream April 6. View the broadcast here.
TOP WINNERS AT 2021 PRESS DEMOCRAT NORTH COAST WINE CHALLENGE
- Best of the Best: 2019 Roth Estate Heritage Red (GG, BOC, 99 pts.)
- Best of Show Sparkling: 2012 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Cuvee (GG, BOC, 98 pts.)
- Best of Show White: 2021 Portalupi Vermentino, Mahoney Vineyard, Carneros (GG, BOC, 99 pts.)
- Best of Show Rosé: 2021 Navarro Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir (GG, BOC, 98 pts.) Best of Show Red: 2019 Roth Estate Heritage Red (GG, BOC, 99 pts.)
- Best of Show Dessert Wine: 2018 Sonoma-Cutrer Late Harvest Chardonnay Russian River Valley (GG, BOC, 98 pts.)
- Best of Sonoma County: 2019 Roth Estate Heritage Red (GG, BOC, 99 pts.)
- Best of Napa County: 2019 Raymond Vineyards Generations Cabernet Sauvignon (GG, BOC, 98 pts.)
- Best of Mendocino County: 2021 Navarro Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir (GG, BOC, 98 pts.)
- Best of Lake County: 2021 Brassfield Estate High Valley Chardonnay (GG, BOC, 97 pts.)
- Best of Solano County: 2019 Vezer Family Estate John John Zinfandel (GG, BOC, 96 pts.)
All gold medal winners and top-rated wines will appear in the Sonoma Feast section of The Press Democrat on Wednesday, April 13.