Edible Monterey Bay

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Sunset Winning Wines

June 29, 2021 – This year’s Sunset Wine Competition crowned a totally appealing, back porch friendly Grenache-Syrah blend from Mendocino, as Best Red and Best of Show. The 2019 Miro Cellars Sasha’s Cuvée from Chevalier Vineyard easily beat out the winning white, rosé and dessert winers to proclaim itself the poster child for Best of the West. And, at $26, it’s worth a case. Grenache goes with everything. 

But winning Best of Show wasn’t a slam-dunk. First, it had to best the field of 14 other reds in the Red Sweepstakes, including the 2018 J. Lohr Winery Vineyard Series Tower Road Petite Sirah, Paso Robles, CA, $35, 99pts. It’s always an honor to have a wine judged Best of Class and to make it to the Sweepstakes round. This dark, velvety rich Petite Sirah with flavors of baked fig bars is a stunner. The J. Lohr team showed well overall at this one and head winemaker for white wines Kristen Barnhisel was among the judges, although she didn’t judge her own wines. My panel awarded the “Pure Paso” blend of Petite Verdot and Petite Sirah a Double Gold and 97 points: it is a powerful, yet smooth blend of two big-boned beasts. We also awarded the baked apple and pear filled brioche flavors of the 2019 Arroyo Vista Chardonnay a Gold and 92 points. Arroyo Seco Chardonnay can deliver oodles of orchard fruit and a touch of tropicality that is tamed by just right acidity. 

Also on the Sweepstakes round, was the beautifully balanced oak treatment of the 2019 Lightpost Winery Chardonnay from Spanish Springs Vineyard in San Luis Obispo, $39, 98pts. This was a judges favorite, with its layers of creamy almond paste, Comice pear and delicate quince, creating a darn near perfect execution of barrel-fermented Chardonnay. This is the fourth time this year that a Lightpost wine has made it to Sweepstakes round at a major wine competition. Clearly, they’re onto something!

Congratulations to all these local medalists. Drink up and celebrate!

Bernardus Winery

  • 2018 Bernardus Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, SLH, Double Gold, Best of Class, 96
  • 2018 Bernardus Sierra Mar Vineyard Pinot Noir, SLH, Double Gold, 95
  • 2018 Bernardus Soberanes Vineyard SLH Pinot Noir, Gold, 92
  • 2019 Bernardus SLH Pinot Noir, Gold, 92
  • 2019 Bernardus Sauvignon Blanc Griva Vineyard, Arroyo Seco, Silver
  • 2014 Bernardus Marinus Estate Bordeaux Blend, Carmel Valley, Silver

Chalone Vineyard

  • 2019 Chalone Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir, Chalone, Double Gold, 96
  • 2019 Chalone Vineyard Estate Chardonnay, Chalone, Silver

CRU Winery

  • 2020 Cru Winery Unoaked Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco, Gold, 94
  • 2019 Cru Winery Sarmento Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Gold, 93
  • 2019 Cru Winery Vineyard Montage Pinot Noir, Monterey County, Gold, 90
  • 2019 Cru Winery SLH Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Silver
  • 2018 Cru Winery Arroyo Seco Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco, Silver

Gali Vineyards

  • 2017 Gali Vineyards Estate Syrah, Santa Cruz Mountains, Double Gold, 97
  • 2017 Gali Vineyards Estate Tempranillo, Santa Cruz Mountains, Silver
  • 2017 Gali Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Silver
  • 2018 Gali Vineyards Estate Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, Silver

Hahn Family Wines

  • 2019 Hahn Chardonnay, California, Gold, 93
  • 2019 Hahn GSM, California, Gold, 93
  • 2019 Hahn Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Silver
  • 2019 Hahn Appellation Series GSM, Arroyo Seco, Silver
  • 2019 Hahn SLH Hahn SLH Pinot Noir, Silver
  • 2019 Smith & Hook Smith & Hook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Coast, Silver

J. Lohr

  • 2018 J. Lohr Vineyard Series Tower Road Petite Sirah, Paso Robles, Double Gold, Best of Class, 99 – Sweepstakes Wine
  • 2018 J. Lohr Pure Paso Proprietary Red Wine, Paso Robles, Double Gold, 97
  • 2017 J. Lohr Cuvee Series Cuvée ST.E, Paso Robles, Gold, 94
  • 2017 J. Lohr Cuvee Series Cuvée PAU, Paso Robles, Gold, 93
  • 2019 J. Lohr Vineyard Series OCTOBER NIGHT Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco, Gold, 91
  • 2019 J. Lohr Vineyard Series ARROYO VISTA Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco, Gold, 92
  • 2017 J. Lohr Cuvee Series Cuvée POM, Paso Robles, Silver
  • 2019 J. Lohr Estates South Ridge Syrah, Paso Robles, Silver
  • 2019 J. Lohr Estates Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir, Monterey County, Silver
  • 2018 J. Lohr Vineyard Series HILLTOP Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, Silver
  • 2017 J. Lohr Vineyard Series CAROL’S VINEYARD Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, St. Helena, Silver

Kings Mountain Winery

  • 2016 Kings Mountain Vineyards Clone 13 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Gold, 93
  • 2016 Kings Mountain Vineyards Bacchus Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Silver

Lightpost Winery

  • 2019 Lightpost Winery Chardonnay Reserve Spanish Springs, San Luis Obispo County, Double Gold, Best of Class, 98 – Sweepstakes Wine
  • 2018 Lightpost Winery “Sevastien” Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains, Double Gold, 96
  • 2019 Lightpost Winery Pinot Noir, Saveria Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains, Gold, 93
  • 2019 Lightpost Winery Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Gold, 92
  • 2019 Lightpost Winery Rosé of Pinot Noir, San Luis Obispo County, Gold, 91
  • 2019 Lightpost Winery Pinot Noir, Jack Ranch, Edna Valley, Silver
  • 2019 Lightpost Winery Pinot Noir, Ferrari Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains, Silver
  • 2018 Lightpost Winery Cabernet Franc, Paso Robles, Silver
  • 2018 Lightpost Winery Mila Grenache, San Luis Obispo County, Silver
  • 2019 Lightpost Winery Pinot Noir, Spanish Springs Vineyards, San Luis Obispo County, Silver
  • 2018 Lightpost Winery “Teo,” San Luis Obispo County, Silver
  • 2018 Lightpost Winery Winemaker Select Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, Silver
  • 2018 Lightpost Winery 2018 “Jules de Brut” Sparkling Blanc de Blanc, San Luis Obispo County, Silver
  • 2018 Lightpost Winery “Ignition,” San Luis Obispo, Silver
  • 2018 Lightpost Winery “Rion,” Santa Cruz Mountains, Silver
  • 2018 Lightpost Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Paso Robles, Silver

Maker Wine Company (Canned wines by Nicole Walsh of Ser)

  • 2020 Maker Wine Company Rosé of Grenache, Monterey, Silver
  • 2019 Maker Wine Company Cabernet Pfeffer, Cienega Valley, Silver

Pelio Vineyards

  • 2017 Pelio Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir, Monterey, Silver
  • 2020 Pelio Vineyards Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir, Monterey, Silver

Perrucci Family Vineyard

  • 2018 Perrucci Family Vineyard Syrah, Santa Cruz Mountains, Gold, 90
  • 2017 Perrucci Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains, Gold, 90
  • 2018 Perrucci Family Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation, Silver

Storrs Winery & Vineyards, LTD.

  • 2019 Storrs Chardonnay Rodeo Ridge, Santa Cruz Mountains, Double Gold, 96
  • 2019 Storrs Chardonnay Christie Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains, Gold, 90
  • 2019 Storrs Chardonnay Wildcat Ridge, Santa Cruz Mountains, Gold, 91
  • 2017 Storrs St. Clare Santa Clara Valley, Gold, 92
  • 2017 Storrs Winemaker’s Reserve Mountain Vineyard Collection Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Silver
  • 2019 Storrs Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, Silver

Wrath Winery

  • 2017 Wrath Estate Syrah San Saba Vineyard, Monterey, Double Gold, 96
  • 2018 Wrath Estate Chardonnay/ Fermata, Monterey, Gold, 92

To read about all the winning wines and Sweepstakes wines, click here: Sunset2021

About the author

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Laura Ness is a longtime wine journalist, columnist and judge who contributes regularly to Edible Monterey Bay, Spirited, WineOh.Tv, Los Gatos Magazine and Wine Industry Network, and a variety of consumer publications. Her passion is telling stories about the intriguing characters who inhabit the fascinating world of wine and food.