Chronicle Wine Competition – A guide for the bargain wine hunter

5600 wine entries
The Chronicle Wine Competition is one mega wine tasting contest. This event took place in Cloverdale a couple of weeks ago. During the week 65 wine judges evaluated 5600 wine entries from 1,379 wineries from 25 states. Wow, what a task!

Bargain wine hunters should study results
For bargain wine seekers, one of the best features of this event is the fact that this competition divides the popular varietals by price range. Take Sauvignon Blanc, for example. There are two categories in the bargain price range: “Up to $13.99” and “$14.00 to $19.99.” Within each category you have awards for Best of Class, Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze. There are so many wines in this competition that, frankly, I am not looking past the gold medal range to discover any possible wine bargains.

What do these results mean for the bargain wine hunter? For starters, I think they are more valuable than Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, the Wine Spectator, or similar wine publications. The fact is that there are many judges, not just a few, and that makes the selections more impressive. I have met Ray Johnson, the assistant director of this contest, at many wine blogging events. I believe he is a very trustworthy and genuine individual and, most importantly, impartial.

I like looking through all the bargain categories and mark the wines that are of interest to me. I then use the Wine-Searcher.com to see which wines are available locally. I am sure that I am going to find a few wonderful and outstanding wine values from the results of this competition. Here are a few that appeal to me. A McManis 2010 Viognier priced at around $11. I have never tried this wine, but because it received best in class in the “Up to $19.99” category, it is surely worth a try. I am a fan of good Viognier. Here is another one to try: Rodney Strong 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Best of Class for “$15 to $19.99.” My Costco has this wine for $11. Now that’s a bargain. I have tried the 2008 and it is excellent. If the 2009 is nearly as good, it is case worthy at this price. The Chateau Ste Michelle 2010 Riesling, Best in Class in its category, can be found at many stores like Trader Joe’s, etc., but Costco currently has this wine for $6.

Where to find complete results
You can look at all the results on Winejudging.com. You can also take a look at the judges and see their qualifications. You can also be more ambitious and for $65, advanced ticket price, attend the Public Tasting to be held in San Francisco on February 18 from 2 to 5 pm.

2010 Public Tasting - Chronicle Wine Competition

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