Fifth Annual Palate Press Grand Tasting

The Fifth Annual Palate Press Grand Tasting was held this year on November 2nd, in the home of Palate Press Publisher David Honig. The Palate Press Grand Tasting is a unique wine competition, focused on finding fine wines consumers love, and structured to avoid some of the pitfalls of more common wine competitions, from too many categories and medals to palate-fatigued judges who need sugar and oak just to taste something on their 50th glass.

The guest list was invitation-only, bringing in over 100 fine wine lovers and wine professionals. These guests are important, for they are not only wineries’ target market, they were also the jury for the competition. At the Palate Press Grand Tasting, guests taste all the wines blind (separated by varietal, but not price, vintage,or location), awarding scores from one to five stars. All the wine is self-poured in a cocktail party atmosphere, with food. Food, we believe, is part of how wine is usually consumed, so it should also be part of how it is judged.

After the guests  scored the wines, bottles were judged by a panel, who were asked to give scores (on a 100-point scale), tasting notes, and food pairing recommendations. The panel members were Meg Houston Maker, MA, CSW, Palate Press Columnist, Editor Emeritus, and former Executive Editor; Arthur Black, Advanced Sommelier, Best Young Sommelier in the US 2008, Member of the Society of Wine Educators; and David Honig, Publisher of Palate Press.

We only have three kinds of award in the Palate Press Grand Tasting, Gold Medal, Best of Show, and Palate Press Wine of the Year. More than 200 wines were entered this year, and 18 Gold Medals were awarded:


Best of Show and Palate Press Wine of the Year

Türk Grüner Veltliner Eiswein

Best White Wine

2011 Beauregard Bald Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay

Best Red Wine

2009 Penley Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Gold Medals

  • 2011 Beauregard Bald Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay
  • 2008 Ceja Vineyards Dulce Besso
  • 2009 Cornerstone “The Cornerstone” Napa Valley
  • 2010 Dobbes Family Estate “Griffin’s Cuvee” Pinot Noir
  • 2011 Gary Farrell Halber Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • 2009 Kennedy Shah Tempranillo
  • 2010 Kilikanoon “Mort’s Reserve” Riesling
  • 2011 La Encantada Estate “West Steppe” Pinot Noir
  • 2009 Leeuwin Estate “Art Series” Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2011 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir
  • 2009 Penley Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1996 Quevedo Colheita
  • 2012 Schafer-Reichart ZÜM Riesling
  • 2010 Trinitas Cellars “Mysterium” Red Blend
  • 2007 Trinitas Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Türk Grüner Veltliner Eiswein
  • 2010 William Hill Estate Petite Verdot
  • 2010 William Hill Estate “Benchmark” Red Blend

All the wines entered, by competition number, are in the chart below. Reviews of all the wines that scored three stars of more from the Grand Tasting guests, and all the Gold Medal winners, will be published throughout November and December.


Wine Number Winery Wine Appellation Designation Vineyard Awards
1 Bridlewood Chardonnay        
3 Barefoot Cellars Chardonnay California      
4 Cavit Chardonnay Trentino Oak Zero    
5 Ceja Vineyards Chardonnay   Carneros    
6 Chateau Thomas Chardonnay Carneros Carneros Sangiacomo Vineyards  
7 Cornerstone Chardonnay Willamette Valley      
8 Edna Valley Chardonnay   Paragon    
9 Gallo Signature Series Chardonnay Russian River Valley      
10 Handley Cellars Chardonnay Anderson Valley Estate    
11 La Forge Estate Chardonnay   Estate    
12 Laguna Chardonnay Russian River Valley      
13 Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay Margaret River Art Series    
14 McWilliams Hanwood Chardonnay SE Australia      
15 Rodney Strong Chardonnay Sonoma County Estate Chalk Hill  
16 Rodney Strong Chardonnay Sonoma County      
17 Shoofly Chardonnay Adelaide      
18 Southwind Vineyard & Winery Chardonnay New Jersey      
19 Stein Family Wines Chardonnay Sonoma County Vaquero    
20 Stickybeak Chardonnay Napa/Sonoma      
21 Trinitas Cellars Chardonnay Los Carneros Proprietor’s Reserve    
22 R Marlo Chardonnay Russian River Valley      
23 Vineland Estates Winery Chenin Blanc VQA Niagara Peninsula      
24 Barefoot Refresh Crisp White California      
25 Handley Cellars Gewurztraminer Anderson Valley Estate    
26 Dobbes Family Estate Grenache Blanc Rogue Valley   Greater View Vineyard  
27 Three Brothers Winery & Estates Gruner Veltliner Seneca Lake      
28 Paul Mas Estate Marsanne        
29 Wysling White Blend Yakima Valley Band of Sisters    
30 Paul Mas Estate Picpoul   Picpoul de Pinet    
31 Vineland Estates Winery Pinot Blanc VQA Niagara Escarpment      
32 Barefoot Bubbly Pinot Grigio California      
33 Handley Cellars Pinot Gris Anderson Valley      
34 Innocent Bystander Pinot Gris Yarra Valley      
35 Alamos Torrontes Salta      
36 Trinitas Cellars     Psalms    
37 Chateau de Sours White Blend Bordeaux La Source Blanc    
38 Côte Mas White Blend   Blanc Mediterranee    
39 John Duval White Blend Barossa Plexus    
40 Drouhin Chardon]nay        
41 Barefoot Cellars Riesling California      
42 Frisk Riesling Alpine Valley Prickly Riesling    
43 Kilikanoon Riesling Clare Valley Mort’s Reserve   Gold Medal
44 Mirassou Sun Riesling California      
45 Weingut Meierer Riesling Mösel Saar Ruwer Kabinett    
46 Emil Reichart Riesling   Spatlese  Graacher Dompropst  
47 Stefan B. Ress KG Riesling Rheingau Dry    
48 Three Brothers Winery & Estates Riesling Seneca Lake Zero Degree sx  
49 Three Brothers Winery & Estates Riesling Seneca Lake First Degree    
50 Vineland Estates Winery Riesling VQA Niagara Escarpment Elevation St. Urban    
51 Schafer-Reichart Riseling Mösel ZUM   Gold Medal
52 Parejas Cellars Albariño Yakima Valley      
53 Cornerstone Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley      
54 Dancing Bull Sauvignon Blanc California      
55 Davenport Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley      
56 Edna Valley Sauvignon Blanc Central Coast      
57 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Wild    
58 Mirassou Sun Sauvignon Blanc California      
59 Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc Northern Sonoma Estate Charlotte’s Home  
60 Stickybeak Sauvignon Blanc Napa/Sonoma      
61 Three Brothers Winery & Estates Sauvignon Blanc        
62 Trinitas Cellars Sauvignon Blanc        
63 Davenport Cellars White Blend Columbia Valley Snowflake    
64 Brokenwood Semillon Hunter Valley Oakey Creek    
65 Poggiotondo Vermentino Tuscany      
66 Dobbes Family Estate Viognier Rogue Valley   Sundown Vineyard  
67 Gikgo Forest Winery Viognier Wahluke Slope      
68 Silkbush Viognier Breedekloof, Western Cape      
69 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Rose Napa Valley      
70 Las Rocas Dry Rose Calatayud      
71 Côte Mas Rosé   Rose Aurore    
72 Southwind Vineyard & Winery Rosé New Jersey Provence    
73 Frisk Rosso Alpine Valley Prickly Rosso    
74 Trinitas Cellars     Roseary    
75 Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvee California      
76 Barefoot Bubbly Extra Dry California      
77 La Marca Prosecco DOC Veneto      
78 Côte Mas Sparkling Brut   Crémant de Limoux Brut    
79 Treveri Cellars Sparkling Brut Columbia Valley Blanc de Blancs    
80 Treveri Cellars Sparkling Pinot Gris Columbia Valley Extra-Sec    
81 Treveri Cellars Sparkling Rose Columbia Valley Sec    
82 Côte Mas Sparkling Rosé   Crémant de Limoux Rose    
83 Canyon Wind Cellars Cabernet Franc Grand Valley AVA      
84 Chateau Thomas Cabernet Franc Clarksburg      
86 William Hill Estate Cabernet Franc Napa Valley      
87 Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza      
89 Bridlewood Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles      
90 Canyon Wind Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Valley AVA   Riverside/Cliffside Vineyard  
91 Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon California      
92 Ceja Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon   Napa Valley    
93 Cornerstone Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley      
94 Cornerstone Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain      
95 D’Arenberg Cabernet Sauvignon MCLaren Vale Coppermine Road    
96 Don Sebastiani & Sons Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Aquinas    
97 Edna Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Edna Valley      
98 Gallo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Northern Sonoma      
100 Gallo Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley      
101 Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon Napa/Sonoma/Lake      
104 Leeuwin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River Art Series   Gold Medal
105 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County Valley      
106 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Lot 1    
107 Millaman Cabernet Sauvignon Curico Valley, Chile Limited Reserve    
108 Penley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Coonwarra Reserve   Best Red Wine
109 Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Estate    
110 Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County      
111 Satori Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Clara Valley Cabernet Sauvignon of the Blue Hand    
112 Steven Kent & La Rochelle Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley Steven Kent    
113 Trinitas Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley     Gold Medal
114 William Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Bench Blend    
115 Laetitia Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Barbara County Nadia Santa Barbara Vineyard  
116 Siegendorf Red Bordeaux Blend Burgenland      
117 Cornerstone Red Bordeaux Blend Napa Valley The Cornerstone   Gold Medal
118 Gikgo Forest Winery Barbera Wahluke Slope      
119 Paul Mas Estate Carignan   Vieilles Vignes    
120 DaVinci Chianti DOCG Riserva    
121 Poggiotondo Chianti Tuscany Riserva    
122 Brancaia Chianti Classico DOCG  Riserva    
124 Steven Kent & La Rochelle Winery Pinot Meuenier   La Rochelle, Saralee Vineyard    
125 Vineland Estates Winery Pinot Meunier VQA Niagara Escarpment      
126 Gikgo Forest Winery Sangiovese Wahluke Slope      
127 Toccata Wines Sangiovese Santa Barbara County      
128 Don Miguel Gascon Malbec Mendoza Reserve    
129 Paul Mas Estate Malbec Pays d’Oc Estate Gardemiel  
130 Red Rock Winery Malbec Mendoza Reserve    
131 Alamos Malbec  Mendoza Seleccion    
132 Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot Dry Creek Valley      
133 Ghost Pines Merlot Napa/Sonoma      
134 La Forge Estate Merlot   Estate    
135 Rodney Strong Merlot Sonoma County      
137 Don Sebastiani & Sons Petite Sirah Clarksburg The Crusher    
138 Lucas & Lewellen Petite Sirah Santa Barbara County      
139 Trinitas Cellars Petite Sirah Contra Costa County      
140 Canyon Wind Cellars Petite Verdot Grand Valley AVA      
141 Lucas & Lewellen                                                        Petite Verdot Santa Barbara County      
142 William Hill Estate Petite Verdot Napa Valley     Gold Medal
144 Barefoot Cellars Pinot Noir California      
145 Ceja Vineyards Pinot Noir   Carneros    
146 Cornerstone Pinot Noir Willamette Valley      
147 Dobbes Family Estate Pinot Noir Dundee Hills   Meyer Vineyard  
148 Dobbes Family Estate Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Griffin’s Cuvee   Gold Medal
149 Don Sebastiani & Sons Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Don & Sons    
150 Edna Valley Pinot Noir Edna Valley      
151 Frei Brothers Reserve Pinot Noir Russian River Valley      
152 Gallo Signature Series Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands      
153 Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery Pinot Noir Russian River Valley   Hallberg Vineyard Gold Medal
154 Giant Steps Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Sexton    
155 Greywacke Pinot Noir Marlborough      
156 Handley Cellars Pinot Noir Mendocino County      
157 Inman Family Wines Pinot Noir Russian River Valley OGV Estate    
158 Inman Family Wines Pinot Noir   Thorn Ridge Ranch    
159 La Encantada Vineyard Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills      
160 La Encantada Vineyard Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills West Steppe    Gold Medal
161 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Winemaker’s Block   Gold Medal
162 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands      
163 Mirassou Sun Pinot Noir California      
164 Paul Mas Estate Pinot Noir   St. Hilaire    
165 Rodney Strong Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Estate    
169 Shoofly Pinot Noir Adelaide      
170 Steven Kent & La Rochelle Winery Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast La Rochelle    
171 Trinitas Cellars Pinot Noir Carneros      
172 Giselle Pinot Noir Monterey County      
173 Law Estate Wines Red Blend Paso Robles Audacious    
174 Law Estate Wines Syrah Paso Robles Intrepid    
175 Chateau Thomas Teroldego Clarksburg      
176 Brancaia Red Blend IGT Rosso Toscano Tre    
177 William Hill Estate Benchmark Napa Valley     Gold Medal
178 Château Paul Mas Clos de Savignac        
179 Paul Mas Estate GSM Cote du Languedoc      
180 Wysling Red Blend Yakima Valley Reserva    
181 Anemoi Wines Red Blend Grand Valley AVA Notus    
182 Alamos Red Blend Mendoza      
183 Brancaia Red Blend IGT Rosso Toscano Il Blu    
184 Chateau de Sours Red Blend Bordeaux      
185 Côte Mas Red Blend   Rouge Intense    
186 Don Miguel Gascon Red Blend Mendoza Colosal    
187 Don Sebastiani & Sons Red Blend Napa Valley B Side    
188 Gikgo Forest Winery Red Blend   Ginkgo Red    
190 Quevedo Port Wine Red Blend Duoro Oscar’s Red    
191 Schafer-Reichart Red Blend Mösel Nein Lives Sweet    
192 Southwind Vineyard & Winery Red Blend New Jersey Blood, Sweat & Tears    
193 Stein Family Wines Red Blend Napa Valley Arleyna    
194 Stein Family Wines Red Blend California Just Joshin    
195 Whitehall Lane Red Blend Napa Valley Tre Leoni    
196 Bodegas Callia Shiraz, Malbec Argentina Bella    
198 Bodegas Taron Red Blend Rioja Alta Reserva    
199 Trinitas Cellars Red Blend Mendocino County Mysterium   Gold Medal
200 Bodegas Taron Red Blend Rioja Alta Crianza    
201 Davenport Cellars Red Bordeaux Blend Washington R.H.D.    
202 Davenport Cellars Red Bordeaux Blend Washington Continuity    
203 Anemoi Wines Red Blend Grand Valley AVA Apeliotes    
204 Louis M. Martini Meritage Napa Valley      
205 Rodney Strong Meritage Alexander Valley Symmetry    
206 Trinitas Cellars Meritage Oak Knoll      
207 Lion’s Drift Pinotage        
209 D’Arenberg Shiraz McLaren Vale Vociferate Dipsomaniac    
210 John Duval Shiraz Barossa Entity    
211 Kilikanoon Shiraz Clare Valley Oracle    
212 Plantagenet Shiraz Great Southern      
213 Silkbush Shiraz        
214 Anemoi Wines Syrah Grand Valley AVA Lips Cliffside Vineyard  
215 Dobbes Family Estate Syrah Rogue Valley   Fortmiller Vineyard  
216 Lucas & Lewellen Syrah Santa Barbara County      
218 Ancient Oak Cellars Zinfandel Russian River Valley   Pagnano Vineyard  
219 Barefoot Cellars Zinfandel Lodi      
220 Frei Brothers Reserve Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley      
224 Quevedo Port Wine Colheita Duoro     Gold Medal
225 Ceja Vineyards Dessert White   Dulce Beso   Gold Medal
226 Türk Eiswein Grüner Veltliner Austria     Best of Show
227 Quevedo Port Wine Port Duoro Vintage    
228 Chateau Thomas Moscato        
229 Kennedy Shah Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain Reserve Artz Vineyards  
230 Kennedy Shah Syrah Rattlesnake Hills Reserve    
231 Kennedy Shah Red Blend Rattlesnake Hills Reserve    
232 Maghee Cellars Merlot Rattlesnake Hills      
233 Kennedy Shah Riesling Yakima Valley Reserve Dubrul Vineyard  
234 Kennedy Shah Tempranillo Columbia Valley Reserve   Gold Medal
235 Beauregard Vineyards Merlot Santa Cruz Mountains   Zayante Vineyard  
236 Beauregard Vineyards Chardonnay Ben Lomond Mountain Estate Grown Bald Mountain Vineyard Best White Wine
237 Beauregard Vineyards Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains   Byington Vineyard  
238 Beauregard Vineyards Syrah Santa Cruz Mountains   Nelson Family Vineyard  


[Tweet "We are pleased to announce the winners of the Fifth Annual Palate Press Grand Tasting."]