Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v16n02)
The Wine Scene - by Jill A. Ditmire
posted: Jan. 18, 2019
I just spent a hectic but exhilarating week in Sonoma County as one of 60 judges taking part in the 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. It's a doozy of a competition with beautiful and unusual wines from both the US and the world. My 2 panel mates and I judged everything from mid-priced Cabernet Sauvignon to hybrids to bone dry riesling, just over 100 wines a day. Among the standouts we awarded "Best of Class" and Double Gold included 2 bone dry rieslings from Michigan (2017 Bowers Harbor Vineyard and 2017 Chateau Grand Traverse), The 2017 Castro Oaks, Sierra Foothills Syrah, the 2016 Francis Coppola Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2017 Alapay, Santa Barbara Cinsault, and the Prairie Berry Winery, South Dakota Catawba. Full results and the Best of Sweepstakes winners on line at www.winejudging.com (More pictures on my Facebook and Instagram accounts.)
image courtesy of Jill A. Ditmire
We spit all day but at night are treated to local wines paired with sumptuous meals. Sonoma County is a foodie paradise when it comes to fresh and local. Dinner at The Trading Post in Cloverdale, California, was rustic, modern, family style sourced from all local ingredients. The roasted broccolini with shaved Parmesan and crispy porcini was my favorite of the shared dishes that night. Another evening we dined at the new Coyote Sonoma space in Healdsburg. It's a former cidery set up like a craft brewery with a long 20-tap bar and plenty of space for indoor and outdoor events. That night we started with 7 stations of wine and food as "appetizers" then a gourmet buffet that included seared Salmon with brown butter and salt, and a hearty white bean casserole with thyme, fennel, garlic and greens.
Cloverdale is a small town just north of Healdsburg and is charming as all get out. The competition takes place on the Citrus Fairgrounds located in the middle of the easily walkable town. Cloverdale has a thriving arts community and the public art pieces dotted across town are innovative, and unique. Cloverdale blends its local history with the future in both its food and art. Instead of tearing down and replacing all green space, it renovates, modernizes and lifts up what is there. What a concept! Every time I travel I find and experience things I wish Broad Ripple would grasp.
In the meantime, find the wine winners on line and in local stores and bring a bit of balance from the rest of the world into your home.
Jill A. Ditmire is an Omnimedia wine specialist, AWS certified wine judge, freelance broadcast journalist and 20+ year home owner in the Warfleigh neighborhood of Broad Ripple. Send your questions and comments to Jill at email@example.com
Also on INSTAGRAM @jaditmire