Though Mendocino's annual wine competition sounds like any other county competition, in fact, this county, with its large community of organic growers, is, in essence, a competition with more organically grown wine winners than any other county competition I've followed. (In contrast, Sonoma's county competition has almost no organically grown wines in it.)
So it's with great pleasure that I present to you the award-winning wines - many of which I've featured here in previous posts, but here with new competition results to re-inspire discovery and acknowledge excellence.
For a full list of winners (including the non-organically grown), see the pdf published here.
This year the competition results were published by overall ranking, not wine type. I'm going to present the organic and biodynamically grown winners both ways in two posts. This first post (of two - the latter to follow) lists the top organically or biodynamically grown wines:
DOUBLE GOLD AWARD WINNERS
Bonterra, 2006 McNab Red
A classic, the showcase red wine of the Bonterra brand, grown biodynamically in one of the most beautiful vineyards in California.
Testa Vineyards, 2010
A new wine for Testa, which has grown this on wonderful, dry farmed old vines, but has sold its production to other winemakers until now. It's nice to see this wine's first bottling rate so well.
Chiarito, 2009 Nero D'Avola
A southern Italian classic, grown primarily in Sicily, this dry farmed (not certified) organically grown wine also got a gold at the Sunset magazine competition this year.
Handley Cellars, 2009 Anderson Valley (estate)
From a long time pro, Handley's Pinot Noir (be sure to look for the organic one, grown on the estate) is a perennial favorite.
At $14 a bottle, this wine is the best budget winner of the competition - and an award-winner in the Sunset magazine competition as well, rating as highly as $80, 94 point Parker rated wines like Bergstrom.
McFadden, NV Brut
No matter what price you get it at, it's a bargain, tieing again this year with French powerhouse Roederer for top honors. If you join the McFadden Wine Club, this too can be had for $14 a bottle once or twice a year when it's on sale.
I'll be publishing the list of wines by varietal in a future post.