Monday, October 2, 2017

2017 Mendocino Wine Competition: The Organic Winners

Looking for a wine competition that has more affordable, organically grown options than any other? The Mendocino Wine Competition is the place to find them, since the county has more organically grown vines (percentage wise) than any other in the U.S.

This year Redwood Valley also saw more than its fair share of Double Gold winning wines, showing off its Italian heritage of organic and often dry farmed vines. Some are from head trained vines.

Here are the winning wines from the 2017 competition made from organic or Biodynamic vines.


Judges at this year's competition were particularly impressed with the quality of the Petite Sirahs, awarding nine out of 11 Petite Sirahs with Double Gold awards, including three from organic vineyards in Redwood Valley. For more on Petite Sirah's hefty pleasures, see Dan Berger's latest column on this varietal here. (He was one of the judges at the Mendocino Wine Competition.) 

• Barra of Mendocino - Petite Sarah - ($22)
From an old standby, founded by Mendocino native Charlie Barra, a local legend. Barra has been making outstanding Petite Sirah for decades. This comes from his Redwood Valley vineyard.

• Handley Cellars - Petite Sirah ($25)
Handley buys grapes from Vittorio's Vineyard in Redwood Valley for its well made Petite Sirah.

• Powicana Farms - Petite Sirah - ($32) (Also won Best of Class)
Powicana Farms is a new winery in Redwood Valley run by a French family. Their vineyard is planted exclusively to Petite Sirah. This is their first year entering the fair - and look, a Double Gold! The wines are made in the natural wine style, with native yeasts and no added sulfites. Sonoma's Press Democrat wine critic Dan Berger cited this as his favorite Petite Sirah.


• Bonterra - Viognier ($15)
• Bonterra - Zinfandel ($17)

Bonterra's two Double Gold winners come from Mendocino growers.

• Briceland Vineyards - Dark Horse Ranch - Syrah ($28)
From the gorgeous Dark Horse Ranch (owned by the Paul Dolan family) on the east side of Sanel Valley comes this 2013 Syrah from Briceland, a winery located in Redway in Humboldt County (just north of Garberville). It's rare to find single vineyard designates from Dark Horse, a renowned Biodynamic vineyard, as most of its grapes are sold and blended with other grapes.

• Handley Cellars - Primitivo - Vittorio's Vineyard ($25)
Another Double Gold from Vittorio's Vineyard in Redwood Valley from another old Italian family preserving its old, head trained vines - and dry farming them, as well.

• Handley Cellars - Estate Rosé - $25
A wine I can never get enough of.

• McFadden Vineyards - Late Harvest Riesling 
A perennial winner in the dessert wine category, this delicately flavored sweet wine has a place in my heart and in my cellar. (I have at least a case of it). The perfect bottle to bring to any occasion, including when you need to have a gift for someone. Irresistable.


Girasole Cabernet ($15)

Handley Cellars - Estate ($25)

Powicana Farms - Port Style Petite Sirah ($31)

Blue Quail ($18)
Handley Cellars - Estate ($22)

Bonterra ($15)

Pinot Noir
Blue Quail ($24)
Handley Cellars - RSM ($52)

Sparkling Wine
Handley Cellars - Blanc de Blanc ($52)
McFadden Vineyards Cuvee Brut ($25)

Green Truck ($18)


Philo Ridge - Haiku Vineyards ($19)
Frey Vineyards - Biodynamic ($16.50)

Pinot Gris
Blue Quail (McFadden) ($16)

Pinot Noir
Barra of Mendocino ($20)
Handley Cellars - Estate ($47)
Naughty Boy ($21)

Red Blends
Bonterra - TheMcNab ($55)
Bonterra - The Butler ($55)
Handley Cellars - Red Table Wine (Vittorio's) ($25)

Barra of Mendocino, Rose of Pinot Noir ($18)
Handley Cellars Rosé - Estate ($25)

Jeriko Vineyard ($32)

Sauvignon Blanc
Blue Quail ($16)
Frey Vineyards ($14)

Bricelands Vineyards - Dark Horse Ranch ($26)
Frey Vineyards - Biodynamic ($20)

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