15 Wines You Must Try at the North Coast Wine & Food Festival

We love a great party, and on Saturday, June 10, we’ll celebrate the North Coast’s food and wine bounty at The Press Democrat’s North Coast Wine & Food Festival at SOMO Village in Rohnert Park. Over 60 award-winning wineries, pouring 90 Gold Medal wines, and 20 acclaimed chefs, serving up delicious bites, will be the stars of the show.

It’s a must-attend event for any wine lover seeking to discover the best wines from Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Marin, Solano and Mendocino counties. It can also be overwhelming – with so many wines to try in one afternoon, where do you start? To help guide your palate, here are 15 award-winning wines you must try at the North Coast Wine & Food Festival. (As always, if you’re planning on drinking alcohol, make sure you have a designated driver or call a taxi).

BUBBLES, BABY

J Vineyards and Winery Russian River Brut Rosé
Toast to an afternoon of food and wine tasting with this Best of Show Sparkling. “Seamless from start to finish,” is how the judges described J Vineyards sparkling Rosé, and it does have a showstopping pink salmon color, complemented with flavors of raspberry, blood orange and Marcona almonds.

Gloria Ferrer 2007 Royal Cuveé 
A consistent favorite, this Best of Class sparkler is called “Royal” because the first vintage was served to the King and Queen of Spain in 1987. It’s creamy with brioche and a bit of lemon, pear, and apple that has helped to define Northern California sparkling wine.

ROSÉ ALL DAY

Taft Street 2016 Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir 
Named the Best of the Best in the North Coast Wine Competition, Taft Street’s Rosé was described as being “really pretty…like a spring day, by judges, making it a great, and probably popular, wine to sip during the festivities.

Three Sticks Casteñada Rosé 
Take a cute stubby bottle, a name that rolls of the tongue (Casteñññadaaaa), and shocking pink color – oh and a delicious strawberry and watermelon infused Rosé, and you’ve got an award-winning Best of Class wine that judges called “fresh and sassy.” You’ll want to be seen with this in your glass at the festival!

PATIO POUNDERS

Balletto Vineyards Russian River Valley Estate Pinot Gris
An estate Pinot Gris is a rare treat in Wine Country and Balletto’s wine won’t disappoint. This Best of Class white was described by judges as being lush with stone fruit, pear and citrus, making it a perfect pairing with the abalone tostada to be served by Glen Ellen Star’s Chef Ari Weiswassser.

Dry Creek Vineyard 2016 Sauvignon Blanc
A warm festival day requires a cool wine, and Sauvignon Blanc is it! Dry Creek’s SB received a whopping 98 points from judges, making it Best of Class. Judges didn’t mince their words with this white: “gorgeous, sexy, wild, racy.” Grab a glass and head straight to the Cokas Diko Home Premium Access Lounge to chill.

WICKED WHITES

Anaba Wines 2014 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 
Chardonnay fans rejoice! Your favorite varietal won Best of Show White, and if you aren’t a fan of Chard, we welcome you on the bandwagon, because this isn’t your mother’s butter bomb. Judges shared that it’s “just delicious to drink,” due to its perfect balance of citrus, oak and acid.

Husch Vineyards 2016 Mendocino Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc has a cult following in NorCal Wine Country and Husch won Best of Class for their 2016 release. A fresh and zesty wine, judges noted hints of lemon curd, peach and tropical fruit in this Chenin. Pair it with the mac and cheese, featuring local mushrooms, served by boon eat + drink’s Chef Crista Luedtke.

PINOTPHILE PICKS

Folie à Deux 2014 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 
It wouldn’t be a Sonoma County food & wine festival without Pinot Noir! This Best of Show Red scored 98 points with judges and was called a “wonderful example of a Pinot Noir.” Chock-full of cherry, there is a touch of spice, cola and toffee that will satisfy even the pickiest of pinot fanatics.

DeLoach Vineyards 2014 Marin County Pinot Noir 
Marin County has grapes? Yes, they do! DeLoach won Best of Marin County with their single vineyard designate Pinot Noir. This “sexy” wine (as one would expect from a wine by Jean-Charles Boisset!) has the qualities of a great pinot: dark plum, cherries, and soft baking spices.

RHONE ALONE

Trione Vineyards & Winery 2013 Russian River Valley Syrah 
Sonoma County produces beautiful cool climate Syrah, including this Best in Class Syrah from Trione. It’s dark, rich, brooding and a little bit rustic with blackberry and truffle on the palate. “Yes, please!” cheered judges in their tasting notes.

Thirty-Seven 2015 Sonoma Coast Grenache 
A Carneros-based winery, Thirty-Seven took home three Best of Class awards, including for their latest Grenache. This small lot wine has strong cherry notes with lingering tannins dabbled with baking spices and rose petal. Judges called it “quaffable,” which is a mandatory quality of any festival wine.

BOLD BORDEAUX

B Side 2014 Napa Valley Red Blend 
Declared Best of Napa County, this red blend of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot was described by judges as “sultry” “seductive” and “sexy.” It’s a big wine that is perfect to pair with a juicy steak. Look for it at the Don Sebastiani & Sons’ booth.

Brassfield Estate Winery 2014 High Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 
Brassfield produced this Cabernet, named Best of Lake County, from atop their estate which overlooks Clear Lake. This “savory, rich, complex” wine is another top choice for a meaty meal. Judges also called it a “party in a bottle,” which we translate into “festival party wine.”

SWEETIES & STICKIES

Navarro Vineyards 2016 Anderson Valley Late Harvest Cluster Select Muscat Blanc
Navarro took Best of Mendocino County for their sweet Late Harvest white wine that judges declared this sweet wine “Perfect!” and as “Pure liquid diamonds.” Best sipped with Chef Daniel Kedan’s, of Backyard, candy cap mushroom kettle corn.

The Press Democrat’s North Coast Wine & Food Festival is Saturday, June 10 at SOMO Village in Rohnert Park. Tickets start at $50. More information and tickets here: northcoastwineandfood.com

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