Jeff’s Corner 4-30-21

“It’s not bragging if you can do it.”

That great quote has been attributed to many, but I like to give the nod to Cardinals’ great Dizzy Dean at the start of the 1934 season when he predicted the Cards would win the World Series. They did, beating my beloved Tigers in seven games.

If he weren’t so humble, that quote could easily be credited to our winemaker, Jason Englert, and his entire crew. After bringing home 29 medals from the San Francisco Chronicle, we recently garnered 20 more at the prestigious Monterey International Wine Competition. This is the 28th vintage for the Monterey International, making it one of the oldest events in California. This year it featured over 700 entries.

I’m going to start the bragging right away. Our 2020 Pinot Grigio was awarded a Platinum medal, scored 94 points, and was named “Best of Show White Wine.” That’s not a typo, it was chosen the best white wine (in a tie with McBride Sisters Sauvignon Blanc) in the entire competition.

Other notable awards went to our 2017 Heath Vineyards Syrah, and the ’17 Heath Sparkling Adoration. The Syrah scored 94 points, earning a Platinum Medal, and our Adoration was named “Best Sparkling Rosé” with a 90 point Gold.

We also brought back 7 additional Gold Medals, and 10 Silver. The Golds  included the ’20 Cuvee Blanc (92), ’18 Mosaic (92), ’20 Rosé of Malbec (92), 17 Originalist (91), ’19 Grand Rouge (90), ’18 Prosperity (90) and ’20 Muscat Canelli (90).

I was curious about the inner mechanics of the Monterey International, so I reached out to Rich Cook, the Executive Director of the event. Within thirty minutes of my email, I received a fun and very thorough response to the many questions I asked him. I love Rich’s comment about our Heath Syrah: “If you like ‘em big, it doesn’t get any bigger than this without flying apart.”  Many, many thanks for all your help, Rich.

The Monterey International began 28 years ago when Santa Lucia Highlands winemaker Steve Pessagno mentioned the idea to the Salinas Valley Fair. Rich has been the Executive Director for 8 years, taking over from Bob Foster who judges with me at the SFCWC.

There are three judges on each panel, and they award Silver, Gold and Platinum medals. Bronze medals are not given, since wineries don’t really promote them anyway, and a wine not worthy of at least a Bronze would typically be flawed.

A wine scoring Silver is an above average wine the judge would serve to friends. Golds are a level beyond silver, and the panel decides on a score between 90 and 93 points. Platinum wines are the “best of the best,” receiving 94 points or above. “Best of Class” wines are the top scoring wine in each category, and Rich decides “Best of Show” by “tasting off” the best wines that are submitted to him by the respective panels.

Finally, before I sign off, I’d like to thank Rich Cook once again for making this story possible, and congratulate Jason and team for another great showing.

We’ll see you soon…

2020 Pinot Grigio-Platinum, 95 points, Best of Show White Wine; 2020 Cuvee Blanc-Gold, 92 points; 2018 Mosaic-Gold, 92 points; 2020 Rose of Malbec-Gold, 92 points; 2017 Originalist-Gold, 91 points; 2019 Grand Rouge-Gold, 90 points; 2018 Prosperity-Gold, 90 points; 2020 Muscat Canelli-Gold, 90 points; 2019 Rendezvous-Silver; 2018 Merlot-Silver; 2018 Invention-Silver; 2019 Serendipity-Silver; 2020 Riesling-Silver; 2020 Cab Blanc-Silver; 2018 Bellissimo-Silver; 2019 Viognier-Silver; 2017 Adoration-Gold, 90 points, Best Sparkling Rose; 2017 Euphoria-Silver; 2017 Syrah-Platinum, 94 points; 2017 Liberation-Silver