Saperavi World Prize 2017 Results

Photo Courtesy: Hvino News

The results are in from the inaugural Saperavi World Prize 2017 wine competition in Tibilis, Georgia. There were entries from seven countries and several continents with the most samples being submitted by Australian wineries. The three Grand Prize winners were awarded either a gold, silver or bronze miniature “azarpeshas“, the ancient Georgian drinking cup. Congratulations to the winners and all the participants of the 2017 SapPrize.

     Tastings were held on December 15th in Tibilisi, Georgia at the headquarters of the International Chamber of Commerce. The competition is open to producers outside of Georgia who make wine from the Saperavi grape. Entry is free and judging is conducted by an international jury of wine experts. This event was not conceived to be solely a wine contest but to become a forum for wine makers to interact and forge new relationships where they could share information and experiences to advance the understanding and quality of Saperavi wine worldwide.

 

SapPrize Grand Prize winners received miniature “azarpeshas”

It is always challenging to plan an award ceremony of this significance. The SapPrize award presentation had to be rescheduled when the American Ambassador couldn’t attend because of the “Shutdown” of the U.S. government due to the budget bill failing to be approved.

     Grand Prize Gold: Cirami Estate 2015 Saperavi from Australia. “The Gold Azarphesha” was presented to David Kereselidze, Director of Department of Asia, Africa, Australia and Pacific Rim of Georgian Embassy in Australia, he will present it to the winner in Canberra. Cirami Estate isn’t a winery but a non-profit organization called “Riverland Vine Improvement Committee”.

     Grand Prize Silver: McGregor Vineyard Black Russian Red 2010 Saperavi from the U.S.A. “The Silver Azarpesha” was presented to Elizabeth Rood, Charge d’ Affaire at U.S. Embassy. The Embassy will deliver the award to winner John McGregor in the U.S.A. John McGregor commented ” We are so honored to receive such recognition. We planted these grapes in 1980 and were the first commercial producer in the United States. It is wonderful to see confirmation of my father’s belief that Saperavi could grow in New York and make world-class wine”. John also won Silver for his 2011 Black Russian Red and 

John McGregor holds two bottles of his award winning Black Russian Red Saperavi

Bronze for his Black Russian Red 2013 Barrel Reserve.

Grand Prize Bronze: Lagyl Arba Saperavi 2013 from Kazakhistan. “The Bronze Azarpesha” was presented to Gulmira Sultanali, Charge d’ Affaires of Kazah Embassy.

Congratulations to Jim and Kathy Baker owners/wine makers at Chateau Niagara in Newfane, New York for being awarded Bronze for their Chateau Niagara Kagor 2016 made with Saperavi  from their vineyard.                   

I would like to say “Thank You’ to Inge Olsson of Hvino News for including me in the SapPrize and I enjoyed working with you on this project.  For more information on the Saperavi World Prize and a list of all the participating wineries go to  sapprize.hvino.com           

Grand Gold Prize winner Cirami Estate Saperavi 2015 from Australia
Elizabeth Rood, Charged d’ Affaire of U.S. Embassy accepts Grand Silver Prize for McGregor Vineyard

 

California Dreaming!!!! Chalk Hill Estate Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2010

     While we were in California I tasted plenty of good Sauvignon Blanc and it reminded me that this wine was a favorite of mine for years but had been forgotten recently. I decided to remedy this oversight by doing some research to find not just a good

Chalk Hill Estate Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2010
Chalk Hill Estate Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2010

Sauvignon Blanc but a very good one.  The search led me back to Healdsburg, California with the discovery of Chalk Hill Estate 2010 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc.  This offering was bestowed a 90 point rating by both Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate.  My impressions of this wine were spicy, floral, lemons, herbaceous, bright, energetic, crisp with an interesting balance.  It can be found in P.L.C.B. stores or online at their website with the product code 46248 for $29.99.  

San Francisco, Sonoma & Napa Valley

     When my wife and I were contemplating a vacation destination earlier this year we examined all the usual suspects and each was met with an overwhelming lack of enthusiasm.  As we pondered the question my wife suggested a totally different type of vacation than we normally take and immediately we were intrigued by the idea of trying something new.  That is how our Tauck tour of San Francisco, Sonoma and the Napa Valley came to be and how sometimes when fate deals you a hand it turns out to be all aces!  I am not going to do what your crazy Uncle Fred did when he used his Kodak Carousel slide projector to show two hours of photos documenting his trip through the Mid-West culminating with the money shot of Aunt Mable posing with the “World’s Biggest Ball of String” in De Kalb, Iowa.  No, there will be none of that because we were lucky enough to have Julie, one of Tauck’s very best directors, who made our time together more like traveling with a good friend that knew the area very well and wanted to make sure that you were enjoying yourself while getting to experience everything the area had to offer.  Our driver Mark handled the coach with a calm ease that came from his understated confidence in his superb driving skills which provided a relaxing environment for his guests.  The one other unknown in the equation is who will be your traveling companions and on this trip we were blessed to be accompanied by twenty of the most warm and friendly people we could have imagined and for this we are extremely grateful.

In the following posts I will try to share some of the highlights of our trip but it will be impossible to relate the true experience of the journey because as they say ” You would’ve

The Garden Court Restaurant, The Palace Hotel San Francisco, CA
The Garden Court Restaurant, The Palace Hotel San Francisco, CA

 had to been there”.  I hope that this series of posts will prove to my friend and fellow blogger Jeff a.k.a. “the drunken cyclist” that wine bloggers are capable of addressing the broad subject of wine and life:-). 

     We arrived at San Francisco International Airport and were greeted by our limo driver (Yes I did say limo) who took us to the Palace Hotel on New Montgomery St. in the heart of the Union Square District.  A Welcome Reception and Dinner was held that evening where we all enjoyed plenty of wine and a good meal while getting acquainted with our newest friends.   To be continued!!!!