Friday, July 31, 2020

2020 SFCWC SLH Chards Gold or Better

Every year I look at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition results and usually am inspired to a blind tasting or two. This year wasn't any different, outside of being the worst year ever. Inspired by our love of Testarossa's Rosella's Chardonnay, I found a tasting of 5 wines in Santa Lucia Highland's Chards that won a Gold medal or better.

The wines were:
  • 2017 Bernardus, Sierra Mar Vineyard
  • 2018 Barton, Secret Garden
  • 2017 Calerrain
  • 2018 Tondre, Tondre Grapefield
  • 2018 Soquel Vineyards, Partners' Reserve Lone Oak Vineyard

I had never heard of Barton, or Calerrain. It's always exciting to try new wineries.

It took me a couple of months to gather up all of these wines, with some mishaps along the way. At one point I was moving the Bernardus, Sierra Mar Vineyard and realized it was red. I had mistakenly ordered the Pinot from instead of the Chard. Luckily Bernardus was kind enough to find the Chard, even when the website said it was sold out. Barton too found enough of the Secret Garden after the website listed it as sold out. Reaching out to the wineries, before using 3rd party sellers, is something I'll do in the future.

Tondre was harder to acquire than you would think. The site did not reply to my inquiry, but I was able to find a wine shop in Fresno that helped me out. It seemed a little silly that I couldn't find some place closer, and maybe I could have. As it was, Tony at Bella Vino Cellar took good care of me.

Thankfully, I had friends that were excited to try the Chards. A couple of the usuals were not interested.

I defoiled and bagged all the wines.

Kait randomized and left them in groups so no one knew what letter corresponded to what wine.

We zoomed, enjoying the company and wine.

We used a Coravin, as did the Fosters. Bob gave me one of these years ago for Christmas. I never thought I'd find a use for it, but the virus and remote wine tastings have given the gift purpose. Rebecca's Coravin was fancy compared to ours, leading to envy, planned future investigation, and possibly purchases. They had pimped their Coravin with an aerator.


A - 2018 Soquel Vineyards, Partners' Reserve Lone Oak Vineyard came in first place with an average of 3.84. It costs $12.50 as a special if you buy 6, but normally costs $25 for wine club members.

D - 2017 Calerrain  came in second place with an average of 3.57. It costs $35 directly from the winery.

E - 2018 Barton, Secret Garden came in third place with an average of 3.36. It costs $40 directly from the winery. This turns out to be from Boekenoogen vineyard, which is a coincidence, since we just tried a Boekenoogen from Wrath.

C - 2018 Tondre, Tondre Grapefield came in 4th place with an average of 3.22. It costs $30.

B - 2017 Bernardus, Sierra Mar Vineyard came in last place with an average of 2.90. It costs $35, club discounted down from $50.