I’ve got a crush on the Bay Area plus more…

The 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition has set a new American wine competition record with an astounding 5,500 entries, surpassing its previous record of 5,050 last year. For nine consecutive years, this prestigious competition holds strong as the “compétition SF chlonicleLargest Competition of American Wines in the World.”

A live public tasting of these award winning wines will be at the Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center in San Francisco from 2-5 pm on February 18, 2012.  Only from 2-5pm???  How can you seriously taste all these award winners in just 3 hours?

Here are some of the winners for you:

The 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Sweepstake winning wineries hail from three different states! Dr. Konstantin Frank 2010 Finger Lakes Gewürztraminer Reserve $24.99 from New York took the White Sweepstake Award. Barnard Griffin 2011 Columbia Valley Rose of Sangiovese $12.00 from Washington state won the Sweepstake Pink category. Four wineries representing four different American Viticulture Areas took the four remaining Sweep Awards. Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards 2006 Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine $28.00 from the Carneros region of California took the Sparkling Sweepstake category.

McGrail Vineyards & Winery 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve $36.00 from the Livermore AVA of California captured the Red Sweepstake Award. Castello di Amorosa from the Napa Valley took the Dessert Wine Sweepstake Award with their 2010 Anderson Valley Late Harvest Gewurztraminer $35.00. Sweepstake Wine Label Winner Mutt Lynch Winery from Healdsburg, California 2009 Out of Reach, Muttitage takes the second year Sweepstake Wine Label Contest. All sweepstake, Best of Class, Double Gold, Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal winning wineries from over 5,500 entries are listed on the competition site

la paulée NY

Burgundy in San Francisco!

When La Paulée, the  Burgundy wine celebration, comes to San Francisco Feb. 23-25, Michael Mina San Francisco will host a  four-course wine dinner on Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m.

It features Domaine Michel Lafarge, one of the first estates to bottle wines under its own label in 1934, along with special guest Benjamin Leroux, winemaker at the Domaine Comte Armand.

Tickets are $300 per person and can be reserved by emailing Melissa Lang at mlang@michaelminasf.com.

In addition, RN74, the Wine Spectator Grand Award Winner showcasing the best expressions of Burgundy, will present a series of La Paulée after-party celebrations  each of the three nights, with a late-night menu from 10 p.m., and a Zachy’s Auction Lunch on Feb. 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Attendees of the Zachy’s Auction lunch can bid on a selection of Burgundies and have a buffet luncheon from 11-2 p.m.

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Visit lapaulee.com for more information.

Zin is IN

If your New Year’s resolution is to become a Zinfandel expert, then check out the annual ZAP Zinfandel Festival in San Francisco Jan. 26-28, with tickets starting at $59. Billed as the premier single-varietal tasting in the world, an estimated 200 wineries and approximately 10,000 attendees partake in the three days of festival events.

The Paso Robles Zin Fest is coming up March 16-18.  Visit www.pasowine.com for more info. This includes a Saturday Zin Tasting & Wine Country Auction that intertwines Zinfandel, Zin-friendly foods and wine country auction lots. In addition to the Saturday tasting, travel the roads of Paso Robles wine country throughout the weekend for a plethora of special tastings, dinner parties, meet-the-winemaker experiences, complimentary barbecues and more. Tickets start at $60. Tip: Purchase your tickets before January 31, 2012 to receive a $10 discount.

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Napa news:

Out In The Vineyard and the Napa Valley Wine Train are hosting The (Bigger) Gay Train, a food and wine event on Saturday, March 31 that feature local lesbian, gay,  bisexual and transgender winemakers.

Sarah Bennett of Navarro Vineyards; Greg Bjornstad of Bjornstad Cellars; Mark Lyon of Sebastiani Vineyards and Jeff Durham and Joey Wolosz of Gentleman Farmer Wines will pour their wines that will be paired with a multi-course meal prepared Wine Train Chef Kelly MacDonald .

Boarding is at 6 p.m., a half-hour before the train leaves the station. The cost is  $160-$175 a person. For reservations call 800- 427-4124.


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