Wine Tasting & Appetizers at the 3rd Annual Cabernet Franc Celebration

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The second event at the International Cabernet Franc Celebration and Wine Competition was held at the Grandview Room at The Golf Club at Copper Valley, Copperopolis, California. A bright and beautiful day in the Sierra foothills hosted all the guests. The Tasting & Appetizers event was held just after the Wine Competition, in the late afternoon/early evening tasting for eight previous year’s winners. The wineries were invited to pour their Cabernet Franc’s (current vintage) which they had previously won Gold or Double Gold Medals, Best of Class or Best of Show. Each winery had on their table a display with the left side describing their Cabernet Franc and the right side providing information on their winery, offering, club membership, etc. Each winery was allowed to have “other stash wines” under their tables but not on the table should someone desire something other than a Cabernet Franc! AVA’s represented were Paso Robles, Arroyo Seco, Livermore Valley and Napa Valley. This allowed guests to taste excellent Cabernet Franc’s from four entirely different terroirs to find their ideal wine and experience different regions all at the same venue.

Vine18 restaurant provide a twelve foot spread of delicious appetizers for the guests to enjoy. The constant replenishing of appetizers kept the guest tasting with the various wines.

Here were the wineries and how they scored this year from the two sets of judges, Professional Judges and People’s Choice Judges.

At first table were Lori and Michael Budd of Dracaena Wines from Paso Robles, California. As it turns out, this year Dracaena Wines 2019 Cabernet Franc won Silver from the Professional Judges and Double Gold, Best of Class and Best of Show from the People’s Choice Judges. Their smiling faces were a precursor to their winning all those awards (announced the day after this event!).

Next up was Larry Dino, winemaker/owner of Cuda Ridge Wines from Livermore, California. Larry this year was pouring his 2019 Cabernet Franc and received a Silver Medal from the Professional Judges and a Gold Medal from the People’s Choice Judges. Now his smile has a background story as in just four days from this pouring his daughter was getting married. He left first thing the next morning. Thanks, Larry, for making this event, especially with so much going on!

As guests continued throughout the room, they came to Steven Kent Mirassou’s newest label, L’Autre Côte Cabernet Franc. This is the second year of production of this wine/label, showcasing only Cabernet Franc. Shown with his assistant winemaker Beth Refsnider. The Professional Judges awarded the 2018 L’Autre Côte a Gold Medal and Best of Class! Nice going Steven!

Up next was Keith Prather from Shale Canyon making their wines from Arroyo Seco AVA, Monterey County. His wines had previously won Best of Show and Best of Class. This year both sets of judges were tougher critics and awarded him Silver and Bronze Medals.  He and his wife came for this event and also stayed for the Winemaker’s Dinner and won over many new customers!

Next up was Damian Grindley winemaker of Brecon Estate from Paso Robles. Previously Brecon Estate had won a Gold Medal and this year, from both sets of judges was awarded Bronze Medals. I double checked the scorecards and it was correct. That said, I will never call the Judge’s opinion into question, but will state his Cabernet Franc is a refined Cabernet Franc and delicious. It was a pleasure to finally meet Damian in person after three years of corresponding via emails and thanks for making it to the event.

Next up was Wood Family Vineyards, Livermore, California. The tag team of Rhonda Wood winemaker/owner and Harrison Wood VP are two of the most enjoyable people you can imagine! They had previously won Gold for their Cabernet Franc and recently won Double Gold at the SF Chronicle Wine Competition. Our judges were tough this year and both awarded them Silver Medals. Wood Family Vineyards knows I believe they are “golden” not just for their Cabernet Franc but many other wines!

On the next to last table is a relative newcomer, both as a winery and a producer of Cabernet Franc, Rosa Fierro Cellars from Livermore, California. Rosie, always smiling is both the owner/winemaker and featured her 2019 “Big Daddy” Cabernet Franc from Cienega Valley vineyards. Her wine labels are unique and creative photos of wine production shots and her 2016 Cabernet Franc had won a Gold Medal.

The final table featured Kenefick Ranch Vineyards in Calistoga (Napa Valley), California. Chris Kenefick represented Kenefick Ranch pouring their 2018 Cabernet Franc. The Professional Judges awarded this wine Double Gold which is an outstanding achievement! FYI, the Professional Judge’s only awarded three Double Gold Medals across the entire competition. The People’s Choice Judges awarded him a Silver. This is one excellent wine in my opinion.  Chris was a real trooper coming down in the morning and heading back to Calistoga after this event. Thanks Chris for pouring and making a lot of new friends and customers.

Each of these winemaker’s and owners spend a lot of time & effort getting to the event and it was greatly appreciated.

Now on to the appetizers that were served on this twelve foot long table or one of the largest “charcuterie boards” you will experience! The Executive Chef, Albert Sandoval did an amazing job and praises were heard all during the event. He certainly exceeded expectations and this was equal to all the excellent wines served during the event. So long was the presentation that it has to be shown in three pictures!

This was the first time and definitely not the last time that the Annual Cabernet Franc Wine Competition and Celebration will include this type of activity. All the guests enjoyed the tasting and appetizers featured during this unique event.

If you want to read more about each these wineries, I have provided a link to just one of the many stories written on these excellent wineries and their Cabernet Franc. Each story has the link to the winery.




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