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The judge who said the top winning wine – the Beaulieu Vineyard, 2009 Tapestry Reserve – was so great “just pour it over my naked body” was Bob Foster, assistant editor of the California Grapevine wine newsletter.

An outrageous comment?

When I tasted the classic Bordeaux blend in the sweepstakes round it was knockout, a blend with depth and a great core of fruit — blackberry, cassis and black cherry. It also had firm tannins and yet a supple texture.

With a show of hands, virtually everyone in the room voted to give this Bordeaux blend top honors.

The top white – the Sivas-Sonoma 2011 Sauvignon Blanc – was also a standout because it had great minerality, racy acidity and a refreshing lingering finish. Striking.

This sauvignon blanc was my favorite of among the whites, even though a sparkler and a chenin blanc were also standouts.

After the wines were whisked away, many of the judges commented on how impressive the sweepstakes round of wines were. It was gratifying to see that our collective effort of spending a day and a half analyzing wine after wine — virtually frisking them — showed wines of this magnitude.

For complete coverage of the Wine Challenge including a searchable database of winning wines, photos and information on the public tasting go here

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