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The soul of Indian Soil Carefully Crafted into our Boutique wines
We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out the award-winning bottles presented here. An esteemed panel of 20 judges painstakingly sniffed, swirled and tasted more than 740 entered wines in a variety of categories from all over the world during this past January’s International Wine Judging and Competition, a part of the Hilton Head Wine & Food Festival. This year’s Best of Show winners include (left to right): Value White—Lion Nathan, Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2011, New Zealand; Value Red—Bogle Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2009; Red—Benessere Vineyards, Super Tuscan Blend 2007; White—Underdog Wine Merchants, Brophy Clark 2010 Chardonnay.

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But here’s the important part to remember: It was somebody’s job to sample 740 different wines. How do you get that job? You become a wine expert. How do you become a wine expert? Well, you can start at the Wine and Food Festival.

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First up are the Great Chefs of the South Wine Dinners, which will take place at various locations throughout the area March 5-10, giving you an opportunity to brush up on your sommelier skills.

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March 5, 2012 04:00 AM Copyright San Francisco Chronicle. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Michael Short / Special to the Chronicle Partners Chip Forsythe (left), Bo Silliman and Brandon Allen use a '67 VW bus as their wine cellar.

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Brandon Allen, now 27, was working construction and attending an occasional class at the junior college in San Luis Obispo. Bo Silliman, now 25, was studying premed at the University of Louisville in Kentucky in between throwing keggers. And 27-year-old Chip Forsythe, who didn't have a whole lot to recommend him other than he was a decent wrestler, had somehow managed to get into Cal Poly.

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Extraordinary spring weather turned Sonoma County's Wine Country into a sun-drenched, open-air classroom of sorts Saturday, allowing thousands of people attending the area's annual Barrel Tasting weekend to learn about the region's fine wines and taste those not yet on the market.

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The largest annual event put on by Wine Road of Northern Sonoma County, the two-weekend affair provides a chance to try unfinished wines still in the barrel, in most cases months before they're bottled and perhaps years before they would normally be released.

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"I truly think it's a wonderful opportunity for education," said Kathleen Inman, winemaker at Inman Family Wines at Piner and Olivet roads, where, for the first time, she was serving chardonnay -- and not just the blended wine, but component juices fermenting separately in stainless steel and new oak barrels.

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WHEN it comes to offering wines by the glass, Vancouver has long been at the cutting edge.

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In fact, few other cities can boast the selection available here; it's turned us into a pretty choosy bunch.

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Put it down to tougher drinking driving laws (or maybe our uber-discerning palates) but most of us are more likely to order a glass of wine to go with a specific dish rather a bottle for the entire meal.

Wines From India



Elbowing my way through a thousand-strong crowd in the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone barrel room Saturday morning — wine glass in hand, pen poised and both nose and palate at the ready — this enophile was thrilled to sample a number of first-rate wines, further underscoring the world-class tag bestowed upon the Napa Valley.

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“The wines crafted for this auction truly are the best of the best,” declared Premiere Napa Valley 2012 co-chairman Michael Beaulac, winemaker and general manager of Pine Ridge Vineyards.

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I’m sure the Knight family felt the same way or it wouldn’t have paid $70,000 for a five-case lot of Dana Estates 2010 cabernet sauvignon, which will be made available to consumers at their West Los Angeles retail outlet, The Wine House.

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