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Posted by Robert Whitley on October 3, 2015 at 12:59 PM

Pioneering Winemaker Gary Eberle Answers the Call to be Chief Judge

We are pleased to announce that Gary Eberle, long ago dubbed 'The Godfather' of Paso Robles wine, has agreed to serve as Chief Judge at the seventh annual Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition in January.

Eberle was recently honored by the California State Fair with its Wine Lifetime Achievement Award, joining the likes of wine industry legends such as Robert Mondavi and Richard Peterson.

Gary launched his winemaking career in the 1970s at the Estrella River Winery in Paso Robles. He led the charge to gain American Viticultural Area (AVA) status for Paso Robles, and his 1980 Eberle Winery Cabernet Sauvignon was the first wine to have the Paso Robles AVA on its label.

"Before that, all of the wines from Paso Robles were designated San Luis Obispo County," Eberle said.

Gary also was the first vintner to plant Syrah along California's Central Coast, and the first winemaker in America to bottle a 100 percent varietal Syrah.

Eberle has served as a judge at all six of the previous Winemaker Challenges.

Information about wine competition can be found at www.WinemakerChallenge.com

Schramsberg, North Coast (California) "J. Schram" 2007 ($120)
Hugh Davies isn't afraid to go outside of the Napa Valley to get the fruit he's looking for, especially when it comes to what goes into this flagship bottling.  A blend of 84% Chardonnay and 16% Pinot Noir, it's a testament to what is possible in sparkling wine from California, and would easily slide into a vintage Champagne tasting, detectable only by those familiar with its very specific bright Asian pear, fig and spice aroma profile. On the palate, I'm reminded very much of Tete-de-Cuvee Champagne -- it's incredibly deep and long, with brioche, stone and lemon zest joining the elements promised by the nose.  It finishes incredibly long.  All things considered, it's a great value as well as a cellar trophy.  Fabulous!
96 Rich Cook

Dr. Michael
This Issue's Reviews
Grape Expectations
Robert Whitley

Imagine a world without cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, pinot noir, riesling or sauvignon blanc. Those popular grape varieties make the wines most of the world likes to drink. Familiarity is as much a factor in their popularity as quality. But what of other grape varieties and the wines they make? The reality is there are lesser-known grapes that make equally delicious wines that allow wine enthusiasts to broaden the palate and perhaps discover a new favorite or two.
A Grape Future for the Lone Star State
Jessica Dupuy

It often comes as a surprise to many people to hear that Texas has a thriving wine industry. Anyone who has traveled through the state's Hill Country region in the past few years has seen evidence of a wine community that attracts tourists from all over the country. But Texas wine is an industry that stretches far beyond the confines of the picturesque Hill Country. In fact, as the fifth largest wine producer in the USA, there are eight wine appellations--or American Viticultural Areas--across the state. Texas and wine have quite a long history. The first wave of Texas wine arrived in the 1600s when Spanish missionaries planted the vineyards in the western part of the state--right about where El Paso is today.
Wine With
WINE WITH…End-of-Summer Lobster and Corn Salad

Summer is officially over but there is still a fair amount of good corn at the farmers' market, and the tomatoes still taste awesome. In an effort to maximize as much of this summery goodness as possible, we decided to make a big main course salad for dinner. To add protein and an extra dose of fun, we topped our salad with lobster tails, which had the further advantage of making this a very wine friendly dish. You can use our recipe as a springboard from which to dive into your own creative additions of summer veggies (green beans, diced zucchini, cubes of fried eggplant--any or all of these would be delicious embellishments). Or you might consider substituting fried oysters for the lobster tails, and pork belly for the bacon. Though we used arugula in our salad, mâche would be a wonderful substitute, or you could try chopped romaine, red leaf lettuce or chicory. The important thing is to remember that the greens are there to add a footnote of color and a little crunch, not to dominate.
On My Table
A Thoroughbred Right Out of the Gate
Mary Ewing-Mulligan

Some wine professionals who respect the role of history and tradition in wine production are inclined to quibble at the thought of a world-class wine that emerges almost overnight, whether that wine be from Napa Valley, Barossa Valley or the Tuscan coast. But the wine itself can make skeptics into believers -- especially when the back-story involves plenty of legitimate talent. Capensis Chardonnay from South Africa is my case-in-point.