Russ Winton: Wine List

Modesto wine columnist wonders if National Wine Day’s really something to celebrate

Chicago Tribune

National Wine Day is Saturday, May 25. What will you drink?

You only have a few days to make that decision. Surely, you must have a ”special” bottle you’ve held back? And isn’t this day that occasion?

If you said yes, you are wrong. It’s just another day. My theory is someone, probably in the wine industry, said, “Hey, I bet we could sell a bunch of really over-priced wines if we just had a National Wine Day.” And so it was done. I suggest you take my advice. Find a wine you like, one you can afford and just enjoy it. If you want to celebrate, just raise your glass and shout out, “Cheers to my Two-Buck-Chuck on National Wine Day.”

Sierra Foothill Wine Competition

Results are in for the 38th annual Sierra Foothill Wine Competition. Twenty five judges tasted 250 wines from the seven counties that make up the Sierra Foothill Appellation. Best of show awards were: White, Ironstone Symphony Obsession 2017; Rose, Milliaire White Zinfandel 2018; Red, Runquist Sangiovese The Hill 2016. The Best of Calaveras awards were: White, Black Sheep Semillon 2017; Red, Mineral Barbera 2016; Dessert, Runquist Muscat Cannelli 2018; and Zinfandel Showdown Winner, Shenandoah Paul’s Vineyard 2016. To see the complete results, go to then click Calaveras Fair and then Sierra Foothill Wine Competition results. There are plenty of excellent wines right in our back yard, Head for the hills!

Roll Out the Barrels Weekend

Wine and gourmet bites will be available in San Luis Obispo’s Mission Plaza on Thursday, June 20. More than 30 wineries will offer tastes paired with delicious bites by local chefs. The weekend continues with ”Passport to Wine Country” on Friday and Saturday with open houses featuring tours, barrel samples, music and other festivities. For more information go to

What’s On Our Table

Two whites and one rose made our table this week. The 2017 Sonoma County Chardonnay from the Benziger Family Winery had the acidity to help balance the hints of rich creme and butter with a long finish. It is priced around $14. The 2017 Edna Valley Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc had lemony acidity and flavors of apple and white peach. The finish had me salivating for more. The sale price should be under $13. The 2018 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Rose Nouveau was under $11 at Trader Joe’s and was a nice surprise. It was a bit off-dry but more of a reflection of the Gamay grape rather than residual sugar. It had typical strawberry aromas and red berry flavors with a medium long finish. All three are perfect summer wines. Cheers!