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California love at the Fine Wine Fair

The Wine Institute of California is preparing to showcase its 2010 Benchmark Wine Selection at the inaugural Fine Wine Fair.

The institute began the Benchmark Wine Selection initiative over six years ago in order to demonstrate how California produces mid-priced wines not only in abundance, but also of high quality.
All the wines submitted for the initial tasting have to fall into three price categories, ranging from £5 to £15, and have to be available in commercial quantities.

Wineries are encouraged to submit as many wines as they can, to make the tasting as comprehensive as possible.

The wines are then tasted blind by a panel of prestigious judges, assembled each year from all areas of the trade. For example, this year’s influential line-up included three Masters of Wine, and the wine buyer of a major high-street retailer.

The judges’ mission is to identify those wines which are a “benchmark” for their particular varietal and price points; in other words, the wines which are the finest examples of quality, diversity and value for money.
The selection provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to the Fine Wine Fair to take in a snapshot of what California is capable of producing.

A spokesman for the Wine Institute of California said: “The 2010 Benchmark Wines Selection has great examples from all over the Golden State, ranging from the world-famous Napa Valley, to Lodi, Monterey, and the Santa Lucia Highlands.

“The varietals may surprise you as well; there’s a Pinot Grigio, a Viognier, a Chenin Blanc and a delicious Black Muscat dessert wine. No line-up would be complete, however, without the appearance of California’s signature grape, Zinfandel – and we’ve got a couple of great exponents made from some of the oldest Zinfandel vines in the state.”
The Fine Wine Fair takes place at Chelsea Old Town Hall in London from 15-17 October 2010. Click here for more details.

db, 19.08.2010

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