Home Industry News Releases 2021 Sunset International Wine Competition Awards

2021 Sunset International Wine Competition Awards


Best Red and Best of Show to 2019 Miro Cellars Cuvée Sasha Grenache/Syrah, Chevalier Vineyard, Mendocino

Best White goes to 2020 Forefathers Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, NZ; Best Rosé to 2020 Roaming Dog Cabernet Rosé, Columbia Valley, WA; Best Sparkling to 2019 Maison Jussiaume Oeil de Perdrix, Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon; Best Dessert to 2017 Husch Late Harvest Gewürztraminer, Anderson Valley, Mendocino

Sunset Wine CompetitionSanta Rosa, Calif., — June 21, 2021—With a record number of entries, the 2021 Sunset International Wine Competition awarded Best Red and Best of Show to a standout blend of Grenache (85%) and Syrah (15%) from Mendocino made by winemaker Miro Tcholakov of Miro Cellars and Trentadue Winery. At $26, this accessible wine exemplifies why blends are so popular with wine consumers. It may prove the perfect Sunset backyard getaway wine, pairing well with everything that brings joy. 

Taking Best of Show White was the 2020 Forefathers Sauvignon Blanc, made by winemaker Nick Goldschmidt, from a vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand, $20, 99 points. Crisp, grassy, grapefruity and assertive, this was stainless steel cold fermented. 

Miro Cellars CuveeBest of Show Rosé went to the 2020 Roaming Dog Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé, which has 1% Malbec to juice up the strawberry and cherry flavors, $15, 98 points. It hailed from the Columbia Valley of Washington. 

Best Sparkling went to the 2019 Oeil de Perdrix from Maison Jussiaume, a brut Méthode Champenoise cuvée of 50-50 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon. Priced at $75, it serves up perfect balance with lively tart notes of apple and fine mousse. This is the first time an Oregon sparkler has won Best Sparkling at the Sunset Wine Competition. 

Best Dessert Wine was awarded to Husch Vineyards for their lush apricot and citrus-edged 2017 Late Harvest G Gewürztraminer from Anderson Valley, $25. This is the second year in a row that Husch has won Best Dessert at Sunset with their LH Gewürztraminer, beating out a Port and Cream Sherry for top honors once again. 

Best Port went to Ficklin Vineyards NV Old Vine Tinta Port, made of 100% Portuguese varieties grown in Madera, $20. It’s the most awarded Port in America.

Best Cream Sherry went to Rancho de Philo’s NV California Triple Cream Sherry made of Mission grapes from Cucamonga Valley, (San Bernardino, CA), $42.95. 

Best Cider was bestowed upon Portland Cider Company’s NV “Sorta Sweet”

Modern Cider from apples grown in Oregon and Washington, $11.99.

Best Mead went to The Mead Works of Puget Sound, WA, for their Fallen Cyser semi-sweet apple mead from blackberry blossom honey, $23. 

To win Best Red of Show, the Miro Cellars Grenache-Syrah Cuvée had to best a field of 14 other reds in the Red Sweepstakes round, including a Trentadue Sangiovese, also made by Tcholakov. In the first round of voting, the Cuvée Sasha had stiff competition from the 2018 Domaine Carneros Estate Pinot Noir with 15 votes, followed by the 2017 Garré Cabernet Franc from Livermore and the 2017 Rapp Ranch Cutter’s Reserve Bordeaux style blend from Napa, both of which earned 11 votes. The Miro Cellars Cuvée Sasha prevailed in final voting, with 18 votes, while the Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir received 8. 

Best of Show White was a showdown between the 2020 Forefathers Sauvignon Blanc and the showy yet elegant 2020 Alexandria Nicole Cellars Shepherds Mark Rhone Blend from Horse Heaven Hills, WA. Each got 15 votes in the initial acclimation round, with the gorgeous Earl Grey tea-laden 2020 Lewis Grace Torrontes (Alta Mesa) earning 12 votes and the lively lemon-lime 2020 Oak Farm Fiano (Lodi), 11. Final score was 14 votes to 12, with the Forefathers Sauv Blanc just edging out the Shepherds Mark Rhone, made from 43% Roussanne, 38% Viognier and 19% Marsanne, a serious effort with perfect poise, $28 (98 points). 

In the final sweepstakes round for Best Of Show, the Miro Cellars Cuvée Sasha won handily over the Best White, Best Rosé and Best Dessert contenders in a landslide, with 20 votes out of a possible 26. The Rosé scored 3, the Sauv Blanc 2 and the Late Harvest Gewürztraminer, 1. 

Debra Del Fiorentino, President of Wine Competitions Production & Management (WCP&M), who owns and operates the Sunset International Wine Competition, said, “Once again, we are grateful for the support of the local county Health Department in allowing us to safely run this competition for the past two years. We are also very appreciative of all the wineries that entered wine from all over the globe. This year, there were 52 new wineries participating. We noticed an uptick in entries inboth the rosé and unoaked Chardonnay categories, as well as in blends of all kinds.  The judges had some very difficult decisions to make when faced with those final 33 entries!” 


  • Best of Show and Best of Show Red: 2019 Miro Cellars Cuvée Sasha, (Grenache/Syrah), Chevalier Vineyard, Mendocino, $25, 97pts
  • Best of Show White: 2020 Forefathers Sauvignon Blanc, Wax Eye Vineyard, Marlborough, New Zealand, $20, 99pts
  • Best of Show Sparkling: 2019 Maison Jussiaume Oeil de Perdrix, 50-50 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir Méthode Champenoise, Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon, $75, 99pts
  • Best of Show Rosé: 2020 Roaming Dog Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé, Columbia Valley, WA, $15, 99pts
  • Best of Show Dessert Wine: 2017 Husch Vineyards Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, from Anderson Valley, $25, 98pts
  • Best of Show Cider: NV Portland Cider Company “Sorta Sweet” Modern Cider, OR/WA, $11.99, 97pts
  • Best of Show Mead: The Mead Works Fallen Cyser Semi-sweet Apple Mead from blackberry blossom honey, WA, $23, 95pts
  • Best of Show Sherry:  Rancho De Philo, California Triple Cream Sherry, Mission grapes, Cucamonga Valley, (San Bernardino, CA), $42.95, 95pts
  • Best of Show Port: Ficklin Vineyards, Old Vine Tinta Port, Portuguese varieties, Madera, CA, $20, 100pts


  • NV Trecini Spumante (Chardonnay and Cortese), Méthode Champenoise Piedmonte, Italy, $20, 99pts
  • 2019 Peller Estates Riesling Niagara Peninsula VQA, $12.95, 99pts
  • 2019 King Estate Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, OR, $19, 98pts
  • 2020 Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc, California, $10, 98pts
  • 2020 Lewis Grace Torrontes, Alta Mesa, CA, $24, 95pts
  • 2020 Oak Farm Vineyards Estate Fiano, Lodi, Mokelumne River, CA, $26, 98pts
  • 2020 Balletto Vineyards Teresa’s Chardonnay (Unoaked), Russian River Valley, CA, 
  • $20, 97pts
  • 2019 Lightpost Winery Chardonnay Spanish Springs, San Luis Obispo, CA, $39, 
  • 98pts
  • 2020 Alexandria Nicole Cellars Shepherds Mark, Horse Heaven Hills, WA,  $28, 98pts
  • 2020 Port Townsend Vineyard Viognier, Rattlesnake Hills, WA, $28, 96pts
  • 2020 Husch Vineyards Muscat Canelli, Mendocino, CA, $16, 96pts
  • 2018 Domaine Carneros Estate Pinot Noir, Carneros, CA, $44, 98pts 
  • 2019 Trentadue Estate Sangiovese, Alexander Valley, CA, $34, 96pts
  • 2019 Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards Syrah, Umpqua Valley, OR, $43, 99pts
  • 2018 Imagery Estate Teroldogo, Pine Mountain Cloverdale, CA, $42, 98pts
  • 2018 Frank Family Vineyard Merlot, Napa, CA, $38, 98pts
  • 2017 Garré Vineyard and Winery Estate Cabernet Franc, Livermore Valley, CA, $30, 98pts
  • 2019 Macchia Barbera, Lodi, CA, $22, 96pts
  • 2019 Trevor Grace Petit Verdot, El Dorado, CA, $33, 94pts
  • 2018 Goosecross Cabernet Sauvignon State Lane Vineyard, Yountville, Napa Valley, CA, $84, 99pts (100% Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2018 Wilson of Dry Creek Zinfandel Cypress Ridge, Dry Creek Valley, CA, $42, 99pts
  • 2017 Cinquain Cellars Reserve Malbec, Nagengast Estate Vineyard, Paso Robles, CA, $65, 97 pts
  • 2018 Red Thread Wines Estate Red Wine Blend (47% Zinfandel, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petite Sirah), Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, CA, $78, 99pts
  • 2017 Rapp Ranch Cutters Reserve (Bordeaux Style Blend: 58% Cabernet Sauvignon; 28% Petit Verdot; 10% Cabernet Franc; 4% Merlot), Napa Valley, CA, $70, 99pts
  • 2018 J. Lohr Winery J. Lohr Vineyard Series Tower Road Petite Sirah, Paso Robles, CA, $35, 99pts
  • Rancho de Philo NV California Triple Cream Sherry, Mission grapes, Cucamonga Valley, (San Bernardino), CA, $42.95, 95pts
  • Ficklin Vineyards NV Old Vine Tinta Port, 100% Portuguese Varietals, Madera, CA, $20, 100pts

The complete list of Silver and above medal winners can be found here: 


The winners, including all Gold and Silver medalists, will be published in a forthcoming edition of Sunset magazine. Top winners will benefit from significant Sunset media promotion through print, web, social media and PR. 

About Wine Competitions Management & Production (WCMP)

This organization owns and operates a variety of competitions including Sunset International Wine Competition, West Coast Wine Competition, International Eastern Wine Competition, East Meets West, International Women’s Wine Competition, Harvest Challenge, the Craft Distillers Spirits Competition, Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge, Santé Magazine Wine Competition and Experience Rosé.

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