Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle Judges Select
Best West Coast Wines for Oysters
“Oysters are a celebration…romantic, sexy, luminous…The right wine makes them even more so.” Sheila Lukins
41 oyster-loving food and wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers and oyster growers convened at the Water Grill in Los Angeles, Sutro’s at the Cliff House in San Francisco, and Anthony’s HomePort at Shilshole Bay in Seattle to select five crisp sauvignon blancs, four lively, refreshing pinot gris and one oyster-friendly blend as equal winners of the month-long 2009 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition—the popular annual dating service to find the best West Coast wine matches for oysters. Few wines go with oysters, a vibrant combination of minerals, sweetness and the sea. That is why oyster lovers are eager to learn which wines will receive the prestigious 2009 “Oyster Award”, a framed golden oyster medallion.
Taylor Shellfish Farms of Shelton, Washington, sponsor of the Competition, invited West Coast wineries to submit their best “oysters wines”, typically dry, crisp, clean-finishing white wines. The competition is organized and produced by its founder Jon Rowley. Each wine is blind-tasted with at least one Kumamoto oyster. The judge chews the oyster well, sips the wine and rates the “bliss factor”, the wine’s affinity with the oyster. In a weeklong Preliminary Judging in Anthony’s HomePort at Shilshole Bay in Seattle, five veteran Preliminary Judges consumed over 1200 “Kumos” in narrowing the contenders to 20 finalists. Scores from the 41 judges in the three-city final judging panels were combined to determine the 2009 “Oyster Award” winners. Taylor Shellfish Farms is pleased to announce and congratulate the 2009 “Oyster Award” recipients (listed alphabetically):
Airfield Estates 08 Thunderbolt Sauvignon Blanc (WA)
Anne Amie Vineyards Cuvee A Amrita 07 White Wine (OR)
Cedergreen Cellars 07 Sauvignon Blanc (WA)
**Chateau Ste, Michelle 08 Pinot Gris (WA)
*Covey Run 07 Pinot Grigio (WA)
Hogue Cellars 08 Pinot Grigio (WA)
**Kenwood 07 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (CA)
**Robledo Family Winery “Seven Brothers” 07 Sauvignon Blanc (CA)
Rutherford Ranch 07 Sauvignon Blanc (CA)
*Sweet Cheeks Winery 08 Pinot Gris (OR)
*Prior “Oyster Award” winner.
**Multiple prior “Oyster Awards”.
With oysters on the half shell enjoying increasing nationwide popularity, Oyster Award winners receive immediate and substantial sales benefits. “The search for wines to go with oysters adds to the excitement of and culture of oysters”, says Taylor President, Bill Taylor. “It’s good for the Oyster, it’s good for the growers; it’s good for the wineries: it’s good for the restaurants that sell oysters and it’s good for oyster-loving consumers.”
Some of the judges claim they have the best job in all of food and wine: Amy Albert, Associate Senior Editor of Bon Appetit and avid surfer says, “Anticipating this judging is like having Rolling Stones concert tickets or catching a great wave.” “I wait all year for this”, says long-time Los Angeles judge, LA Weekly restaurant critic and 2007 Pulitzer winner, Jonathan Gold. “This is my favorite wine competition!” says Dr. Robert Small, who produces the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition.
Taylor Shellfish Farms, based in Shelton, WA is a fifth generation, family-owned company producing manila clams, Mediterranean mussels, geoduck and, oysters and shellfish seed for national and international markets. For information on Taylor Shellfish Farms go to www.taylorshellfish.com. For further information on the Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition go to www.oysterwine.com