Forks & Corks Wine Competition

Best of Show WinesThe Sarasota-Manatee Originals recently announced Two “Best of Show” Wine Winners for the 2015 Forks & Corks Food and Wine Festival!

Sixteen wine experts sampled nearly 300 wines from around the world at the third annual Forks & Corks wine judging competition on December 1, 2014. Two wines garnered "Best of Show" status, including one from California and one from Italy. All of the competing wines will be showcased during the 2015 Forks & Corks Food and Wine Festival, January 23-26, 2015.

(Yes, that's this weekend!! While tickets for the Grand Tasting sold out through the Sarasota-Manatee Originals back in November, no reservations are required to attend a casual walk-about tasting on Saturday, January 24 at Michael's Wine Cellar. Admission is only $10 per person for this 3-5 p.m. tasting in the Store. Click here for details.) Now, back to this year's Forks & Corks Wine Competition... The judges, each of whom sampled about 60 wines apiece, spent nearly eight hours evaluating the wines before coming up with the top winners. The two "Best of Show" wines selected are the 2012 Presqu'ile Winery Chardonnay from Santa Maria Valley, CA; and the 2007 Zenato Cresasso from Veneto, Italy. Twenty-three white wines garnered gold, silver and bronze awards; 44 red wines were recognized with gold, silver and bronze awards; two sparkling wines received gold and silver recognition; and five dessert wines were given gold, silver and bronze awards. A complete list of the other award-winning wines is available below.  Steve Harner, proprietor of The Crow’s Nest and president of The Sarasota-Manatee Originals, chaired the wine judging competition. "The results heighten anticipation about which wines people are going to want to taste and purchase at The Grand Tasting," says Harner, adding that the winning wines will be among the over 400 wines showcased and for sale at the sold-out Grand Tasting event in the courtyard of the Ringling Museum of Art on January 25. “The buzz among winemakers and wineries from around the country and world is that Forks & Corks, in eight short years, has become one of the most popular wine and food events in the United States," says Harner. "This year, more than 70 winemakers will converge on Sarasota and show off their favorite vintages. That's something to raise a glass to!" The Presqu’ile Winery, family-owned and operated, is located in the Santa Maria Valley on California’s Central Coast. Two generations of Murphys form the heart of Presqu'ile: Matt, Amanda, Jonathan, Lindsey, Anna, Madison and Suzanne, together with winemaker Dieter Cronje and vineyard manager Jim Stollberg. "Our wines reflect a relentless pursuit of quality," says Matt Murphy. "We strive for elegance, balance and authentic expression and share a minimalist philosophy of interference. Except for intensive-shoot and cluster thinning, hand-harvesting and hand-sorting, we let the exquisite fruit convey the essence of its respective variety, vineyard and vintage." Murphy adds that grapes are hand-harvested earlier than most, resulting in "brilliant wines" that are relatively low in alcohol. The winning 2012 Chardonnay received 93 points from Wine Enthusiast and is acclaimed for flavors that are "light and fresh, with peach and slight guava. That tropicality emerges even more throughout the long, lingering finish." (Matt Kettmann, November 2014.) The 2007 Zenato Cresasso comes from the Costalunga estate in Sant’Ambrogio, a hilly area in Valpolicella in Italy. Cresasso is named for the pebbly soil in which it is grown: "sasso" translates as stone, and "cre" is the prefix of cretaceous. Cresasso is the product of extensive study and patience on the part of the Zenato family who sought to craft a wine that truly encapsulates the uniqueness of this special terroir. This wine has a rich garnet color with flavors that evoke tart black cherries, plums, and tobacco—all characteristic of the Corvina grape. On the palate the wine is soft and elegant, with Zenato's trademark balance. "After years experimenting on 100-percent Corvina, Alberto Zenato and Silvano, the on-site winemaker, under the scrupulous direction of Sergio Zenato, were able to produce one of the most impressive 100-percent Corvina wines from the Veneto," says Vittorio Marianecci, brand manager for Zenato. "This is a wine that is very complex, powerful and elegant." We are thrilled to offer both "Best of Show" wines available for purchase at Michael's Wine Cellar. Stop in the store soon or shop online anytime. Click here to shop online now.   FORKS & CORKS 2015 MEDAL WINNERS White Wines Best of Show 2012 Chardonnay, Presqu'ile Winery, Santa Maria Valley, CA   Gold 2013 Chardonnay, LOLA Wines, Sonoma Coast, CA 2012 Chardonnay, Schweiger Vineryards, Napa Valley, CA 2012 Chardonnay "Logan", Talbott Vineyards, Santa Lucia Highlands, CA 2013 Chardonnay "Dutton Ranch", Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Russian River, CA 2012 Chardonnay, Babylonstoren, Simonsberg-Paarl, ZA 2012 Chardonnay "Sleepy Hollow", Talbott Vineyards, Santa Lucia Highlands, CA 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Dog Point Vineyard, Marlborough, NZ 2013 Lugana di San Benedetto, Zenato, Lugana DOC, IT   Silver 2013 Pinot Grigio, Duca di Saragnano, Umbria, IT 2013 Gruner Veltliner "Lois", Weingut Loimer,  Kamptal, AT 2013 Greco-Fiano "Pipoli" , Vigneti del Vulture, Basilicata IGT, IT 2012 Muller Thurgau, Kettmier, Alto Adige, AT 2013 Sauvignon Blanc "Four Bears", Sean Minor Wines, CA 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Bell Wine Cellars, Lake County, CA 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Schweiger Vineryards, Sonoma Valley, CA 2012 Moscato "Allegro", Martin & Weyrich, San Joaquin, CA   Bronze 2012 Chardonnay "Rued Vineyard", Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Green Valley/Russian River, CA 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Line 39, Cecchetti Wine Company, Lake County, CA 2012 Torrontes, Recuerdo, La Rioja, Mendoza, AR 2012 Chardonnay, Saintsbury, Carneros, CA 2012 Sauvignon Blanc "Estate", Silverado Vineyards, Napa Valley, CA 2014 Chenin Blanc, Babylonstoren, Simonsberg-Paarl, ZA 2013 Vin Gris Rosé "Four Bears", Sean Minor Wines, Carneros, CA     Red Wines Best of Show 2007 Cresasso, Zenato , Veneto, IT   Gold 2009 Amarone Classico, Zenato, Valpolicella, IT 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon "Earthquake", Michael David Winery, Lodi, CA 2008 Brunello di Montalcino "Montesoli", Altesino, Montalcino, IT 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon "Double Lariat", Jamieson Ranch Vineyards , Napa Valley, CA 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon "Estate", Hook and Ladder Winery, Russian River Valley, CA 2011 Edizione Cinque Autoctoni, Fantini Farnese, Abruzzi/Puglia, IT 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Schweiger Vineryards, Napa Valley, CA 2012 Syrah, Jaffurs Wine Cellars, Santa Barbara County, CA 2009 Sangiovese "Estate", Silverado Vineyards, Napa Valley, CA   Silver 2012 Primitivo "Alchimia", Duca di Saragnano, Puglia, IT 2011 Primitivo di Manduria "II Matane", Matane, Puglia, IT 2009 Aglianico del Vulture "Piano del Cerro", Vignetti del Vulture, Basilicata, IT 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Martin Ray Vineyards, Sonoma County, CA 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon "Light Horse", Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, CA 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon "Freakshow", Michael David Winery, Lodi, CA 2011 Meritage "Illustration", Blackbird Vineyards, Napa Valley, CA 2011 Pinot Noir, Sean Minor Wines, Carneros, CA 2010 Meritage "Cyrus Estate", Alexander Valley Vineyards, Alexander Valley, CA 2010 Red Wine "Heritage Sites", Gamble Family Vineyards, Napa Valley, CA 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon "Estate", Silverado Vineyards, Napa Valley, CA 2012 Pinot Noir, Butternut, CA 2012 Red Wine, DYN 2880, Calistoga, Napa Valley, CA 2010 Red Wine "19 Block Mountain Cuvée", Hess Collection, Mount Veeder, CA   Bronze 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sean Minor Wines, Napa Valley, CA 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon "Antiguas Reservas" Cousino-Macul, Maipo, ARG 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Shypoke Cellars, Calistoga, Napa Valley, CA 2012 Pinot Noir "Light Horse", Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, CA 2011 Pinot Noir, Presqu'ile Winery, Santa Maria Valley, CA NV Petite Sirah/Syrah "Que Sirah Syrah", Silkwood Wines, CA 2012 Shiraz "Jester", Mitolo, McClaren Vale, AUST 2008 Vecciano Super Tuscan, Duca di Saragnano, Tuscany, IT 2011 Meritage "Paramour", Blackbird Vineyards, Napa Valley, CA 2012 Pinot Noir, Dutton Goldfield Winery, Green Valley of Russian River, CA 2009 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG "Vendemmia", Altesino, Montalcino, IT 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Humble Pie, Central Coast, CA 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon "Route 29", Routestock Cellars, Napa Valley, CA 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon "Synthesis", Martin Ray Vineyards, Napa Valley, CA 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon "Estate", Trefethen Family Vineyards, Oak Knoll, Napa Valley, CA 2012 Pinot Noir "Kali Hart", Talbott Vineyards, Santa Lucia Highlands, CA 2013 Pinot Noir "Reserve", Angeline Vineyards & Winery, CA 2011 Syrah, Silkwood Wines,  CA 2012 Shiraz, Babylonstoren, Simonsberg-Paarl, ZA 2012 Petite Sirah, Shypoke, Calistoga, Napa Valley, CA 2011 Malbec, Bodega Colomé, Upper Calchaqui Valley, AR     Sparkling Wines Gold NV Brut "Blanc de Blancs", Ferrari, Trento DOC, IT   Silver NV Brut Rosé, Ferrari, Trento DOC, IT     Dessert Wines Gold 1983 Don Pedro Ximenez Gran Reserva Sherry "Toro d'Albala", Montilla de Morales, SP 2013 Muscat "Red Electra", Quady Winery, CA   Silver 2013 Muscat "Orange Electra", Quady Winery, CA 2013 Moscato d'Asti "LaSerra",  Marchesi di Gresy, Asti, IT   Bronze NV Sweet Vermouth "Vya", Quady Winery, CA   For more information about the 8th Annual Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival, visit, or call 941-365-2800. For more information about The Sarasota-Manatee Originals, visit    
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Italian Wine Dinner Menu

Italy 2009-2 - Version 3Michael’s Wine Dinners are spectacular events featuring visiting winemakers as host to extravagant five-course feasts designed to complement a specific winery or portfolio. On Friday, January 23 - over Forks & Corks weekend! - our Italian Wine Dinner will feature superstar wineries Altesino (with winemaker/manager Guido Oralesi) from Montalcino (Brunello di Montalcino!) and Vittorio Marianecci from Zenato, Valpolicella – famous Amarone producers! $95 per person, plus tax and gratuity Please Note: This wine dinner has sold out. Please call 941-366-0007, ext. 229 if you would like to add your name to the waiting list. 

Italian Wine Dinner Menu Forks and Corks Friday, January 23, 2015

Passed Hors d'Oeuvres 

Lobster Arancini with Basil Tomato Puree & Toasted Goat Cheese

Dolce Bleu Cheese-Stuffed Dried Fig Wrapped with Apple-Wood Bacon

Scampi Escargot, Crispy Fingerling Potato Cup Hackleback Caviar & Micro Greens

First Course

Pan-Seared Branzino Chanterelle, Basil Brown Butter, Anise Butternut Squash Purée & Salmon Caviar

Second Course

Pistachio-Crusted Veal Loin Roasted Root Vegetables, Chive Parmesan Gnocchi, & Sweet Onion Demi-Glace

Third Course

Black Pepper Wood-Smoked Rack of Lamb Oven-Dried Plum Tomatoes, Braised Shallots, Roasted Garlic-Scented Baby Kale & Brunello Demi-Reduction


Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle & Hazelnut Tart Pistachio, Apricot, Fig & Orange Chocolate Petal

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Italian Winery Profile: Zenato

Founded in 1960 by Sergio and Carla Zenato, the Zenato winery was originally based on the production of quality wines from an indigenous varietal, Trebbiano di Lugana. Over time, the winery has been passed to Sergio and Carla’s children, who have maintained and expanded upon this vision. Zenato has also explored another important area of Italian wine production — Valpolicella. It is here that they have dedicated endless efforts to the improvement and success of Amarone production, a wine of noble attributes and prestige. The Zenato winery possesses a strong link to the richness of its local history and culture, and continues to develop this connection today. The estate is based in a territory that surrounds Lake Garda, with an extraordinary microclimate that allows for an optimal growing season. Cherishing a ‘frank and simple’ approach to life, Zenato is committed to producing affordable wine of exceptional quality. Click here for more information about Zenato wines.
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Michael's Wine Cellar
1283 S. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34239