2019 Miro Zin Wins PLATINUM Medal in the 2021 Critics Challenge Intl. Wine Competition
The 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition received over 1000 wine entries that were evaluated by the judges in a blind tasting in San Diego, CA.
A total of 74 wines were designated platinum.
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2019 Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley: Platinum; 94 points
“Spicy briary black cherry and red plum, olive skin. Really nice. Focused, great melding of oak and fruit. Dusty and fine-tannined, warm, generous, firm but warm tannin.” —Patrick Comiskey
Michael Franz, Chief Wine Judge
Michael Franz is Editor of the acclaimed online publication WineReviewOnline.com (1.4 million visitors/year). Michael has been covering the wine scene for more than 20 years, including a long stint as wine columnist at The Washington Post. Michael organizes the annual Wine for Oysters wine competition in Washington, D.C., and is a frequent judge at major wine competitions internationally.
Michael Cervin, Chief Spirits Judge
Michael Cervin is author of 11 books on wine, spirits, and other topics. As a critic and journalist, his wine and spirits articles have appeared in Robb Report, Forbes, Wine & Spirits, Vivino, The Hollywood Reporter, Fine Wine & Liquor (China), Decanter (London), Wine Enthusiast, Liquors Magazine (Netherlands), SOMM Journal, Draft, The Tasting Panel, and many other publications.
Patrick Comiskey holds the position of Senior Editor for Wine & Spirits Magazine and is a former columnist with WineReviewOnline.com. He contributes regularly to the Los Angeles Times as chief wine columnist for the Food Section, and has been published in various periodicals including the San Francisco Chronicle, Food & Wine and Bon Appétit. He is the author of “American Rhone: How Maverick Winemakers Changed the Way Americans Drink Wine” (2016).
Michael Dunne is a freelance wine and travel writer who divides his time between Sacramento, California and San Jose del Cabo in Baja California Sur, Mexico. For 30 years he was a staff writer with The Sacramento Bee, retiring as food editor, restaurant critic and wine columnist. In addition to continuing to provide articles for various publications and platforms, he is a frequent judge on the wine-competition circuit. During downtime during the Covid-19 pandemic he used his isolation to write a book with the working title “The Signature Wines of Superior California: 50 Wines That Define the Sierra Foothills, the Delta, Yolo and Lodi.” He anticipates publishing within the year.
Allison Levine is owner of Please The Palate, a marketing and event planning agency for the wine and spirits industry. She holds a Master’s degree in International Communications, as well as wine-and-spirits certifications from Wine & Spirits Education Trust, North American Sommelier Association (Italian wine specialist), and BarSmarts Wired. She contributes regularly to the Napa Valley Register, Alcohol Professor, Monarch.wine, California Winery Advisor, and Beverage Industry News. Allison hosts the podcast WineSoundtrack USA, reviews wines in one-minute videos for the Wine Weirdos and hosts a weekly wine chat on Crush On This.
Rebecca Murphy was the first female wine steward in Texas and went on to found and produce The Dallas Morning News and TexSom wine competitions. As a wine writer, she has contributed a weekly feature to The Dallas Morning News for many years, is a regular contributor to WineReviewOnline.com, and has written for Wine Business Monthly and Wines & Vines. Rebecca also furnished entries for The Oxford Companion to Wine and the sixth edition.
Laura Ness’s wine obsession started with a visit to France shortly after college and eventually led her from high-tech communications in Silicon Valley to the wine industry. She is the wine columnist and regular contributor to Edible: Monterey, Wine Industry Advisor, Spirited and Los Gatos magazines, as well as the San Jose Mercury News and The Livermore Independent. She judges wine competitions throughout California and has a corkscrew in every purse.
Mike Stepanovich has been writing about wine since 1985. His work has appeared in national and international publications such as the International Wine Review, Wine News, and Wine Business Monthly. His wine column, “Life is a Cabernet,” ran for 34 years. Currently living in Las Vegas, Mike is active on the judging circuit at such venues as the American Wine Competition, San Diego International Wine Competition, Florida International Wine Competition, Pacific Rim International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Los Angeles International Wine Competition, Central Coast Wine Competition, and Long Beach Grand Cru. An avid wine collector, he served as managing director of the Bakersfield Wine Society for more than 20 years and teaches wine history, wine appreciation, and wine-and-food-pairing.
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