Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Swedish Hill earns NY's '08 Governors Cup

This release arrived today following completion of the 2008 New York Wine & Food Classic judging:

New Paltz, New York, AUGUST 20—Swedish Hill Winery from the Finger Lakes won the coveted “Governor’s Cup” trophy at the 2008 New York Wine & Food Classic competition, held on August 19 & 20 at the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. The “Winery of the Year” award also went to Swedish Hill Winery.

The elegant Governor’s Cup, a large silver chalice, recognizes the “Best of Show” or top prize of all 775 entries in the Classic, known as “The Oscars” of New York wine. The “Winery of the Year” award is presented to the winery with the best overall showing based on the level and number of awards in relation to entries.

This year’s competition included 775 New York wines from the Long Island, Hudson Valley, Finger Lakes, Niagara Escarpment, Lake Erie, and other regions of New York State. The 2007 Vidal Blanc was also voted Best White Wine, and Best Vidal Blanc on its way to the ultimate award. Swedish Hill Winery received 2 Double Gold, 2 Gold, 11 Silver, and 7 Bronze awards on its way to that honor.

A new “Specialty Wine Champion” award was added this year to recognize consistent quality among the increasing number of wines made from fruits other than grapes, or honey. The 2008 winner was Earle Estates Meadery, with 1 Gold, 2 Silver, and 5 Bronze awards.

The awards were based on blind tastings by 25 expert judges—7 from California, 11 from New York, and 7 from other states. Judges included prominent wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers, and wine educators. Four-judge panels determined the initial awards, with top-scoring wines evaluated by all 25 judges for Best of Category and Governor’s Cup awards.

Celebrating its 23rd year, the Classic is organized by Teresa Knapp of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, and is open to all 242 New York wineries from all regions. In 2008, a total of 14 Double Gold, 62 Gold, 198 Silver, and 266 Bronze medals were awarded. In addition, “Best of Category” and “Best of Class” designations were awarded to wines rated as the finest in various areas. Double Gold medals require unanimity among a panel’s judges that a wine deserves a Gold medal, whereas Gold medals require a majority vote.

The “Best of Category” awards, all eligible for the Governor’s Cup, went to Swedish Hill Winery NV Spumante Blush for Best Sparkling wine, Swedish Hill Winery 2007 Vidal Blanc for Best White wine, Anthony Road Wine Company 2007 Dry Rosé for Best Blush or Rosé wine, Bedell Cellars 2006 Musée for Best Red wine, Earle Estates Meadery Creamy Apricot for Best Specialty wine, and Casa Larga Vineyards 2005 Fiori Vidal Ice Wine for Best Dessert wine.

The “Best of Class” awards for different varietals or proprietary blends, which were tasted off for “Best of Category” awards, went to Swedish Hill Vineyards Spumante Blush wine for Best Native Sparkling wine, Lakewood Vineyards 2007 Dry Riesling for Best Dry Riesling wine, Hosmer 2007 Riesling for Best Semi-Dry Riesling wine, Paumanok Vineyards 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling for Best Semi-Sweet Riesling, Castello di Borghese Vineyard 2006 Chardonnay for Best Chardonnay wine, Macari Vineyards & Winery 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, Katharine’s Field for Best Sauvignon Blanc, McGregor Vineyard 2007 Rkatsiteli-Sereksiya,Estate Grown for Best White Vinifera Blend, Whitecliff Vineyards 2007 Traminette for Best Traminette, Swedish Hill Winery 2007 Vidal Blanc for Best Vidal Blanc, Rooster Hill Vineyards 2007 Silver Pencil for Best White Hybrid Blend, Arbor Hill Grapery 2007 Vergennes for Best Other Native White Varietal, Hickory Hollow Wine Cellars Liquid Wisdom for Best Niagara, Anthony Road Wine Company 2007 Dry Rosé for Best Blush or Rosé, Torrey Ridge Winery Blue Sapphire for Best Concord, Barrington Cellars Baco Noir for Best Baco Noir, Swedish Hill Winery Viking Red for Best Red Hybrid Blend, Red Newt Cellars 2005 Cabernet Franc for Best Cabernet Franc, Osprey’s Dominion 2005 Reserve Merlot for Best Merlot, Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Bottled for Best Cabernet Sauvignon, Bedell Cellars 2006 Musée for Best Red Vinifera Blend, Earle Estates Meadery Creamy Apricot for Best Mead, Heron Hill Winery 2006 Late Harvest Vidal Blanc for Best Late Harvest wine, and Casa Larga Vineyards 2005 Fiori Vidal Ice Wine for Best Ice Wine.

Complete results of the 2008 Classic will soon be posted under “New York Gold” at, which also includes Gold medal New York wines from other major competitions.


Mollie Battenhouse, DWS
Wine Director & Educator, International Wine Center, New York, New York

Dan Berger
Wine Journalist and Publisher, Santa Rosa, California

Shannon Brock
Wine Coordinator, New York Wine & Culinary Center, Canandaigua, New York

Rory Callahan
President, Wine & Food Associates, New York, New York

Co-Publisher, Wine East, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Rene Chazottes
Wine Director, Maitre Sommelier, The Pacific Club, Newport Beach, California

Jim Clarke,
Wine Writer and Director, MEGU, New York, New York

Mike Dunne
Food Editor, Wine Columnist and Restaurant Critic, The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, California

Traci Dutton
Director of Education, Culinary Institute of America, Greystone, California

Ziggy Eschliman
Ziggy, “The Wine Gal,” Wine Country Radio, Sonoma, California

Doug Frost, M.W., M.S.
Wine Writer and Educator, Prairie Village, Kansas

LorraineHems, CS, CWE
Lecturer of Wine Studies, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY &
Instructor, New York Wine & Culinary Center, Canandaigua, New York

Fred LeBrun
Columnist, Albany Times Union, Albany, New York

Ann Littlefield
Direct Wine Marketing Brand Champion, Napa, California

Bill Mahoney
Wine Manager, Premium Wine & Spirits, Williamsville, New York

Ann Miller
Marketing Specialist, Missouri Wine & Grape Board, Jefferson City, Missouri

Bert Miller
Food & Beverage Director, Long Island Marriott, Uniondale, New York

Jerry Pellegrino
Chef/Owner, CORKS & & Abacrombie Fine Foods, Baltimore, Maryland

Mike Riley
Regional Manager/Buyer Wine and Spirits, Wegmans East Coast Region, Princeton, New Jersey

Coke Roth
Wine Consultant & Attorney, Kennewick, Washington

Jerry Shriver
Writer, USA Today, New York, New York

Sandra Silfven
Wine Writer, Detroit News, Detroit, Michigan

Dr. Bob Small
Director of Hospitality, Collins School of Hospitality Management, Cal Poly University &
Director, Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition, Pomona, California

Eric White
Wine Consultant & Store Manager, The Winery, New York, New York

Kevin Zraly
Wine Educator & Author, New York, New York

Crossing Vineyards offering intro course

Posting for those living around Philly and looking for a Wine 101 course this fall:

For anyone who doesn’t know chardonnay from cabernet, the difference between francs and blancs and, worse, what not to serve with fish and fowl, Crossing Vineyards & Winery in Washington Crossing, Pa. is offering a six-session course, taught by its French sommelier, Eric Cavatore (right), designed to answer basic and not-so-basic wine questions. The details are as follows:
An Introduction to Wine, 1st in six-course series on wine, 6:30 -8:30 p.m., Sept. 8, Crossing Vineyards and Winery, 1853 Wrightstown Road, Washington Crossing, Pa. Cost: $30 per course, $150 for series. Includes behind-the-scene access to winery during crush and harvest and wine-tasting. Future dates: Sept. 15, 22, 29, Oct. 6, 13. Course listings and info: 215-493-6500, ext. 19 or at the Web site.

At Galen Glen, a chance to warm up to rose

It was a bottling day yesterday at Galen Glen Vineyard & Winery in northeast Pennsylvania, so I snagged proprietor Sarah Troxell between tasks and sneaked in a brief phone conversation that will provide the fodder for a couple of postings.

Depending on your tastes, you could be jumping for joy at the raspberry wine that was emerging yesterday from the end of the bottling line. “We just got fresh raspberries so we take one of our white wines and blend in raspberry juice as a sweetner,” says Troxell, who directs the winery along husband Galen. "So it's our winter sort of dessert offering." A family farm that according to their Web site is “nestled between the Appalachian and Mahoning mountains,” they’ve been going full bore since planting their first two acres of vines in May 1995. It's a member of the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail.

She admits that while other wines on their list rev up her taste buds and palate more than this particular offering, “we live in a Pennsylvania German area, so fruit is big. We don’t do any fruit wines. [This] is a wine with fruit juice added, I call it the faux fruit wine. So, living here, it’s very popular.”

There was a time I’d avoid anything that wasn’t dry, but that’s changing. Exhibit A is that peach wine from Georgia that my wife and I opened last week and then wrote about. Skeptical, we were won over in one sip. And I've had my share of rose alongside the array of foods placed down on the Thanksgiving table.

Galen Glen makes several roses. One is called Win Gris, a dry rose that Troxell says has sold out this season. They plan on making more after this coming harvest. “And then we do a semi sweet and a sweet, more what I’d call blushes; they’re more fruity and fragrant. In the summer, those combined with whites do really well. We’ve had such a [demand]. We didn’t think our dry rose would be as popular as it was.”

Troxell says she sees roses in America gaining popularity, although still lagging behind the large following they have in Europe, particularly the dry roses. In general, she says, it’s a wine that looks far more comfy in the summer atop a blanket spread out under a grove of trees than alongside a midwinter fire. It's definitely picnic friendly.

"The Win Gris we do with our dry red wine grapes, whereas our [semi sweet] Noah’s Blush and [sweet] Galah are made with Steuben grapes, which are big fragrant hybrids, so if you’ve looking for a little dryer tasting [wine] we have something a little more serious and then the other funs are just fun, summery, sort of big bouquet.”