Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tales from a Mason-Dixon Summit and a smattering of other wine news from the region

What's nice after corresponding with someone for as long as I have with Kevin Atticks, the director of the Association of Maryland Wineries and a fellow professor, is finally sitting down over lunch and some good wine. Had that chance earlier today, at Pomodoro's Italian Restaurant just off I-83 in York. We needed two tables to accommodate the plates of food, a chiller to place a bottle of the 2008 Bordeleau Pinot Grigio (a 2009 Winemakers Choice Best of Show) that he brought, and a spot for the 2007 Pinnacle Ridge Chambourcin (Best of Show at the 2009 Farm Show) that I brought along. Great meal. Great wine. Not a whole lotta news to come out of it, except that Atticks expects next year to be one that sees a number of new wineries open in his state.

He's also expecting results of the Governor's Cup to be announced Friday, which many wineries across the state are eager to see. We'll post those as soon as wwe get them. Competition was held Sunday at Loyola College, where Atticks teaches. Just as a refresher, here are the results from last year's competition.

Afterward, we took a quick spin to the Allegro Vineyards store and both bought a bottle of Trio, a unique collaboration that includes grapes from Allegro, Manatawny Creek and Pinnacle Ridge for a blend that includes Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Will report back on what we both thought of the wine, one that Allegro winemaker and owner Carl Helrick termed as "an off-the-wall idea has matured into an imminently drinkable and ageable wine.”

Helrich continued in a release: “2007 was a wonderful vintage, producing some of the best wines of this decade.” The three wineries thought it would be an interesting concept to take the best of what they did and blend it together. He added, “It turned out the blend is about as different as we are."

The juice aged for approximately 18 months at each winery and then was blended at Manatawny Creek. Helrich described the result as a fruit-forward wine with tame oak and very supple tannins. “This is a wine that should deliver numerous years of drinking pleasure, as long as you’re one of the lucky few who is able to get it before it's gone,” he said. Each winery contributed just four barrels toward the effort, supplies are limited.

Finally, since I mentioned the Maryland contest, I saw where New York State release results of its Governor's Cup. Since awards are one way to judge the quality of a winery and its product, you're welcome to peruse this news release and the accompanying list. Cheers.

Governor's Cup release:

Anthony Road Wine Company 2008 Semi-Dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes won the coveted “Governor’s Cup” trophy at the 2009 New York Wine & Food Classic competition, held on August 17 & 18 at the Glen Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen, NY. The “Winery of the Year” award went to Sheldrake Point Vineyards, another Finger Lakes winery.

The elegant Governor’s Cup, a large silver chalice, recognizes the “Best of Show” or top prize of all 805 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 805 New York wines and spirits from the Long Island, Hudson Valley, Finger Lakes, Niagara Escarpment, Lake Erie, and other regions of New York State. The Anthony Road 2008 Semi-Dry Riesling was also voted Best White Wine, Best Riesling and Best Medium Dry Riesling on its way to the ultimate award. Sheldrake Point Vineyards received 1 Double Gold, 2 Gold, 4 Silver, and 1 Bronze awards on its way to that honor.

A “Specialty Wine Champion” award was added last year to recognize consistent quality among the increasing number of wines made from fruits other than grapes, or honey. The 2009 winner was Montezuma Winery with 1 Double Gold, and 4 Silver awards.

The awards were based on blind tastings by 24 expert judges—6 from California, 12 from New York, and 6 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 24 judges for Best of Category and Governor’s Cup awards.

Celebrating its 24th year, the Classic is organized by Teresa Knapp of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, and is open to all 258 New York wineries from all regions. In 2009, a total of 26 Double Gold, 71 Gold, 266 Silver, and 279 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 Anthony Road Wine Company 2008 Semi-Dry Riesling for Best White, Miles Wine Cellars NV Wisteria for Best Blush, Swedish Hill Winery 2007 Cabernet Franc for Best Red, Sheldrake Point Vineyards 2008 Late Harvest Riesling for Best Dessert Wine and Earle Estate Meadery NV Pear Mead for Best Specialty Wine.

The “Best of Class” awards for different varietals or proprietary blends, which were tasted off for “Best of Category” awards, went to Sherwood House 2007 Oregon Road Chardonnay for Best Chardonnay, Keuka Spring Vineyards 2008 Gewurztraminer for Best Gewurztraminer, Anthony Road Wine Company 2008 Semi-Dry Riesling for Best Riesling, Belhurst Estate Winery 2008 for Best Dry Riesling, Anthony Road Wine Company 2008 Semi Dry Riesling for Best Medium Dry Riesling, Billsboro Winery 2008 Riesling for Best Medium Sweet Riesling, Martha Clara Vineyards 2008 SO VIN ON BLONK for Best Sauvignon Blanc, Billsboro Winery 2008 Pinot Gris for Best Pinot Gris, Highland Cellars 2007 Cayuga White for Best Cayuga White, Knapp Winery NV Pasta White for Best Seyval, Goose Watch Winery 2008 Traminette for Best Traminette, Keuka Spring Vineyards NV Celebrate for Best Hybrid White Blend, Honeymoon Trail Winery NV Diamond for Best Diamond, Lakewood Vineyards 2008 Niagara for Best Niagara, Lucas Vineyards 2008 Captain’s Belle for Best Hybrid Blush, Miles Wine Cellars NV Wisteria for Best Native Blush, Glenora Wine Cellars 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Mason Vineyards for Best Cabernet Sauvignon, Fox Run Vineyards 2007 Merlot for Best Merlot, Swedish Hill Winery 2007 Cabernet Franc for Best Cabernet Franc, Damiani Wine Cellars 2007 Meritage for Best Vinifera Red Blend, Swedish Hill Winery NV Viking Red for Best Hybrid Red Blend, Earle Estates Meadery NV Pear Mead for Best Mead, XXX for Best Fruit Wine, Sheldrake Point Vineyards 2008 Late Harvest Riesling for Late Harvest Wine, and Casa Larga Vineyards 2006 Fiori Delle Stella Vidal Ice Wine for Best Ice Wine.

The following wines were awarded Double Gold medals: Anthony Road Wine Company 2006 Tierce, Anthony Road Wine Company 2008 Semi-Dry Riesling, Anthony Road Wine Company 2008 Semi-Sweet Riesling, Atwater Estate Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Franc, Billsboro Winery 2008 Riesling, Billsboro Winery 2008 Pinot Gris, Cascata Winery 2008 Regatta Red, Dr. Konstanin Frank Wine Cellars 2007 Reserve Gewurztraminer, Earle Estates Meadery NV Pear Mead, Fox Run Vineyards 2007 Merlot, Goose Watch Winery 2008 Traminette, Highland Cellars 2007 Cayuga White, Honeymoon Trail Winery NV Apple, Keuka Lake Vineyards 2008 Semi-Dry Riesling, Keuka Spring Vineyards 2008 Gewurztraminer, Keuka Spring Vineyards NV Celebrate, Knapp Winery NV Pasta White, Knapp Winery NV Prism Lucas Vineyards 2008 Captain’s Belle, Montezuma Winery NV Cranberry Bog, Rock Stream Vineyards NV Grappa, Rooster Hill Vineyards 2008 Estate Semi-Dry Riesling, Sheldrake Point Vineyard 2007 Riesling, Sherwood House Vineyards 2007 Oregon Road Chardonnay, Shinn Estate Vineyards 2006 Ultra Brut, Young Sommer Winery NV Cherry Breeze.

The following wines were awarded Gold medals: Americana Vineyards NV Crystal Lake, Atwater Estate Vineyards 2008 Riesling, Atwater Estate Vineyards 2008 Gew├╝rztraminer, Belhurst Estate Winery 2008 Dry Riesling, Bet The Farm Winery 2008 Village White, Brotherhood, America's Oldest Winery NV Holiday Spiced Wine, Casa Larga Vineyards 2006 Fiora Delle StellaVidal Ice Wine, Castello di Borghese Vineyard 2008 Riesling, Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2008 Late Harvest Riesling, Damiani Wine Cellars 2007 Merlot Barrel Select, Damiani Wine Cellars 2007 Meritage, Duck Walk Vineyards 2007Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, Eagle Crest Vineyards NV On-no-lee, Earle Estates Meadery NV Autumn Harvest, Earle Estates Meadery NV Apple Enchantment, Fox Run Vineyards 2008 Reserve Riesling, Fruit Yard Winery NV Natural Plum Wine, Fulkerson Winery 2007 Riesling Traminette, Glenora Wine Cellars 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Mason Vineyard and 2008 Meritage; Goose Watch Winery 2008 Diamond, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards 2008 Homestead Reserve Riesling, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards 2008 Pinot Gris, Heart & Hands Wine Company 2007 Barrel Reserve Pinot Noir, Honeymoon Trail Winery NV Diamond and NV Honeymoon Sweet; Hosmer Winery 2008 Dry Riesling and 2008 Seyval; Imagine Moore 2008 Love Riesling, Keuka Lake Vineyards 2008 Dry Riesling, King Ferry Winery 2007 Treleaven Meritage, Lakewood Vineyards 2008 Niagara, Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 2007 Chardonnay Reserve, Liberty Vineyards & Winery NV Fredonia, Lucas Vineyards 2007Cabernet Franc, Magpie Farms NV Legendry Magpie Honey Mead, Martha Clara Vineyards 2008 SO VIN YON BLONK, Miles Wine Cellars NV Wisteria, Peconic Bay Winery 2006 Riesling, Pellegrini Vineyards 2007 Chardonnay, Pellegrini Vineyards 2005 Merlot, Penguin Bay Winery 2008 Surfside Chardonnay, Pindar Vineyards 2007 Johannisberg Riesling, Red Newt Cellars 2007 Cabernet Franc Red Newt Cellars 2007 Merlot, Rooster Hill Vineyards 2008 Semi-Sweet Riesling, Scarola Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Franc, Schwenk Wine Cellars NV Lake Breeze White, Sheldrake Point Vineyard NV Ice Apple Splash and 2008 Late Harvest Riesling; Sherwood House Vineyards 2004 Blanc de Blanc, Shinn Estate Vineyards 2006 Cabernet Franc, Standing Stone Vineyards 2008 Vidal Ice, Stoutridge Vineyard 2007 Cabernet Franc / Noiret, Swedish Hill Winery NV Naturel, 2008 Dry Riesling, NV Viking White, NV Viking Red, and 2007 Cabernet Franc; Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2008 Dry Riesling, 2008 Pinot Gris, 2008 Diamond, and 2007 Reserve Pinot Noir; Torrey Ridge Winery NV Summer Delight, Ventosa Vineyards 2008 Pinot Gris, Ventosa Vineyards 2007Cabernet Franc, Villa Bellangelo 2008 Semi-Dry Riesling, Wagner Vineyards 2007 Chardonnay Reserve, 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling, and 2007 Meritage; Young Sommer Winery NV Traminette, Semi-Dry.

Complete results of the 2009 Classic will soon be posted under “New York Gold” at
www.newyorkwines.org, which also includes Gold medal New York wines from other major competitions.