Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Governor’s Cup Competition 2013, Virginia, USA

Picture: Daniele Tessaro, Associate Winemaker of Barboursville Vineyards, and Rachel Martin, Boxwood's General Manager. The Picture was taken at TasteCamp 2012, for more, see: TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont

Barboursville Vineyards wins 2013 Governor’s Cup

Governor Bob McDonnell awarded the 2013 Virginia Wineries Association's Governor's Cup to Barboursville Vineyards' 2009 Octagon. By winning this year's Governor's Cup, Barboursville becomes the first Virginia winery to win the award four times. Barboursville also won in 1992 (1988 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve), 1999 (1997 Cabernet Franc), and 2007 (1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve).

Barboursville Vineyards is located in the Monticello American Viticulture Area of Central Virginia, in and around the Charlottesville region. The historic Virginia winery is located on the estate of James Barbour, former Governor of Virginia, in Barboursville. The winery was founded in 1976 by Gianni Zonin, a prominent Italian winemaker whose family has roots in Italian viticulture going back to 1821. The Zonin Group is based in Vicenza, Italy. Barboursville is Zonin's sole American venture.

Barboursville's award-winning Octagon is a Meritage-style blend of the winery's best Bordeaux varietals. The wine is made only in top vintage years. The 2009 vintage is comprised of 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.

"It has been a pleasure and a reward to follow the evolution of the 2009 vintage of Octagon. Since harvest I took notice of its promising characters, and I was not shy to share with many that it was destined to be among the best wines I will ever produce in my life," said Luca Paschina, Barboursville's General Manager and Winemaker.

2013 Virginia Governor's Cup Competition

The 2013 Virginia Governor's Cup Competition was conducted over two weeks of tasting. The preliminary tastings were held over ten days at the Capital Wine School in Washington DC, while the final round of tastings was held at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.

Picture: Owner Rutger de Vink, RdV Vineyards and Annette Schiller, Ombiasy PR and Wine Tours, at a Bordeaux Tasting in Washington DC in 2013; for more, see: Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB) on North America Tour in Washington DC - Schiller’s Favorites

The Governor's Cup award winner was selected from the 2013 Governor's Cup Case, the top 12 scoring wines of the competition, which were selected from 377 entries of both red and white wines, from 93 wineries.

Governor’s Cup Case

In addition to Barboursville's 2009 Octagon, the other 11 top scoring wines of the competition, forming the Governor's Cup Case, are:

•    Cooper Vineyards – 2010 Petite Verdot Reserve
•    King Family Vineyards – 2010 Meritage
•    Lovingston Winery – 2009 Josie's Knoll Estate Reserve (Meritage)
•    Philip Carter Winery – 2010 Cleve (Petite Verdot, Tannat)
•    Pollak Vineyards – 2009 Cabernet Franc Reserve
•    Potomac Point Vineyard and Winery – 2010 Richland Reserve Heritage (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Petite Verdot)
•    Rappahannock Cellars – 2010 Meritage
•    RdV Vineyards – 2010 Rendevous (Meritage)
•    RdV Vineyards – 2010 Lost Mountain (Meritage)
•    Sunset Hills Vineyard – 2010 Mosaic (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot)
•    Trump Winery – 2008 Sparkling Rose (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir)

20 Gold Medals (90 to 100 Points)

Twenty gold medals were awarded, up from 13 last year — possibly a reflection of the strong 2010 vintage, which provided most of those winners. Medals were awarded based on the following average of scores:

•    Gold Medal – Outstanding/Classic, 90-100 points
•    Silver Medal – Very Good, 85-89 points
•    Bronze Medal – Good, 80-84 points

The Gold Medalists

•    Barboursville Vineyards, 2009 Octagon
•    Bluemont Vineyard, 2010 Cabernet Franc
•    Cooper Vineyards, 2010 Petit Verdot Reserve
•    Glen Manor, 2010 Hodder Hill
•    Keswick Vineyards, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve
•    King Family Vineyards, 2010 Meritage (unfiltered)
•    Lovingston Winery, 2009 Josie’s Knoll Estate Reserve Meritage
•    Philip Carter Winery, 2010 Cleve (Petit Verdot, Tannat)
•    Pollak Vineyards, 2009 Cabernet Franc Reserve
•    Potomac Point Vineyad & Winery, 2010 Richland Reserve Heritage Red
•    Rappahannock Cellars, 2010 Meritage
•    RdV Vineyards, 2010 Rendevous (Meritage)
•    RdV Vineyards, 2010 Lost Mountain (Meritage)
•    Shenandoah Vineyards, 2010 Cabernet Franc
•    Shenandoah Vineyards, 2010 Rhapsody in Red
•    Sunset Hills Vineyard, 2010, Mosaic Red
•    Trump Winery, 2008 Sparkling Rose
•    Virginia Wineworks, 2010 Shaps Wild Meadow Vineyard
•    Virginia Wineworks, 2010 Cabernet Franc, Carter’s Mountain Vineyard
•    Virginia Wineworks, 2008, Cabernet Franc, Red Hill Reserve

Nine of the 20 gold medalists were red blends of Bordeaux grape varieties, suggesting once again that Virginia’s best wines are blends rather than single-variety wines. Advocates of Cabernet Franc as Virginia’s red grape, however, will point to the five golds won by wines with that variety on the label. Interesting — and not surprising to some — not one Viognier in the bunch.

Wine Producer Virginia

Virginia is the 5th largest wine industry in the US, with 230 wineries and 2,500 acres of vineyards. Sales of Virginia wine reached a record high in fiscal year 2012 with more than 485,000 cases sold.

In the original charter of the thirteen colonies was a royal commission to pursue three luxury items that England was unable to provide for itself: wine, silk, and olive oil. Every colony made attempts to satisfy the requirements of its charter. Despite many years of failure, the early Americans persisted in their efforts. A big step forward was made in 1740 when a natural cross pollination occurred between a native American grape and a European vitis vinifera. Other successful crossings followed.

Picture: Virginia

In 1762, John Carter, who had 1,800 vines growing at Cleve Plantation, sent 12 bottles to the Royal Society of Encouragement of the Arts, Manufacture and Commerce in London for their evaluation. Minutes of their meeting on the 20th of October 1762 declared Carter’s wines to be “excellent” and a decision was taken to reward Carter’s efforts with a gold medal for his wines. These were the first internationally recognized fine wines produced in America.

Over the past 30 years or so, Virginia wines have experienced a tremendous development - to elegant and balanced, mostly European vinifera-based wines. Recently, Donald Trump as well as AOL founder Steve Case bought a Virginia winery.

Today, the vitis vinifera grapes Chardonnay and Viognier are the leading white varieties. Increasingly they are made without any or with neutral oak, to retain natural acidity and freshness. It appears Viognier is on its way to becoming Virginia’s official “signature grape”.

Picture: Winemaker Jeremy Ligon from Philip Carter Winery

For French-American hybrid varieties, Seyval Blanc is still popular, but resembles now the fresh and crisp wines from France’s South West. Vidal has become the backbone of the artificially frozen (cryoextraction), ice wine which I am not a great fan of.  Cryoextraction is an approach, developed by the French, which kind of simulates the frost in the vineyard in the wine cellar.

As far as red wines are concerned, there has been a shift from straight varietal wines to blends, with the blends now being dominated by Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Mirroring the Virginia white wines, there is an increasing focus on neutral oak and clean, vibrant fruit.

Tannat, Uruguay’ signature grape from the South West of France, is showing up in more Virginia wines, usually as a blend. The only red French American hybrid which has performed consistently well in Virginia is Chambourcin, which resembles the Gamay grape of Beaujolais.

Finally, Claude Thibault, a native from France, has taken Virginia sparkling wines to a new level. His NV Thibault-Janisson Brut, made from 100 percent Chardonnay, which President Obama offered his guests at his first state dinner, is as close as you can get to Champagne outside of France.

As Close as You Can Get to Champagne – Claude Thibaut and His Virginia Thibaut Janisson Sparklers at screwtop Wine Bar, USA

schiller-wine: Related Posting

Northern Virginia Magazine October 2012: Wine Recs from Local Winos

Visiting Jennifer Breaux Blosser and Breaux Vineyards in Virginia, USA

Virginia Wines Shine in San Francisco - 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition, USA

Judging Virginia Wines in Suffolk, Virginia - Virginia Wine Lover Magazine Wine Classic 2012

A New Winery in Virginia - The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards, USA

As Close as You Can Get to (French) Champagne at the US East Coast – Claude Thibaut and His Virginia Thibaut Janisson Sparklers at screwtop Wine Bar

Jim Law and Linden Vineyards in Virginia – A Profile, USA

As Close as You Can Get to Champagne – Claude Thibaut and His Virginia Thibaut Janisson Sparklers at screwtop Wine Bar, USA

Boxwood Winery in Virginia: Lunch with Wine Makers Rachel Martin and Adam McTaggert in the Chai between the Tanks – TasteCamp 2012 East Kick-Off, USA

Book Review: "Beyond Jefferson's Vines - The Evolution of Quality Wine in Virginia" by Richard Leahy, USA

An Afternoon with Jordan Harris, Winemaker of Tarara, Virginia, USA

TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont

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