Sunday, February 11, 2007

New York Winners in Florida State Fair Wine Competition

- I'm passing on this report from Jim Trezise of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. Jim is literally everywhere; I'll bet he has an amazing amount of Frequent Flyer Miles. I will provide the link to all the medal winners as soon as the Florida State Fair posts it. Here is the link:

“BEST OF SHOW” is the top honor that wines may receive at competitions, and New York got two of the four at this week’s Florida State Fair International Wine & Juice Competition in Tampa, where 24 judges blind-tasted over 1,500 wines from around the world. For the fourth year in a row, Swedish Hill Winery Spumante Blush, a mouth-filling Catawba-based bubbly, won Best of Show Sparkling Wine, joined for Best of Show Dessert Wine by Casa Larga Vineyards 2005 Fiori della Stella Vidal Ice Wine, a luscious golden nectar which won our Governor’s Cup (Best of Show) two years ago along with many top awards across the country. These two Finger Lakes winners were joined by 139 other New York wines which shone brightly in the Sunshine State, with 6 Double Gold, 13 Gold, 38 Silver, and 82 Bronze medals. The other Double Gold medals went to Duck Walk Vineyards 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Hunt Country Vineyards 2005 Late Harvest Vignoles (Best of Class, and the only other contender for Best of Show Dessert Wine), Lakewood Vineyards 2005 Chardonnay (rated the best Chardonnay in the entire competition, and made partially with New York oak), and Swedish Hill Country Concord (a consistent winner around the country). Gold medals went to Casa Larga Dolce Bianco, Castello di Borghese 2005 Chardonnay, Earle Estates Pear Mead, Goose Watch 2005 Lemberger, Goose Watch Bartlett Pear, Hunt Country 2005 Vidal Ice Wine, Keuka Spring Crooked Lake Red, Keuka Spring Celebrate, King Ferry 2006 Semi-Dry Riesling, Lucas 2005 Limited Reserve Cabernet Franc, Rooster Hill 2005 Semi-Dry Riesling, Six Mile Creek 2004 Cabernet Franc, Swedish Hill 2005 Late Harvest Vignoles, and Torrey Ridge Catawba. With all the “snowbirds” and New York transplants, Florida is a natural market for New York wines which we are going to concentrate on starting this fall, building on all the medals won. The Florida competition is one of the funnest that I judge, not just because it’s Florida in February, but especially because of the special people connected with it and the openness of the judges to all types of wines. The Best of Show Red Wine went to the 2004 Orfila Estate Syrah from California, and the Best of Show White Wine went (by a wide margin) to a nonvintage Schilling Bridge Edelweiss from…Nebraska! Edelweiss is a hardy, cold-climate, “ Minnesota ” variety which produces a delicate, floral, slightly sweet wine that can be spectacular like this one. A couple years ago, during the “Best of Show” round at the LA Wines of the World competition, when Edelweiss was presented a bunch of the judges started singing the song (from “The Sound of Music”} and swaying in their chairs. The Florida competition also has, appropriately, “Best of Show” honors for Florida wines, which were Dakotah Vineyards Carlos (a muscadine white which electrifies the palate), Florida Orange Groves Mango Mama (sparkling), Keel and Curley Semi-Dry Blueberry (red), and San Sebastian Cream Sherry (dessert). These wines are such fun and so good! A final footnote: As usual, New York Rieslings did well in this competition, but the Best of Class award went to Filsinger 2006 Riesling from the exciting Temecula region in hot southern California , an unlikely climate for a cool climate variety; but this was truly a beautiful wine. Also, Casa Larga’s ice wine had stiff competition from another Double Gold winner, Ferrante from Ohio , which also shows well in competitions around the country. It’s so exciting to find great wines coming from so many states. Wine—the all-American art form.

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