Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lieutenant Governor's 2011 Awards for Excellence in Wine

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Eleven wineries emerged as winners in this year’s competition for the Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines.

Eighty-three wineries submitted 309 wines (compared with 71 wineries and 281 wines last year) for this tough British Columbia wine competition. A maximum of 12 awards are available.

The awards will be presented to winemakers at the end of July by Lieutenant Government Stephen Point, with award ceremonies at each winery.

This award is well established since its 2003 inauguration in 2003. This year, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario launched a similar competition for Ontario’s wineries.

The winning wineries in British Columbia include previous winners as well as first-time winners.

Here are this year’s winners:

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Photo: Howling Bluff's Luke Smith

Howling Bluff Estate Winery 2009 Summa Quies Pinot Noir ($32 but sold out). This winery won an award two years ago with an earlier vintage of Pinot Noir. This wine begins with glorious aromas of strawberries. Big and fleshy on the palate, yet with the classis silky texture emerging, this seductive wine has flavours of cherry and strawberry that linger and linger.

Photo: Laughing Stock's David Enns

Laughing Stock Vineyards 2010 Pinot Gris ($20). This is a well-balanced wine with good weight, with flavours of pear and apple and with a subtle hint of oak. A first-time winner.

Photo: Mt. Lehman's Vern Siemens

Mt. Lehman Winery 2009 Viognier Reserve ($N.A.). This wine has aromas and flavours of apricots and peaches, with the rich texture of this varietal. Mt. Lehman opened in 2009 just north of Abbotsford. Vern Siemens, the owner and winemaker, grows primarily Pinot Noir in the vineyard there. But he also buys Okanagan grapes to make varieties, like Viognier, that would not ripen adequately in the Fraser Valley. A first-time winner.

Photo: Quinta Ferreira's John Ferreira

Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery 2008 Syrah ($24.90). The winery produced 625 cases of this wine. This is an appealing red with gobs of sweet fruit on the palate; aromas of black cherry and deli meats. A first-time winner.

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Photo: Red Rooster winery

Red Rooster 2008 Reserve Meritage ($22.99). This is 58% Cabernet Franc, 38% Merlot and 4% Malbec. It is interesting to see a fine Meritage built around Cabernet Franc, a fine brambly-tasting variety that lights up many blends. This wine showed aromas of spice, vanilla and red berries, with flavours plum, black cherry and cassis. The winery won an award of excellence for a Gewürztraminer in the first competition.

Sandhill 2009 Small Lots Syrah ($N.A.) This is a big, concentrated wine with aromas of pepper and deli spices and with flavours of black cherry, plum, chocolate, even earth. Sandhill has won several previous awards, including for an earlier vintage of this wine.

St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery 2009 Dry Riesling ($N.A.). This is a classic Riesling, with its hint of petrol, its spine of minerals and its tangy flavours of lime and grapefruit. A first-time winner.

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Photo: Stoneboat's Martinuik family

Stoneboat Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir ($25). This winery won previously with an earlier vintage of Pinot Noir as well as with a Pinotage. The 2009 Pinot Noir has delicate aromas of strawberries, flavours of spice and cherries and thje classic silky texture of the variety.

Sumac Ridge Steller’s Jay Brut 2006 ($26.99). This is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. In the classic style of Champagne, the wine was left in bottle on the yeast lees for three years before final bottling. The wine presents an onion skin hue, bready notes on the nose from the yeast, and a creamy texture from its fine display of bubbles and its complex fruit flavours. Several vintages of this wine have won awards of excellence, along with other Sumac Ridge wines.
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Photo: Volcanic Hills winery

Volcanic Hills Estate Winery 2010 Rosé ($N.A.). This winery opened just last year near West Kelowna. This rosé begins with strawberry aromas. The flavours of strawberry and raspberry explode on the palate. The wine has a crisp, refreshing and dry finish. A first-time winner.

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Photo: Wild Goose's Hagen, Adolf and Rolland Kruger

Wild Goose Vineyards 2010 Mystic River Pinot Blanc ($18.99). Wild Goose is a multiple award winner in this competition but never before with, to quote the winery, “the variety that gets little respect.” In fact, this wine was so good that it was a near unanimous choice of the judges through two rounds of judging. It delivers delicious and focussed fruit flavours, like biting into an fresh Gala apple.


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