CedarCreek's award-winning Darryl Brooker
’s wine and
cider producers did well this year at the All Canadian Wine Championships, held
last week in Windsor
BC producers took home 27 of the 52 double gold awards,
including three of the top trophies.
Trophy for the top white wine went to Lang Vineyards Farm Reserve Riesling 2011.
Trophy for the top desert wine went to Mission Hill Family Estate Vidal Icewine 2011.
CedarCreek Estate Winery’s Platinum Reserve Syrah 2009 came within a hair's breadth of winning the trophy for top red (that went to Trius at Hillebrand for Showcase Red Shale
Cabernet Franc 'Clark Farm Vineyard').
The double gold awards go to the top scoring wine in each
category. Gold medals are awarded to wines scoring in the top 10% in each
category, with silver to the second 10% and bronze to the third 10%.
This wine competition, which was inaugurated in 1981, drew
about 1,300 entries from across Canada
of grape and fruit wine, along with some meads.
The wines were judged over three days by about 16 judges
(some were not there every day), working in panels of four or five judges. I was
asked to be a judge this year.
It is hard work, believe me, to taste and rate about 150
wines a day on each of the first two days and about 80 on the third day. No
matter what one does to refresh the palate, the mouth is pretty tired at the
end of each day. In the ideal world, one should take five days for this … but
the world is never ideal.
For me, the final morning was both the hardest and the most
satisfying. My panel tasted and scored 54 Meritage and similar red blends, most
of them young enough that the tannins were still aggressive. It took us about
three and a half hours. It was an insane quantity of such wines, given the
On the other hand, this was one of the best flights in the
entire competition. With few exceptions, the average scores ranged from very
good to outstanding. It was an impressive performance by the wineries and it
justifies making blends, where the whole is often better than the parts.
None of the other big flights had quite the same consistent
quality across the board, with the exception of the Rieslings. I was one of the
judges on that flight and was generally impressed. The Sauvignon Blanc flight,
on the other hand, seemed to prove that this is not Canada’s strongest suite.
Pinot Gris and Chardonnay flights seemed to have too many
just average wines. I did not judge Chardonnays but I reviewed the scores and
it looks like I did not miss much. The unoaked Chardonnays in particular rarely
scored better than average.
Wine judging, however, is never a perfect exercise. At
times, there were some significant differences among the judges, although I was
generally impressed with the consistency of the scores from judges with varied
backgrounds. Some are sommeliers; some are wine importers; some are members of Wine
Judges of Canada; and some are wine writers. My colleagues all are
Kudos to the British Columbia producers, among which
CedarCreek was notable for bringing home two double golds and three gold
medals. It is an impressive performance for winemaker Darryl Brooker who took
over at CedarCreek in 2010. While he inherited the Syrah from his predecessor,
he made the other winners (and finished the Syrah, of course).
The double gold winners include several new producers. Left
Field Cider, located near Merritt, just opened last year, as did Double Cross
Cidery in Kelowna.
Parallel Estate (which I believe also won
gold for its Pinot Noir 2011) opened its tasting room for the first time this
month. The winery is under development at Carr’s Landing in Lake Country
Also note the win by Moon Curser Vineyards with the first
release of Touriga Nacional from an Okanagan vineyard. This is a Portuguese red
varietal that has rarely been planted in Canada because it is deemed not
winter hardy. Good luck to Moon Curser, an Osoyoos winery that pioneered Tannat
and grows a few Italian varieties also exclusive to its vineyards.
The All Canadian Wine Championships will eventually publish
a complete winner’s list on its web site. Here is the list of British Columbia’s double gold winners.
Arrowleaf Snow Tropics Vidal 2012
Bench 1775 Whistler Sauvignon Blanc Icewine 2011
CedarCreek Estate Winery Merlot 2010
CedarCreek Estate Winery Platinum Syrah 2009
Desert Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Double Cross Cidery Fuji
Apple Iced Cider
8th Generation Pinot Noir 2010
50th Parallel Estate Gewürztraminer 2012
Forbidden Fruit Speachless 2012 (Peach wine)
House of Rose Winter Wine 2011 (a Zweigelt dessert wine)
Kalala Dostana Merlot 2009
La Frenz Liqueur Muscat
La Frenz Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Lang Vineyards Farm Reserve Riesling 2011
Left Field Cider Little Dry Cider 2012
Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Vidal Icewine 2011
Moon Curser Touriga Nacional 2011
Ovino Winery Momento 2011 (Maréchal Foch)
Quinta Ferreira Obra-Prima 2008
Red Rooster Riesling 2012
Red Rooster Reserve Viognier 2012
River Stone Pinot Gris 2012
Silverside Farm & Winery Tayberry 2011
Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc 2010
Mystic River Pinot Blanc 2012