Columbia wineries entered a record 402 wines for the
11th annual Lieutenant Governor Awards of Excellence in Wine.
The competition, which has since been emulated by
Governor, was launched by Lieutenant Governor Iona Campagnolo. It was carried
by her successor, . In turn, his
Point rancher Judith
Guichon, has continued to sponsor the awards, which have achieved considerable
It is a tough competition, with only 12 awards of excellence given each year. There is some discussion that, with the rising number of entries, a few more awards may be added in the future.
The Lieutenant Governor will present the awards personally in ceremonies at the winning wineries on July 24, 25 and 26.
The winners are all in the Okanagan and
They include both repeat winners – Wild Goose Vineyards likely has won more
often than another other winery – and first-time winners like Synchromesh Wines
at Similkameen Valleys . Okanagan Falls
Here are the winners. The tasting notes are taken from winery notes. Where such notes were unavailable, I dipped into the notes I made as a member of the seven-person judging panel.
Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc 2010 ($33). Winery notes: “An intense nose of blackberries and ripe cherries evolves into cedar and dried herbs with a faint hint of cocoa and vanilla. The palate has round lush flavours of juicy red fruit, black tea and ripe plums. Bright red raspberry in colour with well integrated tannins and a balanced acidity. This wine will benefit from decanting…”
Calona Artist Series Pinot Noir 2011 ($15.99). Winery’s notes: “A ruby red colour with a beautiful nose of cherry, red plum and blackberry, complemented by notes of smoke and spice. This light to medium-bodied Pinot Noir is perfect for casual sipping with its juicy red fruit flavours, silky mouth-feel and elegance. The dry, but not too dry, finish lingers gently with notes of juicy red fruits.”
Church & State Coyote Bowl Vineyard Syrah 2010 ($35). Winery notes: “Medium dark in colour, this wine offers up a hedonistic array of aromas, including notes of vanilla, Christmas baking spices, and white pepper, in addition to the gorgeous primary fruit components typified by cranberry, plum, black cherries and violets. A truly unique expression of the Syrah grape. On the palate, the above-mentioned flavours continue on with tremendous intensity. The wine is medium to full bodied with good structure, while still retaining an elegance and richness that we find is conveniently described as an ‘Iron fist in a velvet glove’.”
EauVivre Pinot Noir 2010 ($19). Winery’s notes: “Our 2010 Pinot Noir has delicate aromas of sour cherry, raspberry and spice; complimented by wonderful notes of plum, dried herbs and a touch of oak. Supple tannins and bright acidity round out the finish.”
Hester Creek Block 3 Reserve Cabernet Franc 2010 ($28.95). Winery notes: “Ready to age five to 10 years, this medium-bodied ruby-red wine will engage you with aromas of malt, plum, raspberry, and black pepper. Round and supple tannins with tastes of malt, plum, strawberry and black pepper abound in this complex and delicious wine.”
Inniskillin Okanagan Riesling Icewine 2011 ($60 for 200 ml). Winery’s notes: “Golden yellow in colour, this 2011 Riesling Icewine is intense with fruit aromas of apricot peach and tropical fruits. Its rich palate is overflowing with sweet nectar flavours and balanced with a crisp acidity.”
Red Rooster Viognier Reserve 2012 ($21.99). Winery’s notes: “Clear and bright with a pretty nose of orange blossom, white lilac, peach and apricot. This medium-bodied wine has a round mouth-feel and juicy flavours of ripe tree fruit, accented by spring blossom notes. Juicy orange, ripe apple and floral notes linger on the refreshing finish. Drink while young and fresh.”
Red Rooster Syrah Reserve 2010 ($29.99). Winery’s notes: “The bouquet revolves around notes of tar, violet, baked plum, smoky cedar, blackberry, blueberry, spice and vanilla. This syrah exhibits a dry, full-bodied, rich mouth-feel, with firm but not aggressive tannins, and food-friendly acidity. Flavours of black cherry, blackberry, currant and sweet spice fill the mouth. Juicy black fruits, black tea, sweet spice, cocoa and coffee notes linger on the finish. This wine has everything you have come to expect from a dominant Rooster. Enjoy now through 2015.”
Stag’s Hollow Cachet #3 Limited Edition 2010 ($49.90 for September release). This is an unfiltered bend of 49% Tempranillo, 43% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged in barrel for two years. Winery notes: “Aromas - prune plums, cassis, sweet pipe tobacco smoke. Flavours - masculine earthy, tarry flavours mingle with dark cherry, pomegranate and molasses, finishing with dusty tannins.”
Stoneboat Pinot Noir 2010 ($24.90). Winery’s notes: “Bold but delicate, this wine offers concentrated red fruits scented with earthy spice. Layers of violet, green tea and rich currant flavours linger on the palate, with silky tannins offering up a deliciously smooth finish. Balanced acidity and sturdy structure ensure that this Pinot will cellar well.”
Synchromesh Storm Haven Vineyard Riesling 2011 ($32 and sold out). This is a Riesling lover’s Riesling, beginning with dramatic aromas of citrus and petrol. The texture shows quite concentrated minerality with flavours of lime and grapefruit. The finish is rich and has great length. The judges were unanimous in voting for this wine.