Adventures in Wine Judging: The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to serve as one of twenty judges for the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition held at the Regency Country Club at Dominion Valley. It was actually only my second chance to be a wine judge (I also judged the Old Ebbitt Grill's delicious yearly "Wines for Oyster" competition a few years ago that precedes their wildly popular Oyster Riot. Crisp whites and all the oysters you can taste? Sign me up!)
While I found it a bit daunting to taste that many wines over two days this past weekend (I lost count, but it was upwards of 130, I think...), it was also a great learning experience, especially for my next WSET Diploma unit. I was also grateful for the opportunity to taste a few varietals I had not before, including Noiret. We did teeth-staining reds on Saturday (accompanied by some non-acidic green olives, crackers and roast beef), and sparkling and white wines on Sunday.
We judged both varietals and categories, and topped off the competition on Sunday afternoon by judging the 15 category winners to find the Best of Show wine. This is kind of like comparing apples to oranges, as you are comparing winners including sparkling, Viognier, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Bordeaux Blends, trying to find the best made wine of the bunch. But my colleagues and I, including Oya's Andrew Stover, Food Service Monthly's Michael Birchenall and The Washington Post's Dave McIntyre were up to the challenge.
The overall Best of Show winner turned out to be the 2007 Rosemont Meritage from a small winery in southern Virginia. I did list them in my "top 5" favorite category winners. I also really enjoyed the 2008 Gewurztraminer by Dr. Konstantin Frank, 2009 Dry Riesling by Glenora Wine Cellars, 2008 Pinot Noir by Oak Summit Vineyard, and the 2004 Brut by Chateau Frank .Congratulations to all the Category, Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners. Here are the category winners--I was pleased to see that Virginia wines were well represented.
Bordeaux-Style Red Blends
2007 Meritage by Rosemont of Virginia, VA
2007 Cabernet Franc by Ospreys Dominion Vineyards, Ltd., NY
2007 Rockawalkin by Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn, VA
2007 Chambourcin by Alba Vineyard, NJ
2007 Chardonnay by Bordeleau Winery, MD
2008 Gewurztraminer by Dr. Konstantin Frank, NY
2007 Merlot by Heritage Vineyards, NJ
2008 Norton Reserve by Cooper Vineyards, VA
Other Red Vinifera Blends
2009 Red Star by Veritas Winery, VA
Other Red Vinifera Varietals
2008 Petit Verdot by Veritas Winery, VA
Other White Hybrid/NA Varietal
2008 Vignoles by Presque Isle Wine Cellars, PA
Other White Vinifera Varietals
2009 Petit Manseng by Pearmund Cellars, VA