Well, the 2014 Winter Olympics have just started in Sochi Russia, and it got me to thinking of Gold Medal Winning wines. There are many different wine competitions throughout the world, including the International Wine Challenge based in Britain, the International Wine Competition based in Brussels, and what is believed to be the oldest and longest running wine competition ‘The International Wine and Spirit Competition’. It started in 1969 and is considered to be one of the most prestigious wine competitions in the world.
Let’s start in Canada. The See Ya Later Ranch, what a great name for a winery, has won many awards dating back to 2007 on their website.
But in 2013 the Syrah VQA from the Okanogan Valley vineyard won the Gold Medal. The panel of judges had this to say “The nose is like opening a tin of maturing ginger cake. Sploshed with baked plum, blueberry coulis and a grind of pepper. The mouth entry is a confident start, plenty of fruit and firm supportive tannin structure. The acid and the spice notes chase each other through the palate. This is a big mouthful, lots of personality and verve. It balances itself beautifully. Very good cellaring potential.”
With our frigid Canadian winters, especially this one, if there’s one thing Canada knows how to do well is make great Ice Wines. And 4 of our Canadian Ice Wines have won Gold Medals. Peller Estates 2011 Ice Wine, Inniskillin 2011 Riesling Ice Wine, Jackson Triggs Grand Reserve Riesling Ice Wine 2008 and the Mission Hill Family Estate Riesling Ice Wine of 2011 have claimed the prize. I recently had someone tell me they opened a bottle of Ice Wine, but found it too sweet to drink. I came to discover he poured it in a regular glass, and went about drinking it as if it was a Pinot Grigio. My friend is recently getting into wine, and as I told him, my favorite time to enjoy a dessert wine is after a big meal, when I want something sweet, but don’t have room for cake or any of the other desserts. An ice wine, or a dessert wine as it can be called, is just that…. dessert!
Angove family vineyards has a reputation for putting out spectacular wines at very good prices. This Angove Family Crest Shiraz is available in my home province of Newfoundland, at around $36 a bottle. The NLC carries a wide range of Angove products, but this one is a Gold Medal Winner. With its rich aromas of spice, pepper and red cherries, this full-bodied Shiraz with its gorgeous flavors of dark chocolate and rich fruit would be welcome at any dinner table, especially one serving BBQ foods.
Now this is a wine you have seen me write about before. I am a huge fan of Old Vine Zinfandels, and this Gnarly Head is easy to drink and beautifully priced. This gold medal winner, which I enjoy on a regular basis, is available for under $20. Here’s what the judges had to say
“Medium dark ruby. Ripe, dark roasted coffee, black pepper, hints of coconut, jammy strawberry and apricot aromas. Medium bodied, deliciously ripe red plums and strawberry compote, wonderfully balanced with soft, bright, fresh fruit flavors.
I hope you enjoy the Olympics and a big Good Luck to all our Canadian athletes. We will be cheering you all on, with our own Gold Medal winners in our wine glass.
Till next week, Cheers