Each year the Indy International Wine Competition is held in conjunction with the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. With a large number of wineries in the state of Indiana, the competition has become one of the largest international wine competitions in the United States. My friend, Steve Somermeyer - who is an assistant winemaker at Chateau Thomas winery outside of Indianapolis, and one of the lead panel judges for the competition - sends along another synopsis of this year's results. Since I've been lazy during my vacation, my thanks to him for essentially writing my blog entry for me today.
Take it away, Steve!
The competition this year featured a significant change in leadership as Dick Vine retired and Christian Butzke succeeded him as Professor of Oenology at Purdue and also as Chief Judge at this competition. Dick had a vast international network in the wine world, and without his gentle encouragement, a number of wineries did not participate this year. Entry fees were increased to $60 (along with 3 bottles) which also dampened participation a bit.
Entries this year totaled almost 3300 which still places this competition in the top 2-3 in the country.
There was a drop-off in the number of European entries while Washington state wines were more prominent. Coincidentally, we spent 10 days in the Columbia Valley last October and were impressed at both the number of wineries and the quality of the wines we tasted.
Christian also changed a number of the judges increasing the number of Indiana wineries represented. While I was sad that a number of folks that I became friends with weren't present, I enjoyed making new ones. I was again privileged to serve as a lead judge for a panel. Initially, I was concerned when I discovered that for my other panel members it was their first time at Indy. But we quickly found common judging ground and enjoyed our 2 1/2 days together. My panel consisted of a Florida oenology professor, Purdue President's Event Director, a scientist and winemaker from South Carolina, and the VP of R&D from E&J Gallo. We also had judges from universities in Spain and Burgundy, as well as the author of Judgment in Paris.
Christian also gave all of the judges a very common-sense definition for awarding medals:
- If you wouldn't finish the glass, the wine probably doesn't deserve a medal.
- If you would finish the glass, it warrants a bronze (B) medal.
- If you'd have another glass and perhaps finish the bottle, it deserves a silver (S) medal.
- If you'd go out to buy a bottle, it rates a gold (G) medal.
As in previous years the panel majority decides what award a wine receives. If a wine doesn't receive at least 4 bronze ratings from the 5 judges, it doesn't receive a medal. If all 5 judges say gold, it receives a concordance gold (CG). I actually search for those concordance gold wines and have never been disappointed.
62% of all of the wines entered won medals with 2% winning CG, 7.5% winning G, 27% winning S, and 26% winning B. We encountered very few seriously flawed wines. The overall percentage of wines winning medals is about the same as in previous years but there were slightly fewer gold medals awarded.
The Best of Show Wine was Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2004. Their web site is still listing the '03 which retails for $25.
The Best Red Wine was Barefoot Reserve Impression Meritage 2004 from Alexander Valley. $15
The Best White Wine was St. Supery Virtu (Chard-Semillon) 2004. $28
The Best Desert Wine was Gehringer Brothers Estate Okanagan Valley Riesling Icewine 2006 from Canada. $65/375ml
If you'd like to explore all of the results, here is the website:
Some of the wineries that did very well has to start with two from Indiana: Oliver and Chateau Thomas (where I "toil" as one of the assistant winemakers). Oliver won 28 medals including 2 CG's and 5 G's. Chateau Thomas won 31 medals including 2 CG's and 2 G's. They're both close to Indianapolis, have great tasting rooms and the wines are obviously of high quality. The 3rd Indiana winery of note, Huber near Louisville, won 16 medals including 1 CG and 3 G's.
Well known wineries that did well included:
- Pedroncelli Winery - they entered 6 red wines and all medaled including a G for their '04 Sangiovese.
- Montevina - G for their '05 Amador County Barbera along with 5 additional medals
- Trinchero - CG for their '04 Main Street Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, a G for their '05 Cabernet along with 2 additional medals.
- Sutter Home - 8 medals including a G for their '06 Chenin Blanc.
- Valley of the Moon - 5 entries = 2 G's for '06 Sangiovese Rose' and '04 Syrah along with 3 S's.
- Kenwood Vineyards - 7 entries = 6 medals including a G for '06 Chardonnay.
- Cline Cellars - G for their '05 Castimere (Mourvedre, Syrah, & Grenache) + 4 additional medals.
- Zinfandel specialist Z-52 won 3 medals with 3 Zin entries including a CG for their '05 Truchard Vineyard Napa Zinfandel.
- Value brand 3 Blind Moose entered 4 wines with all of them winning medals led by '05 Cabernet Sauvignon winning a G.
- Australia's Alice White won 5 medals including a g for their '06 Shiraz.
- Robert Mondavi Private Selection won 4 medals with 4 entries including G's for '06 Pinot Grigio and '05 Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Toasted Head - 6 entries = 5 medals including G for '04 Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Turning Leaf entered 5 wines and won a CG for their '06 White Zinfandel, G's for '06 Merlot and '06 Cabernet Sauvignon, S for '06 Pinot Grigio, and B for '06
- Rancho Zabaco won a CG for their '04 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel along with 6 other medals.
- Mirassou won a G for their '04 Cabernet Sauvignon plus 2 other medals.
- Louis M. Martini not only won BOS for their '04 Napa Valley Cabernet but another CG for '04 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and a S for their '04 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Gallo Family Vineyards won 10 medals with 10 entries including G's for their '05 Sonoma Valley Reserve Merlot and Twin Valley White Zinfandel.
- Barefoot Reserve - 12 medals from 13 entries including CG with '04 Alexander Valley Impression Meritage and G's with '05 Russian River Valley Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio.
- EOS Estate Winery - 5 entries yielded 5 medals including a CG for their '06 Late Harvest Muscat Cannelli Tears of Dew and G for '04 Bordeaux blend French Connection.
- Dr. Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellar from the Finger Lakes in New York - Won 9 medals with 10 entries including a CG (Dry '06), 2 G's ('06 Semi-Dry and '06 Rkatsiteli), and a S (nv Celebre) with their Riesling specialty.
- Sonoma's Sunce Winery and Vineyard won 9 medals with their 11 entries including a G for their '05 Winemaker's Reserve Meritage.
- Napa's St. Supery always does well in Indy. 10 entries = 10 medals including 2 CG's: BOS White Elu Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon Virtu and '06 Muscat. G's were won by '04 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon '03 Cabernet Sauvignon Elu.
- Likewise V. Sattui Winery does well year in and year out. 8 entries yielded 8 medals including G's for '05 Napa Valley Merlot and '05 Crow Ridge Russian River Valley Zinfandel.
- Firestone Vineyards in Santa Barbra won on 3 medals - 2 CG's: '06 Vineyard Select Central Coast Riesling and '06 Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc, and a G: '04 Santa Ynez Valley Syrah.
Well known wineries from nearby states and Canada did well as they typically do. Good wine is being made every where, so don't be afraid to give some of the following winery's wines a try.
- St. James in Missouri won 17 medals including a CG Riesling and a Gold Niagara Velvet White.
- Gehringer Brothers from Canada won 12 medals including BOS desert wine.
- Tabor Hill in Michigan won 15 medals including G's for '05 LMS Merlot and '06 LMS Riesling.
- Beachaven Winery from Tennessee (owned by friends Louisa and Ed Cooke) won 8 medals including G's for their '06 Riesling and '06 Viognier.
- Captain's Walk Winery in Wisconsin won 7 medals including G's for their '06 Chardonnay and '03 Sangiovese.
- Magnotta Winery from Canada won 16 medals including 4 G's: '05 Special Reserve Cabernet Franc, '02 Grand Reserve Merlot, '02 Grand Reserve Carmenere, and '04 Limited Edition Riesling Ice Wine.
- Historic Stone Hill Winery in Missouri won 11 medals including CG for '06 Traminette and G's for '06 Vignoles, '04 Norton Port, and '06 Steinberg Red (their best selling semi-sweet red wine).
- Galena Cellars from Illinois won 16 medals including 2 CG's: '06 Cerise and '06 Blackberry. They also won 5 G's: '06 American Seyval, '03 American Merlot, '05 American Syrah, '06 Catawba County Rose, and '06 Cherry.
Here are some new-to-the-competition wineries that did exceptionally well:
- Pacific Breeze Winery from Canada: They entered 4 wines - Chardonnay, Syrah, and 2 Cabernets respectively winning a S, CG (with the '05 Syrah), and 2 G's for the Cabs.
- Winery at La Grange from Virginia: They entered 3 wines and won a CG for their '05 Ameritage and G's for their Pinot Grigio/Viognier Cuvee Blanc and '05 Merlot.
- Merry Cellars from Washington: 6 entries with a CG '05 Twilight Hills Red Merlot, G's for '06 Semillon and '05 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Merlot, S for '05 Walla Walla Valley Merlot, and a B for '05 Walla Walla Valley Carmenere.
- Saint Laurent Winery from Washington: 5 medals from 6 entries including G's for '05 Wahluke Slope Chardonnay and '03 Bordeaux Blend La Boheme Blend.
- Three Rivers Winery from Washington: 3 entries = 3 medals including a G for their '06 Biscuit Ridge Gewurztraminer Late Harvest.
- Millsreef from New Zealand - Both entries won G: '06 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and '05 Reserve Merlot/Malbec.
Cheers and Happy Wine Hunting!
Thanx again, Steve!