Once again this year it was my distinct pleasure to judge the Ontario Wine Awards, as I’ve done for most of its existence. Celebrating 18 years of excellence in Ontario wines, it is the brainchild of well-known wine guru Tony Aspler.
It was originally coined the Air Ontario Awards because Air Ontario was the main sponsor. It eventually morphed into its present title when Air Ontario was grounded and Forefront Communications became a partner. Judges are well-known, seasoned wine authorities with tons of experience in Ontario wines.
This year 482 samples from 72 wineries were entered into the competition. The awards gala banquet, recognizing VQA varietal quality in 26 different categories, took place on May 5 at the Queen’s Landing Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, in the heart of Ontario wine country. Following are the Gold Medal winners:
Sparkling Wine: Grange of Prince Edward County 2008 Brut
Dry Riesling: Vineland Estates 2009 Dry Riesling
Semi-Dry Riesling: Vineland Estates 2009 St. Urban Riesling
Dry White Varietal: Creekside Estate 2010 Viognier Reserve
Gewurztraminer: Konzelmann Estate 2010 Gewurztraminer Late Harvest
Pinot Blanc / Pinot Gris: Henry of Pelham Family Estate 2011 Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon: Creekside Estate 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve
Oaked Chardonnay (under $20): Inniskillin 2010 Winemaker’s Series Montague Vineyard Chardonnay
Oaked Chardonnay (over $20): tie for gold – Niagara College Teaching Winery 2009 Dean’s List Chardonnay/ Exultet Estates 2010 The Blessed Chardonnay
Unoaked Chardonnay: Chateau des Charmes 2010 Chardonnay Musque
Rosé / Blanc de Noir: Sue-Ann Staff Estate 2011
Rosé Gamay: no gold awarded
Pinot Noir: Coyote’s Run Estate 2009 Red Paw Vineyard Pinot Noir
Red Hybrid: Malivoire Wine Company 2010 Old Vines Foch
Cabernet Sauvignon: no gold awarded
Cabernet Franc: Lailey Vineyard 2010 Cabernet Franc – unfiltered
Merlot: Tawse 2008 David’s Block Merlot
Syrah/Shiraz: Creekside Estate 2008 Broken Press Syrah Reserve
Meritage and Cabernet/Merlot Blends: Cattail Creek Estate 2007 Reserve Series Cabernet Merlot
Late Harvest: Konzelmann Estate 2010 Special Select Late Harvest Vidal
Vidal Icewine: Inniskillin 2007 Oak Aged Vidal Icewine
Vinifera Icewine: Inniskillin 2008 Riesling Icewine
Blended Red Award: Creekside Estate 2010 Cabernet Shiraz
Blended White Award: Henry of Pelham Family Estate 2010 Family Tree White
Best Label Design Award: Diamond Estates – The Winery 2010 NHL Alumni Hat Trick
Larry Paterson Innovation in the Vineyard Award: Rob Power, Creekside Estate Winery
Winemaker of the Year: Andrzej Lipinski, Colaneri Estate Winery
Wine Journalism Award: Michael Pinkus – ontariowinereview.com
Silver and Bronze Medal winners, as well as other detailed information on the competition, can be found at www.ontariowineawards.ca. On Oct. 4, Sip & Savour Ontario, in support of Houselink, will take place at Steam Whistle Brewing in Toronto from 7:30 to 10 p.m. This event recognizes the amazing flavours (wine and food) grown and produced here in Ontario.
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