Sunday, April 27, 2008

Report from ... Ontario Wine Awards Gala - April 26, 2008

It was the night of a thousand stars … or at least a few dozen, as the Ontario wine world from coast-to-coast (Lake Erie North Shore to Prince Edward County) got together to celebrate Tony Aspler’s 13th Annual Ontario Wine Awards – and it truly was a night to remember. A record number of wineries (69) entered this years competition putting up approximately 463 wines (if I heard the numbers correctly) – all vying for the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in 25 different wine categories … there here also 5 other categories: Winemaker of the Year, Wine of the Year, Sommelier of the Year, Wine Journalism Award and Label Design Award.

Big winners included Jackson-Triggs with 5 awards (1 Gold, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze), while Chateau des Charmes, Hillebrand and Magnotta all took home 4. Dan Aykroyd’s 2005 Signature Reserve Icewine won Wine of the Year; while Rob Power and Craig McDonald, perennial winners for Creekside, were virtually shut out of the big wine awards, though shared the coveted Winemaker of the Year honours. Congratulations gentlemen – well deserved.

Both Tony Aspler and David Rose (head of Forefront Communication, who help organize and put on the awards) beamed with pride at the end of the ceremony. When asked David said, “It ran so smoothly this year, I loved it.” A few folks at the end of the awards were pleasantly surprised at the array of wineries that won awards; even two newcomers posted 3 golds between them. David Rose also suggested that after 5 years of watching Icewine take the top prize for wine of the year, it’s time to add another award – Table Wine of the Year … from his lips to God’s, or at least Tony’s, ear.

By the numbers:
A total of 75 medals were given out in 25 categories, though not all categories had a gold, silver and bronze winner – and there were also a few ties. 41 different wineries won at least one medal. Below is a list of the gold medal winners … the rest of the awards can be found at The Ontario Wine Awards website.

And the Gold Medal winners are ...
wines highlighted in blue are linked back to where a full review can be found:

Sparkling Wine –
Thirteenth Street Winery 2000 Funk Blanc de Noir

Dry Riesling –
Chateau des Charmes 2006 Estate Bottled Riesling

Off-Dry Riesling –
Cattail Creek Estate 2006 Estate Bottled Off Dry Riesling

Dry White Varietal –
Fielding Estate 2006 Viognier

Gewurztraminer –
Malivoire Wine Company 2006 Estate Bottled Gewurztraminer

Pinot Gris –
Rosewood Estates 2007 Pinot Gris

Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon –
Peninsula Ridge Estates 2006 Fume Blanc
*last year Peninsula Ridge won for their 2005 version of this wine.

Oaked Chardonnay (under $20) -
EastDell Estates 2006 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay

Oaked Chardonnay (over $20) -
Niagara College Teaching Winery 2006 Dean’s List Chardonnay

Unoaked Chardonnay –
Colchester Ridge Estate 2006 Chardonnay

Rosé / Blanc de Noir
Chateau des Charmes 2006 Cuvee D’Andr
ée Rosé

Gamay –
Thirteenth Street Winery 2006 Sandstone Old Vines Gamay Noir

Pinot Noir –
Ridgepoint Wines 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir

Red Hybrid –
Featherstone Estate 2007 Gemstone Baco Noir

Cabernet Franc –
Kacaba Vineyards 2004 Reserve Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Sauvignon –
Magnotta Winery 2006 Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Merlot –
Rosewood Estates 2006 Merlot

Syrah/Shiraz –
Jackson-Triggs 2005 Delaine Vineyard Syrah

Meritage and Cabernet/Merlot Blends –
Fielding Estate 2005 Meritage Reserve

Late Harvest –
Legends Estates 2006 Late Harvest Vidal

Select & Special Select Late Harvest –
Lailey Vineyard 2006 Select Late Harvest Riesling

Vidal Icewine –
Dan Aykroyd Winery 2005 Signature Reserve Vidal Icewine

Vinifera Icewine –
Magnotta Winery 2004 Limited Edition Riesling Icewine
*last year Magnotta won in this category with a Cabernet Franc

Blended Red Award –
Mike Weir Estate 2005 Cabernet Shiraz

Blended White Award –
Hillebrand Estates 2006 Trius White

These and many other award winning VQA Ontario wines will be poured during the consumer tasting event (now known as Sip Ontario / Savour Ontario – which will include culinary pairings), held in the Distillery District in downtown Toronto on Tuesday June 17 … tickets are on sale now. To find out more check out The Ontario Wine Awards Website.

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