Thursday, June 17, 2010

Report from ... Ontario Wine Awards Lunch and Winners – June 17, 2010

The 15th Annual Ontario Wine Awards was held Thursday afternoon at the Pantages Hotel in downtown Toronto. This year 499 wines were in search of the coveted Gold, Silver and Bronze medals that were to be handed out. Five other categories were also doled out: Winemaker of the Year, Red and White Wine of the Year, the Wine Journalism Award and the Label Design Award. Thirsty Traveler Kevin Brauch hosted for the second year in a row and chances are he used many of the same jokes he did last year – like wanting to rename the Ontario Wine Awards “the Tonys” after founder Tony Aspler – good thing is that Kevin recognized that he might be re-treading over the same territory, “I’m hoping to make it so it’s not three times” he joked.

Big winners this afternoon were Jackson-Triggs with 4 medals (3-Gold, 0-Silver, 1 Bronze); Thirty Bench (2-1-1); Henry of Pelham (0-3-1); and Rosewood (0-2-2). Chateau des Charmes picked up 2 Golds on their way to 3 medal and Hillebrand picked up the Gold for best Sparkling (always a coveted prize). Hauling the most hardware home was Inniskillin who took home 8 medals without winning a single gold (0-5-3). Wine of the Year honours found their way to Vineland (for the second year in a row) for their 2007 Reserve Cabernet Franc (Red) while the Year’s Best White wine headed East down the 401 to Prince Edward County where Huff Estates 2007 South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay took top honour.

Winemaker of the Year turned out to be a little bittersweet this year as Hillebrand’s Darryl Brooker was in town to accept the award before heading back to British Columbia and his new job at CedarCreek. Finally, the Wine Journalism Award went to Linda Bramble for her book about Niagara Wine Visionaries.

And the Gold Medal winning wines are …
Wines highlighted in blue are linked back to for a full review … the rest of the winners, in the silver and bronze categories, can be found at

Sparkling Wine –
Hillebrand Winery NV Trius Brut

Dry Riesling –
Thirty Bench 2008 Small Lot Riesling Steel Post Vineyard

Semi-Dry Riesling –

Dry White Varietal –
Reif Estate 2008 Chenin Blanc

Gewurztraminer –
Thirty Bench 2009 Small Lot Gewurztraminer

Pinot Gris –
Peller Estates 2008 Private Reserve Pinot Gris

Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon –
Lakeview Cellars 2009 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

Oaked Chardonnay (under $20) -
Jackson-Triggs 2008 Proprietors’ Grand Reserve Chardonnay

Oaked Chardonnay (over $20) -
*winner of the White Wine of the Year Award.

Unoaked Chardonnay –
Tawse 2009 Chardonnay Musque

Rosé / Blanc de Noir -
Magnotta Winery 2008 White Merlot Special Reserve

Gamay –

Pinot Noir –

Red Hybrid –
Malivoire Wine Company 2008 Old Vines Foch
*Malivoire won for the 2007 version of this wine last year.

Cabernet Franc –
Vineland Estates 2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve
*winner of the Red Wine of the Year Award.
**second year in a row they have won this award.

Cabernet Sauvignon –
Kacaba Vineyards 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Merlot –
Jackson-Triggs 2007 Delaine Vineyard Merlot

Syrah/Shiraz –
Creekside Estate 2007 Broken Press Shiraz

Meritage and Cabernet/Merlot Blends –
Wayne Gretzky Estates 2007 Estate Series Cabernet / Merlot

Late Harvest –
Chateau des Charmes 2007 Estate Bottled Late Harvest Riesling, Paul Bosc Vineyard
*second year in a row they have won for this wine.

Vidal Icewine –
Jackson-Triggs 2007 Proprietors’ Reserve Vidal Icewine

Vinifera Icewine –
Chateau des Charmes 2007 Riesling Icewine, Paul Bosc Vineyard

Blended Red Award –
*second year in a row they have won for this wine

Blended White Award –
Pelee Island Winery 2009 Monarch Vidal

Best Label Design Award –
Sue-Ann Staff Estate 2008 Baco Noir