Saturday, March 5, 2011

Report from ... Cuvee 2011: the Winners and Losers - March 4, 2011

It was the night for the Ontario wine industry to shine, Cuvee 2011 - the only wine judging competition where the winemakers judge each other for top prize.  Think of it as the Oscars of the Ontario wine industry.  Below you will find the winners in all 22 categories, and in some categories there were also a 2nd and 3rd place finisher, to see those you can visit in the next few days and get the skinny on  those wines too.  But there were also a couple of notable losers at this year's event.

Loser #1 - the Ontario wine consumers who purchased tickets to Cuvee ... the ticket price was $200 for this year's event and yet the consumers who sipped there way through Ontario's best wines had to do so out of a sub-par glass.  It was the same glass that was used at the icewine gala, it wasn't good for that event and it certainly was not appropriate for this one either.  Please tell me that for the $200 price tag organizers could not have got in touch with Riedel, Spiegelau or Schott Zwiesel to inquire about a commemorative glass for attendees to take home, and more importantly, a glass they could actually get some enjoyment from.  It makes me wonder if the folks who organize these events have ever drunk a glass of wine. When I chose an ISO glass over the horrible glassware being offered (see picture of glass in my report from the icewine gala) you know it has to be bad.  This is an easily rectifiable problem, I sure hope they fix it for next year's event.
Loser #2 - the government official who has to give out awards ... this year it was Kim Craitor, MPP for Niagara Falls who showed up to a tepid response from the crowd.  He proceeded to make few corny jokes and tried to get the industry on his side with a few platitudes about how great the Ontario wine industry is.  But when he tells a room of industry people how important the wine industry and Ontario wines are to the government and extols the virtues of bringing tourism dollars to Ontario ... then tells them that the government is behind them 100% ... it's like watching a rock band where the lead singer tells you how wonderful it is to be in that particular city - sure it's great to hear "it's great to be back in Boston" but does he really mean it?  I was left wondering if the wine industry is so important to Kim Craitor and this government why don't they lax some of the laws that handcuff our wineries and give them better access to market their product?  I am sure Kim kept wondering if the mic was on while he told us how much he loved and supported Ontario wines. The mic was on Kim, your words just didn't ring true.

But enough politics and wine glass bashing ... let's get to the winners.

Cuvee 2011 Winners:
some wines are linked back to full reviews

Red Wine:  Thirty Bench Winemakers 2007 Small Lot Cabernet Franc
Limited Edition Red:  Megalomaniac 2007 Sous Terre Cabernet Merlot Reserve
White Wine:  Riverview Cellars 2009 Gewurztraminer
Limited Edition White:  Creekside Estate Winery 2009 Reserve Viognier
General List Red:  EastDell Estates 2009 Black Cab
General List White:  Jackson Triggs 2009 Black Series Sauvignon Blanc
Sparkling Wine:  13th Street Winery NV Premier Cuvee
Sweet Wine:  Inniskillin 2008 Riesling Icewine
Limited Edition Sweet Wine:  Strewn 2008 Riesling Icewine
Meritage:  Henry of Pelham 2007 Reserve Cabernet Merlot
Cabernet Sauvignon:  Strewn 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Terroir
Cabernet Franc:  Thirty Bench Winemakers 2007 Small Lot Cabernet Franc
Merlot:  Hillebrand 2007 Showcase Merlot 'Carlton Vineyard'
Syrah/Shiraz:  Jackson Triggs 2007 Delaine Vineyard Syrah
Red Assemblage:  Nyarai Cellars 2007 Veritas
Riesling:  Twenty Twenty-Seven Cellars 2009 Fox Croft Riesling
Sauvignon Blanc: Creekside Estate Winery 2009 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
Chardonnay:  Niagara College 2009 Dean's List Chardonnay
White Assemblage:  Stonechurch Vineyards 2009 Quintet White
Gewurztraminer: Riverview Cellars 2009 Gewurztraminer
Viognier: Creekside Estate Winery 2009 Reserve Viognier
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio: Five Rows Craft Wine 2009 Pinot Gris

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