Saturday, June 11, 2011

Report from ... Ontario Wine Awards 2011 Gold Medal Winners – June 10, 2011

The 16th Annual Ontario Wine Awards were held Friday night with a triumphant return to the Queen's Landing Inn in  Niagara on the Lake hosted by Food Network star Laura Calder, host of French Food at Home.  She brought decorum to the event with her little side bar comments about how excited she was to be there and a lovely little chat about how wine develops fine cuisine:  "With wine on the table we aren't just wolfing down our food, we sit and converse, just like you are doing here tonight"  Comparing North American culture to that of Italy and France where they sit down with wine saying how civilized a meal can be - "We're heading in that direction because we make wine."  She said as she encourage more and continued making of this fermented grape beverage.

Big winners this evening were Kacaba, winning two Golds in the Red categories (Cabernet Franc and Meritage) as well as another for Label Design; Chateau des Charmes for winning Best Dry Riesling twice (both its category and Best White of the Year) along with a Silver for the close to my heart Sparkling (Rosé).  Flat Rock did the same for Red Wine of the Year for their The Rogue Syrah and another Gold for Their Rogue Pinot Noir, prompting them to immediately change their name to "Flat Rogue Cellars" (kidding - not about the awards, about the name change).  Inniskillin and Malivoire pulled off tri-fectas in their categories by sweeping them (taking the Gold, Silver and Bronze): Vidal Icewine and Gamay respectively.  A full list of the Gold medals winners is below. 

Winemaker of the Year was none other than Paul Pender of Tawse Winery, in part for shepherding this winery to the first ever Winery of the Year Award for an Ontario winery at the Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards, and for the excellent wines he has produced year after year.  Finally, the Wine Journalism Award went to Beppi Crosariol, wine columnist for the Globe & Mail for his article 'Hot growing season spells a great year for Niagara vintages'

And the Gold Medal winning wines are …
The rest of the winners, in the silver and bronze categories, can be found at

Sparkling Wine –
Peller Estates NV Ice Cuvee Rosé

Dry Riesling –
Chateau des Charmes 2008 'Old Vines' Riesling Estate Bottled
*winner of the White Wine of the Year Award

Semi-Dry Riesling –
Mike Weir Estate 2008 Riesling

Dry White Varietal –
Nyarai Cellars 2010 Viognier &
Creekside Estate 2009 Viognier Reserve

Gewurztraminer –
No Gold Awarded

Pinot Gris –
Calamus Estate 2009 Pinot Gris

Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon –
Jackson Triggs 2009 Gold Series Fume Blanc

Oaked Chardonnay (under $20) -
Magnotta Winery 2007 Chardonnay Special Reserve

Oaked Chardonnay (over $20) -
Exultet Estates 2009 Chardonnay

Unoaked Chardonnay –
Niagara College Teaching Winery 2009 Unoaked Chardonnay

Rosé / Blanc de Noir
Flat Rock Cellars 2009 The Rogue Pinot Noir

Gamay –
Malivoirse Wine Company 2010 M2 Small Lot Gamay
*Malivoire clean swept this category by winning the silver and bronze too

Pinot Noir –
Tawse 2008 Laidlaw Pinot Noir

Red Hybrid –
No Gold Awarded

Cabernet Franc –
Kacaba Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve

Cabernet Sauvignon –
Fielding Estate 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Merlot –
No Gold Awarded

Syrah/Shiraz –
Flat Rock Cellars 2007 The Rogue Syrah
*winner of the Red Wine of the Year Award

Meritage and Cabernet/Merlot Blends –
Kacaba Vineyards 2007 Meritage Reserve

Late Harvest –
Konzelmann Estate 2008 Special Select Late Harvest Vidal

Vidal Icewine –
Inniskillin 2007 Pearl Vidal Icewine
*Inniskillin clean swept this category by winning the silver and bronze too

Vinifera Icewine –
Magnotta Winery 2007 Cabernet Franc Icewine Limited Edition

Blended Red Award –
Wayne Gretzky Estates 2008 Estate Series Shiraz Cabernet
*third year in a row they have won for this wine

Blended White Award –
Peninsula Ridge Estates 2009 Top Bench White

Best Label Design Award –
Kacaba Vineyard 2008 Single Vineyard Syrah

Larry Paterson Innovation in the Vineyard Award -
Deborah Paskus of Closson Chase

Winemaker of the Year -
Paul Pender - Tawse Winery

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