As both a wine writer and wine lover, I attend a variety of events and get to try a number of wines from all over the world as well as some pretty amazing food.
Here I review (in both words and pictures) the wine/food related events I attend and the things that thrilled me about them.
More can be found at www.michaelpinkuswinereview.com
Friday, May 9, 2014
Report from ... Ontario Wine Awards – May 09, 2014
The 20th Annual Ontario Wine Awards were held Friday night at the Queen's Landing Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake hosted by former head of the LCBO Andy Brandt; who had to be one of the unintentionally funny MC I’ve ever experienced. Between the butchering of words (Pinot "Griss", Cabernet "Frank", "Sara" for Syrah, "Ca-lom-us" for Calamus and "Toss-e" for Tawse) and the total omission of names he did not want to pronounce like Musque and Viognier during the presentation - he seemed uncomfortable giving out the awards, but was good at puns and for a few stories. All-in-all Brandt was a train-wreck, but at least you knew the room was listening for his next faux-pas and he was the talk of the room over beers and desserts at the after-party (the most talked about host I can remember). One person commented to me, "He's my favourite MC at [The Ontario Wine Awards] ever, I just never knew what was going to come out of his mouth from one moment to the next. Obviously pronunciation has gone out the window tonight, it's a free-for-all." Others could not believe that the once head of the LCBO could not pronounce grape varieties correctly. Now let's talk about the awards themselves.
Big winners this evening were Chateau des Charmes, winning three Golds for Dry Riesling, Dry White Varietal and Gamay along with 3 other awards for a total of six and the Riesling won for White Wine of the Year. Angels Gate hauled in 4 medals including three Golds - oaked Chardonnay under $20, Pinot Noir and Merlot - with the Pinot Noir being Red Wine of the Year. Malivoire and Vineland also took multiple awards, three each. Tawse took five awards, but no gold. While Inniskillin swept the icewine golds and tallied up 6 medals along the way, while sister winery Jackson-Triggs took four medals for a total of 10 for the former Vincor group. But the big winner was the Andrew Peller group of wineries: Trius, Peller and Thirty Bench, taking home 12 medals in total, 8 for Peller alone, including 5 gold, 5 silver and 2 bronze..
White Wine of the Year honours went to Chateau des Charmes 2012 ‘Old Vines’ Riesling; while Red Wine of the Year was taken by Angels Gate Winery 2010 Mountainview Pinot Noir.
There were no Golds handed out in the Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc / Pinot Gris, and, surprisingly, in the Cabernet Franc categories.
Big News of the Night: Exultet Winery, from Prince Edward County, took home the Gold for Oaked Chardonnay over $20.00 for the fourth year in a row … Gerry Spinosa (owner and winemaker) owns this award!!! It's looking like you'll have to Charlton Heston this award from him (pry it out of his cold dead hands) ... Gerry told me he really likes the one he has in barrel now - can't wait.
Winemaker of the Year went to Brian Schmidt of Vineland, who made one of the best acceptance speeches by a recipient of the award in quite some time referring to wine as “liquid music” which is the art form of the winemaker. Congrats Brian well deserved.