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.

A big congratulation goes out to all the winners.

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
Peller Estates NV Ice Cuvee Classic

Dry Riesling –
Chateau des Charmes 2012 ‘Old Vines’ Riesling, Estate Bottled
*winner of the White Wine of the Year Award

Semi-Dry Riesling –
Trius 2012 Showcase Ghost Creek Riesling

Dry White Varietal –
Chateau des Charmes 2012 Aligote, St. David’s Bench Vineyard

Gewurztraminer –
No Gold Awarded

Pinot Blanc / Pinot Gris –
No Gold Awarded

Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon –
Trius 2012 Showcase Clean Slate Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc

Oaked Chardonnay (under $20) -
Angels Gate 2010 Mountainview Chardonnay

Oaked Chardonnay (over $20) -
Exultet Estates 2012 The Blessed Chardonnay*
*Exultet has won in this category 4 years in a row

Unoaked Chardonnay –
Malivoire Wine Company 2013 Musque Spritz
*Malivoire won this award last year with the same wine

Rosé / Blanc de Noir -
Sue-Ann Staff Estate 2012 Rosé

Gamay –
Chateau des Charmes 2012 Gamay Noir, Estate Bottled

Pinot Noir –
Angels Gate 2010 Mountainview Pinot Noir
*winner of the Red Wine of the Year Award
Rosewood Estates 2012 Origin Pinot Noir

Red Hybrid –
Malivoire Wine Company 2012 Old Vines Foch

Cabernet Sauvignon –
Ravine Vineyard Estate 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Franc –
No Gold Awarded

Merlot –
Angels Gate 2012 Merlot

Syrah/Shiraz –
Jackson-Triggs 2011 Delaine Syrah

Meritage and Cabernet/Merlot Blends –
The Foreign Affair 2010 Temptress

Late Harvest –
Peller Estates 2012 Private Reserve Late Harvest Vidal

Vidal Icewine –
Inniskillin 2011 Sparkling Vidal Icewine

Vinifera Icewine –
Inniskillin 2011 Sparkling Cabernet Franc Icewine

New Category …
Appassimento Red Award –
Rennie Estate 2011 G

Blended Red Award –
Inniskillin 2010 Winemaker’s Series Shiraz-Cabernet

Blended White Award –
Vineland Estates 2012 Chenin Blanc

Best Label Design Award –
Niagara College Teaching Winery 2012 Balance Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker of the Year -
Brian Schmidt – Vineland Estates Winery

Wine Journalism Award -
Rick VanSickle


pdim100 said...

Pretty interesting to see the "No gold Awarded" in so many categories....

Mike Zoratti said...

Great Job Gerry from Exultet.. I was in the county this past weekend and although Norman Hardie also has a good 2012 county chardonnay, Gerry's chardonnay is definitely a gold. I don't know what happened to Tawse.. they need to adjust their approach.

Mike Zoratti said...

Great Job Gerry from Exultet.. I was in the county this past weekend and although Norman Hardie also has a good 2012 county chardonnay, Gerry's chardonnay is definitely a gold. I don't know what happened to Tawse.. they need to adjust their approach.