NCW Wine Awards applauds local wine industry
Blog: Winemaker's Journal
August 27, 2012
The stars shone brightly Saturday night.
The stars were 30 regional wineries that showed off their medals and poured their award-winning wines for close to 300 people attending the 2nd Annual North Central Washington Wine Awards Saturday at Kuykendall Hall.
Weep if you missed it.
Every wine passed the tough scrutiny of a panel of wine experts officiated by Wine Press Northwest magazine earlier this summer. The Wine Awards event was created and organized by Foothills magazine, the lifestyle magazine published by World Publishing, to spotlight the best wineries in Washington's fastest growing wine region.
This month's issue of Foothills with stories about the major award winners will be distributed statewide.
But Saturday night was the stellar event when local residents could taste the award-winning wines for themselves and meet and talk with many of the winemakers.
The night's big winners were Platinum Winemakers Circle recipients Jones of Washington and Milbrandt Vineyards. Both won four gold medals and numerous silver and bronze. The Platinum award was also presented retroactively to Chateau Faire Le Pont, for the five gold medals it won at last year's premier event.
Chateau Faire Le Pont won two gold medals this year, along with the Best Red award for its 2008 Wahluke Slope Reserve Cabernet Franc. The grapes for that wine were sourced from Milbrandt Vineyards, as are many other award winning wines.
Icicle Ridge Winery's Three Blondes Gewurztraminer took away Best White and Best of Show honors for its fruity, fragrant original. Wedge Mountain Winery, just a few miles down the road in Peshastin, took the award for Best Dessert Wine.
In all, there were 151 medals awarded in a field of 216 wines from nearly 40 NCW wineries. All of the awards are listed in the current issue of Foothills, distributed with Sunday's paper and available at The Wenatchee World.
Judges were very tough this year and every award was well earned.
"That's the way it should be," said Butch Milbrandt, echoing other vintners who want meaningful awards.
Awards aside, great wine is a subjective affair. And with more than 100 wines to choose from Saturday, there was truly something for everyone.
My personal favorites were the wonderfully fruit-filled Jones of Washington 2011 Pinot Gris and Boudreaux Cellars' exquisitely complex, long-on-the-palate 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
With so many different wines to choose from, live jazz by the Confluence Trio and tables of appetizers and treats from some of the Valley's best caterers, it was indeed a festive night of socializing and learning about the region's most enjoyable economic driver.
Proceeds from purchased wines at the evening's end — and there were many bottles and cases purchased — went to the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center.
If you missed this year's event, mark it on your calendar for next year. Washington wines are quickly making their mark in the international wine scene and some of the state's best come from right here.
Butch Milbrandt of Milbrandt Vineyards, top right, with his Platinum Winemakers Circle Award.
Charlie McKee's Wedge Mountain Winery Roses and Rubies, above, won Best Dessert Wine.
Best Red Wine Award went to Doug Brazil for Chateau Faire Le Pont's 2008 Cabernet Franc.
Photos by Frank Cone and Annette Pitts