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2021 NCW Wine Awards | Superlative winners

Superlative winners

Superlative winners from the 2021 NCW Wine Awards: (from left) Cave B Estate Winery 2020 Dry Rosé, Burke Vineyard 2015 Syrah, Jones of Washington 2020 Sauvignon Blanc and Benson Vineyards Estate Winery NV Ruby Port.

Judging for the 2021 North Central Washington Wine Awards competition took place in Wenatchee at the end of May.

Thirty-nine wineries submitted a total of 241 entries this year, compared to 230 entries a year ago. When the judging was complete, the totals added up to 18 Double Gold, 49 Gold, 124 Silver and 40 Bronze medals. Ten wines did not earn a medal.

Here are reviews for the Superlative-winning wines:

Best of Show, Best Red (Gold Medal)

Burke Vineyard 2015 Syrah, Columbia Valley, $25 (49 cases)

Judges’ notes: Terry Burke and his family’s young project wowed the judging panel with this stunning two-barrel example of Syrah featuring estate grapes from the Royal Slope. In some ways, it’s not a complete surprise because in 2009 a Syrah from this growing region received only Washington state’s fourth 100-point score. This example of Royal Slope Syrah brings pleasing black and blue fruit aromas with sage that carry on through to the palate, featuring blackberry and black cherry with supple tannins and a layered finish with blueberry juice. It topped an impressive field of 21 Syrahs and continued to roll into the sweepstakes where it emerged as the best wine of the judging.

For current tasting room hours call the winery or visit its website.

16236 Road 10 SW, Royal City

(509) 750-6962

Best White (Double Gold Medal)

Jones of Washington 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $14.99 (840 cases)

Judges’ notes: Some have nicknamed the Ancient Lakes as “the Chablis of Washington” because there’s seemingly pixie dust at play within the caliche soils in this portion of the Columbia Basin. In the hands of Victor Palencia, winemaker for Wine Press Northwest magazine’s 2019 Pacific Northwest’s Winery of the Year, most any wine, but particularly whites, earns praise from judges and consumers alike. His example of Sauvignon Blanc hails from the Jones family’s Lauzier Vineyard on the Beezley Hills northeast of Quincy, and it is redolent of green apple and stone fruit with a whiff of smoke and a big mouthfeel. Its squeeze of lime juice makes for a remarkably lengthy finish. The 2019 vintage earned a Platinum from Wine Press Northwest, and the 2020 vintage has qualified for the 22nd annual judging this fall.

For current tasting room hours call the winery or visit its website.

Quincy Public Market

1004 F St. SW, Quincy

(509) 787-8108

Pybus Public Market

7 N. Worthen St., Wenatchee

(509) 888-0809

Best Rosé (Gold Medal)

Cave B Estate Winery 2020 Dry Rosé, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $22 (400 cases)

Judges’ notes: Classically trained chef Freddy Arredondo is well into his second decade as the winemaker for his family’s storied winery, and his showing in this year’s judging is another testament to the education he received from the Walla Walla Community College wine program. His work here with rosé is a remarkable and thoughtful blend of Malbec (37%), Tempranillo (37%) and Syrah from family-owned vines near the Gorge Amphitheatre. Expect a gorgeous example of rosé that’s loaded with strawberry, watermelon and stone fruit with a delicious dose of food-friendly acidity.

For current tasting room hours call the winery or visit its website.

348 Silica Road NW, Quincy

(509) 785-3500

14356 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE, Redmond

(425) 949-7152

Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village

Gardens Way, 313 E. Columbia Drive #2, Kennewick

(509) 820-3710

Best Dessert (Gold Medal)

Benson Vineyards Estate Winery NV Ruby Port, Lake Chelan, $29 (500 cases)

Judges’ notes: Benson Vineyards Estate Winery NV Ruby Port, Lake Chelan $29

Almost anyone can make sweet wine, but it takes experience and talent to craft a Port-style as well constructed as this. This is filled with red currant and black cherry, which bring in secondary notes of Baker’s chocolate and saddle leather and a finish with pepper. The residual sugar, tannin structure and alcohol strike a delicious balance that’s not cloying. Enjoy with a board of charcuterie at The Café Myth on the Benson estate, which offers perhaps the best view of Lake Chelan from Manson. Or drink it during an evening at home with a wedge of Stilton cheese and a fistful of toasted filberts.

For current tasting room hours call the winery or visit its website.

754 Winesap Ave., Manson

(509) 687-0313, Ext. 106