Raise your glass to these wines

Among the judges at this year’s Colorado Governor’s Cup Wine Competition were Jeff Siegel (in hat) of Dallas; Jenni Baldwin-Eaton, head of the Viticulture and Enology program at Western Colorado Community College; Warren Winiarski, whose 1973 Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon won the famed Paris Wine Tasting of 1976; and master sommelier Wayne Belding of Boulder.



The 2017 Colorado Governor’s Cup Wine Competition was held this past weekend, and of the 12 wines selected for the Governor’s Case were two white wines (including a sparkling Albariño), seven red wines, one fruit wine, one cider and a mead.

The Best of Show wine will be announced Aug. 3 when all the medal winners are celebrated at the official Colorado Governor’s Cup Tasting at History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway in Denver. Information at http://www.coloradowine.com.

This year’s judging featured 324 wines from 46 wineries, a welcome jump of about 25 percent over last year in both categories but still well short of where the competition could be. Colorado now has close to 150 wineries, so less than a third of them take part in the contest.

Wineries offer many reasons for not entering this and other competitions — like they simply forget to send their applications in time, or it costs too much, or they don’t have the wine to spare. But just as Colorado Mountain Winefest brings Colorado wines to a diverse audience, in the end the Governor’s Cup contest is a boon to the state industry.

The 12 selected wines in the Governor’s Cup case are used to promote Colorado and Colorado wines and are featured at state dinners and marketing events. It’s notable to add that this year’s entries in the cider/mead category also eclipsed last year, indicating the continued growth of artisanal ciders and meads. Well, ciders, anyway.

Four ciders and three meads were selected for the final round of judging, which again raised the familiar argument of whether there should be a separate competition for the non-grape segment of the wine industry. You can argue all you want as to whether ciders and meads actually are wines or should be in their own category, but you’ll get no take from this side.

Last year there was a separate six-pack case of ciders and meads selected to accompany the regular Governor’s Cup case, but this year it will be a mixed case. There was some discussion about separating the judging (that’s been tried in the past with fruit wines) and having separate Best of Show awards and Governor’s Cup cases for grape wines and for cider and mead. The problem is that separation adds to the cost of the competition.

The Governor’s Cup case wines (and their respective medals) includes: Bookcliff Vineyards (2016 Riesling, double gold); Carlson Vineyards (2015 Tyrannosaurous Red, gold); Colorado Cellars/Rocky Mountain Vineyards (nv Raspberry, double gold); Colorado Cider Company (Grasshop-ah cider), double gold); Creekside Cellars (2014 Cabernet Franc, double gold); and Guy Drew Vineyards (2015 Syrah, double gold).

Also: Meadery of the Rockies (Strawberry/Honey, gold); The Infinite Monkey Theorem (2013 Albariño (sparkling), double gold); Two Rivers Winery (2013 Port, double gold); Decadent Saint the Winery (2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, gold); Whitewater Hill Vineyards (2016 Sweetheart Red, double gold) and Winery at Holy Cross Abbey (2015, Merlot, gold). The final medal total was eight double gold medals, 16 gold medals, 140 silver and 103 bronze, totaling 267 medals out of the 346 entries.

A special note goes out to Padte Turley and Rick Turley of Colorado Cellars, who again supplied some of their library wines, including a 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon, a 1983 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 1986 Merlot. Judges awarded the Merlot a gold medal, outscoring many wines 30 years younger, and praised the wine’s continued vibrancy and age-worthiness.

“We’ve always felt our wines could stand up to more aging and this is proof,” Rick Turley said in a recent conversation. “I don’t know about Colorado wines in general but I think this shows how well our wines can age.”

Turley said he has 72 bottles of the 1986 Merlot remaining, which is listed at $45 on the Colorado Cellars website, http://www.coloradocellars.com.

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