The Wines of British Columbia were put to the ultimate test at the final Judgment of BC on Tuesday, October 29, where special guest and wine expert Steven Spurrier joined 32 top wine professionals from around the world and across the country to take part in a full-day, blind tasting of 24 of BC’s celebrated grape varieties; Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah against 16 international benchmarks.
We are proud to announce the following BC wineries who took home top prizes in their categories. Arrowleaf Cellars ranked first among the Pinot Noir flight. Meyer Family Vineyards came in first for the flight of Chardonnay, with 50th Parallel Estate Winery in close second. For the Riesling flight, CedarCreek Winery came in second with St. Hubertus and Oak Bay Estate Winery coming in third. The final flight of Syrah saw BC wines take all three top spots with Tightrope Winery coming in first, Le Vieux Pin Winery in second and Stag’s Hollow Winery and Vineyard in third.
“Chardonnay has struck me in the last few days, Riesling as well, but Syrah is becoming particularly exciting. The thing with Syrah is that it can do well planted up north, but it can also do well in the south and there are very few varietals that can span both.” said international wine judge Jaime Goode of Wine Anorak
Hosted by the BC Wine Institute, and curated by Vancouver based wine expert DJ Kearney, the final Judgment of BC took place in Penticton in the heart of wine country. Inspired by the legendary Judgment of Paris in 1976, the inaugural Judgment of BC was hosted in 2015 by the BC Wine Institute in honour of Steven Spurrier’s visit to British Columbia. Five years later, the BC wine industry is thrilled to welcome Steven Spurrier back to BC wine country to taste and evaluate world-class wines from the region.
“Since I was last in British Columbia in 2015, what I’m seeing is the increasing commitment, investment and quality. Seeing the vineyards showed me how extraordinary some of these vineyard sites are. The purpose of terroir is to allow the grape variety to express itself and BC does that well. Whether it’s Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc, the vineyards are showing an undeniable expressiveness of grape variety and high quality, and in my view, that puts the area in a very strong league in the international market.” said world-renowned Steven Spurrier of Decanter Magazine.
The BC wines chosen for the Judgment were selected through a blind tasting conducted by Barb Philip MW, Rhys Pender MW, Michaela Morris, Kurtis Kolt, Shane Taylor, Christina Hartigan, Alistair Veen, Matt Landry and Sean Nelson, led by DJ Kearney. The selection committee chose the final 24 BC representatives out of a selection of 189 wines.
“This is an experiment to see how BC wines are assessed in a global context. The results make me personally very proud. I think the quality of wines is so high and that was a common theme as we went through flight by flight. Judges were astonished at how high the overall quality was. BC grapegrowers and winemakers have much to be proud of.” said DJ Kearney, wine educator, wine writer and judge.
Prior to the final Judgment of BC, 26 top wine professionals visiting from around the world and across the country engaged in Wine BC BootCamp. Hosted by Master of Wine Rhys Pender and the British Columbia Wine Institute, the group spent four days studying BC’s wine culture and learning what makes BC wine so unique and special through a series of Masterclasses, panel discussions and regional visits.
“It’s been good having such an intense deep dive. Looking at so many wines close together gives you a really good benchmark for how things are doing.” said Goode.
The goal of the Judgment of BC is to honestly assess the current state of grapegrowing and winemaking in BC to provide a clear perspective of the distinct characteristics of British Columbia wine in relation to global standards, and to achieve a focused vision for the continued evolution of the BC Wine Industry.Tasting some of BC’s most celebrated wines highlights the diversity of BC wine country and showcases the incredible skills and ingenuity of the region’s winemakers.
“What I think is really exciting about BC wines is we’re tasting more and more like ourselves, our individual regions and individual sites. Our best examples are fresh on the palate, pure of fruit and really speak to our beautiful, cool, but hot climate.” said Wine BC BootCamp attendee and judge Barb Phillip, MW.
PINOT NOIR RESULTS:
1. Arrowleaf Cellars Archive Pinot Noir 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
2. La Crema Pinot Noir Monterey 2016 California
3. Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir Estate Dundee Hills 2015 Oregon
4. Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noir 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
5. Meyer Family Vineyards McLean Creek Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
6. Louis Jadot Beaune Grèves Premier Cru 2015 Burgundy
7. Shaw + Smith Pinot Noir Adelaide Hills 2016 South Australia
8. Tightrope Winery Pinot Noir 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
9. Quails’ Gate Winery Richard’s Block Pinot Noir 2017 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
10. CedarCreek Estate Winery Platinum Block 2 Pinot Noir 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
1. Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof Wiltinger Alte Reben 2014 Mosel, Germany
2. CedarCreek Estate Winery Platinum Block 3 Riesling 2018 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
3. St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Vineyards Family Reserve Riesling 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
4. Tightrope Winery Riesling 2017 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
5. Culmina Family Estate Winery Riesling Decora 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
6. Upper Bench Estate Winery Riesling 2017 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
7. Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard Riesling 2015 Columbia Valley Washington State
8. Rieslingfreak No. 3 Reverence of Riesling 2018 Clare Valley, South Australia
9. Martin’s Lane Winery Fritzi’s Vineyard Riesling 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
10. Nigl Dornleiten Riesling Kremstal 2015 Austria
1. Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series Donovan Tildesley Old Main Road Vineyard 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
2. 50th Parallel Estate Winery Chardonnay 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
3. Craggy Range Chardonnay Kidnapper’s Vineyard 2017 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
4. Nk’Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay 2017 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
5. Chartron et Trébuchet Pouilly Fuissé 2017 Macon, Burgundy
6. Laroche Chablis Premier Cru La Chantrerie 2016 Burgundy, France
7. Tantalus Vineyards Chardonnay 2015 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
8. Monte Creek Ranch Winery Chardonnay Reserve 2016 BC VQA British Columbia
9. Culmina Family Estate Winery Chardonnay Dilemma 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
10. Bethel Heights Vineyard Chardonnay Estate Eola-Amity Hills 2015 Oregon
1. Tightrope Winery Syrah 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
2. Le Vieux Pin Winery Cuvée Violette Syrah 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
3. Stag’s Hollow Winery & Vineyard Syrah Amalia Vineyard 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
4. Saint Cosme Crozes-Hermitage 2016 Northern Rhône, France
5. Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz Barossa Valley 2017 South Australia
6. Time Winery Syrah 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
7. Painted Rock Estate Winery Syrah 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
8. Domaine Jamet Syrah Collines Rhodaniennes 2015 Northern Rhône, France
9. C.C. Jentsch Cellars Syrah 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
10. K Vintners MCK Syrah 2015 Washington State, USA
JUDGMENT OF BC JUDGES:
Dr. Janet Dorozynski
Dr. Jamie Goode
Sebastien Le Goff
Terry David Mulligen
Rhys Pender, MW
Barbara Philip, MW
Daenna Van Mulligan