Wines from British Columbia sparkled at a competition dubbed the Judgment of B.C.
Hosted in Kelowna this week and put on by the B.C. Wine Institute, the fourth annual event pitted 12 B.C. wines against 12 wines from around the world. The competition involved 37 national and international judges who blind tasted and ranked the 24 bottles.
Broken down, there were 12 bottles of traditional-method sparkling wines (six from B.C., six global) and 12 Bordeaux-style red blends (six B.C., six global).
Placing first in the Bordeaux-style red blends was a B.C. wine, Poplar Grove Winery’s Legacy 2014, with another B.C. wine placing second, Laughing Stock Vineyard’s Portfolio 2015. A California product finished first in the sparkling wines category, though B.C. had wines placing fourth, fifth and sixth.
“The fact that two B.C. wines topped the red blends challenge was a true testament to our distinct terroir and climate, but most of all to skilled farming and winemaking,” said Vancouver-based wine expert D.J. Kearney.
Notably, organizers said 99 B.C. wines were tasted prior to selecting the final 12 provincial representatives.
“The annual Judgment of B.C. allows us to gain insights and knowledge into how we compare internationally,” said Kearney. “Introspection is a critical part of ensuring we continue to make high quality wines, and also allows us to collectively celebrate as an industry. We have so many reasons to be proud, and the future is very bright.”
Michaela Morris, a Vancouver-based wine writer and judge, said she was impressed by how well B.C.’s sparkling wines fared, stating “most of my top-ranked wines in the sparkling flight turned out to be from B.C. which I found very impressive.”
“It was a fun, enlightening exercise that reinforced the point of the quality of wines coming out of British Columbia,” said Katelyn Peil, wine director for the Heavy Restaurant Group in Seattle. “The wines are exciting and fresh with a purity of fruit that also offers a sense of place. It is amazing to see the caliber of wines coming from this region and the rest of the world should be paying attention.”
The B.C. Wine Institute also announced that 26 wine professionals from around the world spent four days learning about B.C. wines. A further 11 Canadian wine critics and sommeliers descended on the Okanagan Valley to join the group for the Judgment tasting.
“It has been the most fascinating tasting,” said Christine Austin, a British wine writer for the Yorkshire Post. “B.C. Wine can stand up on the world stage with their own character, flavours, personality and hold their head up high against some of the best wines in the world.”
- Roederer Estate, Brut NV, Anderson Valley, California (12 %) $46.99
- Champagne, Veuve Clicquot Brut NV, France (12%) $69.99
- Champagne, Pierre Paillard Les Parcelles Bouzy Grand Cru Extra Brut XIII, France (12.5%) $67.99
- Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars, Blanc de Blancs R.D. 2010, Okanagan Valley, B.C. (12.5%) $39.90
- Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery, The One 2012. Okanagan Valley, B.C. (12.0%) $47.90
- Sperling Vineyards, Brut Reserve 2011, Okanagan Valley, B.C. (11.5%) $50
- Graham Beck Brut Zero 2011, South Africa (12%) $29.99
- Tantalus Vineyards, Blanc de Noir 2015 Okanagan Valley, B.C. (12.0%) $30
- Segura Viudas Heredad Brut Reserva, Spain (12%) $33.99
- The View Winery, Pearls Traditional Brut 2016, Okanagan Valley, B.C. (11.8%) $30
- Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards, Fitz Brut 2015 Okanagan Valley, B.C. (11.6%)| $32.99
- Mumm, Napa Brut Prestige NV, California (13%) $25.99
- Poplar Grove Winery, Legacy 2014, Okanagan Valley, B.C. (14.0%) $52
- Laughing Stock Vineyards, Portfolio 2015, Okanagan Valley, B.C. (14.9%) $50
- Blackbird Arise 2015, Napa Valley, California (14.5%) $86
- Dominus Estate, Napanook 2014, Napa Valley, California (14.5%) $125.99
- Intersection Estate Winery, Axiom 2014, Okanagan Valley, B.C. (13.9%) $39
- Chateau Poujeaux 2015 Moulis-en-Médoc, France (14%) $65
- CedarCreek Estate Winery, The Last Word 2014, Okanagan Valley, B.C. (14.6%) $84.99
- Osoyoos Larose Estate Winery, Le Grand Vin 2015, Okanagan Valley, B.C. (14.0%) $45
- DeLille Cellars, D2 2013, Columbia Valley, Washington State (14.3%) $85
- Clos du Soleil Winery, Signature 2014, Similkameen Valley, B.C. (14.8%) $45
- Chateau de La Dauphine 2015 Fronsac, France (14.5%) $50
- Chateau d’Armailhac Grand Cru Classé 5th Growth Pauillac 2015, France (13.5%) $90
Quick facts about the BC Wine Industry:
- B.C. is home to 929 vineyards.
- There are more than 10,499 acres (4,249 hectares) of wine grapes planted in British Columbia.
- B.C.’s grape wine industry has grown from just 17 grape wineries in 1990 to more than 275 today.
- B.C.’s wine industry employs about 12,000 people and has an economic impact of $2.8 billion annually.
- Each year, B.C.’s wineries welcome more than 1,000,000 visitors.