The Wines of British Columbia shone at The Judgment of BC Wine Tasting with Steven Spurrier and DJ Kearney today. Steven Spurrier, the Consultant Editor at Decanter magazine, headed the famous Judgement of Paris in 1976 (which was made into the movie “Bottle Shock”). The Judgement of Paris carried out two blind tasting comparisons: one of Chardonnays and another of red wines (Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California). The surprise to the French judges was that a California wine rated best in each category, and brought world-wide attention to California wines.
The Wines of British Columbia were put to the test at the Judgment of BC today by pitting 12 BC wines (6 Chardonnay and 6 Syrah) against 12 acknowledged global benchmarks from around the world. Which wines were compared and how did they rate? I highlighted the BC wines in red to help you see how we did.
CHARDONNAY RESULTS ORDER
Soumah Chardonnay Single Vineyard 2013 | Yarra Valley, Victoria | $27
- Kumeu River Chardonnay Hunting Hill 2012 | Auckland, New Zealand | $35
- Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2014 | Hemel-en-Aarde, South Africa | $40
- Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Premier Cru Montmains 2012 | France | $45
- Bouchard Père & Fils Meursault Premier Cru Genevrières 2011 | France | $86
- Blue Mountain Chardonnay Reserve 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $30
- Tantalus Chardonnay 2012 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $24
- Robert Mondavi Chardonnay Reserve 2013 | Carneros, California | $44
- Mission Hill Chardonnay Perpetua 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $50 (tie)
- Quails’ Gate Chardonnay Rosemary’s Block 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $30 (tie)
- Meyer Family Chardonnay Micro Cuvée 2012 | Okanagan Valley, BC |$65
- Haywire Chardonnay Canyonview 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $25
SYRAH RESULTS ORDER
C.C. Jentsch Syrah 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $30
- Langmeil Shiraz Orphan Bank 2012 | Barossa, South Australia | $68
- Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 60 2013 | France | $66
- Nichol Syrah 2012 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $40
- Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Classique 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $50
- Ojai Syrah 2011 | Santa Barbara, California | $30
- Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Sunrock Shiraz 2011 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $30
- Orofino Syrah Scout Vineyard 2012 | Similkameen Valley, BC | $29
- J.L. Chave Selections Crozes-Hermitage Silène 2012 | France | $40
- Tyrell’s Shiraz Vat 9 2011 | Hunter Valley, New South Wales | $49
- Laughing Stock Syrah 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $38
- K Vintners Syrah The Beautiful 2012 | Walla Walla, Washington | $70
16 wine judges tasted and marked their scores for these wines individually then their results were combined to come up with the results as shown above. I have always felt that we do really intersesting Syrah. Le Vieux Pin is one of my favourite wineries in BC, and I think their Syrahs are always top quality. BC Syrahs captured 3 of the top 5 places. It shows we have strength. I am also impressed in that the C.C. Jentsch and the Le Vieux Pin Syrahs were from the 2013 vintage which was overall cool and difficult for our wine makers. Steven Spurrier noted that our Syrah really seemed to show off our terroir.
On the Chardonnay side, we did not do as well against the benchmark wines, but Chardonnay can be a hard grape to make stand out. It could be that we do not yet quite understand how to best represent our Chardonnays in the wine making process. When should the grapes be picked? Fermentation in oak or stainless steel? Malolactic fermentation? Maybe what the judges learned today could be passed along to our wine makers and give them some ideas of how to tweak these wines in the future.
But overall I must congratulate our BC wines. Step back 10 years or more and our wines probably would not have stood a chance against the benchmarks. Now they can stand on their own, and they have the opportunity to get better. Cheers!