Indy International Photos, Winners and “Wine Values”
Once again my wife, Kim, and I were privileged to participate in the Indy International Wine Competition at Purdue University last week.
This competition really took a step up in organization when Purdue took over the operation more than 20 years ago and the entry count was quick to increase. This year there were over 2200 entries from 11 countries and 40 states which were evaluated by 45 judges.
Time flies as this was my 39th year as a judge and it’s always good to see some familiar faces as well as get acquainted with some new faces. On my panel was Vicky Carwein, Chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Chris Cook, Writer and Head of the Michigan wine competition, and Bill Whiting, Director of Marketing, Banfi. Our palates quickly got calibrated to each other and it was rare that we disagreed.
Kim was a member of the Pit Cru which labeled, filled, washed, and polished thousands of glasses for the judging. Christian Butzke and Jill Blume of the Purdue Enology Program were the leaders/organizers of the competition and treated the judges very well. Of course the Pit Cru members took notice of the wines that were receiving the high scores so that they could taste them late each day. They joked that the judges were screening the entries for them.
There were 124 double gold medals (unanimous golds from all judges on a panel) and 279 gold medals awarded. Two of the more unique wines our panel judged was a delicate Key Lime sparkling wine from Florida Orange Groves Winery and a Tawny Port made from Concord and Baco Noir grapes from Breitenbach Wine Cellars in Ohio. We marveled at how good both were – obviously both won double golds – and the port made from untraditional grapes was particularly impressive.
The Wine of the Year as Lodi’s Klinker Brick’s 2012 Old Ghost Zinfandel. As a big fan of Zinfandel, I was really pleased to see a Zin win and especially someone we know through our ZAP – Steve and Lori Felten.
Great wine is being made everywhere: For the umpteen year in a row, Gloria Ferrer had the best sparkling wine with a 2003 Carneros Cuvee. The best red wine was 2012 Sonoma Merlot from Ghost Pines (Louie Martini) and the best white wine was 2013 Vignoles from Minnesota’s Saint Croix Vineyards. Minnesota’s Carlos Creek Winery won best rose with their 2013 You Betcha Blush (Frontenac) while Ohio’s Chalet Debonne won the best dessert wine with their 2013 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine.
Here is the website if you want to see the complete results: Competition | Indy International Wine Competition
Best of their Classes: (great value – quality/price ratio – wines are bolded.
Chardonnay: The only double gold Chardonnay was 2013 Estate Nudo from Tsillan Cellars in Washington. Golds were won by California wineries – Columbia, Frank Family, Jeff Gordon Collection, Oro Bello, The Naked Grape, and Waterstone; Michigan’s Bel Lago and Chateau Fontaine; B.C’s Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery; North Carolina’s Jones von Drehle; Kentucky’s Lovers Leap Vineyards and Winery; and Virginia’s Trump (Yes, Donald)
Gewurztraminer: Double golds were won by New York’s Dr. Frank’s Wine Cellar Finger Lakes 2013, and Hector Wine Company 2012, and Indiana’s Oliver Winery 2013.
Two New York wineries – Lakewood Vineyards and Thirsty Owl Wine Company – won gold medals along with Illinois’ Cooper’s Hawk Winery.
Pinot Gris/Grigio: Two New York wineries won double golds – 2013 Pinot Grigio Libery Vineyards & Winery and non-vintage Pinot Gris Seneca Shore Wine Cellars and New Jersey’s non-vintage Pinot Grigio Sharrott Winery.
Gold medals were awarded to Tennessee’s Amber Falls Winery & Cellars, California’s Bargetto, Italy’s Bella Sera, Indiana’s Buck Creek Winery, Michigan’s Chateau Fontaine, B.C.’s Gehringer Brothers, and New York’s Penguin Bay Winery.
Alto Vineyards of Illinois won Best of Class for their ’12 Norton Cynthiana blend.
Oliver Winery, near Bloomington, IN, won a Best Gewurztraminer and golds with Viognier, their Red Blend, Mango Honey, Peach Honey and Sangria Classic.
Kentucky’s Purple Toad Winery won double golds with thier Lauren’s Blackberry and Blackberry-Peach wines and golds with Paducah Peach, Steven’s Strawberry, Black & Bruised Blackberry-Concord, and Sangria.
Northern Indiana’s Satek Winery won a double gold with their Larry’s Luscious Red Chambourcin and golds with Seyval Blanc, White Blend Soren’s Favorite, Dechaunac, Autumn Classic Apple, and Mango Mania.
St. Julian Wine Company of Michigan won a double gold with their Reserve Riesling and golds with their Reserve Traminette, Vignoles, Riesling, Gunga Din Apple Hard Cider, and Solera Cream Sherry.
Indiana’s Tonne Winery won double golds with their Cayuga White, Traminette, and Sweet Traminette and a gold medal with their Riesling. Tonne was also named Indiana Winery of the Year.
Riesling: Double golds were split between 2 states – New York and Michigan. New York was represented by 2013 21Brix Winery and two 2012 Finger Lakes Estate Bottled Rieslings from Wagner Vineyards. Michigan had 2012 Semi-Dry from Shady Lane Cellars and 2013 Reserve from St. Julian Wine Company.
There were lots of gold medal Rieslings – 6 from New York: 21 Brix, Belhurst Estate Winery, Dr. Franks Vinifera Wine Cellar, Swedish Hill Winery, Wagner Vineyards, and William Vigne; 3 from Indiana: Carpenter Creek Cellars, Winzerwald Winery, and Tonne Winery; 2 from Ohio: Hillside Winery and The Winery at Versailles; Michigan’s Braganini Reserve, California’s Barefoot Cellars, New Jersey’s Sharrott Winery, and Wisconsin’s Wollersheim Winery.
Sauvignon Blanc: The only double gold Sauv Blanc was Dr. Franks 2012 Finger Lakes Sauvignon Blanc and the only gold medal went to New Zealand’s Whitehaven Winery 2013 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Viognier: Double golds went to New York’s 2013 Goose Watch Winery and Virginia’s 2013 Trump Winery. Oliver Winery was one of the gold medal winners accompanied by Maryland’s Big Cork Vineyards, Oregon’s Grizzly Peak Winery, and Virginia’s Pollak Vineyards.
Cabernet Franc: 4 Gold winners – California’s 2008 Pedroni Vineyard Amphora Winery, Illinois’ 2011 Blue Sky Vineyard, 2011 Lake Michigan Shore and 2011 Reserve both from Lemon Creek Winery.
Cabernet Sauvignon: There were 4 double gold Cabs with 2 from California – 2012 Bogle and 2009 Napa Valley Jeff Gordon Collection. Also winning doubles were Ohio’s 2012 Henke Winery and Washington’s 2011 Proprietor’s Reserve Maryhill Winery.
6 California wineries won golds: Ghost Pines, Hawk & Horse Vineyards, McGrail Vineyards and Winery, and a 2009 and 2011 Sagebrush Annie’s.
A number of other states/countries also won golds: Tennessee’s Amber Falls Winery & Cellars, Oregon’s Bowlus Hills, Virginia’s Keswick Vineyards, North Carolina’s Laurel Gray Vineyards, Michigan’s Lemon Creek Winery, and Australia’s Taylor/Wakefield Wines.
Malbec: Kentucky’s Grimes Mill Winery won a double gold with their 2012 Reserve along with 2 California wineries -Jigar Wines with a 2012 Dry Creek Valley and Red Rock Winery with a 2013. Kokomo Wines from Sonoma won a gold medal with thier 2012 Timber Crest Vineyard.
Merlot: Ghost Pines (best red!) and Hagafen Cellars 2012 Estate Bottled, also from California, won double golds. Gold medals went to California’s Barefoot Cellars and McGrail Vineyards along with Pennsylvania’s Buddy Boy Winery, Virginia’s Pollak Vineyards, and Washington’s Two Vintners.
Pinot Noir: The best Pinot in the competition (only double gold) was from Jeff Gordon Collection, a 2011 Sonoma Coast. A gold medal went to California’s Loma Prieta Winery with their 2012 Saveria Vineyard.
Syrah/Shiraz: Gold medals went to 3 Australian wines from Taylors/Wakefields Wines – 2013, 2013 Jaraman, and 2012 St. Andrews along with Illinois’ Danenberger Family Vineyards, Washington’s Maryhill Winery, and Canada’s Verano.
Zinfandel: Along with the wine of the year winner – Klinker Brick’s Old Ghost – California’s Ghost Pines 2012 Sonoma San Joaquin won a double gold. Wood Family Vineyards, from California, won a gold medal with their 2012 MyBueno.
Petite Sirah: Gold medals were won by Bogle Vineyards and Satori Cellars, both from California, along with Illinois’ Cooper’s Hawk Winery.
Value Wineries that did well in the Indy:
Bogle Vineyards: A double gold with their Cabernet Sauvignon, a gold with Petite Sirah, and silvers with SauvignonBlanc, Merlot, Pinot Noir and 2 Zins – Old Vine and Essential Red.
Barefoot Cellars: Double golds with their Sweet Red, Impression, and Perfectly Pink, golds with MoscatoSpumante, Summer Red, Sweet White, Merlot, and Riesling. Silvers were won by Barefoot Bubbly’s Pinot Grigio, Extra Dry, Pink Moscato, Prosecco, Citrus Fusio, Tropical Fusion, and Red. Silvers also went to Cabernet Sauvignon, Muscat, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Pink Moscato.
Wineries that did very well in the competition:
Easley Winery of Indianapolis won double golds with their Pink Catawba and Traminette and golds with Reggae White, Sweet Barrel White, Kauffman’s 76 Brand, and Kauffman’s Posey White.
Galena Cellars of Illinois won double golds with thier Honey and Cherry wines and golds with Late Harvest Riesling and Raspberry.
Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery won a double gold with their Ehrenfelser and golds with their Dry Rock Chardonnay, Private Reserve Pinot Gris, Auxerrois, and Gewurztraminer.
Goose Watch Winery from New York won double golds with Diamond, Snow Goose (Vidal and Riesling blend), and Vognier and a gold with their Classic Cream Sherry.
Southern Indiana’s Huber Orchard & Winery won double golds with Seyval Blanc and Lakeside White (Aurora) and golds for their Traminette, Vignoles, and their white blend, Starlight White.
Jeff Gordon Cellars only entered, I think, 3 wines and won Best Cabernet Sauvignon and Best Pinot Noir and “only” a gold medal for their Carneros Chardonnay.
Washington’s Maryhill Winery won double golds with their Proprietor’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Northridge Vineyards Primitivo and golds for Columbia Valley Syrah, Barbara, Proprietor’s Reserve Grenache, Sugarloaf Vineyards Mourvedre, and Sangiovese Rose.
Nissley Vineyards of Pennsylvania won double golds with their white blend Grapeful White, Fantasy Rose, and Apple and golds with Niagara, Concord, Seyval Blanc, Classical White, Grapeful Red and their red blend Naughty Marietta.
As earlier mentioned, there is great wine being produced almost everywhere and visiting local wineries are a great opportunity to discover new favorites.
Photographs by Mark Ganchiff