The Tasting Panel 2012 Tour of Double Golds; Washington, DC

For those of you who haven’t heard, this past year’s San Francisco International Wine Competition yielded a few winners from Virginia wineries and vineyards. The greatest accolade to be received in this competition is the Double Gold Medal. In the 2012 competition, Virginia’s own, Ingleside Vineyards, took home a Double Gold honor for their 2007 Petit Verdot. Please see the footer of this post for a listing of other Virginia wineries to receive awards.  Congratulations to Ingleside on their tremendous accomplishment.

Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to Tasting Panel Magazine’s Tour of Double Golds event at the Poste Moderne Brasserie. The event consisted of most, if not all, of the Double Gold winners in the wine categories as well as the San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold winners. A fantastic cheese and characuterie spread was available to all attendees as well as a wine spread, with the selection spanning from sparkling to the heaviest of reds.  The event was a great opportunity to taste some of the best wines that the world has to offer. A few wines did stand out tremendously both in value and flavor. One being the Ingleside Petit Verdot ($32). The Petit Verdot offered light, toasty oak notes with big flavors of dark fruit and oak notes throughout. The body was medium to full-bodied and very firm in tannin structure, finishing with lingering spice flavors. No way you can lose with this wine. Francis Ford Coppola offered a 2010 Director’s Chardonnay (Sonoma County; $11) that was a great value with textbook California oaked-Chardonnay qualities.  Creamy aromas and flavors of vanilla and melon tantalize your senses with light toasty notes carrying on well into the lengthy finish.

The event also featured many Pinot Noir wines and, of all of the selections, the Sanctuary 2008 (Bien Nacido, Santa Maria Valley; $30) stood out as a winner in my book. Big, black cherry aromas with light notes of clove just roll out the red carpet for the intense black cherry flavors, a touch of floral notes, and a soft round finish. The winner of the Best Pinot Noir for the Competition was the Lawson’s Dry Hills 2009 Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand ($23). This great value wine dropped notes of coffee and mocha on the nose with flavors of dark fruit, plum, and dark cherry, leading to a well balanced finish. My personal preference was the Sanctuary, however the Lawson’s is a great wine as well. Two other wines really impressed me: The Colonial Estate 2010 Exile Shiraz (Barossa, Australia; $220) and the Parallel 2008 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley; $60). The price is a little high, although the Exile Shiraz carrying plum and dark cherry aromas and flavors with soft tannins, did offer me one of the most velvety finishes I have ever experienced. The Parallell Cabernet Sauvignon also carries a higher price point but pleases those of you who crave a high tannin, big bodied Cabernet. Parallel wafts floral and spice aromas with big spice and dark fruit flavors tapering off with a peppery bold finish.

I must say that I was pleased, overall, with the quality of all of the wines that I had, though some of the price points completely shocked me (The Exile specifically). A great event nonetheless and a huge congratulations to Ingleside Vineyards for their win and the other Virginia winners listed below!


 Other Virginia Winners:

  • BEST OF SHOW DESSERT WINE: Barboursville Vineyards 2007 Reserve Passito Malvaxia Virginia 12% rs $30
  • GOLD: Gray Ghost Vineyards 2011 Late Harvest Vidal Adieu Virginia 11.5% rs $24
  • SILVER: Barboursville Vineyards 2009 Petit Verdot Reserve Virginia $25
  • SILVER: Gray Ghost Vineyards 2011 Vidal Blanc Virginia 2.5% rs $13
  • SILVER: Ingleside Vineyards 2007 Red Blend Virginia Gold Virginia $35
  • SILVER: Narmada Winery 2010 Chambourcin Namada Vineyard Virginia 12% rs $25
  • SILVER: Narmada Winery 2011 Viognier Virginia $23
  • SILVER: Paradise Springs of Clifton 2011 Petit Manseng Virginia $25
  • BRONZE: Barboursville Vineyards 2009 Nebbiolo Reserve Virginia $22
  • BRONZE: Barboursville Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Franc Reserve Virginia $23
  • BRONZE: Gray Ghost Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay Reserve Virginia $25
  • BRONZE: Michael Shaps 2009 Viognier Virginia $24
  • BRONZE: Narmada Winery 2010 Red Bordeaux Blend Yash-Vir Virginia $23
  • BRONZE: Narmada Winery 2010 Tannat Virginia $38
  • BRONZE: Philip Carter Winery 2010 Meritage Virginia $29
  • BRONZE: Veramar Vineyard 2011 Seyval Blanc Virginia $19


Full Tasting Notes (favorites in bold):

  • Middle Sister NV Pinot Grigio, Drama Queen, California ($12): Green apple nose w touch of pear, burst of apple on the palate with smooth balanced acidity
  • Biltmore NV Pinot Grigio, American ($12): Pear and floral flavors, light bodied, clean, crisp, and refreshing finish
  • Bonterra Vineyards 2010 Sauv Blanc, Lake and Mendocino Counties ($14): very light grassy aromas w grapefruit and lime fluttering on the palate
  • Wakefield 2011 Promised Land Riesling, South Australia ($13): floral and tropical aromas w tropical fruit dominated flavors that fade with the off dry finish
  • Francis Ford Coppola 2011 Rosso & Bianco Chardonnay, California ($11): soft bright stone fruit w kiwi notes, very soft finish
  • Five Rivers 2010 Chardonnay, California ($11) BEST CHARDONNAY: light minerality on the nose and palate with a touch of citrus, crisp and refreshing finish
  • Y Rousseau 2011 Old Vines Colombard, Russian River Valley ($18): apricot ensconced aromas adding a touch of tangerine to taste with slightly tart finish, sweet
  • Cameron Hughes 2010 Moscato d’Asti Lot 319, Italy ($14) BEST MOSCATO: bright stone fruits on the nose with banana and mango flavors, sweet and crisp finish
  • Stoller Vineyards 2008 SV Estate Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Oregon ($40): black cherry and spice nose, spice dominated flavors with anise and cherry undertones, strong finish with firm tannins
  • La Merika 2010 Pinot Noir, California ($15): violet and plum notes on the nose opening up a big floral flavors with subtle dark fruit to taste and a light finish
  • A by Acacia 2011 Pinot Noir, Calfornia ($15): violet and clove aroma w black cherry and cassis flavors; medium tannins/body
  • Chalone 2010 Estate Pinot Noir, Chalone ($40): delicate floral notes w smooth dark fruit flavors with a brush of floral notes to the finish
  • Alexanderia Nicole Cellars 2010 Grenache, Purple Reign, Horse Heaven Hills ($35) BEST GRENACHE: rich spice notes on the nose with black fruit (currant) flavors and a kiss of oak on the finish
  • Songlines Estate 2010 Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia ($120): clove and dark cherry aromas, black currant flavor with earthy undertones, complex and well integrated tannins structure
  • LePlan Vermeersch 2010 Red Rhone Blend, Cotes du Rhone, France ($15): tobacco nose with cassis notes and earthy undertones toward the medium length finish
  • Arizona Stronghold Winery 2010 Dala Cabernet, Arizona ($17): subtle berry qualities throughout the tast dominated by earthy notes and medium tannin structure
  • First Press 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($15): black cherry and spice aromas with much of the same on the palate incorporating light plum notes and finishing velvety and smooth
  • Provenance 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford ($43): mocha and black cherry nose with supple cherry flavors and big spice undertones, EXCELLENT SMOOTH FINISH!!



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Return of the Blog – New Approach, Backlogged Reviews, and More.

First and foremost, our sincerest apologies about our absence during the last year. We have been fortunate to have a large following over the past several years that has brought in over 100,000+ readers. We want to thank all of you! We have expanded beyond Virginia, touching many places in the United States and even spun off a travel blog to cover our International journeys. So where do we go from here? Many readers have submitted suggestions of a more digital approach. Monthly review pieces versus daily postings, video production, food pairings, wine country itineraries and even a podcast. 

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