SUMMERLAND, B.C. — The Wines of British Columbia were put to the test at the third-annual Judgment of B.C., held last week. The tasting pitted 12 B.C. wines against 12 acknowledged global benchmarks.
Hosted by the B.C. Wine Institute and curated by celebrated Vancouver wine expert and director of Wine at NewDistrict.ca, DJ Kearney, this year’s Judgment of B.C. featured two of the province’s most-planted grapes in a blind tasting of 12 Pinot Gris and 12 Merlot.
The purpose of the event is to provoke conversation, ask questions and further the narrative and exploration of B.C. wine’s potential. “It’s not about British Columbia wines winning or losing but, rather, tasting our wines and trying to understand their distinctiveness and strengths against a global competitive set,” explains Kearney. “It’s a courageous exercise that developing industries like ours can benefit from and take pride in. Benchmarking allows us to evaluate our progress and adds to our collective knowledge.”
CheckMate Black Rook Merlot 2013 from the Okanagan Valley ranked first among the flight of Merlot, and Kim Crawford Pinot Gris 2016 from Marlborough, New Zealand, came out on top for the flight of Pinot Gris with B.C. wines placing third, fifth and sixth.
“The Merlot results were so gratifying to me, really displaying the respect this grape is now garnering. Not just for padding out blends, Merlot is a true transmitter of our terroir and unique climate,” says Kearney. “Three B.C. wines populating the top six places were spectacular, all showing potency combined with elegance and savoury finesse. CheckMate Black Rook 2013, La Stella’s Maestoso Solo Merlot 2012 and MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Merlot Ardua 2012 all possessed excellent structure, nuance and complexity, and clearly impressed the judges.”
The judgement results are as follows:
1. Kim Crawford Pinot Gris 2016 | Marlborough, New Zealand
2. Domaine Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Turkheim 2014 | Alsace, France
3. 50th Parallel Pinot Gris 2016 | Okanagan Valley, B.C.
4. King Estates Pinot Gris 2015 Willamette Valley, Ore.
5. Gray Monk Pinot Gris 2015 | Okanagan Valley, B.C.
6. Arrowleaf Cellars Pinot Gris 2016 | Okanagan Valley, B.C.
7. Pfaff Steinert Grand Cru Pinot Gris 2012 | Alsace, France
8. Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio Vigneti del Dolomiti IGT 2015 | Italy
9. Blue Grouse Estate Pinot Gris 2016 | Vancouver Island
10. Haywire Switchback 2015 | Okanagan Valley, B.C.
11. Poplar Grove Pinot Gris 2016 | Okanagan Valley, B.C.
12. Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio Valdadige DOC 2016 | Italy
1. CheckMate Black Rook Merlot 2013 | Okanagan Valley, B.C.
2. Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot 2013 |Napa Valley, Calif.
3. La Stella Maestoso 2012 | Okanagan Valley, B.C.
4. Sterling Merlot 2013 | Napa Valley, Calif.
5. Château Haut Carles 2010 | Fronsac, Bordeaux, France
6. McIntyre Heritage Reserve Merlot Ardua 2012 | Okanagan Valley, B.C.
7. Casa Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Apalta Vineyard 2012 | Colchagua, Chile
8. Burrowing Owl Merlot 2014 | Okanagan Valley, B.C.
9. Intersection Merlot Silica 2013 | Okanagan Valley, B.C.
10. Charles Smith The Velvet Devil Merlot 2015 | Washington State
11. Château de Ferrand 2011 | Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France
12. Culmina Merlot 2014 | Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley, B.C.