Provided by the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce
NEWPORT, Oregon – The Newport Seafood & Wine Festival’s Commercial Wine Competition entered its 26th year with 167 wines entered in this year’s contest. Second only to last years’ record 181 entries, this number reflects the quality of winemaking in the Northwest, according to Seattle area wine and food writer Brooks Tish, who has served as a judge all 26 years of the Competition.
On February 11th and 12th, the Shilo Inn Suites Oceanfront Hotel, site sponsor for the Competition, once again provided space for the event. Five renowned wine experts spent two days navigating their way through wine flights, narrowing down their choices until a Best Of Show emerged, to take top billing. Of significance is that this Competition, now in its 26th year, is the longest continuously running contest of its kind in the Northwest. Its reputation places it in the highest standing for wineries from the Northwest region.
The judges panel, including Brooks Tish, Loren Razzano, Georgia Ross, Gerry Warren and Thomas “Mac” McLaren, have been working together for nearly two decades, resulting in consistent, cohesive evaluation of wine submissions year after year. This cadre of experts consists of wine writers, restaurant wine buyers and retail merchants. Although varying opinions arise, respect and esteem for each other facilitates consensus, and ultimately a final decision.
This year a 2008 Reserve Chardonnay submitted by Ponzi Vineyards received the nod for Best Of Show, narrowly beating out Gold Medal winners Troon Vineyard’s 2009 Old Vine Meritage, a red blend, and Silver Falls Vineyard’s 2009 Sparkling “Cheers”, a Champagne-style wine. Judge Razzano, from Ashland’s Wine Cellar Shop, described the Ponzi Chardonnay as reminiscent of a classic white Burgundy with the terroir minerality, the rich texture that comes from soils of those great French vineyards.
This year a total of 25 gold medals, 45 silver medals and 29 bronze medals were awarded to new and returning wineries to the Festival. A full list of award winners is posted on: www.newportchamber.org.