Last Week the Inaugral Battle of the Benches took place at the Ramada Inn in Penticton. An enthusiastic crowd filled the ballroom for a casual tasting of many of the Okanagans finest wines, unfortunately I didn't have much time to mingle as I had judging duties that evening. The Judging panel consisted of Mark Filatow, Terry David Mulligan, myself and our esteemed leader Rhys Pender who had the unenviable task of keeping us focused and on time. The concept seemed easy enough, taste 100 plus wines in under 3 hours and pick the best of each varietal. It is not quite that easy as it turns out there are many good wines and they differ tremendously style wise so you have to move your personal style preference out of the way and try to choose the best crafted and true to varietal wine in the bunch. flights were as small as 2 Cabernet Sauvignons, to 22 Aromatic Whites.Probably the most amazing thing was how often there was a consensus as to which wine was the top very few debates ensued.
And the Winners are:
- Volcanic Hills Pinot Gris 2010 Kelowna West and Peachland
- Blasted Church Chardonnay Musque 2010 Skaha Lake
- Wild Goose Vineyard and Winery Autumn Gold 2010 Okanagan Falls Vaseaux Lake
- Hollywood and Vine Don't Mess with the PMS Blush 2010 Summerland
- Tinhorn Creek Gewurztraminer 2010 Oliver Golden Mile
- Gehringer Brothers Dry Rock Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Oliver Golden Mile
- Gehringer Brothers Optimum Pinot Noir 2010 Oliver Golden Mile
- Fairview Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Oliver Golden Mile
- Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Merlot 2007 Osoyoos Lake Black Sage Bench
- Mission Hill Family Estate Oculus 2007 Osoyoos Lake Black Sage Bench
- Moon Curser Syrah 2009 Osoyoos Lake Black Sage Bench
- Seven Stones Winery Cabernet Franc 2009 Similkameen Valley
You will Notice wineries winning in more than 1 area or from places the winery is not. It was determined that the wine followed the Terroir so the region it was grown is featured. This year the area producing the most winners was the Oliver Golden Mile.
After attending 2 more events All you Need is Cheese at Watermark in Osoyoos and the Polson Pouring in Vernon a couple of outstanding wines you might want to seek out are Gold Hills Cabernet Franc and Blasted Churches Gewuztraminer.
This is turning into a long post but my last thought for summer wine festival is it was great to see how different wineries dealt with the 2010 crop and manged the acids to create some stunning wine.