Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pennsylvania Wine Society Excellence Results 2014 (PA)

2014 Pennsylvania Excellence Contest
The results are in and many of my favorite Pennsylvania wineries are there. A few surprises. And a few absences. But I have to say I am a big fan of Paradocx, Seven Mountains, Waltz, Penns Woods, Crossings, Ferro, and Vynecrest off the top of my head. Big winner of the event was the Penns Woods Moscato. And of course Paradocx whose two wines showed extremely well. Congrats to all who participated, and congrats to Pennsylvania wine fans. The good news? Lots of great wine!!!!
- C. DeVito, editor

Nearly 100 people, including wineries, trade association and press personnel gathered for the 13th PA Wine Society’s Pennsylvania Excellence Contest presentation at the Harrisburg Hilton on Sunday Jan. 18. The makers of the top 10 wines introduced their wines for the tasting. Seven wineries composed the top 10 candidates. Also offered were the 10 honorable mention wines which were available for tasting for those who choose to do so. Most important was the announcement of the winning wine and awarding the PA Excellence plaque to the winning winery. The judging was conducted blind using a 20 point scale and the scoring for the top wines was incredibly close which was reflected in the overall quality of the wines.

The top 10 wines as presented and tasted:

Pinot Blanc
  1. Paradocx Vineyard 2013 Pinot Blanc
  2. Conneaut Cellars 2013 Gew├╝rztraminer
  3. Seven Mountains Wine Cellars Vidal Blanc
  4. The Vineyard at Grandview 2013 Cabernet Franc
  5. Paradocx Vineyards 2013 Merlot
  6. The Vineyard at Grandview 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
  7. Armstrong Valley Winery Armstrong Red
  8. The Vineyard at Grandview 2013 Crimson Quartette
  9. Waltz Vineyard 2010 Baron Red
  10. Penns Woods Winery 2013 Moscato
Wine Excellence XIII
The winner was Penns Woods 2013 Moscato and the award was received by Gino Razzi, owner and wine maker at Penns Woods. Gino credited his daughter, Carley Mack, for adding sweet wines to their portfolio. Produced in a frizzante style, this moscato has incredible balance. The acid and sweetness are well integrated with beautiful fruit in the nose and on the palate, retaining the classic muscat spiciness. This wine is capable of transporting ones taste buds to Northern Italy. Wonderfully refreshing as an aperitif or after a fulfilling dinner.
2013 Cabernet Franc

We always select the top wine of different color, this year’s winning red was the Paradocx Vineyard 2013 Merlot. This outstanding wine had substance was fruit forward of strawberries and raspberries with good balance of acidity and fruit on the palate.

It must be said because many comments, from novice to experts were surprised, delightfully so, as to the quality and character of wines presented by the Pennsylvania wineries. All the wines tasted were outstanding. While red wines have typically won in the past a number of the whites were noteworthy. In particular the Conneaut Cellars Gewurztraminer and Paradocx Pinot Grigio. The passion and commitment of the wine makers to producing world class wines in Pennsylvania only served to reinforce the taste experience. Several wine makers touted their upcoming releases as even being better yet, so we all have something to look forward to.

Equally as enjoyable and remarkable were the 10 honorable mention wines listed below in alphabetical order:
  1. Armstrong Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  2. Crossing Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
  3. Fero Vineyards 2013 Gruner Veltliner
  4. Manatawny Creek Winery 2012 Meritage
  5. Nimble Hill Vineyard & Winery 2013 Pinot Grigio
  6. Penns Woods Winery 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
  7. Penns Woods Winery 2013 Reserve Chardonnay
  8. Seven Mountains Wine Cellars Traminette
  9. Vynecrest Vineyards & Winery Traminette
  10. Waltz Vineyards & Winery 2013 Sauvignon Blanc
Great piece on the event by Paul Vigna: