Saturday, January 17, 2009

Finger Lakes WIneries Excel at San Francisco Chronicle Winery Competition

Finger Lakes wines earn medals in Calif. competition
By Laura Nichols • Gannett News Service • January 16, 2009

Finger Lakes wineries took four best in class awards, a double gold medal, 11 other gold medals and a slew of others at the 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, which bills itself as the largest competition of American wines in the world.

The 2009 professional wine judging took place at the Cloverdale Citrus Fair during the week of Jan. 5. Professional wine judges representing trade, education, media, retail, and restaurants throughout the United States evaluated a record 4,736 wines entered by wineries across the country.

Goose Watch Winery collected three best in class awards for its Pinot Noir Brut Rosé ($18), the only New York wine entered in the Sparkling Rosé class; its 2007 Diamond, in the White Native American class; and its 2005 Chambourcin, in the Red Hybrid class. Swedish Hill Winery's 2007 Cayuga White ($9.99) won best in the White Hybrid class.

The sparkling wine sweepstakes award went to a New York white wine, Sparkling Pointe's 2000 Brut Seduction from the North Fork of Long Island, which is made according to the Methode Champenoise. That was the only sweepstakes award given to a New York wine; one went to a New Mexico wine and the others all came from California.

Swedish Hill is the parent company of Goose Watch and Penguin Bay Winery, which won a rare double gold medal for its 2007 Chambourcin Rosé ($11) in the dry rosé category. Double golds are awarded only when all judges agree the wine deserves a gold medal.

"We're definitely happy," said Ian Barry, head winemaker for the three wineries. "... It's especially good to win in San Francisco," likening the California-dominated competition to "being in the lion's den. They're a little more critical (of non-Californian wines), I think."

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