In a typical year I judge at about a dozen wine competitions, and recently I participated in two of the most interesting.
Alas, the results may be meaningful to Americans only as a curiosity since most of the wines in both events aren't available in the United States.
What makes these two events noteworthy is that one is a longstanding judging that is now allowing U.S. wines to compete, and the other displays the greatness of an emerging North American wine region that's not too far away.
The first of the two events was the Six Nations Wine Challenge in which wines from Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and the United States were nominated by each of the six judges and then evaluated double-blind this past August in Sydney.
The former Five Nations event, staged prior to this year, was a prestigious affair and the fact that U.S. wines captured the top award in five of the 17 categories in their first year was a great showing.
The results, released on Oct. 3, showed that the following five U.S. wines won trophies:
- 2007 Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs, Sonoma County, a Chardonnay-based sparkling wine ($32)
- 2010 Alysian Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Hallberg Vineyard ($55)
- 2009 Kendall-Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County ($30)
- 2011 Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley ($24)
- 2011 Maryhill Winemakers Red (Cabernet-Merlot blend), Columbia Valley (Washington) ($15)
Many of the winners from other countries are being shipped to the United States and may be found by searching the internet.
Another superb result from this event for U.S. buyers is that numerous wines received high medals in almost every category of the Six Nations test. Complete results are available at <a href="http://www. boutiquewines.com.au/results" target="_blank">www. boutiquewines.com.au/results</a> — and note the number of U.S. wines that received double-gold or gold medals.
The second event, a Canadian competition staged in charming and picturesque British Columbia town of Kelowna, was a lot more frustrating for me since so many of the winners were world-class wines and not one is available in the United States.
There are various reasons for this, one of which is that it can be expensive to ship wine here, especially when this country already makes a lot of excellent wines that are reasonably priced and are recognized as such. Moreover, very few of the top Canadian wineries are recognizable here.
But wines from La Frenz, JoieFarm, Nk'Mip, Inniskillin, Jackson-Triggs, Quail's Gate, Mission Hill, Road 13, and Gehringer Bros., among many others, can be so superb that they easily sell at the wineries' cellar-door sales rooms.
A complete list of results of that event is available at www.thewinefestivals.com, and then click on "British Columbia wine Awards."
Those who plan a trip to western Canada would do well to be armed with the winners' list since so many of the wines are superb. Moreover, many wineries have excellent restaurants and in the last few years, some have erected gorgeous edifices that are worth seeing.
Don't forget to bring a camera. And if you plan to visit the BC wine country, see the site www.hellobc.com.
<strong>Wine of the Week:</strong> 2012 True Myth Chardonnay, Edna Valley ($18) — This new brand from the Niven family, large growers in the Edna Valley of San Luis Obispo County, will offer wines in the $12 to $18 price range.