Jul 1, 2010

Winners of the Ultimate Wine Challenge

 All Photos Courtesy of  UWC/Megan FitzPatrick

The folks at Ultimate Beverage Challenge are at it again. Earlier this year I wrote about the results of their Ultimate Cocktail Challenge, in which a panel of judges determined the best brands for specific cocktails. Now, with the Ultimate Wine Challenge, another judging panel (loaded with Master Sommeliers and other experts) tasted more than 500 wines and voted for the best in various categories. The Challenge took place earlier this month, and the results were released late last week.

 Wines came from 15 countries, 111 appellations, and covered 48 varietals (plus red, white, sparkling and fortified wine blends). Of the 500+ wines entered, 113 scored 90 points or  higher. Wines were evaluated under ideal tasting conditions: at the proper service temperature, in manageable flights of no more than 10 wines, and in high-quality glassware specific for wine type and varietal. Wines were poured into numbered glasses in a separate room, served blind in small flights based upon wine type, origin, varietal and price, and evaluated and scored by panels using a 100-point scale:

95-100: Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
90-94: Excellent, Highly Recommended
85-89: Very Good, Strong Recommendation
80-84: Good, Recommended
75-79: Enjoyable, Commendable
74 and below: Not Recommended

A total of 62 individual flights were evaluated over the course of the first two days. Those wines whose average scores were 90 points and above were then evaluated on the third day in an additional round of flights as finalists, with the top scorer in 23 categories awarded the coveted Chairman's Trophy.

  • Champagne: Piper-Heidsieck Rare 1999, $275.00
  • Sparkling Wine: Domaine Carneros Cuvee la Pompadour Rose NV, $36.00
  • Chardonnay: Carpe Diem Cellars Chardonnay Firepeak Vineyard 2007, $24.00
  • Pinot Grigio: Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio 2009, $9.99
  • Sauvignon Blanc: Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc Regional Collection 2009, $14.00
  • Riesling: Hogue Cellars Genesis Riesling 2008, $15.99
  • Viognier: d'Arenberg The Last Ditch 2008, $25.00
  • White – International: Peter Lehmann Layers 2009, $15.99
  • White – Italian: Fontana Candida Frascati NV, $10.00
  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Simi Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, $24.00
  • Pinot Noir: Clos du Bois Pinot Noir 2007, $24.00
  • Merlot: Shafer Vineyards Merlot 2007, $48.00
  • Shiraz: Peter Lehmann Eight Songs Shiraz 2004, $38.00
  • Zinfandel: Ravenswood Napa Valley Zinfandel 2007, $18.00
  • Red – International: Marques de Caceres Reserva 2004, $25.00
  • Best Red – Italian: Sartori Regolo 2005, $21.00
  • Red – Assorted US: Pietra Santa Sangiovese 2006, $18.00
  • Red Blend: Chateau Julien La Conviviance 2006, $90.00
  • Dessert Wine: St. Nicholas Commandaria 2000, $18.99
  • Vermouth/Aromatized Wine: Martini & Rossi Rosso, $7.99
  • Port: Croft 10 Year Old Tawny NV, $32.00
  • Sherry: Gonzalez Byass Apostoles Very Old Rare Sherry Palo Cortado NV, $44.49
  • Sake: Shimizu-No-Mai Pure Dusk NV, $42.00
 View a list of all winners in each category. This is a good thing to do, because you'll discover some real surprises and even a few relative bargains.

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