Pollak Vineyards Wins 2010 Monticello Cup
The Monticello Wine Trail announced the results of their 20th annual wine competition Monday evening 6/14. The competition, which is limited to wineries in the Monticello appellation of Central Virginia, received almost 60 wines from sixteen wineries. The wines were evaluated by a tasting panel that included sommeliers, wholesale wine buyers, retailers and other wine industry professionals including this writer.
Top awards included the Cup winner, Pollak Vineyards 2008 Petit Verdot, three double gold medal winners; Delfosse Vineyards Meritage 2006, King Family Vineyards Meritage 2008, and also their Merlot 2008.
Sixteen gold medal winners included: Barboursville Vineyards Octagon 2007, DelFosse Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2007, Flying Fox Vineyard Fox White 2009 and their Trio 2007; four wines from Jefferson Vineyards: Viognier 2009, Pinot Gris 2009, Chardonnay Reserve 2009, and Meritage 2007; King Family Vineyards Loreley 2008, Kluge Vineyards SP Rose 2007 and New World Red 2005, Pollak Vineyards Meritage 2007, three wines from Veritas Vineyards: Sauvignon Blanc reserve 2009, Viognier 2009, and Petit Verdot 2008; and White Hall Vineyards Gewurztraminer 2008.
Judge Elaine Futhey, wine buyer and sommelier at Charlottesville’s C&O Restaurant said, “I have been a fan of Virginia wine for 20 years, I am most pleased with the wide variety of high quality wines entered in this years competition”.
The quality consistency of the flights was worth noting. I found the chardonnay and cabernet franc flights uneven in quality and style (chardonnays ranged from a brilliant Chablis-style to a very West Coast big oak and butter style). Viognier and meritage flights were more consistent with higher average quality, and the petit verdot flight had some brilliant wines, including the competition winner.
Chardonnay is the leading winegrape variety by acreage in Virginia and cabernet franc the leading red grape, but in the Monticello AVA, it seems that the meritage blend category is stronger than any one red variety, while petit verdot has probably pulled ahead of cabernet france for quality potential. Producers might do well to increase production of viognier and petit verdot (the latter either for varietals or blends), but it’s also worth noting that there’s impressive versatility in the Monticello AVA amongst the top wines; sauvignon blanc, gewurztraminer, and pinot gris also made strong varietal showings with gold medals.