Glen Manor “Hodder Hill” 2009 Red Wins 2012 Governor’s Cup, First Lady Maureen McDonnell Named Wine Person of the Year
“Governor’s Case” Top 12 Winners from Governor’s Cup 2012 Also Announced in Richmond
At a gala event at the Marriott in downtown Richmond Thursday February 23rd, the top twelve winners of the 2012 Virginia Governor’s Cup Competition were announced. Presiding were Governor Bob McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell along with Agriculture Secretary Todd Haymore, Annette Boyd of the Virginia Wine Marketing Office, Competition Chair Jay Youmans MW, and the winery owners of some 20 Virginia wineries, including the top 12 winners which contained the finalist Cup winner.
Those finalists were:
Bluestone 2010 cabernet sauvignon
DelFosse 2007 Meritage
Glen Manor 2009 Hodder Hill (red Bordeaux blend)
Jefferson 2010 cabernet franc
Keswick 2009 cabernet sauvignon reserve
Keswick 2010 merlot
King Family 2008 meritage
Potomac Point 2009 Heritage richland reserve (red Bordeaux blend)
Tarara Winery 2010 Honah Lee white
Trump Winery 2008 SP Blanc de Blancs
Veritas 2010 vintner’s reserve (red Bordeaux blend)
White Hall 2010 gewurztraminer
The Virginia Governor’s Cup competition has undergone a significant metamorphosis this year under the chairmanship of Jay Youmans, a Master of Wine based in suburban Washington.
Youmans explains that the Virginia Wineries Association laid down its conditions for the event. There were two rounds; an intial elimination round, in which over 420 wines were tasted by six judges and given scores resulting in either no medal, bronze, silver or gold medals. The second round a week later took the top 120 wines determined by judge point scores, and eliminated 90%, resulting in the final 12 or “Governor’s Case.”
In the final round, some 15 esteemed judges, including two Masters of Wine, judged each wine and their marks were tabulated to determine the final 10%. For wineries to learn from the judges, the VWA decided to photocopy each judge score sheet where comments were encouraged, and give them back to the wineries (concealing the identities of the judges). Hopefully, this will give highly informed, blind and professional comments on quality that winemakers can learn from and improve in the future.
From the field of 12, the Glen Manor Hodder Hill edged out the others, based on total points awarded by the judges. Winemaker and proprietor Jeff White thanked the industry, his family and those who had built the industry paving the way for people today to learn from their example.
While 2009 was a challenging vintage for Virginia reds compared to 2007, 2008 or 2010, the finalist case showed several examples of exemplary red wines from that vintage, proving that in challenging conditions Virginia vintners could still make world-class red wines.
Jeff’s wife Kelly served me the winning Hodder Hill, a meritage-style blend. I was first struck by the color, very dark and dense for an ’09 red, which she explained was due to fruit concentration due to vineyard selection and dropping unripe fruit. The wine was young, but richly concentrated with damson plum and spice notes, firm acidity and a surprisingly long finish. Altogether it reminded me of a premier or grand cru Burgundy, due to its acidity, delicate but firm fruit, high acid and most of all, the length of the finish, more than of a Bordeaux-style wine. I trust the winemaker will take this as a compliment. This, along with the other top 2009 reds, will need at least 2 more years of aging to come together completely, and this one can last 15 years.
Aside from wines, people were also recognized at the awards ceremony. Chris Breiner, owner of Stone Mountain Vineyards and longtime official of the Virginia Wineries Association, was recognized in a moment of silence, having passed away on February 14th. The Wine Person of the Year Award was presented by Gordon Murchie to First Lady Maureen McDonnell in recognition of her personal dedication to the Virginia wine industry through her FLITE tours bringing restaurateurs and retailers to Virginia wineries to convince them to carry more of their products. She has also followed the lead of Acte Twelve of 1619 by the Jamestown Assembly that compelled male household heads to plant 20 grapevines apiece; last year she planted chambourcin vines at the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond.
Ann Heidig of Lake Anna Winery was awarded the Gordon Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award for her many years of service as president of the VA Wineries Association, but also for her many efforts with WineAmerica and the National Grape and Wine Initiative to lobby for inclusion of the grape and wine industry for federal agricultural support, which have now been realized in the Specialty Crop Research Initiative grants and Specialty Crop Block Grants.
Delegate T. Scott Garrett was presented with the Legislator of the Year Award for his support of the 2011 Governor’s Winery and Vineyard Expansion Tax Credit.
Complete results of the 2012 Governor’s Cup Competition can be found online at www.virginiawine.org.