Critics Challenge International Wine Competition
June 22 & 23, 2013
2013 Medal Winners
Washington's DeLille Winery of the Year;
Italy's 2010 Banfi Belnero Wine of the Year
After 20 years of meticulous work with quality Washington wine grapes, DeLille Cellars of Woodinville hardly qualifies as an overnight success. Yet the winery's performance at the 10th annual Critics Challenge International Wine Competition June 21-23 was an eye-opener for most of the judges who assembled in San Diego to evaluate 1,454 wines from 15 countries.
DeLille advanced four wines (from nine entered) into the Platinum round of the prestigious judging. Only V. Sattui of the Napa Valley had more contenders in the championship round, with six (from more than 30 wines entered). The impressive showing with its elegant European-inspired wines earned DeLille the Director's Award as Winery of the Year.
DeLille's Platinum wines were: 2010 D2 ($44), a red Bordeaux-style blend from Yakima Valley; 2010 Harrison Hill Red Blend ($75) from Snipes Mountain; 2010 Chaleur Estate Rouge ($75) from Red Mountain; and 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 1 ($65) from Red Mountain. DeLille also took a Gold award with its 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Grand Ciel Vineyard ($150) from Red Mountain.
The Director's Award as Wine of the Year went to the 2010 Castello Banfi Belnero, Toscana IGT ($28), a red "Super Tuscan" blend that edged the Rock Wall 2010 Cabernet Franc, Holbrook Mitchell Vineyard ($40) of the Napa Valley in the final vote for Best of Show red wine. Belnero is predominantly sangiovese from the Montalcino district of Tuscany, with a small percentage of the so-called international varieties such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah.
Best of Show white wine was claimed by the 2010 Baileyana Chardonnay, Grand Firepeak Cuvee ($28) from California's Edna Valley. This represents quite a run for Baileyana, considering the 2009 Grand Firepeak Chardonnay was voted Best of Show white wine earlier this year at the Winemaker Challenge, the first leg of the Challenge series of wine competitions in San Diego. (The third leg is the Sommelier Challenge in September.)
A Champagne, the 2004 Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Brut ($165), easily captured the vote for Best of Show sparkling wine, and V. Sattui's 2012 California Muscat ($25) was voted Best of Show dessert wine.
Director's Award recipients are selected by yours truly after careful evaluation of the complete results.