By Mark Gauert
Judges at this year’s American Fine Wine Competition, South Florida’s home-grown national wine competition, awarded a record number of Double Gold and Gold medals in a bountiful award year for winemakers from California to New York.
In all 35 Double Gold medals were awarded in the Cabernet Sauvignon category alone, a category that included many wines produced during 2012 – considered one of the greatest in California vintage history. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay categories were also well represented, with 23 and 17 Double Gold medals each, respectively.
Wines from California dominated the Best of Show Categories, including Best of Show Red, White, Rosé; and, in a rare tie, in the Sparkling category, too. A Riesling Ice Wine from upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region was the only non-West Coast wine among the Best of Show winners, icing the Dessert Wine category.
“We have never had so many double golds and golds in one year,” says Shari Gherman, AFWC president and co-founder. “Truly a banner year and one for which American wineries should be very proud.”
The record number of wines invited to take part in the competition were judged in a blind-tasting over two days by 24 wine experts – educators, sommeliers, journalists, restaurateurs from South Florida and nationally – at Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.
All the wines from the full judging will be available to sample later this month at the American Fine Wine Competition Charity Wine Gala, a benefit for Deliver the Dream featuring a five-course gourmet feast paired with the 750+ wines from the competition, along with silent and live auctions, world-class entertainment and a premium wine auction, 6:30 p.m. April 24 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood. $300. 561-558-2345, americanfinewinecompetition.com.
THE BEST OF SHOW WINNERS
(See cityandshore.com for full results, including the Best of Class, Double Gold, Gold and Silver medalists)
BEST OF SHOW RED
2011 Cairdean Cabernet Franc, Coombsville,
BEST OFSHOW WHITE
2012 Maldonado Los Olivos Chardonnay, Calistoga, Calif., $42.
BEST OF SHOW SPARKLING (TIE)
Carneros Le Reve,
Napa, Calif., $99.
Cellars brut cuvée,
Napa, Calif., $39.
BEST OF SHOW DESSERT WINE
2014 Glenora Wine Cellars, Riesling Ice Wine, Finger Lakes Region, N.Y., $30.
BEST OF SHOW ROSE
2013 Burbank Ranch, “Picnic Meadow Grenache,” Paso Robles, Calif., $24.