EAST LANSING, Mich., August 06, 2009 – Twenty-four wine experts gathered August 4 in East Lansing for the 32nd annual Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition. Judges included wine experts from around the country, including Doug Frost, who is both a Master of Wine and Master Sommelier, and California winemaker Scott Harvey. Other judges included three Master Sommeliers, and internationally known authors, winemakers and wine educators. Leading the group through the day was food and wine writer Christopher Cook, who judged at the competition for 12 years before becoming its superintendent in 2001. Cook is also a judge at wine competitions throughout the United States and abroad.
Judges arrived at the competition with high expectations for 2007 red wines, and they were not disappointed. Dry reds won 17 gold and double gold medals, more than twice those received in previous years. Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon was “pleasantly surprised at the level of Meritage wines. The concentration of fruit, integration and winemaking were impressive.” Brian Cain, with Viviano Wine Importers, added, “Cab Franc is back! I am astounded that, with all the rainy weather encountered in 2007, the wines are so dark, rich-textured and fruity.”
Joe Borrello, president of Tasters Guild International, commented, “In my 31 years of judging at the Michigan Wine Competition, I have never seen such rapid growth in the number of wineries and in the exceptional quality of the wines as has been witnessed in just the last few years. Michigan is really making an international wine statement … and it’s all good.” Tasters Guild sponsored the Best of Class Dessert trophy, to be presented to the winning winery at a Gold Medal Reception at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing this evening.
Forty-two of the state’s 64 wineries entered a record 395 wines for this year’s competition, which is open only to wines produced from Michigan grapes and other fruit. Gold medals were awarded to a wide variety of wines—from bone-dry reds to deliciously sweet ice wines—from all of Michigan’s major grape-growing areas. At the end of the day, judges awarded the top “Best of Class” awards to six wines from a group of 50 gold medal and 14 double gold medal winners.
The top award-winners are:
Best of Class Dry White: Left Foot Charley – 2008 Pinot Blanc “Island View Vineyard”
Best of Class Dry Red: Gill’s Pier Vineyard & Winery – 2007 Cabernet Franc/Merlot
Best of Class Semi-Dry White: Bel Lago – 2008 Gewurztraminer
Best of Class Dessert Wine: Fenn Valley Vineyards – 2008 “42” Ice Wine
Best of Class Fruit Wine: Longview Winery – Reserve Cherry Wine
Best of Class Rosé: Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery – 2008 Pinot Noir Rosé
In addition, Black Star Farms won a Judges’ Merit Award for their 2008 Arcturos Dry Riesling.
A complete list of medal-winning wines is available online at www.michiganwines.com. The Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition is sponsored by the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, which is administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture. For more information about the wines and wineries of Michigan, contact the council online, or by phone at 517-241-4468.
Editor’s Note: This release, the list of medal-winning wines and the list of judges are available online at www.michiganwines.com. List of medal-winning wines is attached.