Oregon State Fair Judging Results

This summer I had the pleasure of judging the very well organized Oregon State Fair wine competition. Elaine Lisle, Desa Swaim and their crew did a tremendous job and I truly enjoyed getting to better know my fellow judges. Last week I received the results and my judge's notes in the mail. Below is a list of my favorite wines including the medal won (if available):

Phelps Creek Chardonnay
2007 - Nice toasty notes with lemon cream and a little baking spice. Integrated with a long finish. Gold Medal.

Amity Vineyards Pinot Blanc
2007 - Pretty fruit salad, melon and floral aromas with a touch of white pepper. Nicely balanced with acid and finishes clean -- very refreshing. Silver Medal.

Orchard Heights Gew├╝rtztraminer
2008 - Beautiful aromas of slate, rain, sweet basil and honeysuckle. A little p├ętillance on the palate with floral and pear flavors. Nice acid balance with a clean finish. Silver Medal.

Chateau Lorane Viognier
2006 - I'd never heard of this winery before but I also liked its Tempranillo (see below). Lavender, floral and spicy aromas lead to a very pretty, ripe and round mouth-feel. Finishes lush and clean. Silver Medal.

Firesteed Dry Rose
2008 - watermelon, cranberry and herbal notes. Nice bright acidity leads to mouth-watering refreshment -- needs a good sunset. Bronze Medal.

Coelho Pinot Noir
2006 - Aromas of raspberry, sour cherry and pretty baking spices. Balanced with excellent structure. Gold Medal and Best of Red.

Stangeland Winery Pinot Noir
2006 - Cranberry, raspberry and nutmeg aromas with hints of dark chocolate. Bright, mouth-filling fruit with a solid finish. Bronze Medal.

Chateau Lorane Tempranillo
2004 - A huge nose filled with deep black cherry, raspberry and milk chocolate. Plus notes of fresh leather and curing tobacco. Ripe and round in the mouth with good tannic structure. One of my top three.

Devitt Merlot
2004 - Another new winery for me. Nose filled with plum, sage, fresh leather, cigar box -- it's a touch of old world mixed with ripe fruit. Nice attack and lingering finish. Silver Medal.

Zerba Cellars Red Blend
2006- Green peppercorn, pine cone and leather aromas matched by ripe blueberry, blackberry and raspberry. A hint of mint on the palate with nice balance between fruit and acid; great length. Gold Medal.

Devitt Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 - Nose of cigar box, cedar, black fruit and new leather saddle. Big, juicy black fruit with a silky mouth feel. Great lingering finish.