Tuesday, August 1, 2017

2017 Colorado Governor's Cup Results

Happy Colorado Day! I can't think of a better way to celebrate Colorado than with Colorado Wine!

Last month, the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board (CWIDB, and for which I work part-time) held the Governor’s Cup Colorado Wine Competition. This year was the sixth incarnation of the largest, and most prestigious, statewide commercial wine competition (actually the First Lady's Choice was awarded the first year because the Governor had not given consent to use the title). The 2017 Governor’s Cup Best of Show winner will be announced at the History Colorado Center during the public tasting of the Governor's Cup Case. Modeled after the Virginia Governor's Cup Case, the top twelve wines will be the wines that the CWIDB use for the next 12 months for its marketing and educational endeavors.

A total of 325 wines from 45 local wineries were judged by a panel of sommeliers, wine writers, consultants, and winemakers from Colorado and around the country. This is almost a doubling of entries in just the past three years. Not to take anything away from any of the judges, but the most notable judge (once again) was Warren Winiarski, the world's first "flying winemaker." Winiarski is most famous for starting Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and winning the Judgement of Paris tasting in 1976. A bottle of 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon now sits in the Smithsonian Museum for that monumental accomplishment. But before changing California wine history, Winiarski made his mark in Colorado. When Warren and I first met almost five years ago, he told me that he wanted to come back to Colorado to see what the industry is up to these days. He keeps coming back year after year. He even brought Mark Chien, Program Coordinator for the Oregon Wine Research Institute, out to Colorado on his own dime as a resource for Colorado wine growers. 

Other notable judges include: Doug Frost, Master Sommelier, Master of Wine and overall renaissance man; Andrew Stover, D.C.-based regional wine pimp and Wine Enthusiast 40 under 40 Tastemaker; Jeff Siegel, aka The Wine Curmudgeon; and Tina Caputo, Wine Storyteller and host of "Winemakers Drinking Beer." 

The Governor’s Cup Case is composed of the top 12 wines and just so happens to include a cider, mead, white, red and dessert wines: the definition of diversity. There are 12 unique varietal and blended wines. This is the first year that the Governor's Cup Case does not have multiple wines from a single winery or duplicate examples of a specific cultivar (Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc have made up a bulk of the case in the past). This is the fourth straight year that Bookcliff Vineyards is represented and six of the wines in the 2017 Case have been in the Case previously. That is the model of consistency!

Does the fact that no single variety or style stood out this year mean that Colorado has no specific wine to hang its hat on? Well, that question is hard to answer when less that a quarter of all producers submitted samples and many of those that did, did not send their entire lineups. Nevertheless, the case does include wines from two wineries that have never been included in the case before! Progress one step at a time!

2017 Governor’s Cup Case:

Bookcliff Vineyards (Boulder), 2016 Riesling
Carlson Vineyards (Palisade), 2015 Tyrannosaurus Red Lemberger
Colorado Cellars (Palisade), Raspberry Wine
Colorado Cider Company (Denver), Grasshop-ah Cider
Creekside Cellars (Evergreen), 2014 Cabernet Franc
Guy Drew Vineyards (Cortez), 2015 Syrah
Meadery of the Rockies (Palisade), Strawberry Honey
The Infinite Monkey Theorem (Denver), 2013 The Bubble Universe Sparkling Albariño
Two Rivers Winery (Grand Junction), 2015 Port
Decadent Saint (Boulder), 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
Whitewater Hill Vineyards (Grand Junction), 2016 Sweetheart Red
Winery at Holy Cross Abbey (Cañon City), 2015 Reserve Merlot

Governor’s Cup Wine Competition Public Tasting will be held at the History Colorado Center (1200 Broadway, Denver) starting at 6:30 p.m. on August 3. Tickets start at $45 for General Admission or $75 for the VIP ticket that will allow a tasting of previous Governor's Cup winners. You can find tickets here!

Also new this year, the CWIDB received a grant from the Colorado Tourism Office to create a documentary about the Governor's Cup. Here is a teaser for the video:

Governor's Cup—judges promo from IAN FRANK // FILMS on Vimeo.