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Showdown of Virginia Sparkling Wines

1st place finisher by Stone Tower Winery

1st place finisher by Stone Tower Winery

We had another opportunity this year to judge Virginia sparkling wines. All the nine entrants were blanc de blancs. The judging was blind and we did not know until after the judging the wineries involved. Eight judges scored the wines and then ranked the wines from favorite to least favorite. The event was hosted by Stone Tower Winery in Leesburg, Virginia. We had a room to ourselves and there was no staff from the winery present during our judging.

The sparkling wine judging event is organized by Frank Morgan of Drink What You Like. This year marked the 7th year of the Virginia sparkling wine judging. As with last year’s judging, I was interested in how my judging compared to that of the other judges. My top three highest scoring sparkling wines were ranked in the top four ranking for the entire group. The final result had a neck and neck finish with the first place finisher and second place finisher only separated by one point.

2nd place finisher, Trump Winery

2nd place finisher, Trump Winery

I wondered, after the producers were revealed if the results may foreshadow the upcoming presidential election. The barely first place finisher was Stone Tower Winery’s 2009 Wild Boar. I did not know the host winery had a blanc de blanc in the judging. I actually placed them second in my personal scoring. The second place group finisher was the 2009 Trump Blanc de Blanc, thus the presidential reference. Only one point separated them in our group scoring. The Trump sparkling wine was my top score and the Wild Boar from Stone Tower was just a half point behind. These two sparkling wines were mine and the group’s favorites.

The Trump Winery was purchased by Donald Trump and is one of the largest producing wineries in the state. Eric Trump is the winery’s president and oversees everything from winemaking to global distribution. Jonathan Wheeler is the winemaker. Stone Tower Winery has one of the most beautiful facilities and vineyards in the country. The winery is the vision of Mike and Kristie Huber of Belfort Furniture fame. Their passion for wine has created a gem on Hogback Mountain. Tim Crowe is the winemaker.

Also of note in the sparkling wine judging were the third and fourth place finishers in the group scoring. In third place was Boneyard’s Bad to the Bone Bubbles. The fourth place finish went to King Family Vineyards Brut. We look forward to next year’s judging. Meanwhile, wine enthusiasts who enjoy sparkling wines should check out Virginia sparkling wines.


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