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12th Annual Maryland Wine Comptroller’s Cup Awards, Part I

Kathy and I were invited to the awards event for the Best in Class winners of the Maryland Comptrollers Cup. The event was held at Catoctin Breeze Vineyard who won Best in Show for their 2016 Cabernet Franc. Comptroller Peter Franchot spoke to the group of winemakers, winery staff and media. He pointed out, “Maryland is home to some world class vineyards.” Mr. Franchot regulates the wineries and also is an avid supporter of Maryland wines. He will often purchase a wine when visiting a Maryland winery. Peter Franchot mentioned that his wife is a very good wine critic. She usually likes the wines that he brings home.

Receiving the 2018 Comptroller’s Cup for Best in Show is the staff from Catoctin Breeze Vineyard.

Accompanying the Comptroller in handing out awards was Frederick County Executive Jan H. Gardner. The first award was the large glass bowl for the winner of the 2018 Best in Show. Voytek Fizyta and his wife, Alicja along with the winemaking team approached the podium to receive the award. Afterwards, winemakers or winery representatives were called to receive their award for Best in Class. The Best in Class awards were given for and to:

Best in Class

White: Knob Hall Winery • Vidal Blanc 2016 (Washington Co.)

White Blend: Cool Ridge Vineyard • Cool White 2017 (Washington Co.)

Rosé: Port of Leonardtown Winery • Chaptico Rosé 2017 (St. Mary’s Co.)

Red: Catoctin Breeze Vineyard • Cabernet Franc 2016 (Frederick Co.)

Red Blend: Janemark Winery & Vineyard • Aviation 2016 (Prince George’s Co.)

Off-Dry: (tied!) Port of Leonardtown Winery • Chaptico Rosé 2017 (St. Mary’s Co.) & Romano Vineyard & Winery • Fallen Leaf (Prince George’s Co.)

Sweet: Far Eastern Shore Winery • Dream NV (Talbot Co.)

Fruit: Layton’s Chance Vineyard & Winery • BoBerry Strawberry Wine 2017 (Dorchester Co.)

Cider: Great Shoals Winery • Northern Spy 2017 (Montgomery Co.)

Dessert: Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards • Home Sweet Home 2016 (Prince George’s Co.)

After the awards ceremony, The Best in Class wineries poured their award winning wines. I tasted several of the wines.

Catoctin Breeze Vineyard’s Best in Show and Best in Class Red was their 2016 Cabernet Franc. The wine had a translucent ruby color. Black fruits and leather were noticed on the aroma. The taste included blackberries, black caps, leather and a hint of tobacco. The medium-bodied wine had soft tannins. The finish was fruity with oak influences.

The Best in Class White was a 2016 Vidal Blanc by Knob Hall Winery. The wine had a light yellow color and floral aroma. The mouthfeel was smooth and dry. It is a wonderful food wine. Cool Ridge Vineyard won the award for Best in Class White Blend for their 2017 Cool White. The light yellow colored white was a blend of Chardonnay, Traminette, Viognier and Pinot Gris. The wine had a floral and yellow stone fruit aroma while daises, roses and peaches were noticed on the taste. The finish was crisp.

The Best in Class Red Blend was the 2016 Aviation by Janemark Winery and Vineyard. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot had a translucent dark ruby color. The aroma included black fruits while the taste offered blackberries, black raspberries leather and mineral. This full-bodied wine had mild tannins. The finish was fruity with oak influences.

We will report in another blog post the Best in Class for Sweet, Fruit, Cider and Dessert wines. If you enjoy Maryland wines, check these Best of Class wines. If you are new to Maryland wines, this is a great starting list of wines to try.


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