On January 20th and 21st of this year, I was selected to join 31 other wine industry professionals to judge the 12th annual American Fine Wine Competition that took place at the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality.
Close to 700 wines were invited to participate in the American wine-only competition, with the hopes of bringing home a Double Gold, or better yet, a Best of Show. While 188 of those wines can boast a Double Gold, only five out of 698 brought home a Best of Show designation. Additional recognition included: 182 Gold Medals and 277 Silver Medals.
Needless to say, there was a ton of great wine entered, $33,000 worth of it, to be exact. Two full days of judging brought out the best, and these are the wines that won Best of Show in their respective categories (and you may be surprised to find out where they are from).
Sparkling: Glenora Wine Cellars Brut, Finger Lakes, New York 2013, $30, 95pts (AFWC judges)
White: Winery at Black Star Farms, Arcturos Riesling, Semi-Dry Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan, 2016, $14, 95pts (AFWC judges)
Red: Chase Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District 2016, $125, 95pts (AFWC judges)
Port: St. Amant Winery Lot #11, Amador County NV, $35, 96pts (AFWC judges)
Sweet: Winery at Black Star Farms, Arcturos Winter Harvest, Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, 2016, $52, 95pts (AFWC judges)
Best of Class Winners Included:
Pinot Noir: Bee Hunter Wine Oppenlander Vyd Mendocino 2014, $48, 95pts
Red Bordeaux Blend: B Cellars Vineyards and Winery Blend 27 Napa Valley 2016, $87, 96pts
Cabernet Franc: Ancient Oak Cellars, Alcaeus Sonoma Mountain 2014, $75, 95pts
Zinfandel: Michael David Winery, Lust Lodi, CA 2015, $59, 95pts
Syrah: Klinker Brick Winery, Farrah Lodi 2015, $20, 95pts
Merlot: Raymond Vineyards Reserve Napa Valley 2016, $30, 95pts
Petite Sirah: Ballentine Vineyards Pocai Vyd Calistoga, Napa Valley 2016, $45, 95pts
Grenache: VIE Cellars, L’Imaginaire Lake County 2015, $45, 95pts
Other Red Blend: V. Sattui Winery, Entanglement Napa Valley 2016, $40, 95pts
Other Red Single Varietal: Lava Vine Tempranillo Suisun Valley 2016, $40, 95pts
Chardonnay: Husic Vineyards Dutton Ranch Sonoma Coast 2016 $50, 96pts
Sauvignon Blanc: Reustle – Prayer Rock Vineyards Umpqua Valley 2017 $23, 95pts
Viognier: RIVINO Estate Mendocino 2017 $25, 95pts
Other White Blend: Acquiesce Winery, Belle Blanc Lodi Mokelumne River 2017, $32, 95pts
Other White Single Varietal: Klinker Brick Winery, Grenache Blanc Lodi 2018, $20, 95pts
For a complete list of winners, visit the American Fine Wine Competition website.