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Virginia Governor's Cup Winner: GLEN MANOR HODDER HILL 2009

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Congratulations, Jeff! Well done!

The Governor's Cup was revamped this year to give it more credibility, by bringing in some top judges (two MWs - with a third, DC's own Jay Youmans, organizing the competition - and an MS (Kathy Morgan) among the judges. Most of all, a requirement that the wines be made 100% from Virginia grapes.

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The Gold Medal winners:

2010 Jefferson Vineyards Cabernet Franc

2009 Sunset Hills Vineyard Cabernet Franc

2010 Bluestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

2009 Keswick Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

2010 White Hall Vineyards Gewurztraminer

2007 Delfosse Vineyards & Winery

2009 Glen Manor Vineyards Hodder Hill

2008 King Family Vineyards Meritage

2009 Potomac Point Winery Heritage Reserve

2010 Veritas Vintner's Reserve

2010 Keswick Vineyards Merlot

2008 Trump Winery Kluge SP Blanc de Blanc

2010 Tarara Winery Honah lee

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Some interesting things to note here:

  • The prevalence (5 of 12) of Bordeaux blends, including the Glen Manor, Delfosse, Potomac Point and Veritas.
  • No petit verdot or viognier (though the Tarara is apparently 40% viognier)
  • Most are from the Charlottesville area

The new format will not only allow the industry to spot its star wineries, but also which vineyards produce the top wines, as many of the medal winners may purchase grapes from the same sources - that way the growers will get recognition too.

In all, 13 golds, 137 Silvers, and about 215 bronze medals, from about 400+ wines entered - shows fairly high overall quality.

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David McIntyre reported on the format for the Governor's Cup Competition, but from a press release: The competition judged all Virginia wines, red or white, together. Any wine made from 100% Virginia fruit was eligible. Entries included an affidavit with a certification of 100% Virginia fruit and vineyard particulars, including grower names and location, as well as information on alcohol, acidity or basicity (pH), and residual sugar. A new aspect of the competition was the educational component of the judging. After the competition, regional forums for the winemakers will be held with the head judge. Notes with the judges' blind comments will be shared with individual winemakers, so that they will get direct feedback on how their wines were received. Jay Youmans was the head judge of the competition. He recruited the judges from the professional wine buying and wine media community. The judges were compensated for a rigorous schedule of judging ensuring the competition will have the highest level of professional evaluation of the wines.

http://www.virginiawine.org/governors-cup-2012 (more details on the judges and their criteria)

Preliminary round (400 wines): Over the course of two days, each wine was tasted by no fewer than six judges. This was a single-blind tasting, meaning that judges only know the grape or category of a wine, but the vintage, winery and name were hidden behind coded-glasses. Individual judges' scores of a wine were averaged into one score. Final round (135 wines): Over the course of three days, three 5-judge panels assessed the highest ranking wines from the preliminary round. Unlike the preliminary round, each judge sampled all of the wines. Each wine in the Final Round received a final average score. The 12 wines with the highest average score were identified as the "Governor's Cup Case." The wine with the highest overall score (2009 Glen Manor Hodder Hill) was the Governor's Cup Winner.

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Was RDV considered? Hillsborough Onyx? Chateau O'Brien Tannat?

I have almost a case of the '07 Hodder Hill which I will have to open tonight. '07 Onyx was an outstanding bottle also. Really hard to believe that this wasn't one of the winners: serious question, was it even entered? Absoluterly love the Hodder HIll but I also must include Onyx and, if price is no object, RDV is arguably the single best VA wine of all.

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Congrats to Jeff White and the hard workers of Glen Manor Vineyards. I worked the harvest with them last year and can attest to the dedication and passion Jeff and his crew bring to grape growing and wine-making in Virginia. Good thing you planned that expansion huh? -Don

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How wonderful, congrats to all the wineries, selected and to Glen Manor Vineyards in particular. I have enjoyed going to most of these wineries and can't wait to make it to the rest!

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Was RDV considered? . Really hard to believe that this wasn't one of the winners: serious question, was it even entered?

Joe, both RdV and Thibault-Janisson did not enter. No clue about the others you mention.

ETA: Congratulations Jeff - well deserved!

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It's really unfair for me to even bring up RDV since it costs almost three times as much and should be the wine that it is. Tonight I really will open a bottle of the '07 Hodder Hill; it will be the first one I've opened in about six + months and it will really be interesting to see what it is like now. I bought a case of it because at the time I thought it was the best red VA wine that I had yet tasted. I really don't even like to say it like that-it was an excellent wine by any definition. So much so thatbuying one bottle led to buying twelve. Hillsborough makes a wine at the same price point called Onyx. I didn't enjoy the '06 onyx nearly as much as the '07 Hodder Hill. BUT, at some point, my wife and I stopped in at Hillsborough and tried their '07.

Wow.

They had eight bottles left at the winery and I bought all of them.

What I and several neighbors need to do is to open the '07 Hodder Hill and the '07 Onyx side by side. (Have not done this yet.) We will do it although it may be a week or two. Still, as much as we are raving about '09 Hodder Hill (which I haven't tasted yet either and is the wine that won) the fact that Virginia, yes Virginia, now legitimately has the level of quality is a huge compliment to the local industry. I'd also add that I believe that the Virginia wine country is the most beautiful in America and I can't help but believe that it is really taking off!! (Sipping a glass behind Glen Manor looks, for all of the world, like the Austrian countryside.) Perhaps a few more restaurants will put better Virginia wine on their wine lists and perhaps a few more diners will buy it! Competitions like this can make someone really curious, really willing to spend $50-60 to try a bottle in a restaurant or half of this by visiting the winery.

Perhaps a good start is offering some of these better wines by the glass so people can try them.

Congratulations to Glen Manor for leading the charge!!!!

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Thank you to all those who have sent congratulations both publically and privately. Here is a link to the Governor's Cup web site with information about how this year's competition was run, the judges and a list of all wineries winning medals. http://www.virginiaw...ernors-cup-2012

What made me decide to enter this year was the judging panel...I wanted to get my wine inside these judges. Also, their tasting notes/score cards would be sent to all entrants afterwards. I just received mine. I won alright but just barely. 13 wines won gold, an average score of 90 or higher required for gold. My score was 90, so all of the golds were 90 and I won because my total point score was just a little higher than the next highest.

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so all of the golds were 90

I find that very interesting. I'm surprised there weren't a few wines that would have stood out more from the pack. I could believe the Hodder Hill would have based on the '08. I haven't had the '09 yet. Does this mean there are some very good wines in VA, but not many that really separate themselves? (I know Rdv and a few other wines would have completed well). I know very little about wine judging. Perhaps Dave McIntyre could chime in on why the average scores plateaued at 90.

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Thank you to all those who have sent congratulations both publically and privately. Here is a link to the Governor's Cup web site with information about how this year's competition was run, the judges and a list of all wineries winning medals. http://www.virginiaw...ernors-cup-2012

What made me decide to enter this year was the judging panel...I wanted to get my wine inside these judges. Also, their tasting notes/score cards would be sent to all entrants afterwards. I just received mine. I won alright but just barely. 13 wines won gold, an average score of 90 or higher required for gold. My score was 90, so all of the golds were 90 and I won because my total point score was just a little higher than the next highest.

Jeff, even though we've only met once at your winery, I'll always consider you a close friend. That book I have will be a treasure that I'll keep for the rest of my life and pass down to Matt. I couldn't be happier for you. Congratulations!

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I find that very interesting. I'm surprised there weren't a few wines that would have stood out more from the pack. I could believe the Hodder Hill would have based on the '08. I haven't had the '09 yet. Does this mean there are some very good wines in VA, but not many that really separate themselves? (I know Rdv and a few other wines would have completed well). I know very little about wine judging. Perhaps Dave McIntyre could chime in on why the average scores plateaued at 90.

Impossible to say. Remember, there were 15 judges, so 15 disparate scores to average. Some of these judges had had little or no exposure to Virginia wine before; this MAY have prompted them to score more cautiously, but that's simply speculation. I know I gave more than 13 gold medal scores, and most of those were in the 90-92 range, with a few that really excited me going over the 94-point threshold. But I hate point scores, so whaddo I know? The judges were not informed afterwards as to which wines were which, so I don't know what wines I would have included in the Governor's Case. But I think my distribution would have been similar, in that the Bordeaux blends (meritage) category was strongest.

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Some of these judges had had little or no exposure to Virginia wine before; this MAY have prompted them to score more cautiously, but that's simply speculation.

In other words it was a high profile group of judges so the 90 pt scores may have been their way of hedging their bets.

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In other words it was a high profile group of judges so the 90 pt scores may have been their way of hedging their bets.

Your words, not mine. It could also be that they taste a wide variety of wines and are having their first real exposure to VA in that context (which is what the organizers wanted), while some of us who drink the wines more often can relate to the wines more closely. For example, those wines that I gave my highest scores to - to be honest, I'm responding in part because they did seem to set themselves apart from the crowd as Virginia wines. The MWs on the panel might have been comparing them to first growth Bordeaux, something I don't taste often enough.

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Jeff, even though we've only met once at your winery, I'll always consider you a close friend. That book I have will be a treasure that I'll keep for the rest of my life and pass down to Matt. I couldn't be happier for you. Congratulations!

Was that the day we met there?

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