RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell, who championed major changes to the Virginia Governor's Cup competition in 2011 that made it one of the most stringent and comprehensive wine competitions in the United States, awarded the 2013 Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor's Cup to Barboursville Vineyards’ 2009 Octagon 12th Edition. By winning this year’s Governor’s Cup, Barboursville becomes the first Virginia winery to win the award four times. Barboursville also won in 1992 (1988 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve), 1999 (1997 Cabernet Franc), and 2007 (1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve). The Governor’s Cup award announcement was made Thursday evening at the Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor’s Cup Gala.
Speaking at the Governor’s Cup awards, Governor McDonnell said, “As Virginia’s wine industry grows in standing and collect accolades from around the world, it means more tourism and more jobs here in the Commonwealth. Shining the light on Virginia’s wineries is another way we can promote this homegrown industry that creates jobs for Virginians. I congratulate Luca Paschina, the Zonin family, and the entire Barboursville team for winning this year’s Governor’s Cup for their 2009 Octagon, one of Virginia’s most iconic red wines. Luca’s Octagon wines are personal favorites of mine, and I know this award winning 12th Edition will make the Virginia wine industry proud now and in the years to come. I also commend the winemakers of the other distinguished wines that comprise this year’s Governor’s Cup Case. I am confident that wine aficionados and enthusiasts alike will take notice of Octagon and the other impressive offerings in this case. The advancements in Virginia winemaking are on display in every bottle we have here tonight and the stringent requirements of the Governor’s Cup competition ensure that Virginia wines receiving medals have been through the most demanding evaluation process.”
Barboursville’s award-winning Octagon is a Meritage-style blend of the winery’s best Bordeaux varietals. The wine is made only in top vintage years. The 2009 vintage is comprised of 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine’s tasting notes are as follows: It has a deep garnet color, with aromas of chocolate, red berries, cranberries, gaining further depth with tar, spice and a touch of forest floor. Dry yet somewhat fruity, medium to full body with a long finish of tannins. A wonderfully structured old world style red blend.
“It has been a pleasure and a reward to follow the evolution of the 2009 vintage of Octagon. Since harvest I took notice of its promising characters, and I was not shy to share with many that it was destined to be among the best wines I will ever produce in my life," said Luca Paschina, Barboursville’s General Manager and Winemaker. “The Virginia Governor’s Cup award is an honor and further validates the character of a wine that has already won 90 points at Wine Enthusiast, the Gold Medal of the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago, of the Winemaker’s Challenge and Critics Challenge in California, and the Platinum Medal of the Sommelier Challenge, also in California.”
The 2013 Virginia Governor’s Cup Competition was conducted over two weeks of tasting. The preliminary tastings were held over ten days at the Capital Wine School in Washington DC, while the final round of tastings was held at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond. The Governor's Cup award winner was selected from the 2013 Governor's Cup Case, the top 12 scoring wines of the competition, which were selected from 377 entries of both red and white wines, from 93 wineries.
In addition to Barboursville’s 2009 Octagon, the other 11 wines (along with varietal descriptions as appropriate) forming the Governor’s Cup Case include:
· Cooper Vineyards – 2010 Petite Verdot Reserve
· King Family Vineyards – 2010 Meritage
· Lovingston Winery – 2009 Josie’s Knoll Estate Reserve (Meritage)
· Philip Carter Winery – 2010 Cleve (Petite Verdot, Tannat)
· Pollak Vineyards – 2009 Cabernet Franc Reserve
· Potomac Point Vineyard and Winery – 2010 Richland Reserve Heritage (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Petite Verdot
· Rappahannock Cellars – 2010 Meritage
· RdV Vineyards – 2010 Rendevous (Meritage)
· RdV Vineyards – 2010 Lost Mountain (Meritage)
· Sunset Hills Vineyard – 2010 Mosaic (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot)
· Trump Winery – 2008 Sparkling Rose (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir)
At least 10 cases of each wine included in the Governor’s Cup Case will be used by the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office for marketing purposes. A number of cases will be shipped to select wine media, promoting Virginia wines to a larger national and international audience. The award winning wines will be used for educational purposes at Virginia winemaker roundtable discussions to improve overall quality of Virginia wines. Governor’s Cup Case wines will also be used by Governor McDonnell on select domestic and international marketing missions and other events designed to promote Virginia wine and winery tourism.
The Governor’s Cup competition, revamped in 2011 at the request of Governor McDonnell, is a result of a partnership among the gubernatorial-appointed Virginia Wine Board (VWB), the Virginia Wineries Association (VWA), which owns and manages the competition, and the Virginia Vineyards Association (VVA). Any wine made from 100% Virginia fruit was eligible for the competition, while ciders and fruit wines had their own category and medalists. All 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.
Jay Youmans, one of only 30 Masters of Wine (MW) in the U.S., directed the competition. Youmans, who is also a Certified Wine Educator (CWE) and the owner and educational director of the Capital Wine School in Washington, DC, recruited wine judges from the professional wine buying and wine media community. The judges were compensated for their time for a rigorous schedule of judging to ensure the competition maintained the highest level of professional evaluation. There were 45 judges in the preliminary round and 15 judges in the final round. A list of the judges along with their bios can be found at http://www.virginiawine.org/governors-cup
One of the most important aspects of the revised competition is the educational component of the judging. After the competition, regional forums for the winemakers will be held with the judging director. 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.
Barboursville Vineyards is located in the Monticello American Viticulture Area of Central Virginia, in and around the Charlottesville region. The historic Virginia winery is located on the estate of James Barbour, former Governor of Virginia, in Barboursville. The winery was founded in 1976 by Gianni Zonin, a prominent Italian winemaker whose family has roots in Italian viticulture going back to 1821. The Zonin Group is based in Vicenza, Italy. Barboursville is Zonin's sole American venture.
Sales of Virginia wine reached a record high in fiscal year 2012 with more than 485,000 cases, or more than 5.8 million bottles, sold. Virginia currently ranks fifth in the number of wineries in the nation with 230. Virginia is also the nation’s fifth largest wine grape producer. According to a recently released economic impact study, the Virginia wine industry employs more than 4,700 and contributes almost $750 million to the Virginia economy on an annual basis.
For a complete list of previous Governor’s Cup winners and further information about the Virginia wine industry, events, tours and tastings, please visit the Virginia Wine Marketing Office http://www.virginiawine.org/ or call 804-344-8200.