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Monday, August 16, 2010

BAJA - Mexican Wines Scored High in International Competition

'Vino-Tourism' by Steve Dryden

The 18th annual International Wine Competition "Ensenada, Tierra del Vino," took place at the Hotel Coral and Marina, in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico on August 7th and 8th. This was the largest wine competition ever held in this region, with over 225 wines from 11 countries.

Wines judged were from Mexico, the United States, France, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and Portugal.

The event hosted 24 international judges from five countries, and was organized by the staff and students of UABC of Ensenada. The judges were provided with individual computers to rate the wines, allowing the results to be calculated immediately. In comparison, many countries still tally results using pencil and paper. Mexico is rapidly emerging with premium wines and modern technical communication abilities. This competition is leading the way in setting standards for comprehensive and accurate wine judging results.

This event was one of the first events held in Baja California's annual Fiestas de la Vendimia, that began August 6th and lasts for sixteen days. (See http://fiestasdelavendimia.com/ for a calendar of events.)

The 24 international judges were guided out to the wine country to visit Monte Xanic and Bibayoff wineries. Varivision Cable TV of Ensenada sent crew members from "The Grapevine: Mexican Wine and Food Adventures," to film the event, and to interview judges and organizers. Those video clips as well as contest results are available at www.bajawineandcuisine.com  

The winners for the 2010 competition were:

Vitivinicola Emeve , SA de CV, of Baja California won four gold medals, including the Grand Award for their Malbec, the top wine of 2010.

Bodegas de Santo Tomas also won four golds; Viñedos Las Nubes SA de CV won four golds; Viñedos La Farga won three gold medals; Fresno State Winery won three golds; Robledo Family Winery of Sonoma, California won three golds; Hacienda Las Lomita won a gold and two silvers; Vinicola Torres Alegre won two golds; Viñas de Garza won two golds; Azienda Vinicola Rivera won two golds; Bodegas de Baron Balch’e won two golds; Bodegas Vinicola Real S.L. won two golds; Cavas Valmar won a gold; Vinart won a gold; MD won a gold; and Casa Pedro Domecq won a gold.

Of the gold medals awarded 23 went to Mexico, followed by Spain, California, Argentina, Italy, and South Africa.

An interesting note is which varietals won the most gold: Cabernet Sauvignon 100% or blends won 11 golds, Merlot 100% or blends won five golds, Syrah 100% or blends won five golds, Tempranillo 100% or blends won five golds, Nebbiolo 100% won three golds, Grenache 100% or blends won two golds, Malbec one gold — and the Grand Award, Zinfandel one gold, and Barbera one gold. Red wines took 50 golds, while white wines won 5 awards. Gold winning white varietals were Chardonnay, Viognier, and Sauvignon Blanc or various blends of those varietals.

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Steve Dryden is a wine, food and travel writer living in Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s premier wine country in northwestern Baja California, where he guides individual and small group wine tours. He can be reached at sbdryden@hotmail.com. Visit his new blog at www.winefoodguide.com or www.bajawineandcuisine.com