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Wine’s greatest strength is its variety, and our diverse list of 100-plus winners will take you on unexpected journeys, and show that you can find value anywhere on the price spectrum. Thirteen countries show in the final results, which are dominated by France, Italy, and B.C. Five of the category winners were French, proving that this country, where wine is such a vital part of the psyche, is clearly on form. Our Best of Show winner also confirms that refreshment, nuance, and elegance matter in wine again. Almost unanimously, we chose the complex, minerally Dominique Piron Brouilly to send the message that less can be more and that old is new and exciting again.
Then there is B.C.: dozens of winning wines prove once more that the best of our local heroes can stand shoulder to shoulder with the world. From Riesling to Zweigelt, 50-plus winners proclaim that we are maturing as a wine region. Other trends I observed? More ripe and delicious Pinots amidst the winners show that the worldwide human ambition lavished on this grape has been worth the effort. Syrah features in 15 red wines for you to sample, and unsung grapes like Picpoul, Arneis, and Aglianico have found a tuneful voice. This year sake bravely went head to head with wine because its savoury complexity and vinous qualities can be deployed just like wine.
Since the beginning in 2005 I have watched this competition come of age. Just as a fine wine develops in the bottle, our awards have gained focus, harmony, and refinement over the years. My ambition and the competition’s goal is to provide you with a year’s worth of wines that arouse the senses, give great pleasure, and provide true value. Simply close your eyes and point as you sip your way through 109 winners over the next year.
Judges were divided into panels, each with a facilitator. Flights of wine were organized by style and price and tasted blind on a like-with-like basis. Winners were chosen by consensus; judges collectively decided which wines offered the best quality and value. The four panels united for a playoff of all 10 category winners to determine our Best of Show: Dominique Piron Brouilly Domaine Combiaty 2009
Best of Show
Best Sparkling Wines
Best White Wines
Best Rosé Wines
Best Red Wines
Best Fortified Wines
Best Dessert Wines
Best Bargain Wines
DJ Kearney Chief judgeJulian Scholefield Competition manager
Michelle Bouffard Co-owner, House WineMark Davidson Market development manager, Wine Australia USAPark Heffelfinger Co-owner, Memphis Blues Barbeque HouseRhys Pender, MW Owner, WinePlus+
Geoff Boyd Director of bar and concept development, JOEY Restaurant GroupChristina Burridge Drink editor, Vancouver magazineSid Cross Wine and food educatorOwen Knowlton Wine director and manager, West restaurantKurtis Kolt Professional wine enthusiastJudith Lane Wine, food, and travel journalistTim Pawsey Journalist, the Courier, North Shore News, and Hiredbelly.comBarbarian Wine Consulting, BCLDBIain Philip Senior wine instructor, Art Institute of VancouverBarbara Philip MW Barbarian Wine Consulting, BCLDBMark Shipway AIWS wine instructor and department head Dave Smith Buyer, Everything WineMark Taylor Owner, Cru restaurantTerry Threlfall Sommelier, Hawksworth restaurant
Dee Anand, Alana Dickson, Steve Dimond, Patricia Hake, Karen Kho, Roger Maniwa, Tish Thibeault, Dustin Wellwood, Jason Yamazaki
Special thanks to the Vancouver Club for hosting our three-day competition