Click Here for: Press Release
Somms Go Rogue on Wine, Regal on Spirits
(Oct. 2022) - The 15th annual Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition did what blind tastings often do - reveal both long-time quality producers and new quality players in the arena - and a few surprises. This year's surprise led to the creation of a new award, and it is my pleasure to introduce our first Region of the Year award winner for wine: Southern Oregon's Rogue Valley.
You're likely much more familiar with Oregon's Willamette Valley than this area near the state's border with California, but this judging shows that Rogue is worthy of your attention. Of the wines entered from this AVA, 93% received medals, and 86% of those medals were Gold or Platinum. Every judging panel that tasted wines from the region awarded Gold or better to one or more of the wines, and four wines took Best of Class honors. An amazing showing indeed!
Of course, the usual suspects made themselves known as well. Tom Eddy Winery took the domestic Wine of the Year and Winery of the Year crowns thanks to some fabulous Cabernet Sauvignon. Australia's Wakefield (Taylors in Australia) took yet another Import Winery of the Year award with their usual high quality showing. Canapino's Vino Nobile di Montepulciano took the Imported Wine of the Year award with a truly noble Sangiovese priced for the people.
On the Spirits front, the top awards went to a company headed by music royalty Earl Stevens (better known to fans as "E-40") with his Tycoon Cognac VSOP wowing the judges and taking the Spirit of the Year trophy. "The Earl" also scored with the E. Cuarenta Reposado, which took Best Tequila props. Continuing in the regal vein, Highclere Castle took Best Gin accolades with a classic expression of London Dry Gin.
You can peruse all the winners in both wine and spirits here. Thanks to all of our entrants, and here's to revealing new treasures in 2023 at the 16th annual Sommelier Challenge. Cheers!