B.C. wines shine in blind tasting against established old world vines

It was a judgement of great weight: a blind tasting of 24 of B.C.’s most well-known wine varietals against 16 international benchmarks.

Riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir and syrah were sniffed, swirled and sipped in the final Judgement of B.C., modelled after 1967’s Judgement of Paris that put Californian wine on the map.

The man who did it all those years ago, seated at the head of the table, was Steven Spurrier.

“I did that to get recognition for California wines, I did not expect them to win,” said Spurrier

“I wanted to get recognition for what they did and what they have going on and what has happened here is recognition — plus, plus, plus.”

He’s returned to B.C. five years after the first Judgement of B.C. to measure how far Okanagan wine has come and he sees the province’s whites and reds as the next big thing.

“B.C. is the here and now,” he said. “It really is the perfect combination of grape expression and the expression of the grape varieties you are planting and I have always described B.C. as the old world of the new world, because the new world is always trying to do something different.

“You (British Columbians) are doing what I think the old world has done, but rather better.”

B.C. stood out of the bouquet of deep burgundies, aromatic rieslings and crisp chardonnays.

“We have a very, very unique climate and we have a fine terroir and a very unique one, so we have all the right elements for making great wine,” said DJ Kearney, wine judge.

“But we are pretty new and we are young at it and it’s very important that we are being introspective and looking at what we do and looking at it in the context of established fine wines.”

The three winners, who beat out their old world counterparts, wereArrow Leaf Cellars, Meyer Family Vineyards and Tight Rope Winery.

Wine professionals came in from around the world to take part in the blind tasting, a boost to an already robust sector which now boasts 281 grape wineries and 929 vineyards across the province.

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