Midway during the second day of judging at this year’s event, one of the other judges smiled at me and said, “This must make you feel good.”
And it did. My panel was judging red wines from the United States made in places that weren’t California, Oregon, and Washington. And they had been – dare I say? – spectacular. We gave five silvers and a gold; the day before, we had awarded gold medals to chardonnays from Idaho’s Pend d’Oreille and Michigan.
The other judge, Paul Lukacs of Baltimore, knew about my work with DrinkLocalWine and my enthusiasm for regional producers. And, as someone who judges regularly, he also knew the quality of these wines can be uneven. And while we had some clunkers during the two-day event (we judged all regional wine), the overall quality was as good – if not better – than at any competition I have judged. There was even a nifty red from South Dakota’s Belle Joli made with the marquette grape. More, after the jump: