CLOVERDALE, Calif. — Five Mid-Columbia wines earned best-of-class awards at the nation’s largest wine competition.
The winners were announced Friday at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, conducted in the northern Sonoma County town of Cloverdale.
The five Mid-Columbia wineries to win top honors were Barnard Griffin in Richland, Gordon Brothers Cellars in Pasco, Kiona Vineyards Winery on Red Mountain and Airfield Estates and Hogue Cellars in Prosser.
Maryhill Winery in Goldendale won a unanimous double gold and three gold medals for its red wines, three of which were for its new vineyard-designated series.
Barnard Griffin won a best-of-class for its 2011 Chardonnay, the winery’s largest-production wine at 11,000 cases. Owner/winemaker Rob Griffin uses grapes from four vineyards, including his estate Caraway Vineyard near Kennewick.
In a bit of an upset, Barnard Griffin’s rosé of Sangiovese did not win a gold for the first time in eight years. The 2012 rosé won a silver medal this year, which Griffin was happy with.
“The streak had to end eventually,” he said.
Bob Fraser, director of the San Francisco Wine Competition, said Barnard Griffin’s streak remarkable and unprecedented.
“They do such a good job with their wines,” he said. “It’s a tough competition, and to run that streak is astounding.”
Fraser, who spent part of last year touring Pacific Northwest wineries, said the Northwest continues to show well in the competition.
“The Northwest has fared exceptionally well in the past two to three years especially,” he said. “That’s a mark of the viticultural and winemaking practices in the Pacific Northwest.”
The Hogue Cellars 2011 Riesling from the Columbia Valley took best of class for the off-dry category of greater than 1.5 percent residual sugar.
“As the Washington wine industry continues to grow and mature, results such as this year after year serve to cement our world-class reputation,” said Co Dinn, director of winemaking for the Prosser winery. “We are just glad to be doing our part to help.”
About 60 wine professionals judged more than 5,500 entries over four days for this year’s competition.