Barboursville Vineyard’s 2009 Octagon 12th edition named top Virginia wine

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The 2009 Octagon 12th Edition from Barboursville Vineyard, one of Virginia’s oldest and best-known wineries, has won the 2013 Virginia Governor’s Cup competition.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, who pushed for changes to the statewide competition in 2011 that made it among the most stringent in the country, made the announcement Thursday about the Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor’s Cup during an evening gala in the ballroom of the Residences at the John Marshall, a former hotel in downtown Richmond.

With this year’s win, Barboursville becomes the first Virginia winery to win the statewide award four times.  Barboursville also won in 1992 (1988 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve), 1999 (1997 Cabernet Franc), and 2007 (1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve).

Speaking at the awards presentation, Gov. McDonnell said, “Shining the light on Virginia’s wineries is another way we can promote this homegrown industry that creates jobs for Virginians. I congratulate Luca Paschina, the Zonin family and the entire Barboursville team for winning this year’s Governor’s Cup …”

Barboursville’s winning Octagon is a Meritage-style blend of the winery’s best Bordeaux varietals. The wine is made only in top vintage years.  The 2009 vintage is comprised of 70 percent Merlot, 15 percent Cabernet Franc, 10 percent Petit Verdot and 5 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.

“The Virginia Governor’s Cup award is an honor and further validates the character of a wine that has already won 90 points at Wine Enthusiast, the Gold Medal of the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago, of the Winemaker’s Challenge and Critics Challenge in California, and the Platinum Medal of the Sommelier Challenge, also in California,” said Paschina, Barboursville’s general manager and winemaker.

The winery was founded in 1976 by Gianni Zonin, a prominent Italian winemaker whose family has roots in Italian viticulture going back to 1821. The Zonin Group is based in Vicenza, Italy.  Barboursville is Zonin’s sole American venture. 

The 2013 Virginia Governor’s Cup Competition was held over two weeks of tasting.  The winner was selected from the 2013 Governor’s Cup Case, which consists of the top 12 scoring wines of the competition. They were selected from 377 entries of both red and white wines, from 93 of the state’s more than 200 wineries.

In addition to Barboursville’s 2009 Octagon, the other 11 wines in the Governor’s Cup Case are:

•      Cooper Vineyards – 2010 Petite Verdot Reserve
•      King Family Vineyards – 2010 Meritage
•      Lovingston Winery – 2009 Josie’s Knoll Estate Reserve (Meritage)
•      Philip Carter Winery – 2010 Cleve (Petite Verdot, Tannat)
•      Pollak Vineyards – 2009 Cabernet Franc Reserve
•      Potomac Point Vineyard and Winery – 2010 Richland Reserve Heritage (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Petite Verdot
•      Rappahannock Cellars – 2010 Meritage
•      RdV Vineyards – 2010 Rendevous (Meritage)
•      RdV Vineyards – 2010 Lost Mountain (Meritage)
•      Sunset Hills Vineyard – 2010 Mosaic (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot)
•      Trump Winery – 2008 Sparkling Rose (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir)

The Governor’s Cup competition is open to any wine made from 100% Virginia fruit. All entries include an affidavit with certification of 100 percent Virginia fruit, including grower names and location and information on alcohol, acidity and residual sugar.

Jay Youmans, owner and educational director of the Capital Wine School in Washington, D.C., and one of only 30 Masters of Wine in the U.S., directed the competition.  There were 45 judges in the preliminary round and 15 judges in the final round. 

The revised competition includes an educational component. For instance, notes with the judges’ blind comments will be shared with individual winemakers, so that they will get direct feedback on how their wines were received. Also, all wines are judged together as opposed to having separate awards for whites and reds, which was done in the past.

Sales of Virginia wine reached a record high in fiscal year 2012 with 485,000 cases, or more than 5.8 million bottles, sold.  Virginia ranks fifth in the number of wineries in the nation with 230.  According to a recently released economic impact study, the Virginia wine industry employs more than 4,700 people and contributes nearly $750 million to the Virginia economy on an annual basis. 


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