Judges selections from 3rd Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition

By on October 10, 2015
Backroom at the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.

During the third annual Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition, the wine judges tasted the wines blind, meaning they knew neither the winery nor the price of the wine until they were done evaluating. This shows the backroom, where the bottles of wine are prepared and the wines are poured before being presented to the judges. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

HOOD RIVER, Ore. – We asked our judges at the third annual Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition to select 10 wines from their two days of tasting and evaluating.

Some of these wines earned gold medals, while others did not but dazzled the palates of these particular judges.

All of the wines were tasted blind, meaning the judges knew neither the producer nor the price during the evaluation process.

The Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition took place at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel and drew more than 560 wines, all of which were nominated by the participating judges.

Here are the “judges selections” submitted by wine professionals who were part of the competition.

Ellen Landis

Ellen Landis is former owner of Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn in Half Moon Bay, Calif., and renowned international wine judge who now lives in Vancouver, Wash.

  • Henry Earl Estate Wines 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, $45. This earned a gold from the judges.
  • Tenet Wines 2013 The Pundit Syrah, Columbia Valley, $25: This earned a silver from the judges and a gold from Ellen.
  • Huston Vineyards 2014 Private Reserve Chardonnay, Snake River Valley, $24: This earned a gold and best of class from the judges.
  • Reininger Winery 2011 Mr. Owl’s Red, Walla Walla Valley, $34: This earned a silver from the judges and a gold from Ellen.
  • Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Old Vines Auxerrois, Okanagan Valley, $13: This earned best of show from the judges.
  • St. Innocent Winery 2013 Zenith Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, $42: This earned a gold from the judges.
  • Palencia Winery 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $15: This earned a silver from the judges and gold from Ellen. It won best of show at the Great Northwest Wine Competition in March.
  • Ancestry Cellars 2013 Reminiscence Riesling, Columbia Gorge, $18: This won a unanimous double gold from the judges.
  • Walla Walla Vintners 2012 Yellow Bird Vineyard Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $38: This won gold from the judges.

Steven Sinkler

Steven Sinkler is owner of The Wine Shack in Cannon Beach, Ore.

  • BBQ NV Oink! Red, American, $15: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Troon Vineyard 2013 Foundation ’72 Vermentino, Applegate Valley, $18: This earned a bronze medal from the judges.
  • Ambassador Wines of Washington 2012 Estate Plenipotentiary Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, $50: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards 2013 Beau Geste, Idaho/Washington/Oregon, $28: This earned a bronze medal from the judges.
  • Henry Earl Estate Wines 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, $45: This earned a gold medal from the judges.
  • Robert Ramsay Cellars 2012 McKinley Springs Syrah, Horse Heaven Hills, $30: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Maryhill Winery 2014 Rosé of Sangiovese, Columbia Valley, $16: This earned a gold medal from the judges.
  • Buried Cane 2012 Heartwood Red, Columbia Valley, $25: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Vino la Monarcha 2014 Pinot Grigio, Columbia Valley, $15: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • San Juan Vineyards 2014 Riesling, Yakima Valley, $17: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Ginkgo Forest Winery NV Raspberry Sensation, Washington, $22: This earned a silver medal from the judges.

Dave Holstrom

Dave Holstrom owns Guy du Vin, a restaurant wine program consulting business in Portland.

  • Reininger Winery 2012 Carménère, Walla Walla Valley, $51: This earned a gold medal from the judges.
  • Abacela 2014 Grenache Rosé, Umpqua Valley, $18: This earned a unanimous double gold medal from the judges.
  • Coeur de Terre Vineyard 2012 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $22: This earned a gold medal from the judges.
  • Terra Blanca Winery & Estate Vineyard 2010 Arch Terrace Syrah, Red Mountain, $25: This earned a gold and best of class from the judges.
  • Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Estate Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $40: This earned a gold medal from the judges.
  • Bridge Press Cellars 2011 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $25: This earned a gold medal from the judges.
  • Woodward Canyon Winery 2012 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $52: This earned a gold medal from the judges.
  • Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Classic Riesling, Okanagan Valley, $13: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2013 Golgotha Bloc Malbec, Umpqua Valley, $31: This earned a gold medal from the judges.
  • Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Minus 9 Ehrenfelser Icewine, Okanagan Valley, $42: This earned a silver medal from the judges.

Shelly Fitzgerald

Shelly Fitzgerald is a buyer for Downtown Spirits in Seattle.

  • Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Old Vines Auxerrois, Okanagan Valley, $13: This earned best of show from the judges.
  • Columbia Crest 2013 Grand Estates Syrah, Columbia Valley, $12: This earned a gold medal from the judges.
  • Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Estate Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $40: This earned a gold medal from the judges.
  • Terra Blanca Winery & Estate Vineyard 2010 Arch Terrace Syrah, Red Mountain, $25: This earned a gold medal and best of class from the judges.
  • Tamarack Cellars 2013 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $28: This earned a gold medal and best red wine from the judges.
  • Anam Cara Cellars 2012 Nicholas Estate Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains, $33: This earned a gold and best Pinot Noir of the competition.
  • Watermill Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley, $32: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Reininger Winery 2012 Carménère, Walla Walla Valley, $51: This earned a unanimous double gold from the judges.
  • Wy’East Vineyards 2013 Blue Chip Pinot Noir, Columbia Gorge, $25: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Seven Hills Winery 2014 Dry Rosé, Columbia Valley, $17: This earned a gold medal and best rosé from the judges.
  • Saviah Cellars 2013 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $25: This earned a gold medal from the judges.
  • Poet’s Leap 2014 Riesling, Columbia Valley, $20: This earned a gold medal from the judges.

Ilene Dudunake

Ilene Dudunake owns A New Vintage Wine Shop near Boise, Idaho.

  • Watermill Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley, $32: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2013 Hebron Bloc Grenache, Umpqua Valley, $27: The judges awarded this a silver medal.
  • Daven Lore Winery 2013 Petit Verdot, Horse Heaven Hills, $29: This earned a bronze medal from the judges.
  • Abacela 2014 Grenache Rosé, Umpqua Valley, $18: This earned a unanimous double gold medal from the judges.
  • Karma Vineyards 2013 Karma All American Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $30: The judges awarded this a silver medal.
  • Saviah Cellars 2013 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $25: This earned a gold medal from the judges.
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle 2012 Artist Series, Columbia Valley, $55: This earned a gold medal from the judges.
  • Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Estate Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $40: This won a gold medal from the judges.
  • Terra Blanca Winery & Estate Vineyard 2010 Arch Terrace Syrah, Red Mountain, $25: This won a gold and was named best of class by the judges.
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle 2012 Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot, Horse Heaven Hills, $28: This was given a silver by the judges.

Amberleigh Brownson

Amberleigh Brownson is restaurant outlets manager for Semiahmoo Resort, Golf and Spa in Blaine, Wash.

  • Kyra Wines 2012 Dolcetto, Wahluke Slope, $20: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Optimum Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, $18: This was awarded a gold medal by the judges.
  • Daven Lore Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, $29: This was given a silver medal by the judges.
  • Hightower Cellars 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, $36: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Sawtooth Estate Winery 2013 Chardonnay, Snake River Valley, $14: This was awarded a silver medal by the judges.
  • Ambassador Wines of Washington 2012 Estate Envoy, Red Mountain, $35: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Westport Winery NV Bella, Columbia Valley, $34: This earned a silver from the judges.
  • Michelle Sparkling Wines NV Brut, Columbia Valley, $13: This was awarded a silver by the judges.
  • Côtes de Ciel 2012 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Merlot, Red Mountain, $34: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Vino la Monarcha 2013 Malbec, Wahluke Slope, $20: This earned a silver medal from the judges.

Ken Landis

Ken Landis is a chef and international wine judges who recently relocated from Half Moon Bay, Calif., to Vancouver, Wash.

  • Westport Winery NV Rapture of the Deep Washington, $28: This sparkling cranberry wine earned a gold and best of class from the judges.
  • San Juan Vineyards 2014 Riesling, Yakima Valley, $17: The judges awarded this a silver medal.
  • Henry Earl Estate Wines 2013 Riesling, Wahluke Slope, $20: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Obelisco Estate 2012 Nefer Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, $125: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Brandborg Vineyard & Winery 2013 Gewürztraminer, Elkton Oregon, $18: This earned a silver from the judges.

Tim O’Brien

Tim O’Brien is corporate director of beverage at Salty’s Restaurants.

  • Kiona Vineyards and Winery 2012 Sangiovese, Red Mountain, $25: This earned a bronze from the judges.
  • Saviah Cellars 2013 Dugger Creek Vineyard Barbera, Walla Walla Valley, $30: This earned a bronze from the judges.
  • Treos 2014 Albariño, Willamette Valley, $25: This earned a silver from the judges.
  • Winter’s Hill Estate 2013 Pinot Noir , Dundee Hills, $39: This earned a silver from the judges.
  • Seven Hills Winery 2013 Seven Hills Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $45: This earned a silver from the judges.
  • Dusted Valley 2012 Stained Tooth Syrah, Columbia Valley, $32: This earned a silver from the judges.
  • Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Cuvée, Washington, $32: This won a gold medal from the judges.
  • Zerba Cellars 2011 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $36: This earned a silver from the judges.
  • Rocky Pond Winery 2013 Riesling, Lake Chelan, $18: This earned a gold from the judges.
  • Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Private Reserve Dry Riesling, Okanagan Valley, $13: This earned a bronze from the judges.

Chris Horn

Chris Horn is the wine director for Seattle-based Heavy Restaurant Group and Purple Café & Wine Bar.

  • Stoller Family Estate 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $45: This earned a silver from the judges.
  • Woodward Canyon Winery 2012 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington, $99: This earned a gold from the judges.
  • Saviah Cellars 2012 The Stones Speak Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $55: This earned a unanimous double gold medal from the judges.
  • Big Table Farm 2013 Chardonnay, Willamette Valley, $45: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • DeLille Cellars 2012 Harrison Hill, Snipes Mountain, $95: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • One Wines 2011 One Red Wine, Horse Heaven Hills, $40: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Saviah Cellars 2012 Big Sky Cuvee, Columbia Valley, $35: This earned a gold from the judges.
  • Tamarack Cellars 2013 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $28: This earned a gold medal and best red wine of the competition.
  • Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $30: This earned a unanimous double gold medal from the judges.

April Reddout

April Reddout is wine program manager of the Walter Clore Center in Prosser, Wash.

  • Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2013 Winemaker’s Reserve Grüner Veltliner, Umpqua Valley, $31:  This earned a bronze medal from the judges.
  • Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2014 Grüner Veltliner, Umpqua Valley, $31: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Bunnell Family Cellar 2010 Syrah, Horse Heaven Hills, $44: This earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Ambassador Wines of Washington 2012 Estate Envoy, Red Mountain, $35: This red blend that leads with Cabernet Sauvignon earned a silver medal from the judges.
  • Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2013 Golgotha Bloc Malbec, Umpqua Valley, $31: This earned a gold medal.

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .

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