Malbec tops Capital Wine and Food Festival wine competition

By on March 16, 2016
Capital Food & Wine Festival

The Capital Wine & Food Festival takes place in Lacey, not far from the Washington State Capitol in Olympia. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

LACEY, Wash. – A young Malbec grown in the Yakima Valley and poured in the shadows of the Cascades Range’s most active volcano will be featured as best of show during one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest single-day wine festivals.

Gary Dunbar, owner/winemaker for Mount St. Helens Cellars in Castle Rock, Wash., used his 2014 Malbec from Crawford Vineyard to top the field of 68 entries into the Capital Food and Wine Festival Wine Competition. The annual judging is part of the fundraiser for the St. Martin’s University Alumni Association, which will be staged Saturday, March 19, on the campus of the Lacey school.

“Last year, we had an estimated 5,500 people attending, and we think this year we’ll be over 6,000 in attendance,” said Tom Barte, president of the St. Martin’s University Alumni Association and wine chairman for the Capital Food and Wine Festival. “We’re in our 27th year, and this year, we’re not competing with the Seattle (Taste Washington) event.”

Finn Hill, Sovereign shine in judging

capital-wine-and-food-festival-logoFinn Hill Winery, Wine Press Northwest magazine’s 2016 Washington Winery to Watch, received the award for the judging’s top white wine – its 2013 The Gnome Riesling, and a gold medal for the 2012 Le Beau Cabernet Sauvignon using Red Mountain grapes.

Sovereign Cellars in Olympia capitalized on the warm 2013 vintage to earn a trio of gold medals for its Merlot, Syrah and Finnigan’s Daughter Claret. Last year, Denny and Kathy Gross used a Merlot from the stellar 2012 vintage to produce the best wine at the Capital competition.

Barte said the alumni association uses the Capital Food and Wine Festival to raise more than $40,000 each year for scholarships at St. Martin’s. More than 300 volunteers, including St. Martin’s students, support the event in various ways.

More than 40 wineries, 20 breweries and 19 food vendors will be featured during the nine-hour event staged in both the Marcus Pavilion and Norman Worthington Conference Center.

“Taylor Shellfish will have oysters available,” Barte said. “We learned that the wineries didn’t like the louder music, so we’ve gone with light jazz and blues. One of the local clubs has underwritten the tent that holds 600 people where there will be two TVs for March Madness, and wine by the glass featuring Maryhill will be available for purchase.”

Here are the medal winners for the 2016 Capital Food & Wine Festival judging:

Best red wine and best of show

Mount St. Helens Cellars 2014 Malbec, Yakima Valley, $28

Best white wine

Finn Hill Winery 2013 The Gnome Riesling, Columbia Valley, $18

Best fruit wine

Westport Winery NV Rapture of the Deep, Washington, $28

Best dessert wine

Horizon’s Edge Winery NV Wishful Thinking Chocolate Port, Rattlesnake Hills, $20

Gold and best of class

Convergence Zone Cellars 2011 Squall Line Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, $32

Palouse Winery 2012 Dineen Vineyard Ahh! Syrah, Rattlesnake Hills, $36

Sovereign Cellars 2013 Finnigan’s Daughter Claret, Red Mountain, $28

Stina’s Cellars 2012 Petit Verdot, Wahluke Slope, $45

Gold

Finn Hill Winery 2012 Le Beau Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, $35

Ginkgo Forest Winery 2012 Malbec, Wahluke Slope, $24

Heymann Whinery 2011 Syrah, Yakima Valley, $19

Maison de Padgett Winery NV Smoking Gun Fortified Dessert Wine, Rattlesnake Hills, $20

Scatter Creek Winery NV Peach Breeze, Yakima Valley, $14

Skylite Cellars 2012 Soiree, Columbia Valley, $24

Skylite Cellars 2012 Verhey Vineyard Malbec, Yakima Valley, $32

Sovereign Cellars 2013 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $30

Sovereign Cellars 2013 Syrah, Red Mountain, $30

Stottle Winery 2012 Big Eddie, Columbia Valley, $35

Westport Winery 2013 Charterboat Chick , Horse Heaven Hills, $28

Silver

Bavarian Cellars 2003 McHargue Malbec Port, Rattlesnake Hills, $25

Cadence 2012 Tapteil Vineyard, Red Mountain, $45

Cadence 2012 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, Red Mountain, $45

Convergence Zone Cellars 2013 Sunbreak Chenin Blanc, Snipes Mountain, $19

Convergence Zone Cellars 2011 Black Cloud Malbec, Red Mountain, $35

Coyote Canyon Winery 2013 Albarino, Horse Heaven Hills, $22

Eleganté Cellars 2008 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $33

Elegante’ Cellars 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $35

Finn Hill Winery 2013 “En Fleur” Semillon Ice Wine, Wahluke Slope, $35

Ginkgo Forest Winery 2012 Mourvedre, Wahluke Slope, $30

Ginkgo Forest Winery NV Raspberry Sensation Lot #2, Washington, $22

Heymann Whinery NV Cranberry Wine, Washington, $16

Madsen Family Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, $32

Madsen Family Cellars 2012 Heart of Darkness, Horse Heaven Hills, $25

Maison de Padgett Winery 2012 Funky Monkey Winter Harvest, Rattlesnake Hills, $20

Marshal’s Winery 2008 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $20

Northwest Mountain Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, $26

Northwest Mountain Winery 2011 Reserve Syrah, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $25

Northwest Totem Cellars 2010 Low Man Red, Columbia Valley, $39

Northwest Totem Cellars 2012 Grenache, Yakima Valley, $39

Palouse Winery 2015 White Bluffs Vineyards Cloud 9 Riesling, Washington, $24

Palouse Winery 2012 Eclipse, Rattlesnake Hills, $29

Scatter Creek Winery 2012 Koko Indulgence, Washington, $25

Skylite Cellars 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $29

Stina’s Cellars 2013 Tempranillo, Wahluke Slope, $25

Stottle Winery 2012 Elerding 6 Prong Vineyard Malbec, Horse Heaven Hills, $34

Westport Winery NV Duckleberry Grunt, Washington, $27

Bronze

Bavarian Cellars NV Bite Me Peach Port, Rattlesnake Hills, $25

Bavarian Cellars NV Naked Raspberry Port, Rattlesnake Hills, $25

Cadence 2012 Cara Mia Vineyard Camerata, Red Mountain, $60

Coyote Canyon Winery 2010 H/H Estates Michael Andrews, Horse Heaven Hills, $38

Elegante’ Cellars 2014 Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley, $35

Hoodsport Winery NV Blueberry, Washington, $24

Hoodsport Winery NV Blueberry, Washington, $24

Hoodsport Winery NV Bella Cranberry, Washington, $25

Horizon’s Edge Winery NV After Glow Raspberry Riesling, Rattlesnake Hills, $15

Madsen Family Cellars 2012 Orange Muscat, Yakima Valley, $15

Mount St. Helens Cellars NV You Bet Your Sweet Ash Orange Muscat, Yakima Valley, $15

Northwest Mountain Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $25

Northwest Totem Cellars 2010 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, $39

Scatter Creek Winery NV Berry Select “Holidaze”, Washington, $40

Sleeping Dog Wines 2012 Carmenere, Yakima Valley, $30

Sleeping Dog Wines 2014 Sweet Aurora, Yakima Valley, $21

Stina’s Cellars 2014 Rebus Red, Yakima Valley, $15

Stottle Winery 2013 Lucille Late Harvest Viognier, Yakima Valley, $20

Waving Tree Winery 2015 Sweet Sangiovese Rosé, Columbia Valley, $20

Waving Tree Winery NV B Sweet Barbera, Columbia Valley, $20

Waving Tree Winery 2012 Mourvèdre, Columbia Valley, $25

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region's longest-running golf publication.