Brian Carter, Reininger, Walla Walla Vintners hoist Jefferson Cups

By on November 29, 2016
Chuck Reininger is owner of Reininger Winery in Walla Walla, Washington

Chuck Reininger, owner and winemaker for Reininger Winery in Walla Walla, Wash., earned a rare Jefferson Cup this month for the Helix by Reininger 2012 Syrah. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Three of Washington state’s most respected producers — Brian Carter Cellars, Reininger and Walla Walla Vintners — have earned a coveted Jefferson Cup at the largest invite-only wine judging in the United States.

The 17th annual Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition awarded sweepstakes trophies in the Red Vinifera Wine category to the Brian Carter Cellars 2012 Solesce, the Helix by Reininger 2012 Syrah and the Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Doug Frost, one of four wine professionals in the world to achieve the title of both Master of Wine and Master Sommelier, orchestrated the judging of 720 entries from 27 states on Nov. 17-18. The judging panel is dominated by wine professionals with either MS or MW after their names.

“Many people have begun to call the Jefferson Cup Invitational, the ‘Olympics’ of wine competitions,” Frost stated in a news release. “This competition is not open to every winery willing to submit an entrance fee. Rather we select the best of the best, culled from tastings and competitions in America throughout 2016.”

A total of 24 wines across seven categories won sweepstakes awards to earn a Jefferson Cup. Only five red entries using traditional European wine grapes received a Jefferson Cup. Three of those came from Washington — and two from Walla Walla.

The showing this fall by Carter continues the Woodinville winemaker’s tradition of appealing to Frost’s decorated judges. Last year, he won sweepstakes awards for the Brian Carter Cellars 2013 Opulento, a Port-style wine, and Brian Carter Cellars 2011 Byzance Red Wine.

Judging honors Thomas Jefferson, lifts nonprofit

Winemaker William vonMetzger holds up a bottle of his award winning Walla Walla Vintners 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, the top wine of the 2015 Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Winemaker William vonMetzger, who won the 2015 Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition with his Walla Walla Vintners 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, used his 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon to win a 2016 Jefferson Cup. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Frost founded his competition in 1999 as a way to honor Thomas Jefferson.

“Jefferson fathered our constitution, helped champion the international concept of human rights and was a seminal figure in America’s cultural, culinary (including wine) and agricultural history,” Frost said.

This year, the Jefferson Cup raised more than $100,000 for Angel Flight Central. The agency based in Kansas City uses volunteer pilots in 10 Midwest states to help those needing medical treatment or caught in a family crisis.

A Jefferson Cup is the equivalent of a sweepstakes medal winner at most competitions. A Jefferson Cup nominee is the equivalent of a unanimous double gold medal. An Excellence award is roughly equivalent to a gold medal, while a Merit award is similar to a silver medal.

Doug Frost, a Master of Wine and a Master Sommelier, judges the 2015 Oregon Wine Experience competition in Jacksonville. (Photo by Colony One Studio/Courtesy of Oregon Wine Experience)

Doug Frost, a Master of Wine and a Master Sommelier, judges the 2015 Oregon Wine Experience competition in Jacksonville. (Photo by Colony One Studio/Courtesy of Oregon Wine Experience)

Here are the award winners from the Pacific Northwest at the 16th annual Jefferson Cup Invitational.

Jefferson Cup/Sweepstakes winner

Brian Carter Cellars 2012 Solesce Red Wine, Columbia Valley
Helix by Reininger 2012 Syrah, Columbia Valley
Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley

Jefferson Cup nominee/Double gold medal

Brian Carter Cellars 2014 Oriana, Yakima Valley
Camaraderie Cellars 2014 Dionysus Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
Camaraderie Cellars 2013 Tempranillo, Yakima Valley
Elk Cove Vineyards 2014 Pinot Noir, Williamette Valley
ROCO Winery RMS 2013 Sparkling Wine, Willamette Valley
The Walls Vineyards 2014 The Ramparts, Red Mountain

American Excellence/Gold medal

Browne Family Vineyards 2014 Tribute Red Blend, Columbia Valley
DeLille Cellars 2012 D2 Red Wine, Columbia Valley
L’Ecole No. 41 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley
Reininger Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley
Walla Walla Vintners 2014 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley
Woodward Canyon 2013 Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

American Merit/Silver medal

Abacela 2013 Barrel Select Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley
Abacela 2013 Barrel Select Malbec, Umpqua Valley
Almquist Family Vintners 2010 Weinbau Vineyard Carmenere
Almquist Family Vintners 2010 Petit Verdot, Rattlesnake Hills
Almquist Family Vintners 2013 Raven’s Petit(e) Red, Washington
Angela Estate 2013 Abbott Claim Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton
Brian Carter Cellars 2012 LeCoursier Red Wine, Columbia Valley
Brittan Vineyards 2014 Chardonnay, Williamette Valley
Canoe Ridge Vineyard 2013 Cherry Street Reserve Red Blend, Horse Heaven Hills
Crossings Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc, Snake River Valley
DeLille Cellars 2013 Four Flags Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
DeLille Cellars 2014 Metier, Yakima Valley
DeLille Cellars 2013 Chaleur Estate, Red Mountain
Delille Cellars 2015 Roussanne, Red Mountain
DeLille Cellars 2015 Chaleur Blanc, Columbia Valley
DeLille Cellars 2015 Rosé, Yakima Valley
Dobbes Family Estate 2012 Symonette Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
Dobbes Family Estate 2012 Fortmiller Vineyard Syrah, Rogue Valley
Dusted Valley Vintners 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
Helix by Reininger 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
Ken Wright Cellars 2014 Freedom Hill Pinot Noir
L’Ecole No. 41 2013 Merlot, Columbia Valley
L’Ecole No. 41 2013 Syrah, Columbia Valley
L’Ecole No. 41 2013 Seven Hills Vineyard Estate Perigee Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley
L’Ecole No. 41 2015 Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley
L’Ecole No. 41 2015 Semillon, Columbia Valley
Nicolas-Jay 2014 Pinot Noir, Williamette Valley
Reininger Winery 2012 Cima Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley
Treveri Cellars NV Blanc de Noir, Columbia Valley
Treveri Cellars NV Rosé Sec, Columbia Valley
Treveri Cellars NV Blanc de Noir, Columbia Valley
Treveri Cellars NV Blanc de Blancs Brut, Columbia Valley
Treveri Cellars NV Rose Sec, Columbia Valley
Walla Walla Vintners 2014 Dolcetto, Walla Walla Valley
Wedge Mountain Winery 2014 Lemberger, Washington
Wedge Mountain Winery 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
Wedge Mountain Winery 2015 Viognier Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley
Woodward Canyon 2013 Merlot, Columbia Valley
Woodward Canyon 2013 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington
Woodward Canyon 2014 Chardonnay, Washington
Waterbrook Winery 2013 Reseve Malbec, Columbia Valley

Bronze medal

Abacela 2015 Estate Albariño 2015 Umpqua Valley
Almquist Family Vintners 2010 Smitten Winemaker Nebbiolo, Washington
Almquist Family Vintners 2013 Kira’s Cuvee Red, Washington
Almquist Family Vintners 2014 Kira’s Rosé, Washington
Angela Estate 2014 Angela Vinneyard Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton
Brian Carter Cellars 2012 Byzance, Columbia Valley
Brittan Vineyards 2013 Basalt Block Pinot Noir, McMinnville
Cadaretta 2013 Syrah, Columbia Valley
Camaraderie Cellars 2014 Dolcetto, Yakima Valley
Crossings Winery 2012 Blue Noir, Snake River Valley
DeLille Cellars 2013 Harrison Hill, Snipes Mountain
Dobbes Family Estate 2015 Viognier, Rogue Valley
Dusted Valley Vintners 2014 Petite Sirah, Wahluke Slope
Elk Cove Vineyards 2015 Pinot Gris, Williamette Valley
Reininger Winery 2013 Syrah, Walla Walla Valley
Reininger Winery NV Second Edition Red Wine
The Walls Vineyards 2013 Stanley Groovy Red Wine, Red Mountain
The Walls Vineyards 2014 McAndrew, Columbia Gorge
Treveri Cellars NV Blanc de Blancs Brut, Columbia Valley
Walla Walla Vintners 2014 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley
Walla Walla Vintners 2014 Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley
Waterbrook Winery 2014 Reserve Chardonnay, Columbia Valley

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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.

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