Abacela, Bunnell star again at Pacific Rim International Wine Competition

By on April 21, 2017

Abacela head winemaker Andrew Wenzl, left, and founder Earl Jones work in the cellar at the Roseburg, Ore., winery. Abacela has produced the best rosé at the Pacific Rim International Wine Competition for the past two years. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Pacific Northwest wines from both sides of the border, led by the Abacela 2016 Grenache Rosé, earned top awards at the 32nd annual Pacific Rim International Wine Competition on Thursday in Southern California.

It was a repeat performance at the National Orange Show event for Abacela, the Southern Oregon producer inspired by grapes native to the Iberian Peninsula. A year ago, Umpqua Valley winemaker Andrew Wenzl earned the best rosé award for Abacela founders Earl and Hilda Jones with the 2015 Estate Grenache Rosé.

The 2016 vintage marks the 10th year of production for the rosé wine Abacela first labeled as Rosado for the 2007 vintage, all based on Grenache. The Rhône Valley grape was among the varieties Jones and his family established their vineyard with in 1995 near Roseburg.

Bunnell combines for 5 gold medals at Pac Rim

Ron Bunnell is the owner and winemaker for Bunnell Family Cellar.

Ron Bunnell, owner of Bunnell Family Cellar in Prosser, Wash, focuses on Rhône varieties such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Petite Sirah. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Ron Bunnell of Bunnell Family Cellar produced three best-of-class wines under his own brand in Prosser, Wash., and two gold medals for Newhouse Family Vineyards. Two of those five gold medals by Bunnell, a former head winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle, were for GSM blends — the 2011 Lia and 2015 Scion.

A year ago, Bunnell won three gold medals at the Pacific Rim judging.

Three examples of Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla Valley producers proved golden at the Pacific Rim as Cougar Crest, Sinclair Estate and Walla Walla Vintners each shined with multiple gold medals. Sinclair earned a best of class for its 2013 Pentatonic, and Walla Walla Vintners starred with its 2014 Sangiovese.

Jessica Munnell’s work with Bordeaux varieties led to a pair of gold medals for the Mercer family in Prosser, Wash., including best of class for the Mercer Estates 2014 Malbec.

British Columbia wines continue to appeal to the nationwide panel of U.S. judges. Bordertown, Church & State, Monte Creek Ranch and Sandhill each claimed best-of-class awards. Burrowing Owl and Perseus each won three gold medals as British Columbia producers combined for 24 gold medals — 15 of those were red wines.

Coke Roth, an attorney in Kennewick, Wash., continues to serve as the competition’s chief judge. The National Orange Show Events Center operates as a nonprofit public benefit corporation and manages a 120-plus acre, multi-use facility with the annual Citrus Fair as the centerpiece.

32nd Pacific Rim International Wine Competition

Abacela stands out again at the Pacific Rim International Wine Competition in San Bernardino, Calif., claiming the title of best rosé at the 32nd annual judging and in the running for best of show for the second straight year. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

Grand champion/Best red wine
Frank Family Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $53
Best white wine
South Coast Winery 2016 Dry Gewürztraminer, Temecula Valley, $20
Best rosé
Abacela 2016 Estate Grenache Rosé, Umpqua Valley, $18
Best dessert
Navarro Vineyards 2016 Late Harvest Riesling, Anderson Valley $49
Best sparkling wine
Barefoot NV Bubbly Brut Cuveé, California, $10
Best nongrape wine
Ackerman Winery NV Red Raspberry, Iowa, $13
Best spirits
E & J Brandy NV Rectified Brandy, American, $15

Pacific Northwest results

Walla Walla Vintners took best of class for Sangiovese and Bunnell Family Cellar in Prosser, Wash., won best of class for GSM-style blends at the 32nd annual Pacific Rim International Wine Competition in San Bernardino, Calif. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

Best of class
Bordertown Vineyards and Estate Winery 2014 Cabernet Franc, Okanagan Valley, $18
Bunnell Family Cellar 2011 Lia Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $36
Bunnell Family Cellar 2013 Merlot, Red Mountain, $38
Bunnell Family Cellar 2015 Viognier, Yakima Valley, $24
Church & State Wines 2013 Quintessential Red Wine, Okanagan Valley, $32
Mercer Estates 2014 Malbec, Horse Heaven Hills, $19
Monte Creek Ranch 2016 Marquette Rosé, British Columbia $14
Sandhill Wines 2014 Sandhill Estate Vineyard Small Lots Two Cabernet-Merlot $27
Sinclair Estate Vineyards 2013 Pentatonic Red Wine, Columbia Valley $43
Walla Walla Vintners 2014 Sangiovese, Columbia Valley, $25

Gold medal
Abacela 2016 Estate Muscat, Umpqua Valley, $18
Backyard Vineyards 2013 Gossip Red Wine, British Columbia, $19
Backyard Vineyards 2016 Nosey Neighbour White Wine, British Columbia, $16
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2014 Athene Red Wine, Okanagan Valley, $39
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2014 Cabernet Franc, Okanagan Valley, $34
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2014 Merlot, Okanagan Valley, $32
CC Jentsch Cellars 2014 Small Lots Cabernet Sauvignon, Golden Mile Bench, $38
CC Jentsch Cellars 2015 Small Lots Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, $27
Cougar Crest Estate Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $45
Cougar Crest Estate Winery 2013 Reserve Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $45
Dirty Laundry Vineyard 2014 Kay-Syrah Red Wine, Okanagan Valley, $19
Dirty Laundry Vineyard 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Okanagan Valley, $14
Fort Berens Estate Winery 2016 Dry Riesling, British Columbia, $15
Fort Berens Estate Winery 2016 Riesling, British Columbia, $13
Mercer Canyons 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, $14
Moon Curser Vineyards 2015 Contraband Series Dolcetto, Okanagan Valley, $27
Newhouse Family Vineyards 2011 Upland Vineyard Vestige Red Wine, Snipes Mountain, $48
Newhouse Family Vineyards 2015 Upland Vineyard Scion Red Wine, Snipes Mountain, $40
Niche Wine Company 2015 Small Batch White, Okanagan Valley, $15
Oak Knoll Winery 2015 Riesling, Willamette Valley, Oregon, $12
Perseus Invictus 2013 Red Wine, Okanagan Valley, $50
Perseus Sparkling NV Chardonnay Sparkling, Okanagan Valley, $25
Perseus Syrah 2014 Syrah, Okanagan Valley, $25
Poplar Grove 2014 Cabernet Franc, Okanagan Valley, $35
Poplar Grove 2014 Syrah, Okanagan Valley, $35
Red Rooster Winery 2015 Hen House Ruffled Red, British Columbia, $13
Red Rooster Winery 2015 The Coop Wicked White, British Columbia, $12
San Juan Vineyards 2016 Madeleine Angevine, Puget Sound, $18
San Juan Vineyards 2016 Siegerrebe, Puget Sound, $24
Sinclair Estate Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley $43
Tagaris NV Clone de Plonk Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $10
Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $38
Walla Walla Vintners 2014 Bello Rosso Red Wine, Columbia Valley    $38

Silver medal
Abacela 2014 Estate Garnacha, Umpqua Valley, $29
Abacela 2016 Estate Albariño, Umpqua Valley, $21
Backyard Vineyards 2014 Merlot, British Columbia, $21
Backyard Vineyards 2014 Nosey Neighbour Red, British Columbia, $16
Backyard Vineyards 2014 Reserve Cabernet Franc, British Columbia, $40
Backyard Vineyards 2014 Reserve Syrah, British Columbia, $40
Backyard Vineyards 2016 Pinot Gris, British Columbia, $18
Bench 1775 2013 Cabernet Franc, Okanagan Valley, $21
Bench 1775 2014 Cabernet Franc-Malbec Red Wine, Okanagan Valley    $17
Bench 1775 2015 Chill White Wine, Okanagan Valley, $12
Bordertown Vineyards and Estate Winery 2014 Syrah, Okanagan Valley, $23
Bunnell Family Cellar 2011 Grenache, Columbia Valley, $36
Bunnell Family Cellar 2011 Syrah, Horse Heaven Hills, $44
Buried Cane Winery 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $16
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2014 Syrah, Okanagan Valley, $34
CC Jentsch Cellars 2014 Small Lots Cabernet Franc, Golden Mile Bench, $38
CC Jentsch Cellars 2014 Syrah, Okanagan Valley, $24
CC Jentsch Cellars 2014 The Chase Red Wine, Okanagan Valley, $15
CC Jentsch Cellars 2015 Cab/Merlot Red Wine, Okanagan Valley, $12
CC Jentsch Cellars 2015 The Chase Red Wine, Golden Mile Bench, $15
Church & State Wines 2014 Coup D’Etat Red Wine, Okanagan Valley, $31
Church & State Wines 2014 Merlot, Okanagan Valley, $20
Church & State Wines 2015 Viognier, Okanagan Valley, $14
Church & State Wines 2016 Pinot Gris, Vancouver Island, $11
Conviction Wines 2015 The Priest Pinot Noir, British Columbia, $12
Cougar Crest Estate Winery 2013 Anniversary Cuveé Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley, $40
Cougar Crest Estate Winery 2013 Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley $42
Cougar Crest Estate Winery 2013 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $38
Cougar Crest Estate Winery 2015 Viognier, Walla Walla Valley, $24
Dirty Laundry Vineyard 2015 Riesling, Okanagan Valley, $16
Girardet Wine Cellars 2014 Shale Rock Vineyards Barbera, Umpqua Valley, $48
Joie Farm Winery 2015 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, $20
Joie Farm Winery 2016 Re-Think Pink! Rosé, Okanagan Valley, $15
JoieFarm 2015 En Famille Reserve Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, $23
Mercer Canyons 2014 Red Wine, Horse Heaven Hills, $14
Mercer Estates 2014 Cavalie Red Wine, Horse Heaven Hills, $40
Monster Vineyards 2016 Merlot Rosé, Okanagan Valley, $18
Monte Creek Ranch 2015 Ranch Hand Red, British Columbia, $24
Moon Curser Vineyards 2013 Tannat, Okanagan Valley, $43
Moon Curser Vineyards 2014 Border Vines Red Wine, Okanagan Valley, $27
Moon Curser Vineyards 2014 Carmenere, Okanagan Valley, $43
Moon Curser Vineyards 2014 Dead of Night Red Wine, Okanagan Valley, $43
Moon Curser Vineyards 2014 Syrah, Okanagan Valley, $27
Newhouse Family Vineyards 2015 Cottontop Aligoté, Snipes Mountain, $34
Niche Wine Co., 2014 Marechal Foch, Okanagan Valley, $23
Niche Wine Com. 2015 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, $20
Noble Ridge Vineyards 2012 The One Brut, Okanagan Valley, $40
Noble Ridge Vineyards 2013 Reserve Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, $30
Noble Ridge Vineyards 2015 Mingle White Wine, Okanagan Valley, $20
Oak Knoll Winery 2014 Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, $14
Peller Estates Winery 2015 Family Select Merlot, British Columbia, $10
Poplar Grove 2014 Merlot, Okanagan Valley, $30
Poplar Grove 203 The Legacy Red Wine, Okanagan Valley, $50
Red Rooster Winery 2015 The Coop Merlot, British Columbia, $11
Red Rooster Winery 205 Hen House Sly White Wine, British Columbia, $13
Sandhill Wines 2014 Phantom Creek Vineyard Small Lots ONE Red Wine, British Columbia, $27
Sinclair Estate Vineyards 2013 Vixen Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $43
Sinclair Estate Vineyards 2014 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $33
Tagaris 2014 Boar Doe Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $14
The Bunnell Family Cellar 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $54
Walla Walla Vintners 2014 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, $32
Walla Walla Vintners 2014 Estate Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $40
Walla Walla Vintners 2014 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $30
Wind Rose Cellars 2014 Barbera, Red Mountain, $33

Bronze medal
Abacela 2013 Estate Barrel Select Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley, $33
Backyard Vineyards 2015 Gewürtztraminer, British Columbia, $20
Backyard Vineyards 2015 Riesling, British Columbia, $20
Backyard Vineyards 2016 Rosé, British Columbia, $18
Bench 1775 2014 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, $17
Bordertown Vineyards and Estate Winery 2015 Gewürtztraminer, Okanagan Valley $14
Bordertown Vineyards and Estate Winery 2015 Grüner Veltliner, Okanagan Valley, $19
Bunnell Family Cellar 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley,    $24
Bunnell Family Cellar 2015 Syrah, Columbia Valley, $24
Buried Cane Winery 2015 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley $16
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2015 Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, $30
CC Jentsch Cellars 2013 The Chase Red Wine, Okanagan Valley $15
Church & State Wines 2014 Malbec, Okanagan Valley, $20
Church & State Wines 2014 Syrah, Okanagan Valley, $20
Church & State Wines 2016 Lost Inhibitions White Wine, Okanagan Valley, $11
Conviction Wines 2015 Dreamers & Schemers Red Wine, British Columbia, $10
Conviction Wines 205 The Industrialist White Wine, British Columbia $10
Cougar Crest Estate Winery 2013 Dedication Eleven Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley, $20
Fort Berens Estate Winery 2015 Cabernet Franc, British Columbia, $20
Girardet Wine Cellars 2014 Shale Rock Vineyards Sangiovese, Umpqua Valley, $48
JoieFarm 2016 A Noble Blend White Wine, Okanagan Valley, $18
Mercer Estates 2014 Merlot, Horse Heaven Hills, $19
Mercer Estates 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Horse Heaven Hills, $13
Monster Vineyards 2015 Monster Vineyards Merlot, Okanagan Valley, $20
Monte Creek Ranch 2016 Hands Up White, British Columbia, $13
Moon Curser Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Okanagan Valley, $43
Moon Curser Vineyards 2014 Contraband Series Malbec, Okanagan Valley, $32
Moon Curser Vineyards 2014 Contraband Series Tempranillo, Okanagan Valley, $32
Moon Curser Vineyards 2015 Afraid of the Dark White Wine, Okanagan Valley, $22
Noble Ridge Vineyards 2015 Stony Knoll Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, $20
Oak Knoll Winery NV Niagara Willamette Valley, $7
Perseus 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Okanagan Valley, $18
Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery 2011 Syrah, Okanagan Valley, $30
Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery 2012 Alagria Red Wine, Okanagan Valley $30
Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery 2012 Merlot, Okanagan Valley, $25
Raven Conspiracy 2015 Smooth Bright White Wine, British Columbia, $11
Ruby Magdalena Vineyards 2012 Estate Tempranillo, Rattlesnake Hills, $34
Sandhill Wines 2016 Hidden Terrace Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Okanagan Valley, $14
Spangler Vineyards 2015 Chardonnay, Southern Oregon, $21
Wind Rose Cellars 2013 Primitivo, Columbia Valley, $25

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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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