Barking Frog Winery uses Sangiovese to top Sip McMinnville judging

Andrew Wenzl, head winemaker for Abacela in Roseburg, Ore., presents his four tiers of Tempranillo during the 2018 Oregon Tempranillo Celebration in Portland. His entry-level 2015 Fiesta Tempranillo, bottom left, earned a gold medal at the 2018 Sip McMinnville Wine and Food Classic judging. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

McMINNVILLE, Ore. — Ron Helbig of Barking Frog Winery, in the heart of Pinot Noir country, reached into Washington’s Yakima Valley and wowed judges with a 2013 Sangiovese to win best of show at the 25th annual Sip McMinnville Wine and Food Classic in Oregon.

Helbig, a former intern for acclaimed Laurent Montalieu crafts and pours the wines for Barking Frog Winery in downtown Carlton, Ore. He produces award-winning Pinot Noir from the nearby Chehalem Mountains, but Helbig long relied on sites such as Crawford Vineyard near Prosser, Wash., for his bigger reds since establishing Barking Frog in 2005.

Abacela in Southern Oregon produced 20 percent of the gold medals won in the judging, pulling from its estate Fault Line Vineyards to capture gold medals for its 2015 Fiesta Tempranillo and off-dry 2016 Estate Muscat. That same vintage of Muscat won a Platinum from Wine Press Northwest magazine in October and a gold medal at the Pacific Rim International Wine Competition in April 2017.

Barking Frog’s Sangiovese was selected as the best among the 118 entries from 35 wineries. Judges awarded 58 medals – 10 gold medals, 18 silver and 30 bronze medals. The wines will be showcased March 9-11 during the 25th Sip McMinnville Wine and Food Classic. Total attendance for the weekend of Sip McMinnville averages between 6,000 and 7,000 during the three days. The Jan. 20 judging was staged in McMinnville at St. James Church, the beneficiary of the proceeds raised by festival organizers.

This year’s panel of judges included L.M. Archer, journalist, Santa Cruz, Calif.; Mattie John Bamman, journalist, Portland; David Bellows, winemaker, Vidon Vineyard, Newberg, Ore..; Hilary Berg, winery owner/editor, Newberg, Ore.; Mary Cressler, sommelier/journalist, Portland; Julia Crowley, wine buyer, Eugene, Ore.; Christopher Czarnecki, chef/owner, Dayton, Ore.; Maxine Borcherding, chef/sommelier, Portland; Carl Giavanti, publicist, Portland; Patrick McElligott, marketing/educator, Cannon Beach, Ore.; Ted Lauder, consumer, Portland.

2018 Sip McMinnville Wine and Food Classic judging

A panel of judges that includes, from left to right, Maxine Borcherding, Carl Giavanti, Ted Lauder and L.M. Archer, evaluates some of the top entries for the 2018 Sip McMinnville (Ore.) Wine and Food Classic on Jan. 20 at St. Joseph’s Church. (Photo courtesy of Sip McMinnville)

Best of show
Barking Frog Winery 2013 Sangiovese

Gold medal
Abacela 2015 Fiesta Tempranillo
Abacela 2016 Estate Muscat
Bradley Vineyards 2016 Riesling
Cardwell Hill Cellars 2014 Dijon Blocks Estate Pinot Noir
Hawkins Cellars 2014 Pinot Noir
Melrose Vineyards 2016 Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Methven Family Vineyards 2015 Gamay Noir
Schultz 2013 Shepherd Syrah
Zebra Cellars 2014 Syrah

Silver medal
Abacela 2014 Fifty-Fifty Tempranillo-Malbec
August Cellars 2016 Sweet Riesling
Barking Frog 2013 Barbera
Barking Frog 2014 Bailey Pinot Noir
Cardwell Hill Cellars 2014 Monet Blocks Estate Pinot Noir
Cubanisimo Vineyards 2015 Estate Pinot Noir
David Hill 2015 Old Vine Pinot Noir
K&M Beacon Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir
Melrose Vineyards 2014 Estate Pinot Noir
Melrose Vineyards 2016 Estate Pinot Gris
Season Cellars 2015 Viognier
Spangler Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Franc
Spangler Vineyards 2014 Claret
Vino Vasai 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
Yamhill Valley Vineyards 2014 Reserve Pinot Noir
Yamhill Valley Vineyards 2015 Estate Pinot Noir
Zerba Cellars 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
Zerba Cellars 2014 Wild Z Red Wine

Bronze medal
Abacela 2016 Albariño
August Cellars 2014 Gewürtzaminer
Barking Frog 2015 Syrah
Bradley Vineyards 2015 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley
Emerson Vineyards 2015 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley
Emerson Vineyards 2016 Viognier
Gelardi Vineyard 2014 Poco Collina
Hawkins Cellars 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
Hawkins Cellars 2014 Caldera Red
J.L. Kiff Vineyard 2012 Pinot Noir
K&M 2016 Alchemy Vineyard Chardonnay
K&M 2016 Alchemy Vineyard Pinot Noir
Melrose Vineyards 2011 Estate Merlot
Methven Family Vineyards 2014 Stinger Pinot Noir
Pinot Vista Vineyard 2015 Naked Grape Vineyard Barbera
Purple Cow 2011 Tempranillo Reserve
Purple Cow 2012 Marechal Foch
Schultz 2013 Blessed Merlot
Schultz 2014 Mission Viognier
Season Cellars 2013 Syrah
Siltstone Wines 2011 Authentic Oregon Pinot Noir
Siltstone Wines 2016 Blacktail Pinot Gris
Silver Falls Vineyards 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir
Spangler Vineyards 2013 Malbec
Tesoaria Vineyard & Winery 2014 Barbera
Tesoaria Vineyard & Winery 2015 Petite Sirah
Tesoaria Vineyard & Winery 2015 Tempranillo
Tesoaria Vineyard & Winery 2016 Bella Bianca
Tesoaria Vineyard & Winery Eponyme
Yamhill Valley Vineyards 2015 Pinot Blanc