Benchmark 2016

Western North Carolina is now a recognized wine region.  Wine tourism is starting to flourish.  More grapes are being planted.  New wineries and vineyards are being planned and developed. 

So how do Western North Carolina wines do when compared to quality international and domestic wines?  Benchmark was designed to address this question.  While Benchmark uses a competition format, it is not the goal of Benchmark to declare a winner – it is the goal of Benchmark to demonstrate comparability.  The closer the scores in a group are, the more comparable the wines are. This gives our NC wineries the opportunity to show that Western North Carolina wines compare well with other quality recognized wines.

How the Benchmark was conducted
Gold Medal wines from the Asheville Wine & Food Festival (AWFF) Asheville Wine Competition formed the group of wines representing WNC at the Benchmark event.
For each WNC wine that was selected, an independent source will identified 1 international and 1 domestic wine that are rated at about 90 Points by a recognized raters.  The selected wines had to be at a price point similar to the WNC wine. 
A team of 7 evaluators was identified using 5 American Wine Society Certified judges and 2 sommeliers.
All wines were tasted in flights consisting of the WNC wine and the international and domestic wines.  The judges were only told the kind of wine they were evaluating i.e. Pinot Noir.  
Each judge used the American Wine Society scoring card which is a form of the Davis Card.
All judging was done on a blind basis.   Judges are asked to evaluate strictly. There was no group discussion and each judge recorded their scores without consultation.
The 7 scores were averaged to determine the final published score. North Carolina Wines underlined below:

Benchmark 1 Head Judge for this event was Bill Fish

Cabernet Franc 
Addison Farms, Leicester, NC – 2016 AWFF Double Gold Score – 15.93 
2013 Lang and Reed – North Coast, California 91 Pts Wine Spectator Score – 13.93 
2013 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Loire Valley, Fr 87 Pts Wine Spectator Score – 12.71 

Gruner Veltliner
2014 Tegernseerhof T26 Gruner Veltliner Federspiel, Wachau, Austria 88 Pts WE Score – 17.14 
BurntShirt Vineyards , Hendersonville, NC- 2016 AWFFGold Medal Score – 16.64 
2015 WT Vintners Underwood Mountain Vineyard, Columbia Gorge, WA 89 Pts WE Score – 15 

2014 Force of Nature Paso Robles Ca, 89 Pts Independent Score – 17.29
2014 Volver Tempranillo “Single Vineyard “ La Manch, Spain 91 Pts Parker Score – 16.29 

Jones von Drehle, Thurmond, NC – 2016 AWFF Gold Medal Score – 14.93 

2015 La Cana Albarino Rio Baixas, Spain 91 Points Vinous Media Score –16.86 
Sanctuary Wines Pearl, Jarvisburg, NC – 2016 AWFF Gold Score -16.07 

2015 Hendry Albarino, Hendry Vineyard Napa Valley, California 91 Pts. WE Score – 15.29


Benchmark 2 Head Judge for this event was Bill Fish

2015 Chateau la Selve Regis (France) 100% Viognier 90 Points Table Wine – 17.4
2014 Simpson Vineyard (California) 100% Viognier; Miner Family Vineyard – 17.2
2016 Jones von Drehle Estate Viognier 100% Viognier; Jones von Drehle Vineyards, Thurmond, NC2015 – 2016 AWFF Gold Score – 16.5

Cabernet Franc
2015 Bebame Red Wine Cabernet Franc 96% Cabernet Franc, 4% Gamay; (El Dorado County, California) 90 Points Tanzer – 16.2
2014 Cabernet Franc 100% Cabernet Franc; Silver Fork Winery, Morganton, NC  – 2016 AWFF Gold Score15.8
2013 100% Cabernet Franc; Wilford Rousse Chinon  Les Galuches (Loire Valley, France) 92 Points Vinous Media – 15.6

Cabernet Sauvignon
2014 Biltmore Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Syrah, 1% Merlot; Biltmore Estate Wine Company, Asheville, NC,  2016 AWFF Gold Score17.4
2013 Lamadrid Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard Reserve, 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc (Mendoza, Argentina)  90 Points WE – 17.2
2012 Sailor’s Grave Red Wine, 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Zinfandel,  (Napa Valley, California) 92 Points WE – 16.5

Cabernet Sauvignon
2013 Textbook Cabernet Sauvignon,100% Cabernet Sauvignon  (Napa Valley, California)  92 Points Galloni – 16.9
2012 Jones von Drehle Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 99% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc, Jones von Drehle Vineyards, Thurmond, NC   – 2016 AWFF Gold Score16.6
2013 Decero Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Remolinos Vineyard (Mendoza, Argentina)   92 Points Suckling – 16.4