Reustle Wins 3 Best of Class at Savor NW

November 20, 2014

Savor These Medal Winning Wines

The 2014 Savor Northwest Wine Awards were held recently at the Tolovana Inn.   Although Savor Northwest is a completely separate event from the Savor Cannon Beach Wine and Culinary Festival, they tend to get tied together because the names are similar and the two events are held on successive weeks.

In only its third year, the Savor Northwest Wine Awards has grown from about 250 wines to 555 wine submissions this year.   This growth is a result of the efforts by Gary Hayes, the staff at Pelican Productions and a great group of volunteers.   Gary has teamed up with Hank and Nancy Sauer who have been running wine competitions across the Pacific Northwest for years.   This team puts on a well-organized competition with high quality judging.   I was honored to be a judging panel moderator again this year and I really enjoyed working with Laurel Hood.   Laurel, who owns Laurel’s Wine Shop here in Cannon Beach, has a great palette and is excellent at evaluating wine.

With over 50 wines submitted, the competition in the Pinot Noir division was fierce.   Reustle Prayer Rock’sPinot Noir was chosen as “Best of Class” , just edging out Pudding River Wine Cellars Reserve Pinot Noir.    Reustle Prayer Rock is a small winery in Roseburg, but don’t let their size mislead you.   Stephen Reustle, the Winemaker at Reustle Prayer Rock makes world class wine. The Pudding River Reserve is a great value at only $32, which is substantially less than the average price for a “Reserve” wine of this quality.   Additionally, there is a strong connection between Pudding River and The Wine Shack as, Sean Driggers, the Winemaker for Pudding River Wine Cellars makes Puffin Pinot Noir.

There was another surprise in the Pinot Gris judging as a Washington Pinot Gris, Alexandria Nicole Cellars took “Best of Class”.     This was a surprise as Oregon has staked claim to Pinot Gris as its signature white grape.   There were several other well-known wineries winning medals in the Pinot Gris division, including Elk Cove, King Estate, Del Rio Vineyards and Puffin!   Overall, the submissions in the Pinot Gris division were very well-received by the judges.

In the Malbec division, Oregon turned the tables on Washington.   While Washington is known for its “big red” wines, the “Best of Class” Malbec came from Reustle Prayer Rock winery.   Yes, this is the same winery that won the Pinot Noir division as well.   Amazingly, Reustle Prayer Rock also won the Tempranillo division!   Clearly Resutle Prayer Rock is making some of the finest red wines in Oregon.   Although they don’t currently sell any of their wines in wine stores, I’ve persuaded Stephen Reustle to let The Wine Shack carry their award winning Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Malbec and Syrah.   The other big surprise in the Malbec division was the success of Puffin Mallbec, which won a Gold Medal.   In fact, Puffin Malbec was in contention for “Best of Class Malbec”.   Maryann and I were thrilled that the judges thought so highly of our Malbec, which is made by John Grochau, the Winemaker for Grochau Cellars.

Puffin Wines did a fine job representing The Wine Shack and Cannon Beach, as every Puffin Wine won a medal.   In addition to the Puffin wines I’ve already mentioned, the newest member of the family, Puffin Grenache Rose’, won a Silver medal.   We haven’t released this wine yet.   But, I guarantee there will be a “Release Party” at the Wine Shack when the Puffin Grenache Rose’ is ready.

By the time the Savor Northwest Wine Awards were complete, we had sniffed, swirled and spit our way through an incredible assortment of the finest wines the Pacific Northwest has to offer.   As the competition closed, the entire crew was already talking about next year’s competition.   The discussion centered around the growth of the competition.   How many wines would be submitted next year and how many judging panels would be needed?     I can’t wait to find out.

Please remember to drink responsibly. While the judges tasted 550 wines this year, they only take sips of each wine and before spitting it out.   While I don’t expect you to do that, I do hope that you know your limit.   Cheers!


 

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