Reputation of B.C. wines tested against global benchmarks

"The point was about discovery and learning, not about winning or losing."

B.C. wines were put to the ultimate test at the Judgment of BC on Tuesday, Aug.25.

Twelve B.C. wines were pitted against 12 acknowledged global benchmarks, and  BC’s C.C. Jentsch Syrah 2013 from the Okanagan Valley ranked first among the flight of Syrah, and Soumah Chardonnay Single Vineyard 2013 from Yarra Valley, Victoria Australia came out on top for the flight of Chardonnays.

Inspired by the legendary Judgment of Paris in 1976, famously depicted in the Hollywood blockbuster “Bottle Shock,” the Judgment of BC was a blind tasting of 12 Chardonnay wines and 12 Syrahs; six were from B.C. and six were international benchmarks.

Renowned British wine critic Steven Spurrier, who was responsible for the original Judgment of Paris nearly 40 years ago, and currently the consulting editor for Decanter Magazine and Chair of the Decanter World Wine Awards, scored the wines along with 16 expert Canadian wine judges including Barbara Philip MW, Brad Royale, David Scholefield, Terry Threlfall, Tim Pawsey, Sid Cross, Kurtis Kolt, Treve Ring and John Schreiner.

“For me wine is the three Ps: the place, the people and the product. British Columbia ticks all these boxes with exuberance, elegance and conviction,” said Steven Spurrier.

DJ Kearney, curator of the event, said it was a courageous tasting.

“The point was about discovery and learning, not about winning or losing. It’s about pushing ourselves in our wine regions,” Kearney said.  “The global benchmark wines were of a very high calibre. It was important to be challenged by high quality international wines, and we were. And we will do it again. We must do it again.”

BC Wine Institute President and CEO Miles Prodan said he felt proud of how far the industry has come.

“The modern winemaking industry in B.C. is still in its infancy compared to many regions around the world with this year marking the 25th anniversary of BC VQA,” said Prodan.

“It is astounding to see how much the BC Wine Industry has evolved in such a short time and to have the likes of Steven Spurrier endorse the wines as heartily as he had. Our grapegrowers and winemakers should all be very proud of the excellent quality we have achieved in our beautiful regions.”


1. Soumah Chardonnay Single Vineyard 2013 | Yarra Valley, Victoria | $27

2. Kumeu River Chardonnay Hunting Hill 2012    | Auckland, New Zealand | $35

3. Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2014 | Hemel-en-Aarde, South Africa | $40

4. Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Premier Cru Montmains 2012 | France | $45

5. Bouchard Père & Fils Meursault Premier Cru Genevrières 2011 | France | $86

6. Blue Mountain Chardonnay Reserve 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $30

7. Tantalus Chardonnay 2012 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $24

8. Robert Mondavi Chardonnay Reserve 2013 | Carneros, California | $44

9. Mission Hill Chardonnay Perpetua 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $50 (tie)

9. Quails’ Gate Chardonnay Rosemary’s Block 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $30 (tie)

10. Meyer Family Chardonnay Micro Cuvée 2012 | Okanagan Valley, BC |$65

11. Haywire Chardonnay Canyonview 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $25



1. C.C. Jentsch Syrah 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $30

2. Langmeil Shiraz Orphan Bank 2012 |   Barossa, South Australia | $68

3. Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 60 2013 | France | $66

4. Nichol Syrah 2012 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $40

5. Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Classique 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $50

6. Ojai Syrah 2011 | Santa Barbara, California | $30

7. Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Sunrock Shiraz 2011 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $30

8. Orofino Syrah Scout Vineyard 2012 | Similkameen Valley, BC | $29

9. J.L. Chave Selections Crozes-Hermitage Silène 2012 | France | $40

10. Tyrell’s Shiraz Vat 9 2011 | Hunter Valley, New South Wales | $49

11. Laughing Stock Syrah 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $38

12. K Vintners Syrah The Beautiful 2012 | Walla Walla, Washington | $70

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