Thursday, April 26, 2012

At Pacific Rim, Bubbles Rule

Gloria Ferrer, left, with other best wines
A sparkling wine doesn't often win the sweepstakes award at a commercial wine competition. They often get nominated, but when the votes are counted a competitor with more weight and concentration usually ends up with the highest honor. Not today, however. The delicately pink and downright elegant Gloria Ferrer Caves Carneros Blanc de Noirs wasn't to be denied at the Pacific Rim Wine Competition in San Bernardino, where out of around 1,400 entries it survived a series of votes over two days to emerge as the Grand Champion. Today alone it was up against eight other styles of sparkling wine, each a best of class, vying to be named the best bubbly in the competition. (One of its rivals in the voting for best sparkling wine was an Australian blend of chardonnay and semillon sold in 250-milliliter cans in Japanese vending machines, marketed under the brand Barokes.)

In the sweepstakes round, the Gloria Ferrer was up against the best white wine (21 Brix 2011 Lake Erie Brick House White), the best red wine (Jeff Runquist Wines 2010 Amador County Cooper Vineyard Barbera), the best rose wine (Wollersheim Winery 2011 Prairie Blush), and the best dessert wine (Rancho de Philo Cucamonga Valley Triple Cream Sherry). Of the five top wines in the competition, two were from out of state; Wollersheim Winery is in Wisconsin, 21 Brix is in New York.


  1. To clarify: "Brick House" is a federal trademark registered to the Brick House Wine Co. in Newberg, OR. 21 Brix Winery in NY has no association with this winery or its brands.

  2. The cryptic comment immediately above comes from Melissa Mills of the Oregon winery Brick House Wines. She got upset in reading here that a New York winery, 21 Brix, won the white-wine sweepstakes at the Pacific Rim Wine Competition with a proprietary wine named Brick House White. She asked that I remove from my original posting the reference to Brick House White. She suggested I call it "Lake Erie White...or some other name." I'd gladly do that if that's what 21 Brix named the wine. The results of Pacific Rim, however, list Brick House White as the best-of-show white wine, though in the line-by-line results of the judging the wine is listed as House White. Nevertheless, the wine named best white was labeled Brick House White. I suspect future releases of the wine will be labeled House White or perhaps something more colorful, but for now the winning wine bears the label Brick House White, and that's what consumers will be looking for should they be interested in trying such a highly acclaimed wine. Chances that it will be found on the West Coast are remote, however, given that just 150 cases were made. The wine, sweet and vivacious, is made solely with the Eastern grape niagara, which, come to think of it, would be the logical name to better identify the wine. I learned this, by the way, at the winery's website, where the wine also is called Brick House White.