Loudoun's Sunset Hills Vineyard earned yet another mark of prestige Thursday when its Mosaic 2010, a Bordeaux-style red blend, earned a place in the 2013 Governor's Cup Case.
The Governor's Cup Case is comprised of 12 of the top Virginia wines recently released. The winners, including the marquee Governor's Cup designation, were selected through a two-week tasting by international wine experts during the annual Governor's Cup Wine Competition, which was restructured in 2011 to make it one of the most comprehensive wine competitions in the eastern U.S.
The Mosaic 2010 is a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petite verdot, a composition matching that of the overall 2013 Governor's Cup winner Thursday, Barboursville Vineyards' 2009 Octagon 12th Edition.
Barboursville, located in central Virginia around Charlottesville, is revered as one of the state's top wineries. With Thursday's honor, it became the first Virginia winery to earn the Governor's Cup four times.
Sunset Hills owners Diane and Mike Canney were out of the country Thursday, as was chief winemaker Nate Walsh.
Sunset's Mosaic, which isn't yet for sale to the general public, was selected by the judges as one of the commonwealth's 12 best wines out of 377 entries from 93 wineries.
Any wine made from 100 percent Virginia fruit was eligible for the competition. All entries included an affidavit with a certification of 100 percent Virginia fruit and vineyard particulars, including grower names and location, as well as information on alcohol, acidity or basicity (pH) and residual sugar, according to the governor's office.
Jay Youmans, one of only 30 Masters of Wine (MW) in the U.S., directed the competition.
Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen have been major proponents of Virginia's wine industry and the benefits it brings to the state's economy and agricultural standing. In 2011, McDonnell ushered in more stringent and organized methods for judging wines of the Governor's Cup Competition.
“As Virginia’s wine industry grows in standing and collects accolades from around the world, it means more tourism and more jobs here in the Commonwealth,” McDonnell said in a prepared statement. “Shining the light on Virginia’s wineries is another way we can promote this homegrown industry that creates jobs for Virginians”
McDonnell praised all the state's wines selected for Governor's Cup Case.
“I am confident that wine aficionados and enthusiasts alike will take notice of Octagon and the other impressive offerings in this case,” McDonnell said during the awards gala Thursday. “The advancements in Virginia winemaking are on display in every bottle we have here tonight and the stringent requirements of the Governor’s Cup competition ensure that Virginia wines receiving medals have been through the most demanding evaluation process.”
Fiscal 2012 was a record year for Virginia wine, with more than 485,000 cases sold.
A full list of the 2013 Governor's Cup winners honorees can be found at VirginiaWine.org.