Oyster Wine Competition spotlights Washington Sauvignon Blanc

By on May 2, 2013
The 19th annual West Coast Oyster Wine Competition staged the final portion of its Seattle judging at Anthony's HomePort at Shilshole Bay. (Photo courtesy of Jon Rowley)

The 19th annual West Coast Oyster Wine Competition staged the final portion of its Seattle judging at Anthony’s HomePort at Shilshole Bay. (Photo courtesy of Jon Rowley)

SEATTLE — A pair of Sauvignon Blancs from Washington state and an Oregon Pinot Gris were among the top 10 entries at the 19th annual Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition.

Cedergreen Cellars 2011 Sauvignon Blanc ($19) and Chateau Ste. Michelle’s 2012 Sauvignon Blanc ($11), both from the Columbia Valley, were repeat winners at the event sponsored by Taylor Shellfish Farms of Shelton, Wash., the largest West Coast oyster grower.

Willamette Valley Vineyards 2011 Pinot Gris ($16) was the only Oregon wine to be spotlighted in the three regional judgings, which involved 124 wines. There were 72 entries from California, while Oregon and Washington each had 26 entries.

“Our idea is to find local wines for  oysters,” Bill Taylor said in a news release. “After 19 years, we are pleased to see a clean-finishing wine style emerge that restaurants and oyster lovers recognize and appreciate. It adds to the culture of oysters.”

The competition, judged by 39 food-and-wine experts along the West Coast, began in March. Final stages were held April 23 at the WaterGrill in Los Angeles, April 24 at Kuleto’s in San Francisco and April 25 at Anthony’s HomePort on Shilshole Bay in Seattle.

Each wine was tasted blind with at least one Kumamoto oyster. Judges were instructed to slowly chew the oyster, then taste the chilled wine. Judges seek wines with a crisp, clean finish that won’t get in the way of the next oyster. The competition not only identifies suitable wines, but it also helps restaurant staff along the West Coast better serve the growing numbers of customers who enjoy oysters on the half shell.

“We are thankful to have this competition,” said Lane Hoss, vice president of marketing and beverage director for Anthony’s Restaurants.

Taylor Shellfish Farms is a fifth-generation, family-owned company that produces oysters, Manila clams, Mediterranean mussels and geoduck for national and international markets.

Seven wines from California received awards, including Dry Creek 2012 Dry Chenin Blanc, Geyser Peak 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Kunde 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Long Meadow Ranch 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Three Pears 2012 Pinot Grigio, Trefethen 2011 Dry Riesling, Vinoce 2012 Sauvignon Blanc.

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the President and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for a decade. He is a frequent wine judge at international wine competitions throughout North America and orchestrates 10 Northwest competitions each year.

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