The Dallas Morning News announced the winners Sunday for the Dallas Morning News and TexSom Wine Competition. Now in its twenty-eighth year, the competition is the largest wine competition in the country outside of California and has developed a fine reputation for carefully evaluating wines for excellence. More than 2,700 wines from all over the world were entered this year and only 57 percent of the entries medaled, a fairly small award ratio compared to many other competitions across the country.
The event began in 1985 as a wine expo and competition led by founder and chairman Rebecca Murphy, a noted wine professional and writer. After gaining national recognition as one of the country’s top wine competitions, Murphy partnered with the Texas Sommeliers Conference (TexSom), which, in recent years, has attracted wine professionals from all over the world.
Judging for the competition took place in February over two full days of wine tasting at the Irving Convention Center among 56 judges from all over the country—and even a few from the UK and Canada. Judges were divided into groups of four and were to evaluate different categories of wine by region, a judging technique unique to this competition to ensure wines are evaluated in a more representative context (versus comparing wines made in various regions all over the world).
Texas wines captured 74 awards—and twelve of those were gold medals.
KE Cellars Unoaked Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 ($30)
Messina Hof Winery and Resort Private Reserve Merlot, 2010 ($25)
Brushy Creek Vineyards Tempranillo, 2011 ($50)
Time Ten Cellars Tempranillo, 2009 ($28)
Bending Branch Winery Texas Tannat, 2010 ($30)
Llano Estacado Winery Cellar Reserve Tempranillo, 2011 ($17)
Pedernales Cellars Tempranillo, 2010 ($40)
Pedernales Cellars Viognier, 2012 ($18)
Messina Hof Winery and Resort Pinot Grigio, 2012 ($9)
Messina Hof Winery and Resort Tribute to Heritage Father and Son Cuvée Naturally Sweet Riesling, 2012 ($9)
Brennan Vineyards Lily (Roussanne/Viognier/Grenache blend), 2011 ($18)
Eden Hill Vineyard and Winery Albarino/Viognier blend, 2012 ($20)
These wins mean a lot to state wineries because the Dallas Morning News and TexSom Wine Competition attracts an impressive roster of experts. According to Rebecca Murphy, founder and organizer for the competition and long-time wine writer for the Dallas Morning News, judging panels were composed of wine critics, distributors, importers, sommeliers, and fifteen master sommeliers and ten masters of wine, more than any other U.S. wine competition.
“I am very excited about the Texas wines that medaled this year because the four-member panel consisted of two Master Sommeliers and two Masters of Wine,” James Tidwell, a master sommelier and co-founder of TexSom and Beverage Director for Cafe on the Green at Four Seasons Las Colinas, told me. “I consider this huge validation for what is happening in our state.”
The four judges for the Texas wine region included: Guy Stout (master sommelier), Christy Canterbury (master of wine), Madeline Triffon (master sommelier), and Liz Thach (master of wine).
“We had Texas wines in the competition when we first began in the eighties,” Murphy said. “The biggest difference I’ve seen with Texas wines over the years is the inclusion of grape varieties are right for Texas. No one was growing Tempranillo, Roussanne, or Sangiovese back then.”
Click here to see the full list of winners through the competition database, which allows you to organize awards by region.