The 2019 Poet’s Leap Riesling is going to be on many bar tops, restaurant menus, and at-home bars this year, priding itself with a Double Gold medal and 96 points at the 2021 Sommeliers Choice Awards. The award-winning riesling, crafted by Long Shadows Vintners was judged by leading sommeliers, master sommeliers, and restaurant buyers of the USA, and also took home a top wine by the glass award.
Inspired by a love of German wines and winemaker Armin Diel, Long Shadows Vintners winemaker Gilles Nicault continues to craft the beautiful riesling in Armin’s style.
The 2019 Poet’s Leap Riesling became the darling for wine by the glass and a winning recommendation by America's top sommeliers.
“This is a delicious riesling - peach and nectarine, hints of white flowers and ginger...fresh, high quality and long finish” - says Gillian Ballance MS DWS Master Sommelier and Education Manager at Treasury Wine Estates and judge at the 2021 Sommeliers Choice Awards.
“Beautiful wine. Balanced in all aspects. Would definitely have a second glass”, quoted Paul Carayas, Wine Director at Chez TJ, San Mateo, CA, and a judge at the 2021 Sommeliers Choice Awards.
“Delightful! Alsatian-style Riesling, rich, textural - ripe apricot, ripe golden apple, textural - weighty but not heavy, ripe but not jammy. Refreshing and quaffable but with real complexity that invites back into the glass. Fantastic work!” said Mark Guillaudeu, judge at the 2021 Sommeliers Choice Awards.
The Long Shadows Vintners come from far and wide…
After 20 years of building Chateau Ste. Michelle and its affiliate wineries into an international brand, Washington wine visionary Allen Shoup wanted to build on his vision to create ultra-premium wines to elevate the Washington wine culture to a true, world-class status. With a strong mission in mind and a passion to work with winemakers from around the world, Shoup’s vision resulted in Long Shadows Vintners - some of Washington’s most acclaimed.
The first step in building his dream project was to hire a director of winemaking, who was highly knowledgeable and flexible to help the collaborating winemakers bring their vision to life. Enter Gilles Nicault, a French native, who at the time, worked as a winemaker for Woodward Canyon, one of Washington’s premier wineries.
With Gilles now on board, Allen then recruited a veritable who’s who of winemakers from around the world: Randy Dunn (Napa, Feather Cabernet Sauvignon), John Duval (Australia, Sequel Syrah), Philippe Melka, and Agustin Huneeus, Sr. (Napa, Pirouette Red Wine), Michel Rolland (France, Pedestal Merlot), Armin Diel (Germany, Poet’s Leap Riesling), and father-and-son winemakers Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari (Italy, Saggi Red Wine).
Since the beginning Gilles has served as director of winemaking and viticulture, overseeing the production of all labels, and recently assumed the winemaking duties for Poet’s Leap and Saggi in the style of their original winemakers.
Long Shadows remains at the forefront of the wine world, and with each limited-production release, the team continues to strive towards Allen’s original vision of establishing Washington State as one of the world’s premier wine regions - and worth a try.
The medal winners at the Sommeliers Choice Awards make for a perfect pick at a restaurant, as recommended by some of the top sommeliers from around the country. In fact, the winners’ list is one that buyers and sommeliers use to create their wine menus at restaurants and bars. So you know that a winning wine by the Sommeliers Choice Awards is a trustworthy pour.
Sid Patel, CEO of Beverage Trade Network briefing judges at the 2021 Sommeliers Choice Awards. More than 45 judges judged the 2021 wines.
The wines are judged in five main categories: food pairing ability, typicity, quality, value, and packaging. Even though we don’t realize it, we, the drinkers, subconsciously tend to look at each of these parameters before picking a wine. When tasting the wine and awarding scores, the judges ask themselves: would I stock this wine, and is it good enough for customers to order a second glass?
Wines are graded out of 100, with only those above 95 points winning the coveted Double Gold award. There are also category awards, with best in the show given to white, red, sparkling, rosé, and an overall winner every year, by the bottle and by the glass – reflecting how wine is presented in restaurants and ordered by patrons
2021’s best wine recommendations by sommeliers are:
No. 1 Spot: Wine of the Year - Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen 2019 Eroica Riesling
Wine of the Year - 2019 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling, United States
White Wine of the Year - 2019 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling, United States
Red Wine of the Year - 2018 Persistence by Reynolds Family Winery, United States
Sparkling Wine of the Year - Albinea Canali Lambrusco "FB" Metodo Ancestrale, Italy
Rosé Wine of the Year - 2020 Baron De Ley Rioja Rosado, Spain
Your next By The Glass options:
Wine of the Year - BTG (By The Glass) - 2019 Long Shadows Vintners - Poet's Leap Riesling, United States.
White Wine of the Year - BTG (By The Glass) - 2019 Long Shadows Vintners - Poet's Leap Riesling, United States.
Red Wine of the Year - BTG (By The Glass) - 2017 Carracedo, Spain
Sparkling Wine of the Year - BTG (By The Glass) - Albinea Canali Lambrusco "FB" Metodo Ancestrale, Italy
Rosé Wine of the Year - BTG (By The Glass) - 2020 Baron De Ley Rioja Rosado, Spain.
So you have a favorite varietal? Why not try an award-winning one
Riesling - 2019 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica, United States.
Cabernet Sauvignon - 2018 Persistence, United States.
Malbec - 2018 UNO MALBEC, Argentina
Pinot Noir - 2016 Sass Pinot Noir 2016, United States.
Pinot Gris - 2019 Montinore Estate Pinot Gris, United States.
Chardonnay - 2019 Trois Noix Chardonnay, United States.
The top 100 wines for restaurants are also listed on the Top 100 On-Premise Wines website. From rieslings to pinot noirs, to sparkling wines and more, the Top 100 On-Premise wines list has a little something for every wine lover.
David Keck, Master Sommelier. View all judges here.
About Sommeliers Choice Awards
The goal of the Sommeliers Choice Awards is simple: to provide on-premise buyers and sommeliers a valuable benchmark for understanding which wines would make a compelling addition to a wine list.
Medals will be awarded to those wines that meet very specific judging criteria, with a goal of identifying wines that should become additions to restaurant wine lists. Wines are judged according to criteria such as how well they pair with food items in addition to their overall versatility. The number one question that sommeliers attempt to answer as they judge wines is: “Would we stock this?” and “Would the customer buy a second glass of this wine".
Food pairing ability
The food pairing ability of a wine is measured based on the variety of dishes that the wine can be paired with instead of just one or two.
Typicity is a term in wine tasting used to describe the degree to which a wine reflects its varietal origins and thus demonstrates the signature characteristics of the grape from which it was produced, e.g. how much a Merlot “tastes like a Merlot”. It is an important component in judging a wine competition when wines of the same variety are assessed against each other.
Quality will be determined based on how agreeable the wine is for its target customer and on its chemical analysis. SCA measures quality by the wine's Appearance, Aroma, Body, Taste, and Aftertaste.
Value in this context means how well the wine is priced based on its quality. Judges will blind taste and write what they think should be the cost on which they will buy the wine and is a fair price. If they think it offers excellent value, the score should be close to 100 and if they think it should be priced lower, then the score should be low. The metric to be used here is the on-premise price vs quality.
Packaging will be measured by how well judges think the wine will be perceived by the consumer. The package will be judged for the on-premise market considering factors like label design, information, closure, and overall look. This does not involve boxes, cartons, and bags. It is how they think the product will be observed when placed on a wine shelf amongst thousands of other wines.
A separate weighted score will be given for each of the parts of the judging process. The scores will be added up to give a final score from which individual prizes will be awarded.
Double Gold – 96 points and above
Gold – 90-95 points
Silver – 80-89 points
Bronze – 70-79 points