A group of more than 100 wine experts and sommeliers gathered at NRG Park the weekend of November 14 to decide which wines were the best of the best in several different categories for the 2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition. These will be the top wines featured and auctioned off at events like the Rodeo Uncorked! Best Bites Competition on Sunday, February 21 and the Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction and Dinner.
The wines will also be available during the rodeo at the Champion Wine Garden. For more information and to get tickets, visit the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo website.
There were almost 2,500 entries from nearly 20 countries, including Chile, Croatia, France, New Zealand and Portugal. The featured region for 2016 was the Pacific Northwest, which drew 267 entries from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia, among others.
In the end, it was Napa Valley winery Orin Swift Cellars that took top honors, as its 2013 Mercury Head Napa Valley Cabernet was deemed Grand Champion Best of Show. Another California winery, Sonoma-based B.R. Cohn, received the Reserve Grand Champion Best Of Show award for its 2013 Olive Hill Estate Sonoma Valley Cabernet. B.R. Cohn won another major award, Top White Wine for its 2014 Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay.
Out of the 267 Texas wines entered into the competition, Pedernales Cellars in Stonewall won Top Texas Wine for the 2014 vintage of its Viognier. According to a press release from the winery, this is the second time in four years one of its wines has been named the best in Texas at the rodeo competition. Pedernales’s Viognier landed the same award in 2012.
Here’s the complete list of top winners in each category:
- Grand Champion Best of Show – Orin Swift Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Mercury Head, Napa Valley, 2013
- Reserve Grand Champion Best of Show – B.R. Cohn Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Olive Hill Estate, Sonoma Valley, 2013
- Top Texas Wine – Pedernales Cellars Viognier, Texas, 2014
- Top Sparkling Wine – La Gioiosa Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Valdobbiadene, NV
- Top White Wine – B.R. Cohn Winery Chardonnay, Sangiacomo Vineyard, Carneros, 2014
- Top Red Wine – Mercer Estates Reserve Cavalie, Horse Heaven Hills, 2012
- Top Region Wine – Mercer Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, 2012
- Top Sweet Wine – J. Lohr Late Harvest White Riesling, Arroyo Secco, 2014
- Top Value Wine – Harken Chardonnay, Barrel Fermented, California 2014
- Top All-Around Winery – Sutter Home Family Vineyards
- Top Region Wine Company – Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
- Top Wine Company – Trinchero Family Estates