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Dan Smothergill

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NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by Dan Smothergill » Fri Sep 01, 2006 1:07 pm

Labruscas are alive and well among New York State home winemakers. Blends are in too. These are among the themes emerging from results announced yesterday for the NYS Home Wine Competition. Complete results can be found here:
http://www.nysfair.org/fair/results-dat ... ome%20wine

Diamond, Delaware, Catawba, Fredonia, Niagara, Iona, Concord and Steuben were all medal winners in the Native category; in many cases both as stand alones and in blends. Steuben was represented in both categories. Our own Howie Hart took a Silver and yours truly a Bronze for100% Steuben. In addition, a 70% Fredonia/30% Steuben won a Gold; a 60% Steuben/40% Iona a Bronze, and a 97% Steuben/3% Foch another Bronze. What was true for Steuben was also the case for Niagara, Concord, Diamond, and Catawba.

No rhyme or reason was apparent in the particular combinations of winning blends. While some were no surprise (e.g., a Traminette and Riesling) just as many were seemingly novel creations. Had anyone ever tried Foch, Rougeon, and Concord before? It took a Silver. A Catawba & Rosette entry won Gold.

Aside from Howie and myself, I don’t recognize the names of any others WLDGers among the award winners. My apologies if I missed someone, but it’s apparent that most New York State home winemakers don’t participate here. The same no doubt is true for other States and countries as well. That’s a shame really because this could be a natural meeting ground for home winemakers to share tips and experience.
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Paul B.

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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by Paul B. » Fri Sep 01, 2006 1:10 pm

Dan, sincere and grateful thanks for this post. I am utterly fascinated and, in a way, humbled to know that this is happening.

As you know, for the last five years, making labrusca wine at home has been a labour of love for me. I have had the honour and delight of trying your excellent wines at NiagaraCool and I love the elegant, refined style in which you make them.

One day I am going to have to take some time off and do a vinous pilgrimage of New York State and maybe attend one of these events. You have really put wind under my wings today and I thank you for it.
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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by Dan Smothergill » Fri Sep 01, 2006 2:25 pm

Paul -
It is heartening to see so much interest in Labrusca. My first thought on seeing the results was that I would love to be able to taste them all. By the way, the Diamond that you liked so much at NiagaraCool won a bronze. Frankly, I was hoping it would do better. You had me psyched.
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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by Paul B. » Fri Sep 01, 2006 2:37 pm

Dan,

Judges may have the power to please or tease, but I would take heart in the fact that you and I both know it to be an exemplary wine.

As I think I mentioned some time back, it was a wine that I would be most proud to have on my dinner table.
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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by Paul B. » Fri Sep 01, 2006 4:04 pm

Dan, as an aside I just bought my first basket of '06 Concords for eating at the fruit stand, and they are nicely ripe this year - dark, sweet on the insides of the skins, with characteristic tart pulp and a nice bit of tannin.

I might drive down to the Peninsula this weekend and see if they're selling any to home winemakers yet. I promised myself I'd make dry Concord again this year, and with the quality of the fruit, it should come out as good as my '02.
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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by OW Holmes » Fri Sep 01, 2006 4:28 pm

Congratulations, Dan, on your three medals and I am quite sure I tasted two of those three wines at NiagaraCOOL.
And to Howie, and I know for a fact I tasted three of his four medalling wines at MoCOOL.
Some talent we have here.
-OW
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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by Tom N. » Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:09 pm

Congratulations on your awards. Not many wine lovers create such great wines. I also had one of Howie's wines at MoCool and I thought it was very good. Probably the best homemade wine I have ever tasted. :wink:
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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:44 pm

Yeah, handshakes all round! Paul B, you should give it a shot. We will all root for you!!
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Howie Hart

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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by Howie Hart » Sat Sep 02, 2006 6:47 am

Sorry for replying so late, but I've been off-line all day (2 trips to the airport and a gluocoma test with the eyedrops that leave you dilated for several hours :evil: ). Congratulations for your medals Dan. I didn't recognize any other WLDGers either, but at least two other winners are members of the local AWS Chapter (which I'm trying to get on board to help me with next year's NiagaraCOOL). As far as the Steuben, I actually bottled 3 different versions, dry, off-dry and semi-sweet, mostly for demonstration purposes for the class I taught last winter and the off-dry is what I entered, but only have 2 bottles left. The other three all did make it to MOCOOL, more specifically, Joel & Sally's on Friday night: '04 PN/Chard blend brut bubbly and both versions of the '05 Chard (oaked and un-oaked). My major frustration was that it took 10 days after the judging to post the results.
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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by Paul B. » Sat Sep 02, 2006 11:24 am

Howie, congrats on the medals and recognition!!! The fact that both you and Dan were recognized for your wines makes me extremely happy.

I just contacted my Concord supplier - she said that they'd be picking around the 20th of September, so I will be making my annual pilgrimage out there and will be making a dry Concord red. Thank heavens it's been a better vintage than the miserable '04 when all I could coax out of the overcropped, underripe grapes was a thin rosé. This year it's back to the real thing: dry, red Concord with a supple structure and intense aromatics.
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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by Victorwine » Sat Sep 02, 2006 12:07 pm

Hi Howie,
I know the judging was done on 8/21 but the awards presentation was held on Wed 8/30 at 5;00 pm. The reasonable thing to do was post the results after the award presentation.
Salute
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Howie Hart

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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by Howie Hart » Sat Sep 02, 2006 1:54 pm

Victorwine wrote:Hi Howie,
I know the judging was done on 8/21 but the awards presentation was held on Wed 8/30 at 5;00 pm. The reasonable thing to do was post the results after the award presentation.
Salute

Even then it wasn't posted until late the next day. Oh well. I guess patience is a virtue.
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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by Victorwine » Sat Sep 02, 2006 7:28 pm

Patience is a virtue especially when aging a well made wine.
BTW Congratulations to Howie and Dan on their award winning wines (and all the other entrants whose efforts were recognized). Did anyone attend the awards ceremony?

Salute
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Howie Hart

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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by Howie Hart » Sat Sep 02, 2006 8:01 pm

I did not attend. A 5-hour round trip, especially after MOCOOL weekend was a bit too much for me.
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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by JuliaB » Sat Sep 02, 2006 10:32 pm

Bravo! Well done Howie and Dan!!
I am sipping Howie's Gamay as I type this and it reaffirms for me what a talented wine maker we have in our midst.
Congratulations to you both!

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Dan Smothergill

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Re: NYS Fair Home Wine Competition

by Dan Smothergill » Sun Sep 03, 2006 2:31 am

I did not attend.

I didn't go either, although it only was 20 minutes away. Had a meeting I just couldn't miss.
Howie won't mention this, but two of his medals were Silvers. That's the crowd you see on the winner's list year after year.

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