The stage is set, the band starts playing
Suddenly your heart is pounding
Wishing secretly you were a star.
-Styx, The Grand Illusion
Each wine was assigned a random number then placed in a bag so that none of the judges could see what they were drinking, this was a blind tasting after all. The wines were then paired up based on their “seeding”, with number 1 and number 16 squaring off, number 2 and number 15, paired up, etc. And just that quickly, the judging began.
#1 Keswick v #16 Catoctin Creek – This was a huge win for the lower seed taking 9 out of a possible 10 points. The judges liked the classic Cabernet Franc profile from Catoctin Creek of cherry and spice.
#2 Bluestone v #15 Rappahanock – Another big win for the lower seed. This time the only point to Bluestone went for the nose.
#3 Annefield v #14 King Family Vineyards – This was a much closer contest with King Family Vineyards prevailing 6 to 4. The win hinged on a better balanced and more varietally true wine.
#4 North Gate v #13 Fabbioli – The lower seeds continue to score big, this time by a score of 7 to 3. Here the consensus was that the winner was the better drinking wine.
#5 Pearmund v #12 Reynard Florence – Finally the higher seed comes through. This was close with Pearmund eeking out a 6 to 4 victory. These judges appreciated the not so typically Cab Franc character.
#6 Pippin Hill v #11 Cedar Creek – The David and Goliath of matchups occurred here with Pippin Hill being a well funded, large estate winery and Cedar Creek being a (literally) mom and pop operation on five acres of grapes. Score one for David and Cedar Creek triumphs 6 to 4.
#7 Notaviva v #10 First Colony – Our music lovers from Notaviva were no match for the juggernaut from First Colony getting steamrolled 9 to 1. The judges thought that the Notaviva wine just wasn’t as lively as the First Colony example.
#8 CrossKeys v #9 Jefferson – This was one of those matchups where had CrossKeys drawn another contestant in the first round, they may have made it to the final. A nice wine that was taken down by the atypical Jefferson.