More than 4,000 wine enthusiasts delighted their taste buds, sampling 300 winning wines from the Wine Competition in addition to savory bites from more than 70 local restaurants, catering and culinary institutions. Saddles, chaps and buckles were awarded to the 2011 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition champions and the 2011 Best Bites winners were named.
The 2011 Wine Competition held boasted 1,788 wines from 592 wineries in Texas, across the United States and around the world. Sixteen countries participated in the competition and 1,146 medals were awarded by 15 panels of judges, consisting of local, national, and international wine experts.
2011 International Wine Competition Champions:
- Grand Champion Best of Show – Alexander Valley Vineyards CYRUS, Alexander Valley, 2006
- Reserve Grand Champion Best of Show – Stanton Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, 2007
- Top Texas Wine – Becker Vineyards, Viognier, Texas, 2009
- Top Spanish Wine – Acústic Cellar Blanc, Montsant, 2009
- Top All-Around Winery – d’Arenberg, Australia
- Top Wine Company – E&J Gallo Winery
- Top Sparkling Wine – Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Blue Top Brut, Reims, NV
- Top White Wine – Vasse Felix Chardonnay, Margaret River, 2008
- Top Red Wine – Vision Cellars Pinot Noir, Gary’s Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, 2008
- Top Sweet Wine – Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars Riesling, Bunch Select Late Harvest, Finger Lakes, 2008
- Top Value Wine – Fat Monk Merlot, Central Coast, 2009
A panel of celebrity judges awarded 5 buckles. In addition, 1st and 2nd place ‘Popular Choice Awards’ were decided by event guests.
2011 Best Bites Competition Winners
Popular Choice Award
First Place – Royers Round Top Café
Second Place – Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse
Trailblazing Appetizer/Entrée Award
First Place – Beef Short Rib Roast Ragu on Polenta Grand Parma – Hasta la Pasta Italian Grill
Second Place – Pork Taquito with Green Sauce – Molina’s Cantina
Third Place – Blackened Tenderloin and Fleming’s Potatoes – Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Two-Stepping Bread/Cheese/Dessert Award
First Place – Veldhuizen Cheese
Second Place – Richly Flavored Texas Coffee – Pip’s Just Great Coffee
All champion wines will be auctioned at the Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction and Dinner, Saturday, March 5, 2011, 5:30 p.m., Reliant Center, 600 series meeting rooms. A separate ticket is required to attend the auction.
Winning wines from the 2011 International Wine Competition will also be available at the Champion Wine Garden, located in Carruth Plaza, by the taste, glass or bottle. The Champion Wine Garden is open Monday through Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. In addition to its regular hours, the Wine Garden also will be open this year during the World’s Championship Bar-B-Q Contest, February 24 – 25, 4 to 11 p.m., and February 26, 2 to 11 p.m., next to The Hideout.