Wine Review: When I Disagree with the Judges

I like to see results of wine competitions.  It’s interesting to see what medals the judges award to wines.  And as someone who markets a pretty huge, major, really great wine competition, I find a lot of value in getting the wineries to enter their wines so they can win some awards!

But there’s always a moment when I see a wine that I love that didn’t win a medal.  And I start to question my palate.  Did I miss some flaw in the wine?  Did the wine smell funny?  Had it changed since I last drank it?

Such is the case with a wine I truly love.  Oliver Winery is Indiana’s oldest and largest winery.  And, as a disclaimer, I work for Indiana wineries.  I think we have some pretty exceptional wineries and wines all around the state.  But most would say if you know the bare bones about Indiana wine, you likely know about Oliver Winery.  Started in the early 70’s, they have won tons of trophies, medals, and accolades for their wines.  They’re great.  The winemaking team doesn’t make a bad wine.

Except that one of my favorite wines didn’t win a medal in the wine competition I promote.  And I was shocked!!  So I bought a bottle on a recent trip to the winery and tried it again.  And I decided I completely disagree with the judges!  Because this wine is great.

So on to the wine.  It’s called Oliver Winery 2012 Creekbend III.  This is their second vintage and I like it as much as I liked the first vintage.  The wine is dry and is a blend of barrel fermented Vignoles and Vidal Blanc, along with portion of stainless steel fermented Chardonel. The folks at Oliver WInery describe it as “delightful tropical aromas combine with flavors of pear and apple and a hint of vanilla and oak for a delightful, lasting finish.”  I just say it’s great.

And it’s only $22 a bottle.  this is the perfect wine to enjoy after the kids have gone to bed.  Just a glass of this wine and a good book.  Or, if like me, you’re still answering email and finishing the days work.  This wine goes well with work.

While I think medals and trophies are wonderful, just because a wine didn’t win a medal doesn’t mean you’ll think it’s a bad wine.  A set of judges on a particular day didn’t like it.  But be your own judge.  Because you don’t want to miss the chance to try a new favorite wine.



Disclaimer: While I work for Indiana wineries, I was not paid to give this wine my undying love.  I bought this bottle of wine becuase I had already fallen in love with it.  And our wine competition is great, with fantastic judges.  They just overlooked this beauty.


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