The Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival (held in March) announced 163 award-winning wines in association with the Hilton Head Island International Wine Judging for 2016. Each year hundreds of wines pour in from around the world to be judged by master sommeliers, certified wine educators and other highly credentialed individuals gathered at the Sonesta Resort on Hilton Head.
This year’s top wines included a dessert wine by Barboursville Vineyards. The 2012 Paxxito, a moscato, received the Best in Show honor among its class. Not a stranger to competition, the Paxxito has been named Best in Show at two other judging events. Hilton Head’s judging was its first win in 2016.
“There is a story to be told about the rise of East Coast wineries. We had a Best in Show out of Virginia this year and many award winners from places like New York, North Carolina and Florida. It is nice to see recognition at our judging for East Coast vintners,” said Jeff Gerber, HHIWFF Executive Director.
Paxxito is created by harvesting young moscato and vidal grapes, a traditional Passito method. This captures the fruits’ acidity, but is only the first step. The grapes are allowed to air dry on racks for months to concentrate their flavors and sugars. Each vintage is fermented naturally in older barriques and enjoys a lengthy cellaring.
The moscato has a golden amber hue of an older white wine. When opened, there is an intense bouquet of tropical fruits like pineapple and apricot, with pear, honey, and almond notes. The wine enjoys a creamy texture and is lush on the palate, with alcohol and sugar that also ensures an enduring shelf life.