The 2016 Young Guns of Wine (YGOW) awards came to Sydney on Saturday, with ten of this year’s finalists turning up to show their wares and help decide the ‘People’s Choice Award’.
Sadly I’ve missed the last few YGOW tasting thingies, and with this year’s list of finalists including a few winemakers pretty handy there was no way I was going to miss it. Especially as a former ‘Young Gun’ myself (except mine was wine journalism. And it was years ago).
Held at the heritage listed Cleveland & Co. (still a building site sadly) in Redfern, this was one of the tastings of the year. Each one of the makers had a pair of wines on show, and the standard was so high that picking highlights was a (welcome) tricky exercise.
The purpose of this first ‘decider’ event was to help award a People’s Choice Award winner, with the winemaker who sold the most bottles on the day the front runner for the title.. That seems like a clear-cut method of deciding a winner, but it perhaps disadvantages those makers who had less fashionable styles on show (like Semillon from Chris Tyrrell). I did hear some negative murmurings from producers about this method but interested to hear feedback from others.
The only challenge otherwise is just how many of these exciting new producers would be screwed if the new WET rebate legislation comes to pass. So many exciting wines, made by exciting winemakers, with very few eligible for the backwards-looking ‘winery only’ rebate bullshit.
What a way to stifle innovation in a hurry!
In happier news, if you’re in Melbourne you can still make it to the final 2016 Young Guns of Wine People’s Choice Decider and try some of these wines for themselves. Well worth the $35.
These are just highlights, as my notes from this tasting were brief. I had to bail early to drink lots of beer and watch the Wallabies lose (again)…
Simao & Co. Glenrowan Old Vine Shiraz 2014
Simao & Co. is Simon Killeen, of the Rutherglen Killeen family. Simon has gone out on his own with a range of table wines and fortifieds, with this Shiraz one of the early releases. It comes from a vineyard north of Glenrowan that was the source of the old Wynns Valley Shiraz from the early 90s. Suitably this has big purple fruit, like you’d expect, but with a meaty spiciness that you’d expect from the hills up the road in Beechworth. Seriously clever (and delicious).
Brave New Wine Schadenfreude Shiraz 2015
Natural, yet not wild, Shiraz from the Gibraltar Rock Vineyard in the Porongurup range. Made by Andries Mostert with the help of partner Yoko Luscher-Mostert, this is northern Rhone inspired Great Southern Shiraz in good form. Think Dard & Ribo comes to Porongurup (without the shite plastic cork). White pepper and herbs, over more typical plum and blue fruit, before a finely tannic finish. Comes in a cool lightweight clear bottle that looks like a Coke bottle too.
Tyrrell’s Vat 9 Shiraz 2014
Chris Tyrrell felt a little out of place at this tasting as the only ‘big company’ producer. But this wine definitely shone through. It’s the best Vat 9 in ages. Quintessentially medium bodied, yet so much fruit power and fine tannins. Archetype Hunter Shiraz and very much in the classic Hunter Burgundy form.
Billy Button The Alluring Tempranillo 2015
Jo Marsh’s Temp comes from up Myrtleford way and is produced in a style that is full of joven style energy, yet without losing suggesting a lack of depth. Recognisably cool climate Temp at that. Jo has a whole swag of cool varieties in the range so this is just the start.
Two Tonne Tasmania Dog and Wolf Tamar Pinot Noir 2015
There was a sizeable pack of ladies gathered around Ricky Evans at the Two Tonne Tasmania stand, only matched by the even larger scrum surrounding Jasper Button at Commune of Buttons. The story behind this Tamar Pinot was very much about whole bunch power, the nose carrying a hoppy like punch, but backed by a palate that was more about fruit than any stem intrusion. Lots of black fruits, before an uncommon depth, and the tannins to match. Grown up Pinot.