The results from the 2021 Winewise Championship (that I first talked about here) are out, and what a pleasure it is to look at this list and sagely nod that, as a judge, the trophy winners we picked out are not just shitty typecast wines.
I say this with the utmost respect, but there have been plenty of shows where I’ve walked away and thought ‘I can’t believe that acidic Chardonnay water scored a medal’. It happens less and less in the more modern system (with smaller classes and more emphasis about judging on style), but it still happens.
In fact, the real issue with judging this show was that, because every entrant already had a gold medal from an Australian wine show, this was a case of picking the winners from the winners, with choices changing by the minute.
Take the Red Blends trophy judging for instance. I picked the silken, yet spicy, 2018 Mount Majura TSG as my winner, but would have happily given the trophy to either the 2019 Yarra Yering New Territories Shiraz Touriga (which won the trophy) or Shingleback’s surprising (and luscious) 2018 Gate Cabernet Shiraz, or even Purple Hand’s exuberant 2020 Barossa MGS. Four wines, and I changed my mind about the winner about 5 times.
It was the same with the Riesling class, with several vintages of glorious aged Robert Stein Riesling (which I’m always a big fan of young or old) competing with the vibrant 2020 Best’s Great Western Riesling. Give them all a trophy and I’d be happy.
Semillon, Chardonnay, Shiraz…. All embarrassments of riches. The 2019 Shiraz classes? *kisses fingers*. In fact, it was only the bitterly disappointing mintfest Cabernet classes that were a downer. Otherwise I was just throwing around high scores like I was Oprah (you get a gold medal, and you get a gold medal).
Anyway, here are the results for what was a very good wine show. There are no ‘wine of show’ trophies here, but I think Thommo’s 2019 Thomas Wines Kiss Shiraz would be right up there. Or for sheer swagger, the formidable Penfolds Bin 19A Chardonnay (which again reminds that you shouldn’t bother with Yattarna).
Best 2019 or 2020 Riesling – 2020 Best’s Great Western Riesling
Best Riesling – 2016 Robert Stein Mudgee Riesling
Best 2019 or 2020 Semillon – 2020 Peter Lehmann Margaret Barossa Semillon
Best Semillon – 2014 Andrew Thomas Cellar Reserve Braemore Hunter Valley Semillon
Best Chardonnay – 2019 Penfolds Bin 19A Adelaide Hills Chardonnay
Best pre-2019 Chardonnay – 2018 Orlando Lyndale Adelaide Hills Chardonnay
Best Sauvignon Blanc or blend – 2019 Saint and Scholar Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc
Best other white variety or blend – 2020 Pike and Joyce Beurre Bosc Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris
Best sparkling wine – NV Freycinet Radenti R3 Tasmania Sparkling
Best sweet white – 2019 Yalumba FSW8B Wrattonbully Botrytis Viognier
Best Pinot Noir – 2019 Paringa Estate Robinson Vineyard Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir
Best 2019 or 2020 shiraz – 2019 Andrew Thomas Kiss Hunter Valley Shiraz
Best 2018 Shiraz – 2018 Peter Lehmann VSV Hearnden Barossa Valley Shiraz
Best Shiraz – 2017 Shingleback Unedited Davey Estate McLaren Vale Shiraz
Best 2018 or 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019 Ringbolt Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon
Best Cabernet Sauvignon – 2015 Orlando Jacaranda Ridge Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon
Best Italian red variety – 2020 McWilliam’s Alternis Riverina Nero D’Avola
Best Tempranillo – 2019 Oliver’s Taranga McLaren Vale Tempranillo
Best other red variety – 2019 Bleasdale Generations Langhorne Creek Malbec
Best Cabernet Sauvignon blend – 2018 Tamburlaine Marlowe Act One Orange Shiraz Cabernet
Best other red blend – 2019 Yarra Yering New Territories Shiraz Touriga