The 10th Murrumbateman Cool Climate Wine Show attracted a record number of
entries from all denominated cool climate grape growing areas of Australia,
including refreshingly, entries from the Granite belt of Queensland.
Held over 4 days under the organisational skills of Virginia Rawlin and Chief
Steward Duncan Leslie the judging panel waded through over 600 entries.
Chair of judges Don Young, senior winemaker at Orlando Wyndham was ably
supported by Andrew Drumm chief winemaker at Charles Sturt Winery and Mark
Scalzo currently at Rutherglen Estates but bringing with him an accomplished
pedigree from his years at Brown Brothers winery. All three showed finely honed
understanding of the required and expected cool climate wine benchmarks.
In this wide cross-sectional representation, the local region proudly held its
own especially in the Riesling and Shiraz dominant classes. Helm’s 2008 Premium
Riesling once again replicated results from recent regional shows by winning the
accolades for Best Riesling and Best White Wine of Show trophies. Vindicating
the terroir argument Rob Howell’s neighbouring Jeir Creek 2008 Riesling also won
a well-deserved Gold medal .
Sauvignon Blanc and blends thereof , whilst trendy and commercially flavour of
the moment, continued to disappoint with only 2 gold medals in a field of 65
entries. And the Trophy went to the 2008 Logan Sauvignon Blanc from Orange.
The ubiquitous Pinot Gris / Grigio class, according to the judges suffered from
manipulated winemaking and confused personalities thereby not garnering any gold
The unwooded chardonnay and merlot classes once again did not rate gold, hence
Pinot Noir wines seem to be enjoying a quality resurgence with 2 gold winners
including the Trophy winning silky Silkwood Wines Heritage Pinot Noir and the
well-established Ashton Hills with their 2007 Pinot Noir.
Meritoriously the above-average strike rate of medals was achieved in the Shiraz
and blends classes with over 50 awardees.
In this reputable and august field, local winery Lerida Estate stood tall with
its Lerida Estate 2007 Shiraz Viognier winning gold and in the running for Best
Red Wine of Show.
Lerida Estate’s winemaker Malcolm Burdett backed up with a second gold medal in
the Bordeaux varieties class for his Lerida Estate 2007 Merlot Cabernet Franc …
a remarkable achievement.
Surprisingly the other category with a high medal strike rate was the Older
Wooded Less Aromatic class where 26 medals were awarded in a field of 53 with
the regional 2005 Louee Nullo Tongbong Chardonnay from Rylstone winning gold.
Alternative grape varieties seem to be the current buzz in the industry, yet
some Italian varieties were pioneered and established in the Mudgee region by
Carlo Corino way back in the 50’s.
Deservedly and explanatorily the 2006 Montrose ‘ Omaggio ‘ Barbera struck a
solid gold. It seems that those early settlers in their foresight, wisdom and
with their folksy agricultural approach to viticulture borne from eons of
instinctive artisanal respect to mother land, where natural growth was ploughed
in to enhance native soil, is now being exploited under those currently trendy
words of biodynamic agriculture..
Statistically, this category was arguably the most successful class in terms of
reward for quality as within 14 entries there were 1 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze
However the sparkling class polarised the judges but eventually the Tasmanian
Pipers Brook 2004 Jansz with its fulsome aldehydic delivery [imagine and drool
about blue cheese on lightly toasted brioche with a side plate of fresh
strawberries ] prevailed over the regional Cuttaway Hill 2005 Lawrence Sparkling
which displayed all the firm floral acidic backbone and edgy fragility of a
potential classic... a well structured wine
This wine show has more than vindicated its credibility and cemented its place
as a reputable and reliable gauge of cool climate wines.
Best Shiraz, Best Red Wine and Best Wine of Show
2006 Argyle Estate Shiraz Echunga SA
Best White Wine of Show 2008 Helm Premium Riesling Murrumbateman NSW
Best Chardonnay of Show 2005 Louee Wines Nullo Tongbong Rylstone NSW
Best Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Logan Sauvignon Blanc Orange NSW
Best Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Mokhhinui Cabernet Sauvignon Young NSW
Best Cabernet Merlot 2007 Lerida Estate Merlot Cabernet Franc Collector NSW
Best Pinot Noir 2006 Silkwood Heritage Pinot Noir Pemberton WA
Best Alternative Varieties 2006 Montrose ‘ Omaggio “ Barbera Mudgee NSW
Best Sparkling Wine 2004 Pipers Brook Jansz Vintage Cuvee Tas