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           Sydney Time



   Copyright © Ric Einstein 2009





Murrumbateman Cool Climate Wine Show 2008 (20 November)

 © Gilbert Labour


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 medals.
The unwooded chardonnay and merlot classes once again did not rate gold, hence no trophies.

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 medals awarded.

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

Gilbert Labour


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