Don’t let them tell you hot climate wines are unfashionable”
Is what interstate judge, Huon Hooke told us at the 2015 Singapore Airlines Swan Valley Wine Show Awards Dinner last week. I agree 100% as at the end of the day us as consumers should be drinking what we think tastes good. If we all liked the same things in life, it would make for a darn boring world.
Wine shows typically involve a panel of renowned wine aficionados who taste and judge each wine (blind) based on how the grapes have been grown and how the wines been made. The judges aren’t judging the wines on what they personally like but from a technical standpoint. I enjoy tasting wines which are given top accolades to see for myself why they are such good examples of a certain varietal or wine style however at the end of the day I always remember that my palate is the one and only true judge as to whether I’ll end up buying a case of that wine or not.
Mr. Spittoon and myself were lucky enough to be invited along to the 2015 Wine Awards dinner last Friday to celebrate not only the winners but the Swan Valley as a whole. The event was held at the function room at Mandoon Estate, which was an absolutely lovely setting for the 240 guests on the night.
Our Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Paul Murray and throughout the night we enjoyed speeches from Duncan Harris (President of the Swan Valley & Regional Winemakers Association), John Hanley (Chairman of Judges), Huon Hooke and Michael Zekulich (author of the Spirit of the Swan book).
Naturally the wine and food was fantastic but what I really loved about the evening was the atmosphere. It was a gathering of the Swan Valley’s biggest fans and it truly made you excited to be a part of an amazing wine-loving community.
It was great to hear from some of the judges throughout the night about how the judging and tasting went. As with any region, there are grapes which thrive in a region’s terrior (the environmental factors that impact vines – climate, soil type, etc) and the judges consensus for the Swan Valley were the white grapes of Chenin Blanc & Verdelho and Shiraz for the red grapes. The International Guest Judge, Stephen Brook (co-contributing editor of Decanter Magazine) also emphasised how the Swan Valley fortified wines are absolutely exceptional and of a world standard. So next time you’re in the Valley, make sure you give these varieties and wine styles a swirl, sniff and sip.
One of the best sayings from the night for me had to be when Huon Hooke described a wine as ‘cuddly’ – I am so using this!! It’s what you’d use to describe a ’round wine’ a wine that’s soft, luscious and silky. I think I could do with a cuddle from a cuddly wine right now actually…
There were 247 wines entered in the competition this year and there were a ton of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals given out. You can check out all the medal winners in the Results Catalogue here or below. Alongside the medal winners there were the best in class winners who accepted a shiny trophy on the night. Well done to everyone who entered wines and a big thanks to everyone who made the show possible as it was an event not to be missed!
The 2015 Singapore Airlines – Swan Valley Wine Show Trophy List:
- Best Single Vineyard White Wine: Upper Reach Reserve Chardonnay 2010
- Best Single Vineyard Red Wine: Upper Reach Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
- Best Varietal White Wine/ Blend: Windy Creek Estate Chenin Blanc 2015
- Best Red Blend: MyattsField Cabernet, Petit Verdot, Merlot 2013
- Best Verdelho: Mandoon Estate Verdelho 2010
- Best Fortified: Talijancich Pedro Ximenes Liqueur 2007
- Best Shiraz/ Shiraz Blend: Mandoon Estate Old Vine Shiraz 2013
- Best Varietal Red (any variety other than Shiraz): Pinelli Estate Reserve Durif 2014
- Best Swan Valley Table Wine: Windy Creek Chenin Blanc 2015
- Media Award for the Most Successful Exhibitor (Highest accumulated points overall): Tie between Sittella Wines and Faber Vineyard
- City of Swan Trophy for the Highest Pointed Average over 5 or more entries: Talijancich Winery
- Singapore Airlines Trophy for the Best Wine of Show: Talijancich Pedro Ximenes Liqueur 2007