Tasmanian Shiraz Wins Jimmy Watson Trophy
The Jimmy Watson Trophy being won by a Tasmanian shiraz last week is the biggest signal yet that the Royal Melbourne Wine Show has undergone radical change. This show has been leaning increasingly towards cool-climate wines in recent years, first under chief judge Steve Webber and now under David Bicknell. But Tasmanian shiraz? Who would have thunk it.
Barossans are devastated, as it’s further proof that Melbourne’s judging criteria have changed and the Barossa’s style of shiraz is now out of favour. Tasmania is the last region in Australia that anyone would guess might win the Jimmy Watson. Maybe with a pinot noir, but not a shiraz. And yet that’s what has happened. It’s a 2010 shiraz made by a Barossa-born and raised winemaker, though – Nick Glaetzer. He’s building an impressive list of accolades.
Glaetzer, 31, won the Wine Australia Medal as 2011 Young Winemaker of the Year (courtesy of Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine) just a few weeks ago. Glaetzer’s brand is Glaetzer-Dixon (the Dixon is his wife Sally), and his shiraz is named Mon Pere in respect to his father Colin, a winemaker in the Barossa Valley for many years, who has made many a full-blooded shiraz in his time. Colin worked for Barossa Valley Estate and Seppelt, and is now part-owner of the contract winemaking company Barossa Vintners. Colin’s twin brother John was Wolf Blass’s right-hand man for over 30 years and has a swag of Jimmy Watsons to his credit. Nick Glaetzer’s ‘daytime job’ is as a winemaker for Tasmanian contract winemaking outfit, Frogmore Creek. The Jimmy Watson is awarded to the best red wine from the previous vintage at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show. It will come as a surprise to many that Tasmania can occasionally ripen shiraz grapes, as long they’re grown in a privileged site. Moorilla produces a tiny quantity in most vintages, and sometimes it is very good. The only other Tassie shiraz I can recall being of gold-medal standard was the 2005 Moorilla, a cracker of a wine from a great vintage.