Wines with Altitude

Back from judging the inaugural Australian Highlands Wine Show in Bowral last week, which had entrants from many Australian regions of at least 500 metres altitude, including Orange, Hilltops, Mudgee, Canberra District, Granite Belt, and about half the 200 entries came from the Southern Highlands.

Happily, the local wines excelled, winning six of the nine trophies awarded, most excitingly for Tertini, whose young 30-year-old winemaker Jonathan Holgate could not have been a more gracious and unassuming star of the show. I’d drooled over three and four-year-old Tertini rieslings before, but the excitement for me here was discoveringtheir pinot noirs. The ‘09 won best red wine and best pinot noir of show (pipping another gold medal winner, the same maker’s 2010, in the taste-off!), and was narrowly beaten for best wine of show by Tertini’s sensational 2008 riesling (trophies also for best riesling and best dry white). Furniture retailing magnate Julian Tertini established the vineyard near Mittagong in 2000, re-planting a site first planted 145 years earlier by pioneer Joseph Vogt.

Other trophies: Cherry Tree Hill Diana Reserve Chardonnay ’09 (Southern Highlands) – best chardonnay; Robert Stein Reserve Cabernet Shiraz ’09 (Mudgee) – best red blend; Freeman 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Hilltops) – best cabernet sauvignon; Z4 Zane Shiraz 2009 (Canberra District) – best shiraz.

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