Best’s is best

I felt quite emotional last night when Best’s of Great Western won both the Jimmy Watson Trophy and the inaugural Trevor Mast Memorial Trophy, with its 2011 Bin No.1 Shiraz. Best’s (tasting notes) is where I worked my first vintage in a winery, in 1981, and Trevor Mast who was the winemaker then, was one of my most valued mentors.

Hollywood couldn’t have scripted these awards better. The 2012 Jimmy Watson Trophy going to a 144-year-old Victorian winery, which had never won it before. And the same wine winning two other trophies, including the first Trevor Mast trophy for the best shiraz of the show.

That Best’s should win the Mast trophy is pure serendipity, as he was their winemaker for 12 years from 1976 to 1987. Tragically, he passed away last March aged 63, suffering from early-onset dementia.

After Best’s, he was pivotal in establishing Mount Langi Ghiran Vineyards’ (tasting notes) reputation for great shiraz. And he’d been a judge at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show, where these trophies were awarded tonight, for 10 years from 1987 to 96. Trevor did a great deal for Best’s and the cause of cool-climate Victorian shiraz.

The 2011 Best’s Great Western Bin No.1 Shiraz is available now at a very affordable $25. It was vintaged by winemaker Adam Wadewitz and blended and finished by his successor, Justin Purser. Its third trophy was for the best Victorian wine of show.

The Jimmy Watson is Australia’s most famous wine prize, awarded to the best previous-vintage red wine at the Melbourne show each year. Bin No.1 is the third-tier shiraz from Best’s, designed to be the most accessible young – although Best’s suggest it will age for 20 years.

Bests’ motto might well be “Good, better, best; never let it rest; till your good is better, and your better best.” If the $25 Bin No.1 shiraz is ‘good’ (2010 tasting notes), the $75 Bin No.0 shiraz is ‘better’ (2010 tasting notes), and the $180 Thomson Family shiraz is ‘best’ (2010 tasting notes), you can imagine how good the other two are! 

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