Yabby Lake cleans up at Sydney Royal

Yabby Lake and its winemaker Tom Carson (pictured) were the big winners at the recent 2015 Macquarie Group Sydney Royal Wine Show. The 2013 Yabby Lake Block 2 Pinot Noir ($95) won the Macquarie Group trophy for the best wine of the show, as well as four other trophies. They were for best red wine, best pinot noir, best single vineyard wine and best small producer wine. 

As top wine of the Sydney Royal, the Yabby Lake pinot went forward as the Sydney Royal’s nomination for the Fine Wine Partners Perpetual Trophy, for the best show wine of the preceding show year (judged between the top wines of all six state capital-city wine shows) and again, it emerged the winner. So this wine’s haul from the one trophy presentation day was six trophies, which is surely a record. The same wine won the trophy for the best pinot noir at Brisbane’s Royal Queensland Wine Show in 2014. 

Yabby Lake (tastings) is cutting all sorts of records. Just 18 months ago, its 2012 Block 1 Pinot Noir (tasting) became the first pinot ever to win the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards’ coveted Jimmy Watson Trophy in the trophy’s 52-year existence.

Tom Carson is one of the top wine show judges in the country, and he’s also a supporter of shows in the sense that he enters his own wines (surprisingly, not all top judges or top winemakers do). He doesn’t judge in Sydney, however.
In the past, especially at the Sydney Royal, relatively few top pinot makers entered capital-city shows. The upshot of this was that awards for pinot noir were often dominated by one or two wineries, such as Coldstream Hills (tastings) and Paringa Estate (tastings), and in many instances the trophy for best pinot noir of show was not awarded at all, because there was no pinot awarded a gold medal. 

Happily, this is distant and fading memory now. This year at Sydney Royal – by my personal reckoning – at least 15 top pinot noir producers entered their wines in the young pinot classes, Class 54 and Class 23. It all means that a trophy for best pinot of show means a lot more than it used to. 

Needless to say, Yabby Lake’s achievement significantly improves on this. It went on to beat all the other reds of all varieties for the best red wine trophy, and then beat all other wines for the title of best wine of show. Obviously, it’s a great wine. 

Yabby Lake cemented its status as this show’s star pinot producer with a top gold medal (97 points) in the other young pinot noir class, Class 23, for its 2013 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir ($60). Yabby Lake’s other single-block 2013 wine, the Block 1 Pinot Noir, scored a 91-point silver medal.

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