Pannell crowned Bushing King again

Steve Pannell

Steve Pannell (Photo: Grant Nowell)

Steve Pannell (tastings) has won his second Bushing King trophy in a row. The award is for the top wine of the McLaren Vale Wine Show, and the winner was his S.C. Pannell Touriga Cabernet Mataro 2015, which sells for $40 at the cellar door. It had already won trophies at Melbourne and Brisbane wine shows this year. Pannell says the wine is an experimental blend, which came about because all three grape varieties happened to ripen at the same time, so they could be picked and fermented together.

Pannell has been on a purple streak lately, winning the Jimmy Watson Trophy in 2014 (tasting), as well as earlier Bushing King awards in 2015 and 2011. He was also named Winemaker of the Year by Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine in 2015.

Interestingly, Pannell’s three Bushing King awards have all been for wines with touriga in them – an Iberian variety about which Pannell is especially passionate. It fits with his philosophy of growing and making what best suits his region. That means his focus is on warmer climate varieties such as grenache, tempranillo, shiraz and touriga. The first Bushing wine was the 2010 Tempranillo Touriga, the second was the 2014 Grenache Shiraz Touriga.

The 2015 Touriga Cabernet Mataro is a field blend from Pannell’s Koomilya vineyard, and is based on 100-year-old mataro and 80-year-old cabernet vines.

An extra bonus was the McLaren Vale Show chairman’s trophy going to Pannell’s 2015 Grenache Shiraz Touriga. This man can do no wrong!

PS: The noise-level has died down by now, helped along by rhubarb generated by a horse race in Melbourne and a baseball game in the US, but – for the record – Margaret River winery Deep Woods Estate won the Jimmy Watson Trophy with its 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is a current release and will be around $65. Congratulations to another deserving winemaker in Julian Langworthy. It’s especially noteworthy as it’s the first time the Watson has gone to a two-year-old wine. That’s called progress.

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