During the last-minute tastings for The Real Review Certificate of Excellence and Top Wineries list, I felt like the proverbial kid in the candy store.
Home Hill Kelly’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2015 scooped the pool at the recent Boutique Wine Awards.
I hope the Tumbarumba vintage sparkling wine is among the ‘premium boutique wines’ to be retained by Charles Sturt University (tastings) as it exits the large-scale commercial wine business. The 2009 CSU Reserve Pinot Noir Chardonnay (previous tastings) was very good and the current release 2010
Arguably the most important trophy at the Boutique Wine Awards is not for the best wine of the show, but for the ‘best estate grown and produced’ wine. This is an acknowledgement that it takes special effort and commitment to do it all yourself –
Not only do Rutherglen’s winemakers produce the world’s most luscious and complex fortified muscat and topaque (muscadelle), they have a unique system of classifying them. There are four levels of quality which loosely correlate with age, but most importantly, style. The older the blended age of these non-vintage wines, the more rich, complex and profound they are in bouquet and flavour.
Wine glass designer par excellence Georg Riedel last week conducted a tasting in Rutherglen in his quest to find a suitable design for a special Rutherglen Muscat glass. A group of wine writers and local winemakers tasted a number of muscats in 14 different Riedel
Occasionally one hears the irritating comment, usually from overseas, that Australia makes little but ‘industrial’ wine. Yes, we do have some very large wineries, and yes, we do have some huge, mass-market brands such as Yellow Tail and Jacob’s Creek. But more than 80% of our wineries are boutique-sized. That is, they crush no more than 250 tonnes of grapes each year for wine sold under their own label. That’s the definition of the Boutique Wine Awards, a show for Australian and New Zealand wines, which I’ve chaired for 17 years. How small is that exactly? Let’s look at some numbers.
Having chaired the judging panel since the Boutique Wine Awards began, I never cease to be impressed by what the small end of the wine business can deliver. The 2012 competition produced trophy winners in all 14 categories, which doesn’t often happen… this year, for instance, the sparkling wine class was stronger than usual, yielding a gold-medal wine. Some trophies went to famous names; several went to producers I’d never heard of. Here are the stories behind a selection of them.