Record number of gold medals at 2014 Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show

Alternative vines getting serious

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The chefs at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show 2014

The chefs at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show 2014

The judges at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show 2014


Alternative Vines get serious with record number of gold medals from record number of regions and record number of entries.

The highlights were:

  • SC Pannell takes Best Wine of Show
  • 10% of wines entered score gold medals
  • Frank Camorra joins Stefano di Pieri on the Murray for the AAVWS Awards Long Lunch
  • International guest Walter Speller says Italian varieties have found a “second home”

The fourteenth annual Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show (AAVWS) results are in and Chief Judge Jane Faulkner has declared them“the best to date”.

“The results show how Australia’s winemaking regions have embraced the alternative,” she says.
The trophies have been handed out earlier today on the River Murray at a lunch prepared by Chefs Frank Camorra and Stefano di Pieri.

Wines from 24 different regions were awarded gold medals at this year’s Show with S.C. Pannell taking Best Wine of Show for the fifth time with his McLaren Vale Tempranillo Touriga blend.

An inaugural Best New Zealand Wine Trophy was awarded to Waimea Estates GrunerVeltliner, anew Albarino class was created and entries to many existing classes doubled in number.

"It was great to see twice the number of Nero d’Avola entriesthis year. Producers are really getting into the variety - being truetoit rather thantrying to make Shiraz - celebrating what they are but in an Aussie context,” Jane Faulkner says.

The Show also welcomed new fortified categories and a new trophy for best fortified awarded to Rutherglen’sStanton and Killeen for their rare Topaque.

President of the Show Louisa Rose says the results reflect a “coming of age” for alternative wines and vines.

“The vines are getting older. The winemakers are more assured. We are fourteen years into this show and the results reflect increasing confidence, attention and experience in the vineyard and in the cellar,” she says.

International Judge Walter Speller (writer for and Italian wine specialist) said Australia “can be a real second home for Italian varieties”.

“I was not versed in Australian expression of Italian grapes until this week,” he says.

“I had no idea what to expect but I have been so impressed by the quality of the wines and the service the Show does for the Australian wine community,” he says.

“The AAVWS is a fantastic instrument to attract attention to current issues in Australian wine but also to identify potential in Australian wines like no other Show can.”

“It’s about an exchange of thought, shared experience, paying attention to the wines. I think Australia can actually give an impetus back to Italy because some of the Italian varieties made here are more convincing than what the natives are producing, Sagrantino for example,” he says.

Speaking from strict bed rest with a broken foot, Best Wine of Show Trophy winner Stephen Pannell said his Tempranillo Touriga blend is a wine that “responded to our Australian climate.”

“I have always been interested in moving away from dominance of French wines – moving towards Mediterranean varieties,” he says. “But I never intended to make a dry red from Touriga!”

Pannell planted the Touriga back in the late 90s when working for Hardy’s to make Port.

“I was sick of making Port from Shiraz. Then in 2008 we had the huge heat wave in South Australia. It was 37 degrees and the Shiraz was coming in at 20 Baume but not the Tempranillo and Touriga. I knew then there was a new way with these varieties as the climate changed.”

These are the trophy winners:

The Dr. Rod Bonfiglioli Best Wine of Show
S.C. Pannell Wines 2013 S.C. Pannell Tempranillo Touriga
Sponsored by Chalmers Wines Australia

Trans Tasman Award for Best New Zealand Wine
Waimea Estates 2014 Waimea GrunerVeltliner
Sponsored by Riversun Nursery

Best Red Wine
S.C. Pannell Wines 2013 S.C. Pannell Tempranillo Touriga
Sponsored by Mildura Brewery

Best White Wine
Oliver’s Taranga 2014 Oliver's Taranga Fiano
Sponsored by Jamesprint

Best Red Italian Varietal
Hither & Yon 2014 Nero d'Avola
Sponsored by Orlando Wines

Best White Italian Varietal
Oliver’s Taranga 2014 Oliver's Taranga Fiano
Sponsored by One Idea

Best Spanish Varietal
S.C. Pannell Wines 2013 S.C. Pannell Tempranillo Touriga
Sponsored by MoVida

Chief Judge’s Wine to Watch
Davis Premium Vineyards 2013 Rogue Series Hunter Valley Vermentino
Sponsored by Yalumba Nursery

Best Blend
S.C. Pannell Wines 2013 S.C. Pannell Tempranillo Touriga
Sponsored by Casella Wines

Best Commercial Volume Wine
Yalumba Wine Company 2013 Yalumba Y Series Tempranillo
Sponsored by Morellofert

Best Rosé
Nova Vita Wines 2014 Firebird
Sponsored by Tasco Inland

Best Nebbiolo
2012 T'Gallant Odysseus (Mornington Peninsula)
Sponsored by Riedel Glassware

Best Murray Darling Region Wine
2013 Calabria Private Bin Vermentino
Sponsored by Sunraysia Cellar Door

Stewards Choice Award
Beach Road Wines 2013 Fiano
Sponsored by Macquarie Agricultural

Best Organic Wine
2013 Whistling Kite Biodynamic Montepulciano
Sponsored by Mangan Group

Best Fortified
Stanton & Killeen Rare Topaque
Sponsored by Seppeltsfield

International Judge’s Wine to watch
2012 Beach Road Aglianico   
Sponsored by Danenberg Dental Surgery

Best Label Artwork
2013 Next Crop GracianoTempranillo
Sponsored by Healy and Daughter 

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November 16th, 2014
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