Best in show

Max Crus
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Many of the great winemaking houses of Rutherglen, Victoria, are still owned and run by members of the original family

Many of the great winemaking houses of Rutherglen, Victoria, are still owned and run by members of the original family [©Visions of Victoria]

...and the runner-up for the best wine column, lighter bodied, under $10, regional, total circulation 100,000-200,000, 535 words, authored by someone with a category 16 disability (social), goes to...Grape Expectations.

Gold ding it, that other one gets the big gong every year. I suppose to go one better next year they’ll have to come up with another parameter.

Awards, awards awards. We spend so much time awarding ourselves it is a wonder there is enough time left to actually get anything done.

There’s thousands of the buggers, for the film and television industries, possibly the worst offenders (as if they need a pat on the back), ditto motor vehicles, literature and other arts, awards for buildings, bridges, and bedrooms, for brides, and brood mares, the Booker, the Tucker, the Jada, the Arias, everyone wants to be the best in the world, apparently.

Then for every award there’s an ‘anti’ award - they’re the easiest to enter because they’re the only ones where someone else does all the work for you.

Can’t wait for the award for the world’s best award? Now that’d be something.

But what’s wrong with coming second or third or even being, say, the 17th best in the world?

Of course there’s no shortage of Best in Show awardees in the wine world, yet would you think any less of a wine if the label said “Second Best”? Might even give it some of that compelling ‘underdog’ flavour, and speaking of canines...

Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz 2004, $65 (SA Wine of the year). I typically drink white preparing dinner, but open a red at the same time to achieve that exotic ‘kitchen-show’ appeal. Once we tasted this however we couldn’t wait. “That’s a lovely wine, Pal”, said Pa - rare praise indeed from the old man - we looked at one another and unanimously agreed we should finish the bottle before the brother/son-in-law arrived. 9/10.

Cookoothama Botrytised Semillon 2002, $20ish (The 2005 won a Trophy for the Best International Sweet Wine Under £10, while the 2002 got a gong at the Riverina Show). Even after two satisfyingly filling courses, you can still pack away another when required. Well, it’s pretty hard to drink sticky straight. 8.7/10.

Cathcart Ridge Estate 2004 Reserve Shiraz, $38 (This won a few ‘Best ofs’ in 2004/5). After suffering the ignominy of a whole box of spoiled wines (sunbaking somewhere in transit perhaps) this hit the spot. Proper red with a proper black label, leaving one with a proper black tongue. 8.7/10.

Wolf Blass Platinum Label Barossa Shiraz, 2003, $170 (judged World’s Greatest Shiraz somewhere). The price is blocking the holes in the ozone and it’s probably at its best in ten years, so we let it breathe for two hours and it was just warming as the last sip went down an hour later.  8.9/10, and what would it have been like by midnight?  Pop out and grab another shall we?

Plunkett Reserve Strathbogie Ranges 2003 Shiraz, $38 (Gold medal at Sydney Royal). Lucky we had a wintry red on hand when the cold snap came. Thankfully it didn’t last long, and neither did this. 8.6/10.

Wines reviewed:
Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz 2004
Plunkett Reserve Strathbogie Ranges 2003 Shiraz
Wolf Blass Platinum Label Barossa Shiraz, 2003
Cathcart Ridge Estate 2004 Reserve Shiraz
Cookoothama Botrytised Semillon 2002

© Max Crus

Column on a selection of award winning wines published week beginning October 22, 2006.

Published in Cairns Post/Rockhampton Morning Bulletin/Northern Star Lismore)/Daily Examiner (Grafton)/Wagga Daily Advertiser/Geelong Advertiser.

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