Winewise judges sift for nuggets
In late 2009, in the back of a taxi headed for the Macedon Wine Show, Winewise magazine's Lester Jesberg outlined ambitions he had for a grand final of Australian wine judging events.
Jesberg's idea was to hold a "best of the best" competition, inviting only gold medallists from Australia's national shows, selected regional wine shows and special events, including his own Winewise Small Vignerons Awards. Then, recognising that many of our best producers avoid wine shows altogether, Winewise extended the invitation to successful wines from in its own regular masked tastings conducted to wine show standards.
Winewise conducted its first championship in 2010 and this year hosted its fifth event. Stewards and judges gathered between February 26 and 28 in the Black Opal Room, overlooking Canberra racecourse.
A broad church gathered on the judging benches for the final day, Friday February 28 one winemaker (Fran Austin), one retail executive (Peter Nixon), one former lawyer (James Halliday), one former statistician (Lester Jesberg) and one former jockey (Deb Pearce, distracted, momentarily, by the horses training below).
The judges brought decades of experience to the tasting. And on previous days, the panel had included Winewise's David Yeates and Lex Howard, and Canberra winemakers Nick Spencer and Nick O'Leary.
Over three days the panel judged 480 wines (up from 298 last year), "in small groups of "Anadrol 50" no more than seven [wines], and ranked in order of preference", Jesberg says. He attributed the surge in entries to better targeting of qualified wines, good recent vintages, greater producer awareness and "the Halliday factor" a salute to James Halliday's unequal standing in the industry.
The Primobolan En Zweten wines were judged by variety "Achat Anabolisant Belgique" and sorted by style, and in single region groups wherever three or more wines turned up from a region.
Jesberg says a simple tally of judges' scores decided the winner for each class, with the rider that a wine couldn't win without a first place ranking from one of the judges. He said the panels tended to become polarised over "Anaboliset Aineet" the more interesting wines.
The competition, he says, brought together wineries of all sizes an assertion borne out in winners' list.
Halliday commented: "There's no other wine show like it. You see an amazing spread of big to small makers. It's not elitist, and you see an amazing cross section of wines."
Halliday favoured the event's finely articulated separation of wines into regional classes, representation from all parts of Australia and the inclusion of so many harmonious reds from warm regions, unmarred by any over extraction of tannins or excessive alcohol.
"There were so many lovely "Anaboliset Aineet" wines with little separating them," he says.
He admits the judging format allowed little time for discussion; but on the Methandienone British Dragon other hand, doing so wouldn't be practicable given the number of wines.
In a subsequent email accompanying the list of top wines, Jesberg wrote: "Pinot noir and shiraz wines showing stems characteristics, together with good Sustanon 250 3rd Week supporting fruit, were rated highly. Stemmy wines with under ripe "buy cheap jintropin online" characteristics such as white pepper and green tannins were not. those showing strong sulphidic elements derived from lees and solids, only scored well if they had the fruit to carry the complexity.
"The cabernet sauvignons were generally too dense and tannic. Somewhat surprisingly, a McLaren Vale wine triumphed over some highly regarded Coonawarras and Margaret Rivers.
"The win of the 2012 Wicks Estate Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir ($20 at the online cellar door) may surprise many, but it received two first place votes (Halliday's and mine) and two second place votes from five judges. I recently suggested it was the best Australian pinot noir for $20 or less in a Twitterpoll with other wine journalists."
Although no Canberra wines made the final cut, Jesberg singles out the following wines, saying "these lived up to their gold medal qualifications": 2013 Mount Majura , 2012 Mount Majura , 2013 Ravensworth , 2009 Quarry Hill , and 2008 McKellar Ridge .
The final list includes many reasonably priced wines, including the Wicks Estate pinot noir mentioned by Jesberg and the humble 2002 Jacob's Creek riesling amazingly for a wine of this price ($8.55 $12) still drinking beautifully after 12 years in the bottle.
Indeed, it's worth mentioning that Pernod Ricard Australia seized all the riesling spots a very reliable guide for riesling lovers.