David Pike looks at the winners at this year’s Perth Royal Wine Show and some Australian successes at the International Wine Challenge. But what does it all mean?

SPRING brings much joy to winemakers and consumers across the country as the results of a number of wine shows are released. Several commentators recently have questioned the merits of the results from some wine shows around the country.

Wine shows bring together knowledgeable winemakers, educated palates, wine press and experienced judges – a gathering of the industry’s best. But what is really achieved?

Many of the concerns about the relevance of wine shows have been raised so many times that there must be some truth behind all the whispers. Maybe what’s needed is a radical change in direction, the commissioning of new concepts within wine shows.

Can there ever be one right answer concerning a particular wine? It’s all so subjective, as was demonstrated last weekend at a merlot tasting I attended. There certainly was no unanimity among the judges as to the pick of the bunch, with many failing to agree on the selection of a “best” merlot.

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Last week the results of the BMW Perth Royal Wine Show were announced at a presentation at the Claremont show grounds. The presentation followed the opportunity to taste many of the 2597 wines entered in he show. WA was represented by more than 108 entries. BRL Hardy, Seppelts and Yalumba were the big collectors of medals and trophies.

The most successful exhibitor of the show was B Seppelt and Sons, who grabbed a number of gongs, including gold medals for their sparking shiraz and a trifecta of medals in the fortified sherry classes.

Gralyn Estate in Margaret River collected yet another trophy for their ever-expanding cabinet, winning the award for the most successful Western Australian exhibitor processing under 300 tonnes of fruit. Gralyn’s gold medal 1999 cabernet sauvignon is quite stunning.

The Houghton wine company’s 1999 Margaret River Cabernet won the trophy for the best Western Australian red.

Forrest Hill winery had a fantastic show, collecting the best Western Australian white wine of the show for their 2000 chardonnay. Houghtons also won the Wine Press Club trophy for the overall best Western Australian wine of the show. Owner Tim Lyons was justifiably proud of the award and thanked the assistance of winemakers Clive Otto and Will Shields. Back in April I gave this wine a big rap, suggesting that it was one of the best chardonnays I had tasted this year, so I am happy to agree with the judges. Look out for Forest Hills’ new cellar door and winery facilities that are due to be completed in Denmark later this year.

Other winners at the BMW Perth Royal Wine Show were ...

Best White Table Wine and Best Chardonnay: Yarra Burn Bastard Hill Chardonnay 1999

Best Dry Red Table Wine: Negociants International, The Reserve 1998

Best Sparkling Wine: Arras Chardonnay Pinot 1997

Best Sparkling Red: Seppelts Great Western Shiraz 1994

Best Dry White Blend: St Hallett Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2000

Best Semillon: Mt Pleasant Lovedale 1996

Best Sauvignon Blanc: Drylands Estate NZ 2001

Best Riesling: Peter Lehmann Reserve 1993

Best Verdelho: James Estate Compass Verdelho 2000

Best Early Drinking Red: Barossa Valley Estates Spires Shiraz Cabernet 2001

Best Shiraz: Taylors St Andrews Shiraz 1998

Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Thomas Hardy Cabernet 1999

Best Pinot Noir: De Bortoli Yarra Valley 2000

Best Merlot: Fermoy Estate 2000

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Over at the International Wine Challenge in London, two Australian wineries collected more accolades for the Australian wine industry cause.

More than 10,000 wines were tasted by 570 international judges at the Challenge, which is regarded by many as world’s most respected wine show.

Brokenwood Winery’s Brokenwood Rayner Shiraz 1999 was recognised as the “best red wine in the world” in competition with some top drops.

That’s the good news. The bad news is only about 500 cases of this wine were made. The 2000 vintage of Brokenwood Rayner Shiraz will be available early October from cellar door at $50.00.

Stonier Wines from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula has claimed the prize for the “best white wine in the world” for its 1999 Stonier Reserve Chardonnay. I was fortunate enough to have tasted this wine with its maker Tod Dexter the day the results were released.

“It was great to hear the reaction from both the vineyard and winery staff,” Tod said

“We work hard to get all staff involved in achieving a wine that we all can be proud of.”

There are limited stocks of this wine available through Distinguished Vineyards. Phone 9355 4552 for details.

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