David Pike turns his attention to the wonders of WA’s wineries that were on display at the Fine Wine Show held in the city last week.

LAST week, in the heart of the city, Perth’s wine loving community was treated to the largest collection of Western Australian wineries assembled under one roof.

Well actually they couldn’t all fit under one roof, but 90 odd wineries made up one of the most interesting collections of wines I have seen from this State.

At least 30 per cent of the wineries represented I had never heard of and it would be likely that more than 60 per cent of the labels on show I had never tasted.

The Western Australian Fine Wine Show was a fantastic achievement undertaken by the Wine Industry Association and with a few adjustments it promises to be one of this State’s show case events.

The association must, however, take on board the endless stream of constructive criticism that seems to follow these sorts of events and act quickly to secure a major advertising sponsor for the future success of this event.

I found the concept of the event a giant step forward for our local wine industry and feel that with time this event will help enormously to promote and highlight wines regionality within our State.

While this event can be deemed successful there is still a significant amount of work that the industry needs to do to guarantee its long-term viability and sustainability.

However, the industry must also focus on education, research and development and marketing.

With the Budget looming I would like to hope the current WA Government can finally see that the wine industry is a massive industry that also needs a little funding.

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THE Fine Wine Show provided those that attended with a number of highlights.

It was a difficult assignment to try tasting every wine on offer and I would dearly love to hear from any one who got close.

For me it was an invaluable opportunity to look at a few wines from some of those established producers that I haven’t seen before and it was also a delight to discover a healthy crop of new and emerging wines from labels in all parts of the State.

I will add at this stage that there were also a number of wines that simply didn’t cut the mustard and if some of these producers are looking to find shelf space for there wines then drastic improvements need to be made.

There were a number of wines that were showing signs of old, tired and dirty oak use.

There were also wines that lacked the quintessential ingredient we all desire in wine – flavour of fruit.

In essence there were a number of faulty wines.

Another problem that was highlighted over the three days of the event was the number of wines that showed cork taint and the levels that people are able to detect taint in often their own wine.

The case for Stelvin closures simply intensifies.

Some of the wines that really stood out I have listed below.

Castle Rock Riesling 2001 rrp $21.99 19/20

You will be hard pressed to find a better 2001 Riesling in WA.

Some eastern staters will be looking over their shoulders.

Intense aromatics with and a seamless palate that promises to only get better with age.

There’s not much left but try distributor John Scarff on 0419 917 686

Alkoomi 2000 Chardonnay rrp $24.99 18.75/20

This is a really interesting wine boasting mineral and lime aromas with a touch of oak complexity.

The palate simply shines.

Lime citrus intermingles with a lees minerality across the palate.

It is tight and shows a flintiness I associate with Chablis, great length and is very much worth seeking out.

Higher Plane Chardonnay 2002 rrp $30 18.75/20

One of the finds of the wine show.

This wine was easily the highlight of the wines I had not seen before.

Dr Craig Smith and his wife Cathie have taken a no holds-barred approach to making this wine.

At present Keith Mugford of Moss Wood fame is in charge of making the wine.

This is a drop that in its first release is certainly showing pedigree.

A dominating use of 100 per cent oak does not detract on the aromas.

Nougat, brioche, apricots and white peaches all stand up in the glass.

The palate is slick, with cashew notes, good acidity and very good length. More from these guys next week.

Moondah Brook Rose rrp $16.99 15.5/20

If you don’t like Rose then this will change your mind.

A really well made wine that is fresh, clean, full of fruit with a touch of residual sweetness and loads of quaff.

You will be hard pressed not to like this wine, if you analyse this too much then you’ve lost the point of the wine.

Drink and enjoy.

Gilberts Three Devils Shiraz 2000 rrp $16.99 16.5/20

Named after the Gilberts’ three sons.

Wonder what wine name my mother would come up with.

This is another wine that is only warming up to the serious stakes.

With younger vines than those that go into Gilberts Shiraz the three devils is soft and very approachable.

Beware – there is a serious element to this wine that has been very well made.

It displays some distinctive Rhone region like characters.

Fermoy Estate 2002 Sauvignon Blanc rrp $18.99

Wow, my first 2002 complete wine.

If this is an indication of how good Sauvignon Blanc will be from 2002 then this will be an amazing year for a number of WA producers.

This offering is vibrant and rampant with fresh grassy, herbaceous aromas that just explodes and an intriguing hint of juniper berries.

The lively palate shows more dynamics with snow pea and green capsicum flavours.

It will need just a little time to settle down as it has only been in bottle a week. While possibly a change in style for Fermoy, this is among their top whites.

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