A Capel Vale riesling from Mount Barker has delivered a stunning performance at the recent WA Wine Show.
A riesling from the Mount Barker region dominated this year’s Wine Show of Western Australia, winning wine of the show against some of the finest wines made in this state.
The results show just how good this sub-region is for riesling.
In addition to winning wine of the show, the Capel Vale Whispering Hill riesling 2023 also won trophies for best riesling, best white wine of the Great Southern, the JS Gladstones best and most distinctive regional character wine, and best white wine.
It was a stunning performance, especially give the quality of the chardonnay, cabernets and shiraz in a show restricted to wines from WA.
Unfortunately, the 2023 Whispering Hill hasn’t been released yet as the excellent 2021 is still being sold.
However, if you want to get a clear picture of how good the 2023 vintage is, then check out the Castle Rock Estate riesling 2023 and the Duke’s Magpie Hill Reserve riesling 2023. Both are stunning wines.
“The highlight of the show without doubt has been the success of the riesling classes, showing the quality of what WA can do with this variety producing some of the best riesling in the country,” chief judge Andrew Spinaze of Tyrrell’s Wines said.
“Chenin blanc, such a unique variety to the WA regions, was outstanding.
"As you would expect, cabernet sauvignon also showed well but probably more impressive were the shiraz from 2022 vintage of very high quality.”
In addition to the Whispering Hill riesling, there were other highlights among the trophy winners currently available.
One of the most impressive was Nikola Estate’s The Modernist, which is part of a specific range created by winemaker Damian Hutton to reflect regionality.
In this case it’s a shiraz, grenache and malbec blend from Frankland River. I tasted it during my tastings for the WA Wine Review 2024 and it struck home then as something special.
The other two wines were from Swan Valley producer Sittella, which this year celebrates its 30-year anniversary.
It’s a producer going from strength to strength with many new wines and styles, yet it was a museum release blend – a style it has made almost from the outset – which won a trophy for the best blended white wine.
This wine, which is now seven years old, is currently available.
If you can remember the famous Houghton White Classic (formerly burgundies) as mature wines, then this Swan Valley-sourced white is well worth it to reacquaint yourselves with the region.
The other trophy winner from Sittella was the Blanc de Blanc 2017, a sparkling wine among the best for this style not only in WA, but in the rest of the country.
It is the result of a program started when the decision was made to really focus on sparkling wines from the Pemberton region.
Nikola Estate Gallery Series The Modernist 2022 ($50)
Immediately appealing bright and vibrant blend of shiraz, malbec and grenache from three different regions. Aromas of spicy plums and juby red fruit with a touch of confectionary. The palate is medium weight with a fine thread of tannins and a subtle ironstone rusty nail complexity (without the nails). Seamless and beautifully integrated.
Sitella Wines 2016 Museum Silk ($35)
This is a blend of chenin blanc, chardonnay and verdelho from the Swan Valley made without the use of oak. The extra time in bottle has created those beautiful, buttered toast characters but it still has a slightly lemon citrus and preserved lemon lift. The palate is layered and complex with a rich nuttiness balanced with a crisp fine acidity. A cracking good wine.
Cellar: Six years
Sittella 2017 Grand Vintage Blanc de Blancs ($55)
Such a sophisticated blanc de blancs style drawn from chardonnay sourced in Pemberton. As always, the wine is aged for a minimum of five years before release. The complexity and autolysis characters are certainly emerging. Aromas of freshly baked bread, brioche and a little citrus create an engaging opening. The palate is complete and very long. A high-class sparkling wine.
Cellar: Six years
- Ray Jordan is one of Australia’s most experienced and respected wine journalists, contributing to newspapers and magazines over more than 40 years. In 2017 he co-authored The Way it Was: The History of the early years of the Margaret River Wine Region