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Wine

The Hunter’s best on show

While last month saw our athletes competing for medals in Rio, it also saw the wineries of the Hunter Valley going for gold at the Hunter Valley Wine Show. A huge success, the show saw 644 entries from 70 local producers. Of those entries, 59 won gold, 108 silver and 208 bronze.

Among the judges at this prestigious event were Tasting Panellist Nicole Gow and Selector magazine publisher, Paul Diamond, who were both thrilled to have the opportunity to judge alongside local winemakers and others from key interstate regions.

For Nicole, one of the highlights of the show was the fact that it reinforced her long-held belief that alternative varieties have a strong future in the Hunter Valley. “It was great to see the varieties we all know the region does very well like Semillon, Shiraz and Chardonnay, but it was also wonderful to see varieties like Vermentino, Fiano, Barbera and Tempranillo doing well.”

“Wine Selectors has been championing alternative wines from producers like The Little Wine Co, David Hook and Margan for some time now, and they’re finally getting the recognition that their lesser known varieties deserve.”

Paul added that he was also impressed with the rise of the categories outside of the traditional varieties and he also enjoyed how some producers were combining the traditional with the new with blends like Shiraz Tempranillo.

Nicole was also excited to see the Hunter’s first ever trophy for a Rosé. “Overall, it was a really strong class”, she says. “The winning Rosé was made with Shiraz, but there was a mixture of varieties among the wines including Merlot and Sangiovese.”

While the Wine Selectors team has worked hard over the years to build relationships with a huge number of Hunter Valley wineries, there is always someone new to meet. So for Nicole, judging at the show is a fantastic opportunity to discover some fresh faces to add to the Wine Selectors family.

When all the awards had been given out, though, it was one of Australia’s favourite wineries that shone the brightest. The Tyrrell family proved that their passion and dedication never wanes with another 17 gold medals and 10 trophies added to their collection!

The Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show 2016 trophy winners were:

Marshall Flannery Trophy for Best Current Semillon: First Creek Wines 2016 Single Vineyard Murphy Semillon

George Wyndham Memorial Trophy for Best Current and One-Year-Old Chardonnay: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2015 Belford Chardonnay

J.Y. (Jay) Tulloch Trophy for Best Verdelho: Hungerford Hill 2016 Hunter Valley Verdelho

Best Other White Trophy: The Little Wine Company Vermentino 2016

Henry John Lindeman Memorial Trophy for Best Two–Year-Old and Older Chardonnay: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2013 Vat 47 Chardonnay

Ed Jouault Memorial Trophy for Best One-Year-Old Dry Semillon: Peter Drayton 2015 Semillon

Elliott Family Trophy for Best Two-Year-Old Shiraz: Silkman Wines 2014 Reserve Shiraz

Best Other Red Trophy: Dimbulla Estate 2014 Tempranillo Shiraz

James Busby Memorial Trophy for Best Mature Three-Year-Old and Older Shiraz: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2013 Vat 9 Shiraz

McGuigan Family Trophy for Best Mature Two-Year–Old and older Semillon: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2009 Vat 1 Semillon

Trevor Drayton Memorial Trophy for Best Fortified Wine: Drayton Family Wines Heritage Vines Liqueur Verdelho

John Lewis Newcastle Herald Trophy for Best Museum Red Wine: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2007 Vat 8 Shiraz

Graham Gregory Memorial Trophy for Best Museum White: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2006 Stevens Semillon

Rosé Trophy for Best Rosé: Australian Vintage Limited – 2016 Tempus Two Copper Series Shiraz Rosé

Hector Tulloch Memorial Trophy for Best Shiraz: Silkman Wines 2014 Reserve Shiraz

Innovative Red Wine Trophy: Margan Family Wines 2011 Breaking Ground Ripasso Shiraz

Maurice O’Shea Memorial Trophy for Best Semillon: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2009 Vat 1 Semillon

Murray Tyrrell Chardonnay Trophy for Best Chardonnay: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2013 Vat 47 Chardonnay

Drayton Family Trophy for Best Named Vineyard Red Wine: Lucy’s Run Wines 2014 Shiraz

Tyrrell Family Trophy for Best Named Vineyard White Wine: Meerea Park 2009 Alexander Munro Semillon

Len Evans Trophy for Best Named Vineyard Wine: Lucy’s Run Wines 2014 Shiraz

Petrie-Drinan Trophy for Best White Wine of the Show: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2009 Vat 1 Semillon

Doug Seabrook Memorial Trophy for Best Red Wine of the Show: Dimbulla Estate 2014 Tempranillo Shiraz

Iain Riggs Wine of Provenance: Tyrrell’s Vineyards Belford Semillon –¬ 2005, 2013, 2016

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Preserving the truth on sulphates in wine
Recently, one of our members, Penny Bamford, got in touch to ask about preservative 220, which you might have seen listed on the back label of bottle of wine. She wanted to know whether it can cause allergic reactions and whether it’s used in organic and biodynamic wine. Tasting Panellist Dave Mavor came to the rescue with an explanation. The main preservative used in wine is sulphur dioxide, which you’ll see on the label as ‘preservative 220’, ‘minimal sulphur dioxide added’ or ‘contains sulphites’. Sulphur dioxide is added in the winemaking process to protect the wine from oxidation and bacterial spoilage. I can tell you that the sulphur dioxide used in winemaking is less than many other products (e.g., dried fruits, some beer, meat, etc.) that we consume every day. It has been used as a preservative in wine since Roman times. And don’t be fooled into thinking that because preservatives aren’t listed on European wines that they’re not present, it’s just that they don’t have the same strict labelling laws as Australia. The amount of sulphur dioxide winemakers are allowed to add is strictly controlled to a limit of 250 milligrams per litre. With such low levels it is unlikely to cause any health issues, however, some people feel they are quite sensitive to it. If that is you, here are some tips: There tends to be higher levels of sulphur dioxide added to white wines as they are more susceptible to oxidation, whereas the tannins in red wines act as a natural preservative. If you have symptoms from drinking red wine, it’s more likely to be from the histamines. Age also affects the sulphur dioxide levels in a wine, as it dissipates over time, so if you’re sensitive to sulphur dioxide, go for older wines. There is less sulphur dioxide used in organic and biodynamic wines. Certification allows 50 per cent of what can be used under conventional standards. Preservative-free wines don’t have sulphur dioxide added, however, it can also be a natural product of fermentation and is therefore often present even if it hasn’t been deliberately added. Also, without added preservatives, the wine will be very susceptible to spoilage by oxidation, so it needs to be consumed straightaway – which is not a bad thing. You might have noticed the recent emergence of products that claim to remove the sulphur dioxide from your wine. Dave explains that these are simply made up of diluted hydrogen peroxide. While this is a chemical sometimes used in the winery when too much sulphur has been accidently added to a wine, it’s extremely controlled by winemakers with a thorough understanding of the chemical process. Remember that if you add too much hydrogen peroxide to a wine it will go off and you will have spoilt all the winemaker’s hard work!
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Words by Mark Hughes on 8 Apr 2016
There’s something remarkably special in the hills outside of Canberra. With a truly unique heritage, this ‘thinking person’s wine region’ has taken just four decades to emerge as one of Australia’s premium wine areas. What do you get when two etymologists meet with a biochemist to talk about wine? It almost sounds like the opening line to a joke, but it is in fact a crucial moment in the birth of the Canberra District wine region. In 1970 CSIRO etymologists Dr Edgar Riek and Ken Helm found they had a mutual interest in wine and started up a wine club. Biochemist Dr John Kirk came along to the first meeting. Within a couple of years the three of them had started their own vineyards, and in so doing, began what is recognised today as one of Australia’s most exciting wine regions. In 1971 John planted in Murrumbateman, founding Clonakilla, while Edgar planted on the shore of Lake George for Lake George Winery. 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Canberra was started by academics, who didn’t have much money, so it was really a bootstrap operation,” he says. “It was one of the difficulties because the district had very good research minds, but not a lot of commercial knowledge. It wasn’t until 1980 that the first qualified winemaker came to the district. We were fascinated – having that academic background we learned to question and think and be innovative. If there was a seminar or short course we went to it, slowly developing techniques of how to get the best out of the area.” Initially, the district had to fight against critics who said it was too cold, or suffered from too many frosts, that the wines were green and that it would never be a premium wine region. The scientist put themselves through wine courses, where most probably knew more than their teachers. The winemaking improved and the wines started to confirm the enormous potential of the region. 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Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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