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Boutique winery scoops top award
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The fourth Annual Southern Highlands Wine Awards Presentation Dinner took place recently at the Southern Highland Wines Complex Sutton Forest in a celebration of the growing quality of the region’s wine industry.
Four wineries dominated the awards at this years 2007 Southern Highlands Regional Wine Show, Tertini, Cuttaway Hill Estate, Centennial and Southern Highland Wines but it was boutique producer Diamond Creek Estate who took out the top accolade for the Southern Highlands Vignerons Association Trophy for Best Wine In Show with their 2006 Noble Diamond Botrytis, which also gained the Assta Label House Trophy for Best White Wine In Show.
The line up of award winners included some of the best known producers and new vineyards in the Southern Highlands. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded over the 25 Classes judged by the highly experienced team of Nick Bulleid MW (Chairman of Judges), Rob Geddes (MW) and Suzanne Little, Hunter Valley winemaker and judge. The show received entries from 20 producers.
The rigorous judging panel awarded one gold, 12 silver and 34 bronze medals out of a total of 96 entries. The show introduced a Best in Class Award, recognizing for the first time outstanding efforts by winemakers. Certificates to individual category winners were awarded to a diverse number of producers, reflecting the increasing developments and quality. 11 certificates were presented by Best Wine in Class sponsors.
In his overview of the show Chairman of Judges, Nick Bulleid MW commented that there was a significant increase in wine quality and winemaking skills evident at this years show and given greater vine age expected to see further increases in wine quality and style definitions in future years. Chardonnay and Pinot Gris classes were the pick of the white wines with some excellent examples of Riesling also highlighted.
This year saw the introduction of a Sparkling Wine class; wines made from the premium cool climate fruit of the Southern Highlands were received unanimously by judges, with medals awarded to four of the five entries. The two sparkling wine producers Centennial Vineyards and Cuttaway Hill Estate showed that the style clearly works in the cool climes of the Southern Highlands.
Special mention was given to the increasing quality in red wines. Wines from the warmer conditions of the 2005 and 2006 vintage showed particularly well. The Pinot Noir classes were singled out as the strongest and showed the most promise, with judges commenting that it is a variety that has the potential to excel in the region.
The wineries consistently represented amongst the award winners were pin-pointed as handling the cool climate fruit with a clear understanding of the districts vineyards and their potential, coupled with professional winemaking skills. The consistent quality exhibited by these companies confirms that the Southern Highlands has the potential to produce excellent wines, especially those makers who combine the right grape variety, site management and winemaking techniques.