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Australian wine dominates at Sydney International Wine Competition

Australian wines dominate the TOP 1OO winner’s circle of the 2008 Sydney International Wine Competition, challenging international critics who suggest that wines from Down Under are too big and bold to be consumed with food.

The Sydney International Wine Competition is aimed at assisting consumers with intelligent wine choices for their dining table. It is one of the few competitions that judge wines for their appeal with food. After an initial culling process, the finalists are divided into thirteen Style Categories, from lighter to fuller bodied, as determined by the Judges’ themselves. The wines in these Style Categories are then assessed beside food dishes of similar flavour intensity. In this way, the winners are chosen to cover a wide range of dining requirements.

Despite media criticism from some overseas markets that Australian wines are too bold and too high in alcohol to be food friendly, 66 per cent of the exclusive TOP 1OO Wines of the 2008 Sydney International Wine Competition are Australian.

“This competition is unique in that it judges wines according to how well they partner food,” commented Competition Director, Warren Mason. “The fact that so many Australian winners were deemed food-friendly by a panel of international judges should help silence those critics.”

“Our judging panel consisted of six Australian and eight international judges, four of whom are Masters of Wine. That these wine industry luminaries selected predominantly Australian wines as food-friendly speaks volumes about the versatility and finesse of wines being produced in this country,” said Mason.

Chairman of Judges, International Winemaking Consultant Kym Milne MW commented “The calibre of Semillon and Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blends entered in the competition was outstanding with eleven of these wines ranked in the TOP 1OO. The restraint, elegance and length of these wines proved very popular matches with food. Chardonnay also featured strongly with twelve wines in the TOP 1OO. New Zealand completely dominated the Sauvignon Blanc TOP 1OO winners. A lone Tasmanian Pinot prevented a clean sweep for the Kiwis in the Pinot Noir category. A selection of 2007 Rieslings from South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand take positions in the TOP 1OO along side a diverse range of lesser known white varieties, with Pinot Gris, Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Verdelho all represented.”

“Not unexpectedly, Shiraz was the outstanding red variety of the Competition with 23% of the TOP 1OO made from this variety. The traditional Shiraz strongholds of the Barossa and McLaren Vale featured with some outstanding wines. But there were also a number of Shiraz/Viognier blends from cool areas in Victoria, Western Australia, Adelaide Hills, Orange and New Zealand that showed very well.”

Since its inception in 1982, The Sydney International Wine Competition has taken a leading role in assisting consumers to discover food friendly wines and to understand the relationship between successful wine/food marriages.

The full results of the Competition including details of Trophy winners will be announced on 1 March 2008 at the Competition’s Trophy Presentations Dégustation Banquet and on the Competition’s website top100wines.com. Banquet bookings are available now via the website.

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