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CLARE VALLEYS ANNIES LANE TRIUMPHANT IN THE 2005 VISY BOARD GREAT AUSTRALIAN SHIRAZ CHALLENGE
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A record number of 323 wines competed in the 11th Shiraz Challenge with vintages ranging from 1997 – 2005. The 2005 Visy Board Great Australian Shiraz Challenge Trophy was won by Clare Valley Winery Annies Lane for their 2001 Copper Trail Shiraz. Mark Robertson, winemaker for the Copper Trail Shiraz said: “This wine is a culmination of the very best fruit the Clare Valley has to offer, with vineyards selected for their highly distinctive characters. The result is a wine displaying complexity of flavour and structure.” The 2005 judging panel consisted of James Halliday (chairman), John Duval, Geoff Merrill, this year’s winner of the Jimmy Watson Trophy, and, for the first time, European judge Martin Moran MW. All agreed that entries were of exceptional quality. Halliday said this year’s wines were the strongest ever and well weighted over 2001, 2002 and 2003. Moran was astounded by the consistency of the overall quality of entries. “Australian Shiraz is a very desired varietal in Europe and its reputation can only continue to grow from the Shiraz I have seen this visit. I am thrilled to be able to spread the word.” Second place was awarded to the 2004 Mr Riggs McLaren Vale Shiraz and Clare Valley came up trumps again, taking out third place with the 2003 Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz. The ASA Cork Trophy for best Shiraz under $25 went to Morris Wines 2001 Rutherglen Shiraz, the first time a Victorian wine has won the trophy in this category. Background In 1995 the winemakers of the Nagambie Lakes laid down a challenge to determine Australia’s best Shiraz producers. They were well qualified to do this. Shiraz was first planted at Chateau Tahbilk (now Tahbilk Estate) in the Nagambie Lakes area of the Goulburn Valley in 1860 – 145 years ago – and some of the original 1860s vines are still producing today. Alister Purbrick, chairman of the Great Australian Shiraz Challenge, said he was delighted to have seen more than a decade of Challenges, and was looking forward to the growing success of the awards in the future. “Shiraz is our most important red wine category for export, It is awards such as the Shiraz Challenge that encourage us keep our competitive edge,” he said. Entry criteria requires that all wine must be commercially available, labelled and on sale in at least one retail, cellar door or mail order “outlet”. The wines must be labelled Shiraz and no vintage restrictions apply. The Visy Board 2005 Great Australian Shiraz Challenge is proudly supported by ASA Cork, Booth Transport, Pemara, Star Track Express, Seguin Moreau, Riedel, Vittoria Coffee, Winetitles, Michael Major Media, Flying Wine Marketers, Park Hyatt Melbourne, la prairie and Tiffany and Co.