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Geoff Merrill Wines triumphant in the 2006 Visy Great Australian Shiraz Challenge

Leading Australian winemaker and winner of the 2005 Jimmy Watson Trophy, Geoff Merrill, has won Australia’s most prestigious wine award, the 2006 Visy Great Australian Shiraz Challenge Trophy. This has capped off a fine year for Merrill having also won this year’s Dan Murphy and Wine Society Trophies.

Winners were announced at a Gala Black Tie Dinner at Melbourne’s Park Hyatt on Friday 27th October. A record number of 370 wines competed in the 12th Challenge with vintages ranging from 1999 – 2006.

The 2006 Visy Great Australian Shiraz Challenge Trophy was won by the Geoff Merrill 2002 Reserve Shiraz.

“This stunning 2002 vintage is comparable to the 1990 and 1998 due to being one of the coolest summers on record for South Australia. Flavour ripeness with optimum natural acidity levels allowed us to produce a wine of great intensity and balance,” a jubilant Merrill said.

The 2006 judging panel consisted of James Halliday (Chairman), John Duval, Stephen Henschke and Geoff Merrill.

The panel agreed the 2004 vintage was a brilliant year. John Duval said, “With 2004 being a slightly cooler year, this produced fruit with immense purity resulting in wines of great elegance.”

Second place was awarded to Clayfield Wines’ 2004 Clayfield Grampians Shiraz and third place went to Howard Park Wines’ 2004 “Scotsdale” Shiraz.

The ASA Cork Trophy for Best Shiraz Under $25.00 was awarded to Matthew Rechner from McLaren Wines for the 2004 Linchpin Shiraz. A delighted Rechner said, “In 2002, my uncle, Tony Rechner, won the same trophy for his wine at Western Range winery.”

“I’m proud to continue this family custom, as the Great Australian Shiraz Challenge has played a major role in raising awareness of the iconic Shiraz grape variety both nationally and overseas.”

For more information go to http://www.shirazchallenge.com.au

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