Great win for Tatachilla Shiraz

Name: Fanchon Ferrandi

Tatachilla Wines was awarded first place in last year's Great Australian Shiraz Challenge for its 2002 Foundation Shiraz.

The McLaren Vale winery was awarded the Shiraz Challenge Trophy during a gala awards dinner held in October. It's the second time that it has won the award after taking out the trophy in 2002 for its 1999 Foundation Shiraz.

'The VISY Great Australian Shiraz Challenge trophy is very highly regarded, so we at Tatachilla wines were pretty pleased to receive the trophy for the top Shiraz,' said Tatachilla winemaker Fanchon Ferrandi.

'It's fantastic recognition of the quality of Shiraz being made from Tatachilla's home in McLaren Vale. Through successive vintages of this wine, the winemaking philosophy about this wine has remained strong; it remains the greatest example of Tatachilla's long-standing commitment to making a premium, hand-crafted wine which epitomises the richness and quality of Shiraz from McLaren Vale.

'Tatachilla Wines are about showcasing the true characteristics of the grape in the wine created without too heavy a hand in the winery,' Ferrandi continued.

'We want to show people that the wines reflect classic McLaren Vale characteristics with a focus on highlighting the region's Mediterranean spirit. This is what Foundation Shiraz is about; it's a wine crafted with the best Shiraz from the region and reflects the influence the climate - sunny days and light breezes from the coast - has on McLaren Vale Shiraz.

'The win is great recognition of what many McLaren Vale wineries have been saying - that some of the best Shiraz comes from this unique region. It helps enforce the message,' Ferrandi said.

The grapes used in the 2002 Foundation Shiraz - which produced 2736 dozen bottles - were sourced from premium sites in the heart of McLaren Vale and the Blewitt Springs subregion. The 2002 vintage was one of the coolest ones on record in McLaren Vale, with conditions allowing for even ripening of the fruit while still retaining valuable acidity and aromatic qualities in the berries.

The fruit was then handled in small open fermenters with careful pump over and plunging. Fermentation temperature was maintained between 22-28°C. The wine spent 18 months in new French and American oak (30%), with the remaining wine matured in two-year-old barrels.

Tatachilla Foundation Shiraz is currently exported to the United Kingdom and USA.

In its 13th year, the VISY Great Australian Shiraz Challenge showcases the nation's premier variety. Proudly supported by the Wine Industry Journal, the Challenge's 416 entries - 11% up from 2006 - were predominately from South Australia, followed by Victoria, Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

Lawson Wines won second place in the Challenge for its 2003 Lawson Wines Vintage Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz while Taylors Wines, from the Clare Valley, took third place with the 2002 St Andrews Shiraz. The ASA Cork Trophy for Best Shiraz under $25 went to Jean Paul's Vineyard.

Carlei Wines won the fifth gold medal for the night for its 2004 Carlei Green Vineyards Shiraz.

This year's judging panel of John Duval (chair), Stephen Henschke, Geoff Merrill and Nick Bulleid MW all agreed the entries were 'of exceptional quality'.

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