2018 Canberra International Riesling Challenge: USA wine takes out top award

The top award at the 19th annual Canberra International Riesling Challenge – Best Wine of the 2018 Challenge – has been won by US winery Black Star Farms with its 2017 Black Star Farms Arcturos Dry Riesling.

The wine was also named Best Dry Riesling and Best American Riesling. Black Star Farms is located on Old Mission Peninsula in Michigan, on the same 45th Parallel that runs through some of the great wine regions of the world.

A record number of Rieslings from six countries – Australia, New Zealand, USA, Germany, France and the Czech Republic – were judged at this year’s Challenge which was held at the historic Albert Hall in Canberra.

The organisers of the challenge said it was the largest collection of Riesling ever put together in the Southern Hemisphere.

Under the guidance of the chairman of judges Cameron Douglas, seven judges from Australia, the USA and China and three associate judges tasted a record 567 wines over four days to find the best wines across a number of styles. Judging resulted in 70 gold medals, 104 silver medals and 205 bronze medals. Douglas, a master sommelier, experienced wine writer, commentator, judge, reviewer, presenter and consultant from New Zealand, said the awards featured wines from a range of countries, and from small family-owned winegrowers to large commercial operators.

“The 2018 Canberra International Riesling Challenge remains the largest and most exacting in the Southern Hemisphere. With 567 entries from 240 producers it is a serious competition that showcases many fine examples. The future of the competition is assured with solid numbers of medals awarded across the classes – providing producers, winemakers, sommeliers, restaurateurs and international wine retailers an opportunity to explore and discover some of these great wines”, he said.

“Riesling touches our vinous lives in many ways. What sets it apart is not simply complexity – other great varieties possess this. It is the pure essence of soil and climate speaking through the grape. Great Riesling can be beguiling with aromas, flavours and textures that resonate seamlessly with the palate. There is a Riesling for all occasions and palates.”

Daniel Hetherington, from Capel Vale Wines in WA, received the Shaw Vineyard Estate Encouragement Award for up and coming Riesling Winemaker. The winner of the inaugural Wines of Provenance class was Trevelen Farm Wines, from Great Southern Region in WA, with its Trevelan Farm Riesling vintages 2016, 2011 and 2005. Entries for this class comprised three vintages of the same wine/label produced from a single vineyard and winery, with 10 or more year’s age range between the most recent and the oldest vintage.

For full results listing see www.rieslingchallenge.com