800 wines undergo the taste test at Cowra wine shows

Tara Hardiman judging a red wine class this week. Photo Cara Kemp.

Judging has been underway since Monday in this year’s Cowra Wine Show and Australian Single Vineyard Wine Show. A judging panel of 13 have been smelling and tasting more than 800 wines entered across the two shows, a substantial increase on last year’s entries.

Wine commentator and Master of Wine, Toni Paterson, is chief judge of the Cowra Wine Show. In the Single Vineyard Wine Show the judging panel is working under Gwyn Olsen from Henschke Wines in South Australia.

“The Single Vineyard Wine Show is for producers who have a wine that is specifically from one area, whereas, a non-vintage class is for producers that have blends from different areas,” chairman of the Cowra Wine Show, Peter Jeffery said.

A single vineyard, in theory, creates a wine that is independent; the soil, micro- climate, sun exposure, and access to water is all perfectly balanced to create a wine.

Judge Will Figueira working through a class at the Cowra Wine Shows this week. Photo Cara Kemp.

“One of the great things about single vineyard wines is that they showcase all the vintage, they’re fun to drink as they ebb and flow with whatever mother nature throws at us,” Chief Judge, Gwyn Olsen said.

A non-vintage wine is created by blending wines from different harvests to create a blend that has nice depth and complexity. This year, the Cowra judges are from various locations within Australia, all from different wineries.

“There are 13 judges, three in each panel and a chief judge,” Michael Flannery, the Cowra Wine Show President said.

So what are the judges looking for in a medal winning wine?

“In a top wine, we are looking for a sense of time and place, they should speak of the vintage but also look like a wine that comes from a place,” Ms Olsen said.

“We’re looking for wines that are complete in their aroma. Fragrance, look in the glass, feel in the mouth, the vibrancy of fruit, the texture, and the richness.

“It’s still early days, but we are definitely doing our best to find these,” she said earlier this week.

With over 800 wines, finding ones that meet all the standards is a strenuous task.

“The expectation of gold medals really depends on vintage variation, but maybe 10 per cent could see a medal,” Ms Olsen said.

Show judging started on Monday, July 17 and concludes this week before the popular public tasting in the Cowra Showground Pavilion on Saturday, July 22.