WA producer shines a spotlight on Sangiovese

L to R: Leanne Altmann, Cassandra Charlick, Bruce Chalmers, Jenni Chalmers and Nina Throsby. Photo: Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show

The winners of this year’s Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show (AAVWS) were announced at the AAVWS Awards Long Lunch held on Saturday 11 November 2023 in Mildura, Victoria.

The Dr. Rod Bonfiglioli Best Wine of Show was awarded to Tonon Vineyard & Winery for its 2022 Sangiovese. This wine was also awarded trophies for Best Red Wine and Best Red Italian Variety Wine.

Tonon Vineyard & Winery, situated in the Perth Hills wine region in Western Australia, is the brainchild of winemaker, Dan Tonon. Tonon’s single vineyard in the Perth Hills, established in 2012, boasts a number of alternative grape varieties, including Vermentino, Fiano, Tempranillo, Malbec and, of course, Sangiovese. This small, independent winery has become synonymous with estate grown, artisan produced, award-winning wines.

Chief of judges, Leanne Altmann, led the judging panel comprised of 14 judges, including international guest judge, USA based wine writer, sommelier and educator Jeff Porter.

Western Australian representatives, Nina Throsby (group sommelier, Kailis Hospitality Group and 2023 AAVWS judge) and Cassandra Charlick (wine writer/presenter and the 2023 AAVWS Fellowship Recipient) are both passionate ambassadors of alternative varieties.

“What a truly wonderful result both for the AAVWS and Western Australia – it was my first year judging in Mildura and the first year a WA wine has taken out wine of show!” said Throsby.

“The Tonon Sangiovese is a true beacon of what the show endeavours to do – uncover great wines made by alternative varieties throughout Australia. A beautiful ethereal ideation of the variety defined by its tension and poise.”

Charlick also expressed her enthusiasm for the judging experience.

“The AAVWS is one of Australia’s most exciting wine shows, providing an insight into the future of Australian wine and the varieties that we have and will see make their way into mainstream Australian wine culture,” she said.

“How fantastic to be in attendance in Mildura to see Tonon take home multiple trophies, including the Dr. Rod Bonfiglioli Best Wine of Show. This is a major milestone for the Western Australian wine industry, and I hope it encourages more producers to explore alternative varieties and strive to craft expressive wines from them. Tonon’s Sangiovese shone with vitality and a real lightless of touch amongst its peers in what was a highly competitive class.”

Corrina Wright, president of the AAVWS was pleased with the outcome of the event.

“The AAVWS juggernaut continues into its 22nd year with a focus on sustainability, 802 entries, 115 different varieties, 67 unique regions, a plethora of incredible sponsors, AAVWS family and volunteers making the show a benchmark for the celebration of alternative varietals- dare I say- worldwide!”

The 2023 AAVWS Results are available online: http://show.aavws.com/views/public/wineshowresults


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