Australian Small Winemakers Show – Summary of Chair’s Report

Australian Small Winemakers Show – Summary of Chair’s Report

The Array of Wines

The Small Winemakers Show has a wonderful array of wine styles and is often more diverse than large wine shows. Many small wine makers are at the forefront of new varieties, new regions and new techniques. This show is where many such wine makers send wines to explore the success of their endeavours. From sparkling wines, through emerging varieties, mainstream wines to fortified wines, there were wonderful flavours.

The Mainstream Whites

Chardonnay was a strong class and top results saw success particularly for colder regions across Australia and Western Australian wines. The elegant style that offers creaminess but dryness at the same time, was often encountered. Rieslings from South Australia and, following a recent trend, from Tasmania did exceptionally well. Semillons from NSW dominated the awards for this variety. Sauvignon Blanc continues to be disappointing.

The Emerging Whites

It was a few short years ago that we could not spell these variety names and had to take sneak peaks at Jancis Robinson’s Wine Grapes bible to see the original origin and the text-book taste characteristics. Now excellent examples across a marvellous array of varieties are in many classes of the Show. Fiano (originally from Italy), Gruner Veltliner (Austria), Vermentino (Italy), Viognier (France), Arinto (Portugal), Marsanne (France), and Albarino (Spain) were examples of wines that attained medals.

The Mainstream Reds

Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz were big classes as expected. Judges noticed how good was the 2020 vintage and also 2018 and older vintages whereas 2019 showed difficulties in many cases that reflected a difficult year in areas of southern Australia. Whilst Grenache has been grown in Australia for a long time, it was often considered a blending component. In recent years there has been a new focus on Grenache where more elegant supple examples are made not only in its home state South Australia but in cool areas of Victoria. The Grenache class was excellent and the top Grenache, from near Great Western in Victoria, also was the Champion Red. The Grenache blends were also very good. The top Pinot Noirs were excellent. We noted the class size was small and many wines from the 2019 vintage were showing overly soft development.

The Emerging Reds

Delicious wines and medal successes were achieved by Barbera, Durif, especially Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Aglianico, Nebbiolo, Nero d’Avola and more.

Tasting Videos

Natural Wines

Wines Tasted:
Organic – Holly’s Garden Pinot Gris
Biodynamic – Cullen ‘Red Moon’
Preservative Free – Yangarra ‘PF’ Shiraz

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