I have just returned from judging at the Cool Climate Wine Show on the Mornington Peninsula. It's a great show with a fascinating range of entries from all over the world. All entries must conform to the entry requirements based on vineyard temperature and/or altitude--so entries come from Tasmania, New Zealand, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, Yarra Valley, Gippsland and a few other cool to cold places that may not even be regarded as recognised wine regions. For the first time, there were even a few Burgundies mixed amongst the Australian and New Zealand Pinot Noirs.
Here's the line-up of wines for the trophy awards. To get to this point, twelve judges had sipped and spat their way through about seven hundred wines. What you see in this picture is the best of the best--three rieslings, four chardonnays, three pinot gris, two gewurztraminers, a sauvignon blanc, two sparkling, four pinot noir, three shiraz and a cabernet. What a privilege to taste these wines.
The group of pinot noirs was extraordinary and reminded me of how much progress we have made with this variety. When I first started judging in wine shows twenty years ago, the pinot noir classes were uniformly ordinary. Some of the wines were downright bizarre. That situation has completely changed--the four wines here would challenge any wines from anywhere in the world, Burgundy included.
You may not believe me when I say that judging wine is hard work. Sometimes, it's exhausting, mentally draining and physically difficult. Think about tasting forty young chardonnays at 8.30 am!