Three Australian wines have been crowned the globe’s best by the world’s largest and most influential wine competition, the Decanter World Wine Awards.
The competition saw its biggest year to date, with 18,094 wines tasted from 56 countries. Over 15 consecutive days in June, almost 170 expert wine judges, including 44 Masters of Wine and 11 Master Sommeliers, awarded 50 Best in Show, 179 Platinum, 635 Gold, 5607 Silver and 8332 Bronze medals.
Best in Show awards went to Calabria for its Barossa Valley-born The Iconic Shiraz 2018 and WA’s Fermoy Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2019.
The judges’ tasting notes for the Calabria Shiraz were: “Barossa’s ancient, varied soils and up-country, dry-land climate produce famously attractive, voluptuous Shiraz, and it was just such a wine which inched ahead of its Australian red-wine peers to merit a place in this year’s top 50 Best In Show. Dark black-purple in colour, the scents of warm, almost treacly bramble and damson fruits, tar, leather and summer heat itself make for a headily inviting combination. The wine is concentrated, spicy, deep and long, with more of that bramble and damson given limpid focus. The wine has a juicy acid balance, melting tannins and is sagely oaked: skilled marshalling of what are evidently very fine raw materials.”
This is the second time that Calabria Family Wines has taken home the top gong, having claimed Best in Show in 2018 for its Calabria Saint Petri Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2016, another of the family’s Barossa Valley offerings.
Sales & Marketing Manager Andrew Calabria said: “We are beyond thrilled to be recognised again as Best in Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards. This wine in particular marks a special time in our family’s winemaking history as we took a gamble over a decade ago to venture into the Barossa Valley to expand our fruit sourcing and winemaking capabilities.
“It appears that our gamble has paid off in a big way with this award and we are so honoured to be recognised as one of the best among a sea of outstanding international wine producers.”
The judges’ tasting notes for the Fermoy Chardonnay were: “The role of Margaret River in helping define the expressive possibilities of Australian Chardonnay is a major one, and this profoundly maritime region with its amenable gravel and loam soils continues to make much of the pace in the Southern Hemisphere as a whole. This 2019 Reserve Chardonnay has scents of bergamot and lemon zest underwritten by a faint, subtle coffee cream. It is spotlessly clean, pure and fine-spun on the palate, with ample citrus and samphire freshness and a pungent finish: very much a Chardonnay for fish and seafood. Aesthetically speaking, too, it has much more in common with our other four Best In Show Chardonnay wines than you might imagine from a zone with the same heat summation figures as Napa: this is emphatically cool-climate in style.”
Decanter noted: “Australia once again showed strength in depth with top medals awarded to all styles of wine from sparkling to fortified with Morris’ Old Premium Rare Topaque from Rutherglen, Victoria receiving 98 points and Best in Show medals awarded to a Margaret River Chardonnay and Barossa Valley Shiraz.”
Morris’ Old Premium Rare Topaque from Rutherglen received a Platinum medal and the most points for any Australian wine submitted, with only 14 wines in the entire competition achieving 98 points.
The tasting notes declared that it was “fabulously aromatic and stupendous complex. Cloud-like in texture; full, yet somehow delicate and brimming with raisins, molasses, smoky caramel, orange peel, freshly roasted coffee and strawberry yoghurt.”
Co-Chair Sarah Jane Evans MW said: “You know that this is something that’s been through a really rigorous judging process. We’re not playing at judging here. This is blind tasting. We have absolutely no idea what the wines are and we’re tasting them not only in panels together where we have to each discuss and think about them deeply, but then they go up to Regional Chairs who are experts in those countries.”
She added: “It’s a very, very rigorous process, but it highlights fabulous wines at the end of it.”
Andrew Jefford, also a DWWA Co-Chair, said, “DWWA is the world’s leading wine competition. I’m absolutely thrilled to take part in it every year because having tasted in a number of other competitions I know how well it’s organised, how carefully everything is done. So if you get a medal from DWWA it really is worth having and is respected internationally. We get entries from every corner of the wine world, so it is as it were the closest you can get to a universal benchmark.”
Australia’s 12 Platinum winners
Spring Vale Family Selection Pinot Noir 2018
Savaterre Chardonnay 2019
Campbells Merchant Prince Rare Muscat
Stella Bella Suckfizzle Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon 2019
Stella Bella Luminosa Chardonnay 2019
House of Arras Rosé Extra Brut 2008
House of Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged 2006
Chambers Rosewood Grand Muscat
Morris Old Premium Rare Topaque
Sons of Eden Romulus Old Vine Shiraz 2018
Sons of Eden Notus Grenache 2020
Mcguigan Bin 9000 Semillon 2007