Monday, November 7, 2011

Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show 2011

For three days last week I was a steward at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show, held each year at the beginning of November in Mildura. It was a good thing to do, giving me an insight into how a (good) wine show runs that you don't get as an exhibitor, punter or observer.

I'll do a few posts focusing on different aspects of the show and the results, but to start off, here are a couple of general comments:
  1. The quality of the alternative whites, including the 2011 vintage, surprised me. The 'other whites' class (Class 10 - other white varieties or blends) had 11 of 19 entries take a medal (including a bronze for the 2011 Quarry Hill North Block savagnin sav blanc blend). It was the strongest of the classes I tasted through from the steward's table.
  2. The judges liked the sangiovese classes a lot more than I did. Not much there I would be prepared to pay full tote for. But a couple of good wines that I'll write about later.
  3. The quality of organisation for the show is evident in the excellent presentation of the results, including the capacity to drill back into wine-specific information. See here for an example. One step further would be to publish the summary judges' comments for each wine, along with the summary of entry.
  4. Having tasted all 24 of the straight savagnin wines in Class 5 (a class awarded a solitary bronze medal), I think the judges might have missed some decent wines (such as the 2011 Tscharke 'Girl Talk') that have done well with other reviewers and in other shows. This class and the white rhones really needed to be served with some chill on them, rather than at a Mildura room temperature. Room to do better here, I think, as tricky as the logistics can be.
  5. The 2011 Scott Fiano from the Adelaide Hills is excellent - well-deserving of the gongs it collected, including Best White Italian Varietal and Best White Wine. I reviewed the 2010 of this back in January here and mentioned this was a producer to watch, something this show's results confirm.
  6. The 'Steward's Choice Award' (a packing room prize), clearly the best nod to get from the whole show, went to the 2010 Greenstone Colorino. My pick for the prize, it was, looking even better than my earlier quick look at the Bibendum roadshow. It will get a proper review, with food, sharpish.
All in all, a great wine show experience. Well-organised and well-run, with a good mix of judges from different backgrounds and viewpoints. Knocked the edges off some of my wine show cynicism too, which is good.


  1. Keen to hear which sangio's hit the mark Paul. I was pretty happy with Coriole 09 and Pizzini 09 this year, still a work in progress but tracking in the right direction. Cheers Matthew.

  2. Your wish is my posting, Matthew. Next AAVWS post just up, on the 2010 and 2011 straight sangiovese wines at the show.