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Fresh Top Drops


Five of the best OUR TOP DROPS DELIGHT Congratulations to the winners of the 2010 WA Wine Industry Awards held earlier this month. Now in their ninth year, these awards are a great showcase of WA’s excellent local talent. WIA general manager Aymee Mastaglia said the awards promoted a Statewide benchmark of excellence. “This is especially important for a State like WA which predominantly consists of smaller boutique producers,” she said. “We have a high number of wineries who sell their handcrafted premium products only within the State. At a national level, some of the quality and workmanship that this State should be proud of isn’t even seen, let alone recognised.” This year, Robert Bowen, owner and winemaker of Domaines and Vineyards, won the coveted Diana Madeline Cullen Award for outstanding contribution by an individual to the WA wine industry. Below are some of the award winners.

2010 WIA WINNERS Best Estate-Grown White Wine Pemberley of Pemberton 2008 chardonnay Best Estate-Grown Red Wine Tassell Park Wines 2008 shiraz Best WA Wine 2007 Lenton Brae Wilyabrup chardonnay Most Outstanding Vineyard Clairault Wines Most Outstanding Cellar Door Facility/Wine Tourism Facility Sandalford Wines ............................................................

For the full list of categories and winners, visit ............................................................

Nine top tasters: Liquor Barons panel. Front row, from left: Ed Edwards, Tom Rick, Steve Perry, Basil Giglia. Back row, from left: Michael Dickson, Peter Siemens, Rod Properjohn, Peter Bradbeer, Andrew Reed. Picture: Stefan Gosatti


hey’re the wines with the mostest, Liquor Barons’ top five for summer drinking in Fresh next week. Choosing them is the pinnacle of a laborious process, according to general manager Chris O’Brien, who says 30 or 40 bottles are blind-tasted every fortnight by a nine-member panel to determine the top two dozen every quarter. “We got this panel going about 12 years ago with the aim of getting through the huge number of new-release wines that are presented to retailers every week,” he said. “The aim is to pick the best, with nothing but the wine in mind, and that’s no mean feat when you’re dealing with around 2000 new vintages and products every year. “Over time, this panel has become almost feared by the wine industry. It gets about 100 samples to go through every month and meets every second Tuesday. Everything is tasted blind by people who have excellent palates. The wines are predominantly Australian but the number of international offerings is increasing.” The panel includes wine writer Rod Properjohn, from the WA Wine Education Centre in West Perth, Steve Perry, from Swanbourne Liquor Barons, Peter Bradbeer, from Herdsman Liquor Barons, Michael Dickson, Ed Edwards, Basil Giglia and Alex Michelly, plus a revolving two members. Mr O’Brien said scoring was done in three stages, starting with the Australian show judging 20-point system, followed by quality and value scores out of five. “Those three scores determine whether a wine cuts the grade,” he said. Twenty-four wines are showcased every quarter, but next week’s top five will be the best of the best reds and whites chosen in October for summer drinking. “You always find some good-value wines get up unexpectedly and some expensive wines are perhaps sometimes disappointing, which is in the nature of the industry,” Mr Properjohn said. “There have been occasions when we’ve been blown away by an inexpensive bottle. The message to people is that they shouldn’t be deterred by low price, especially at the moment because the industry is having a tough time and there are a lot of winemakers prepared to drop their prices, which means consumers are doing really well.” He said a lot more better-value international wines were coming through because of the strong

Australian dollar and that Italian, Spanish and some South American reds were making an impression here. Panel tastings always included a balance of wines, with two varietal whites and two varietal reds every fortnight. “Consumers are having a love affair with sauvignon blanc, semillon sauvignon blanc and some newer varieties, like pinot grigio (pino gris in French),” Mr Properjohn said. “Shiraz is still the number one Australian red but cabernet is having a resurgence and pinot noir has improved dramatically in quality.” .........................................................................................

Liquor Barons’ top five wines for summer will be in Fresh on December 2 and their bubbles, including sparkling wine and champagne, will feature in the December 9 edition.

‘We got this panel going about 12 years ago with the aim of getting through the huge number of new-release wines.’ CHRIS O’BRIEN


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