Is an ‘elite’ medal a greater information to wine than gold?
Wine author RICHARD CALVER enjoys an evening of winners, benefactors and controversy on the Riesling Problem awards evening.
I RECENTLY attended the awards evening of the Canberra Worldwide Riesling Problem, which returned after a two-year, covid-induced pause.
This was the twenty first Problem. Ken Helm, the creator of the occasion since inception, advised me: “They thought it will final six months, not over 20 years.”
The way forward for the Problem seems to be set: on the evening Wolf Blass, a legend of the Australian wine trade, now 88, pledged a $350,000 donation to the Problem.
Mr Blass spoke about how he was lobbied by many South Australian colleagues within the early days to have the Problem held within the Clare Valley, however he resisted and stated that “this occasion turned a proud establishment and the glass has by no means been empty”.
I attempted to interview Mr Blass throughout the post-award drinks, however the degree of noise within the room on the Realm was reverberating and was inflicting issues together with his listening to aids, so alas our dialogue was reduce quick. However he did inform me that he now runs three foundations and takes a eager curiosity in developments within the Australian wine trade, with the Canberra connection holding a particular place for him due to the friendships he has developed right here over time. I solely hope that I’m as spry at his age.
The highest award on the evening was received by Singlefile Vineyard from WA for its 2022 Singlefile Nice Southern Riesling. The wine was additionally named the perfect dry Riesling and greatest Australian Riesling out of greater than 400 wines tasted by the judges. I used to be fortunate sufficient to style this wine within the firm of Frank van de Bathroom, the winemaker at Mount Majura Winery right here in Canberra. He described the wine thus: “It’s beautiful, delicate. It has a protracted end that makes it nice consuming and it has some energy.”
I might solely agree, though my favorite tipple from that evening was a 2003 St Hugo Eden Valley Riesling, a previous winner. It was ageing in addition to Wolf Blass! There was no trace of the cruel petroleum end you will get from some aged rieslings and its depth and complexity have been excellent.
One of many controversial parts of this yr’s Problem was the choice to now not give gold, silver and bronze medals.
As an alternative, what’s described by the organisers as a “descriptor scale” has been adopted. These classes are: elite, wonderful, premium and recommended.
The media launch issued by the Problem says that this “permits the Problem to raised recognise and acknowledge the standard of the wines, present higher steerage for shoppers and a advertising and marketing software for producers.” Hmmm. I’m unsure that these descriptions will likely be universally welcomed by shoppers. However, pricey readers, I’d love to listen to what it’s important to say about these new descriptors. Please get in contact (by way of [email protected]).
It was additionally good to have the ability to personally congratulate Frank van de Bathroom for successful the perfect riesling from the Canberra District for the 2022 Mount Majura Winery Riesling.
However I’m unsure what descriptor was given to this wine, albeit it’s consultant of the continued excellence of riesling produced in our area.
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Ian Meikle, editor