Gwyn Olsen of Briar ridge Vineyard judging at the Hunter Valley Wine Show wine judging at Singleton Army base on Monday. Picture Peter Stoop Gwyn Olsen tasting at the Hunter Valley Wine Show wine judging at Singleton Army base on Monday. Picture Peter Stoop
Jim Chatto discussing shiraz with trainee wine judges at the Hunter Valley Wine Show wine judging at Singleton Army base on Monday. Picture Peter Stoop
IT seems like a dream job – you don a white laboratory coat, tuck a clipboard under you arm and proceed to taste some of the Hunter Valley’s best wines.
But yesterday at Singleton Army Infantry Centre 18 wine judges had to taste about 120 wines and during this week they will sniff, sip, spit and occasionally swallow 730 wines from 78 large and small wine producers in the 2013 Hunter Valley Wine Show.
And at the end of each day of scoring a hundred or so wines what do they do? In most cases they gather to chill out, not with wine, but with a refreshing ale or two.
The 18-member judging panel under the chairmanship of McWilliam’s chief winemaker Jim Chatto includes an overseas wine expert, Tokyo-based Master of Wine and wine writer Nick Goodwin.
The show is widely recognised as Australia’ premier regional wine competition and is open only to Hunter wines.
Entries this year are down slightly compared with the 2012 show, which attracted 799 wines from 84 producers.
Wine Show Committee president Tim Murray said the fewer entrants and entries were the result of winery mergers and a poor 2012 Hunter red vintage.
There were only five or six entries in 2012 vintage red classes, but the 2013 semillon white classes were shaping as among the best on record.
Show results will be released and trophies presented at the wine show luncheon at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley at Pokolbin on Friday.
Exhibitors will get the opportunity to taste entries at the School of Infantry on Thursday.
The 2012 show was dominated by the Tyrrell’s family wine company with 13 gold medals and six trophies, including the Bill Ryan Trophy for the most successful exhibitor of young wines and the inaugural Iain Riggs white and red wines of provenance awards.
The Riggs awards require entrants to submit three different vintages of the same labelled wine, covering a vintage spread of at least 10 years with one wine being 2009 vintage or younger.