GRAMPS HITS THE SWEET SPOT AT 2014 INTERNATIONAL SWEET WINE CHALLENGE
Sometimes described as the "quiet achiever from the Orlando stable" the Gramps team had lots to shout about at the 2014 International Sweet Wine Challenge (ISWC) Presentation Dinner when their 2011 Gramps Botrytis Semillon beat off stiff and sticky competition to claim the ultimate title of 2014 International Sweet Wine of the Year.
When describing the Semillon category at the 2014 ISWC, Chief of Judges Sophie Otton said, "an exciting class to taste containing some complex and detailed beauties", so it might be no surprise that the Challenge's overall winner came from this selection. However the 2014 ISWC wasn't just about Botrytis Semillon with medals also presented to sweet and semi-sweet wines made from Moscato, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Furmint, Viognier, Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc.
Eventually the panel of expert judges, including Sophie Otton, Jeremy Dineen and International Guest Judge Madeleine Stenwreth MW, whittled down the ISWC entries to award the finest seven with this year's Trophies.
2014 ISWC TROPHY WINNERS:
Best Young Sweet, Floral styles ~ 2013 Forrest Wines Noble Riesling (rrp$45)
Best Young Sweet, Semillon ~ 2013 Two Italian Boys The Sticky Italian (rrp$25)
Best Young Sweet, Other Varieties ~ 2013 Foxey's Hangout Late Harvest Pinot Gris (rrp$28)
Best Mature Sweet, Floral styles ~ 2012 Lillypilly Noble Harvest (rrp$32)
Best Mature Sweet, Semillon ~ 2011 Gramps Botrytis Semillon (rrp$21)
Best Mature Sweet, Other Varieties ~ 2011 Lillypilly Noble Blend (rrp$40)
Best Sweet Wine from Museum Class ~ 2008 De Bortoli Deen Botrytis Semillon
2014 International Sweet Wine of the Year ~ 2011 Gramps Botrytis Semillon
Sophie Otton commented, "This year's ISWC saw an impressive range of sweet and semi- sweet wines entered, by winemakers who have demonstrated their passion and commitment to these styles. It is heartening to see the continued growth of these wines, and producers' exploration of them. We saw this year some very fine examples, and there is every reason to be extremely optimistic about their future development here.
"This was a very difficult show to judge as these wines are not easy to assess and it required a great deal of concentration and discussion from the judges. However, the hard work paid off as the top wines selected to go into the trophy taste-off were all sublime; diverse and unique, all beautifully made. It was a great pleasure to see what producers had achieved.
"The Gramps Botrytis Semillon is the sort of wine that demonstrates an absolute mastery of the style. With complexity and intensity on the nose, superb exotic fruit characters and the perfect infusion of botrytis, this is a powerful wine with beautifully managed oak.
"It says a great deal about the Australian wine industry, that a show like the International Sweet Wine Challenge can elicit such interest from winemakers, both here and from around the world, and there is no doubt that it fills an important niche within the wine industry.
This helps to draw attention to dessert wine styles, which really are a labour of love. Winemakers take a great risk making these wines, not to mention the difficulty of managing the low yields. I think it's really admirable that these producers are so dedicated to the evolution of this style."
The Riverina Winemakers Association created the annual International Sweet Wine Challenge in 2006 to showcase the diversity and quality of sweet wines from around the world and allow Australian winemakers to see their wines alongside their international counterparts. The 2014 ISWC Presentation dinner was held on 4th September at The Wine Museum, Griffith NSW.