Tuesday 5 July 2011

2011 International Sweet Wine of the Year


There is a growing international demand for sweet wines, with many countries producing an array of high-quality sweet wines, in a range of styles and from many different varietals. Here in Australia demand has also increased, lead in part by the popularity of new Italian-esque Moscatos.

So what better wine region to bring all these exciting wines together and showcase the best-of-the-best than the Riverina; a region underpinned by an Italian community with a passion for food and wine, and home to Australia's premium sweet wines, from wineries such as De Bortoli, McWilliams, Nugan Estate and Westend.

Did you know that De Bortoli's Noble One has celebrated 25 vintages and is one of the most awarded wines in history, garnering more than 108 trophies? Or that Nugan Estate's Cookoothama Botrytis Semillon has been the sweet wine of choice in Qantas International Business Class for over 8 years?

With these impressive sweet wine credentials, the Riverina created the International Sweet Wine Challenge six years ago, to highlight the quality of all sweet wines, including their own, and allow Australian dessert wines to be judged alongside their international cousins.

Riverina Winemakers' Association president Les Worland said, "The aim of the International Sweet Wine Challenge is to bring the various styles together to compare and contrast, and to promote greater understanding and awareness of sweet wines, as well as to obviously judge and inform wine-lovers which are the best".

The Challenge is open to any non-fortified sweet wine and the wines are judged in several categories, showcasing the diversity available, including Best Young Sweet: Floral styles, Best Young Sweet: Semillon Predominant, Best Young Sweet: Other Varieties including Moscatos, Best Mature Sweet: Floral styles, Best Mature Sweet: Semillon predominant, Best Mature Sweet: Other Varieties and Best Ice Wine. There is also a separate Museum Class for wines five years or older, with the aim of this class to show unusual or rare styles."

Last year saw the show capture the imagination of winemakers and wine-lovers around the world with over 100 sweet wines entered and judged by some of Australia's most talented palates, including Ben Edwards (co-contributor to James Halliday's Australian Wine Companion and President of Sommeliers Australia) and Lester Jesberg (a prolific wine show judge and author of Winewise). They were joined by International guest judge Simon Nunns (Coopers Creek Vineyards, New Zealand).

This year sees the return of these expert judges and what promises to be an even more hotly contested event, with marketing and media support seeing increased International awareness.

The judging starts on 8th September, with the winners being announced at the presentation luncheon on Saturday 10th September.

In 2010 it was an Australian wine that was victorious and claimed the top Trophy, the 2009 Yalumba Botrytis Viognier. This year, who will be crowned the ultimate title of International Sweet Wine of the Year 2011?

If you are a winemakers wanting to stake your claim to a Trophy you should enter now before the Awards close on 26th August.

Entry forms can be found at www.sweetwinechallenge.com.au


No comments: