It was Topper's Mountain Wines which stole the show at the New England's night of nights on Friday when it took out 4 of the top trophies including the coveted Champion Winery of Show at the 2011 New England Wine Show.
Renowned wine critic Huon Hooke chaired the panel of judges at a show that he openly admits he was "...without much of an idea of what I would expect to find." And was pleased to find that this "tiny little wine region... making a bigger range of interesting wines than they have in Coonawarra" where he has gone onto judge at their wine show this week.
Interviewed from the region on Thursday after the one day judging which saw a record 154 wines judged by the expert panel, Huon told the ABC that the potential for the region was great. He made reference to the extraordinary number of less mainstream varieties that were of gold medal standard at this show and thought that perhaps varieties like Gewurztraminer and Tempranillo were styles on which the region could "hang their hat".
Topper's Mountain couldn't be happier with these claims that the less mainstream varieties are set to thrive in the region as they are almost as far from mainstream wine producers as their remote vineyard is from civilisation.
Recently quoted as having the 'ultimate fruit salad' vineyard, owner Mark Kirkby of Topper's Mountain has trialed plantings of 28 varieties in his 10ha vineyard since first planting in 2000, many with as few as 200 vines of each clone or variety. Mark's aim is to narrow these 28 down to 8-10 star performers through grape quality work in the vineyard in conjunction with ongoing wine style evolution with winemaker Mike Hayes to show off the exciting, cool-climate terroir of Topper's Mountain.
Located in spectacular yet remote countryside north-west of Armidale, about 50km north-west of the New England's highest town Guyra, Topper's Mountain reaps the benefit of altitudes in excess of 900m, ensuring idyllic growing conditions for his far-from-mainstream cool climate varietals. The vineyard is situated on beautiful, deep, red & aged volcanic soils high above the valleys of the MacIntyre and Gwydir Rivers.
|Rose petals, a hint of tar & fresh strawberry leaves followed by layers of succulent, savoury & meaty characters on the palate reinforced by Nebbiolo's big, smooth tannins. Plenty of time for cellaring this one!|
It seemed the 2009 Toppers Mountain Nebbiolo (RRP $35) couldn't put a foot wrong, at first being awarded the Trophy for "Best Other Red Variety", then "Chief Stewards Pick of Golds" (which also takes into account the winery's contribution to the region), then finally the big one, "New England Wine of Show". Together with the 2010 Topper's Mountain Gewurztraminer (RRP $30) taking out the Trophy for "Best Aromatic White Wine", had Topper's Mountain named "Champion Winery of Show".
This is the first year which gold medal winners at the New England Wine Show qualify to enter in Australia's National Wine Show held in Canberra each year, giving this small region even more opportunity to show the wider wine world just what great things the region is doing.
Just last year the New England Wine region developed a Regional Brand Strategy aimed at raising the profile and awareness of Australia's newest wine region, and this the first wine show since, gives the NEW (New England Wine) region great promise from which to leverage its marketability, having hosted perhaps one of Australia's most regarded wine critics. Mark Kirkby sits on the marketing and branding strategy committee.
Topper's Mountain are seeking distribution of their wines in the on premise market in Sydney and Brisbane.
For further information contact:- Mark Kirkby – Topper's Mountain Wines, firstname.lastname@example.org (0411) 880 580