Last week's 2011 Citibank NSW Wine 'Best of the Best' Tasting was a huge success with over 300 trade and consumers seizing the opportunity to meet the State's most talented winemakers and taste the Top 40 wines from the 2011 Citibank NSW Wine Awards, including Trophy winners and the 2011 Citibank NSW Wine of the Year.
The tasting highlighted some exciting wine trends in the world of NSW wines…
· New Wave Chardonnays
Six Chardonnays featured in the Top 40, including the 2011 Citibank NSW Wine of the Year ~ Mistletoe Wines 2009 Reserve Chardonnay from the Hunter Valley.
According to Chief Judge Huon Hooke, these wines were "refined and restrained", in contrast with earlier more full bodied Australian styles. Huon also commented on the high quality of Chardonnay from all of the State's wine regions. Whether from traditional or emerging, warm or cool regions, the wines were equally delicious, showing how winemakers all over NSW are embracing the production of a modern, more elegant style of Chardonnay which is enticing consumers back to this most famous of white grapes.
· New Hunter Heights
Thirteen of the Top 40 wines, including five of the ten Trophies were claimed by exciting wines from the Hunter Valley. The Hunter is Australia's oldest wine region and home to just over 100 wineries who have consistently produced wines of exceptional quality and outperformed the region's size. While steeped in history, a 'new generation' of Hunter winemakers is emerging who are not content to rest on the region's laurels and are pushing the wines of the Hunter to new heights.
· Central Ranges ~ Top Awards
The Central Ranges is a 'wine zone' that encompasses the central western wine regions of Orange, Cowra and Mudgee and their surrounding vineyards. This area at the heart of NSW is starting to beat very strongly with eleven wines (six classified as Orange, two classified as Mudgee, three classified as Central Ranges) making it into the NSW Top 40 and the Logan 2009 Weemala Merlot and the Winburndale Wines 2008 Fontana Cabernet Sauvignon from the Central Ranges continuing on to collect a coveted Trophy. The wines and winemakers of the Central Ranges are definitely ones to watch.
· Great Grape Diversity
A pleasing result from this year's Awards is the emergence of a range of high-quality Pinot Noirs, two of which received Top 40 status. Our emerging cool-climate regions, such as the Southern Highlands, Canberra and Orange, are working hard to show that this high-maintenance red variety can thrive here.
As well as Pinot Noir, there were also some excellent wines made from Viognier, Verdelho, Merlot, Tempranillo, Durif and Zinfandel. In fact, 14 different grape varieties or blends were used to make these "best-of-the-best" wines, demonstrating the huge diversity of NSW wines.
Another exciting Citibank NSW Wine Awards for NSW wine lovers with plenty of great success stories, and anticipation growing for the 2012 Sydney Cellar Door which will kick start the 2012 Citibank NSW Wine Festival on Saturday and Sunday 25th & 26th February.
The Citibank 2011 NSW Wine Awards Top 40 (in alphabetical order)
1. Angullong 2010 Bulls Roar Tempranillo, Central Ranges ($25)
2. Audrey Wilkinson 2011 Winemakers Selection Semillon, Hunter ($25)
3. Ballabourneen 2011 Majors Lane Semillon, Hunter ($25)
4. Barwang "842" 2009 Chardonnay, Tumbarumba ($35)
5. Brangayne Of Orange 2009 Tristan Cabernet Shiraz Merlot, Orange ($30)
6. Brokenwood 2011 Forest Edge Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Orange ($25)
7. Capital Wines 2011 The Whip Riesling, Canberra District ($19)
8. Centennial Reserve 2010 Pinot Noir, Southern Highlands ($30)
9. Centurion Wines 2011 Verdelho, Hunter ($19)
10. Cherry Tree Hill 2006 Riesling, Southern Highlands ($25)
11. Constable Estate 2010 Premium Semillon, Hunter ($24)
12. Coolangatta Estate 2006 Semillon, Shoalhaven Coast ($45)
13. De Bortoli 2009 Deen De Bortoli Durif, Riverina ($13)
14. De Bortoli 2008 Noble One, Riverina ($64) TROPHY WINNER
15. De Iuliis Wines 2009 Steven Vineyard Shiraz , Hunter ($40)
16. Eden Road 2010 Gundagai Shiraz, Gundagai ($45)
17. First Creek Wines Winemakers Reserve 2010 Chardonnay, Hunter ($40)
18. First Creek Wines Winemakers Reserve 2010 Shiraz, Hunter ($42) TROPHY WINNER
19. Freeman Vineyards Secco Aged Release 2004 Rondinella Corvina, Hilltops ($75) TROPHY WINNER
20. Grove Estate 2006 Shiraz-Viognier, Hilltops ($40)
21. Hedberg Hill 2010 Claudia's Viognier, Orange ($20)
22. Lillypilly 2002 Noble Blend, Riverina ($40)
23. Logan 2009 Weemala Merlot, Central Ranges ($18) TROPHY WINNER
24. Logan 2009 Cabernet Merlot, Orange ($25) TROPHY WINNER
25. Lowe 2009 Zinfandel, Mudgee ($75)
26. Mistletoe Winery 2009 Reserve Chardonnay, Hunter ($40) TROPHY WINNER & CITIBANK NSW WINE OF THE YEAR
27. Mount Majura Vineyard 2010 Tempranillo, Canberra District ($40)
28. Nick O'Leary 2010 Shiraz, Canberra District ($30)
29. Philip Shaw 2010 No 11 Chardonnay, Orange ($35)
30. Pokolbin Estate 2005 Reserve Shiraz, Hunter ($50)
31. Printhie Wines2010 Mt Canobolas Collection Chardonnay, Orange ($35)
32. Ravensworth 2009 Shiraz Viognier, Canberra District ($27)
33. Saddlers Creek 2008 Supreme Botrytis, Riverina ($36)
34. Tertini 2009 Pinot Noir, Southern Highlands ($30)
35. Thistle Hill 2011 Organic Riesling, Mudgee ($40)
36. Thomas Wines 2006 Braemore Semillon, Hunter ($45) TROPHY WINNER
37. Tulloch Wines 2011 JYT Selection Semillon, Hunter ($25)
38. Two Rivers 2011 Stones Throw Semillon, Hunter ($16) TROPHY WINNER
39. Tyrrell's Vineyards 2008 Vat 47 Chardonnay, Hunter ($50)
40. Winburndale Wines 2008 Fontana Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Ranges ($30) TROPHY WINNER