One wine has cleaned up all three major trophies at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show (RMWS), in results announced at a gala dinner in Melbourne on Thursday night.
Best’s Great Western Bin 1 Shiraz 2011, was awarded the Victorian Government Trophy for Best Victorian Table Wine, the Trevor Mast Trophy for Best Shiraz in Show and the Australian wine industry’s most prestigious prize, the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for the Best Red Wine of the 2010 and 2011 Vintages.
Founded in the Great Western region of Victoria in 1866, Best’s has some of the oldest Shiraz vineyards in Australia. Now semi-retired, former vigneron and owner Viv Thomson ran the company for nearly 50 years; his son Ben took over in 2008.
“Viv Thompson is a real stalwart of the Victorian wine industry and he was a judge at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show for about 20 years, so the show is a real focus for us. It’s also a great opportunity to support the industry,” Jonathan Mogg, General Manager Sales & Marketing Best’s Great Western, told The Drinks Business.
Best’s Great Western describes the wine as, “approachable, medium-bodied, textural and full of spice and peppery fruit characters.” It has been noted that the palate of the RMWS judging panel has drifted towards the more medium bodied wine styles in recent years. Last year a Tasmanian Shiraz was awarded the Jimmy Watson Trophy, with a Margaret River Cabernet taking the coveted prize in 2010.
“Receiving these awards gives us an amazing opportunity to show our brand and regional style to so many new people. We’ve been reconstructing the Great Western story and putting it back into faith over the last four or five years and this is a fantastic platform for us to say, ‘Come and have another look at Great Western Wines,’” said Mogg.
Former winemaker Adam Wadewitz made the 2011 vintage wines, however the final blend of the 2011 Best’s Great Western Shiraz Bin 1 was put together by current winemaker Justin Purser, who joined the company in November 2011.
Mogg added: “2011 was as challenging vintage, we did things we haven’t done for decades and other things we’ve never done before. We really invested in the vineyard with canopy management during the season and that payed off. We hadn’t done leaf plucking on the Shiraz for 30 years before that season, particularly during the recent drought.
“The 2011 vintage was a lot of hard work, but we had recently purchased a hand sorting table, which was incredibly fortuitous! A few people might have been complaining about the expense, but we had our justification when vintage came around. We hand sorted every single bucket of fruit that came into the winery.”
The wine has an RRP of A$25 and 6,000 cases (72,000 bottles) of 2011 Best’s Great Western Bin 1 Shiraz were made.