Sav- and Shiraz-alanche
Saturday 8 May
It’s a daunting prospect tasting more than 50 Kiwi Sauvignon Blancs before 10am. Then, just when you’ve recovered from the Savalanche haze, you’re assaulted by a blur of 50 super-ripe Aussie Shirazes before lunchtime. And we volunteer to do this!
Before tasting the Sauvignons at Liquorland’s wine show, all 20 judges discussed what we should be looking for: elegance, balance, freshness. It’s an unusual time of year to be looking at Sauvignon Blanc. It’s usually judged in October as it falls off the bottling line or at Easter. Yet, it’s probably one of the most useful times to see how those wines are holding up a year after they were harvested. Moreover, these wines are going to be the ones the export market drinks for another six months.
The class we judged was pretty solid (which, was a lot more than we could say for the Chardonnay and Merlot category) although there were more wines than I expected with reduced characters: think burnt match, cabbage, garlic. Not something you’d want in your glass.
I’m astounded why people enter faulty or tired wines past their best in a competition. They’re not going to win anything. Yes, it’s less prevalent than it used to be but it still exists today. So, I asked some winemaker judges why so many people entered their wines to a rigorous judging process. One response was winemakers become too close to their wines and believe they are worthy of a medal; another claimed more wineries are entering competitions because they are desperate to help sales; if they can sneak a silver, it’s going to give them a boost.