Swan Valley Wine Show 2017

Swan Valley Wine Show 2017

Barry Weinman: 19th September 2017

The Swan Valley Wine Show proved an excellent opportunity to review some of the wines that the Swan Valley does well; Shiraz, Verdelho and fortified wines. The judges singled out the alternative reds as being a particularly strong class, so I added these to the tasting sheet.

What I found most interesting was the style of wines that received gold medals, particularly with the reds. It appears that the judges were looking for refined, elegant examples, rather than the bigger, richer styles that can do so well in a warm region like the Swan Valley.

Given the weather difficulties that the region faced in 2017, the Verdelhos from Mandoon and Stringybark were particularly noteworthy.

Finally, it was an honour to taste the medal-winning fortified wines. Whilst tasting over 40 young wines at 8am proved challenging, the fortified wine were an absolute pleasure as there were some spectacular wines!

Congratulations to Sittella for being recognized as the Most Successful Exhibitor.

Alternative Varieties

Gold Medal

Sittela – Grenache – Avant-Garde – 2016. Very fine fruit, yet still ripe and textured. Good length, with fine tannins and acid. An elegant and refined expression of Grenache, and great drinking. (Trophy – Best Red Wine or Blend (Other than Shiraz); Trophy – Best Swan Valley Red Table Wine).

Sittela – Petit Verdot – 2014. Very finely structured, with great presence and mouth-feel. The tannins and oak are a treat, being very fine and almost silky. Super stuff and age-worthy to boot.

Silver Medal

Mandoon Estate – Grenache – Old Vines – 2016. Bright, vibrant hue. Succulent and ripe, with delicious berry fruit. There is just enough structure and texture to keep this in line. A great drinking red.

Mandoon Estate – Grenache/Shiraz/Merlot – Surveyors Red – 2016. Bright, fresh and delicious, with a silky mouth-feel. Great early drinking red.

Pinelli – Durif – Reserve – 2016. A big red, with dark cherry fruit, licorice and fine tannins leading to a very drying finish. Needs a big steak.

Upper Reach – Shiraz/Grenache – The Gig – 2015. Concentrated fruit on the nose. The palate is flooded with ripe, chocolatey fruit, fine tannins and savoury oak adding depth. The acid keeps things fresh and lively. A big red that will be great on a cold evening or with a few years in the cellar.

Olive Farm Wines – Touriga Nacional – 2016. Really interesting wine, where the ripe, supple berry fruit is blanketed in superfine tannins. Worth a try.


Gold Medal

Aldersyde Estate – Shiraz – 2015. Attractive, vibrant berry characters on the nose. The palate is fine and elegant, with excellent structure and mouth-feel. Almost delicate, this is a treat. (Trophy: Best Shiraz or Shiraz Dominant Blend).

Pinelli – Shiraz – Reserve – 2014. A fine and elegant expression of Shiraz, with a very silky finish.

Sittela – Shiraz – Coffee Rock – 2015. Very dense fruit that has plum and aniseed notes. Very fine tannins and supple oak give a near seamless palate transition. A very fine wine deserving its gold medal.

Upper Reach – Shiraz – ReserveGold – 2015. A complex, powerful wine, where the dense fruit and savoury structure add equal amounts of interest. Fine tannins carry the finish.

Silver Medal

Faber – Shiraz – Milliard Vineyard – 2015. Lovely concentrated ripe fruit with depth and complexity. The vanillin oak adds to the package. Excellent length to close.

Mandoon – Shiraz – Old Vine – 2015. Chocolate/berry fruit. Concentrated dense and textured, with savoury oak to close. A traditional style that will pair well with food.

Sitella – Shiraz – 2015. Elegant, drying, with fine fruit. An excellent food wine that will be great drinking now or in 5 – 8 years.

Faber – Shiraz – Riche – 2015 . A rich, hedonistic wine that will provide great drinking pleasure.


Gold Medal

Faber – Swan Verdelho – 2013. Just starting to show some lovely aged honey, toasty notes, yet retains freshness and purity to the fruit. The palate is complete, with the fruit still vibrant, complimented by complex notes from time in bottle. A great example of how these wines start to develop. (Trophy: Best Verdelho).

Riverbank – Verdelho – 2004. Some similarity to old Riesling, with the oily, mineral notes, a drying finish with toasty complexity on the finish. Drink up.

Stringybark – Verdelho – Chittering – 2017. Lovely tropical fruit that is vibrant and focused. Excellent length to close. Good current drinking, yet should build depth with time in bottle. (Trophy – Best 2017 Verdelho).

Silver Medal

Mandoon Estate – Verdelho – 2017. Classically-styled Swan Valley wine, with stone fruit and citrus notes and just enough phenolics to add texture to the finish. Sure to develop well.

Moondah Brook – Verdelho – 2016. A straightforward wine that has no rough edges. Good value, everyday drinking.

Rebellious – Verdelho – 2017. Grassy and fresh, with lanolin and pear skin notes. Some phenolics add mouth-feel leading to a drying finish.

Fortified Wines

Gold Medal

Houghton – Rare Liqueur – Cellar Reserve – NV. A concentrated sweet style with Christmas cake and raisin notes. Long and supple finish that lingers.

Faber– Liqueur Muscat – NV. Floral, pretty fruit on the nose, balanced by complex raisin notes. The freshness on the palate sets this apart adding life and vitality. Irresistible drinking.

Sittella – Liqueur Muscat – Show Reserve. Very dark. Intense, powerful and with great balance. Chewy, textured and very long. Fine acid balance. (Trophy: Best Fortified Wine of Show)

Talijancich – Pedro Ximenes – Liqueur – 2007. Toffee notes, coffee, mocha and incredible denseness. All this and more on the palate, with drying acidity maintaining the balance perfectly. Delicious, with great viscosity.

Talijancich – Julian James – Reserve Muscat – Blend No 12 – 1961 Solera – NV. Intense coffee and toffee nose leading to an incredibly dense and viscous close. Remarkable wine.

Pinelli – Grand Tawny – NV. (Not Reviewed)

Talijancich – Rare Tawny – NV. A highlight for me, as the freshness of the wine is a lovely counterpoint to the aged characters and obvious sweetness. So easy to drink, but also a wine with great presence and depth.