All that Glitters is not Gold
Barry Weinman: 16th October 2020
Decanter Magazine recently announced the results of their World Wine Awards. Fraser Gallop was awarded Best in Show for their 2018 Parterre Chardonnay (from almost 1,000 Chardonnays!).
Whilst this is great recognition of the quality of the wine, trophies and gold medals awarded at wine shows need to be looked at in context.
As with this column, they only judge what is available to taste and many wineries refuse to submit wines for judging. The reason for this is twofold.
Firstly, there is the expense involved. Wineries pay a fee for each wine entered and have to submit numerous bottles of wine for assessment. These wines could otherwise be sold commercially.
Secondly, there may be little to be gained from a reputational point of view. No one would be surprised if Penfold’s Grange was awarded the world’s best Shiraz. But there would be surprise and reputational damage if it only received a bronze medal.
Wine shows and reviews are a great guide but have limitations.
A wine in contention for the most unusual wine of 2020 is the utterly delicious April Red from Patritti. Patritti is one of the last suburban wineries in Adelaide, with control over two of the last suburban vineyards.
The historic Marion Vineyard was planted to Grenache and Shiraz in 1907 whilst “Laffer’s Triangle”, on the banks of the Sturt, has old plantings of Pedro Ximinez.
The April Red is a delicious blend of these vineyards and is the first red wine released from the 2020 vintage in Australia.
Fraser Gallop – Parterre – Chardonnay– 2018. White peach and grapefruit over marzipan and gentle spicy oak notes. The palate is supple, refined and full of life, with the acidity adding delicious energy. Yet the intensity of fruit at the core is the defining feature. A very fine wine indeed! (18.5/20pts – $50).
Patritti – April Red – 2020. An unusual blend of Grenache and Pedro Ximinez from historic Adelaide vineyards. Ripe, bright and succulent with juicy cherry and berry fruit, with liquorice and spice on the finish. Zippy acidity adds to the fun. Delicious alternative to lighter reds as the weather warms. (17.3/20pts – $24).
Higher Planes – The Messenger – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2016. The cooler climate, minty fruit is ripe and supple, and has been skilfully combined with fine oak and tannins resulting in an elegant, approachable wine. Yet there is the depth and structure to support bottle aging. A lovely wine. (18.5/20pts – $50).
Singlefile – Cabernet Sauvignon – The Philip Adrian – 2017. Opens with cooler spectrum berry and red currant fruit that is perfectly ripe. The palate is intense, yet fine and elegant, with supple oak (50% new) adding depth and savoury complexity. Impressively packaged, this is a masterpiece for the vintage. (18.6/20pts – $100).