Some wine shows just get it right. High quality tipples, knowledgeable and friendly staff, tasty snacks and no fuss or tedious measuring of the wine being poured. The Murrumbateman Cool Climate Wine Show is a gem. Walking in, I’m faced with row after row of bottles of goodness from all over Australia. Friendly stewards greet us and we’re encouraged to start wandering the aisles pouring whatever takes our fancy – yes, you can pour the wine yourself, like a grown up, remember those days…
The Show begun in 1999 and coincidentally, there were 99 entries that year. This year there were almost 600 entries from 98 separate wineries across cool climate regions around Australia including Tasmania, Mornington Peninsula, Orange, Tumbarumba and of course Canberra. Cool climate wines are thought to be more refined and closer in style to wines found in the Northern Hemisphere. They are often (but not always) lower in alcohol and have more complex flavours as opposed to the big, bold fruit driven reds found in warmer regions such as the Riverina and the Barossa. In the past I have generally leaned towards bigger reds but the wines coming out of Canberra and other cool climate regions are truly impressive and deserve a place in my cellar (a fancy name for my stash of wine in the cupboard!)
Faced with almost 600 wines to choose from, it was tempting to just sample the trophy and medal winners however, I decided to let fate lead me in the hope I would discover a few gems of my own – which I did! A creamy chardonnay from Coppabella in Tumbarumba was a stand out. As was a zesty Riesling from Patrick in the Coonawarra. I’m always a little sceptical when it comes to Pinot as I think it’s a much hyped variety but very few fail to deliver. The 2013 from Home Hill Wines in Tasmania was the exception today with a great nose (a sommelier once told me that great pinots smell like crap – true!) and complex savoury notes balanced well with the fruit.
The Show is a fantastic addition to the local wine scene and seems to have a cult following among cool climate aficionados. I was surprised there wasn’t a larger crowd but it’s almost the show you don’t want to tell your friends about because it’s that good – I’m already looking forward to next year and we are planning something special with our wine tours so stay tuned. The next show on our list will be the Canberra International Riesling Challenge on 18 October – see you there!
The Murrumbateman Cool Climate Wine Show was held on Saturday 27 September at the Murrumbateman Recreation Grounds Hall. Full results can be found here http://www.murrumbateman.org.au/wineshow/Report-2014.htm