Dan Murphy’s has announced the winners of its inaugural Decoded Wine Awards, aimed at taking the jargon out of the category for drinks lovers.
“Many of our customers find the world of wine daunting,” said Andrew Shedden, awards judge and Head of Fine Wine at Dan Murphy’s.
“We wanted to make great wines more approachable, which is why we launched our Decoded Wine Awards. These awards are for wine lovers, not experts.”
The liquor retailer brought together 12 of its most passionate wine lovers on the team, who have almost 200 years experience combined. Over three days, the panel (pictured below) blind tasted more than 1000 wines, which were submitted by suppliers. The mission was to find wines that customers would love; quaffable and of great value.
“We have judged the wines just like we would in any award show – completely blind,” Shedden explained.
“We looked at and considered things like primary, secondary and tertiary aromas, acidity, tannin structure, intensity, finish and overall balance. However, the everyday wine lover doesn’t want to hear that jargon; they just want to know why it’s a good wine and what to enjoy it with, which is why we have explained the winner simply.”
Last night, the liquor retailer celebrated its inaugural Decoded Wine Awards with a gala ceremony in Richmond, during which it revealed the winning wines across 11 categories.
Grenache sales up 20%
The wine trends of Chardonnay making a comeback, rise of lighter style reds and bone dry rosé were prevalent among the winners.
“We used to see Grenache being blended away, but now wine lovers are starting to realise how great it is on its own and we’ve seen a 20% increase in the last year of this great wine variety. A Grenache was awarded best Lighter Red and a Grenache Shiraz Mataro was awarded best Fuller Red in the under $20 category,” Mr Shedden said.
Following the popularity of Pinot Noir, another lighter style red, the grape is now gaining second wind as Rosé.
“Australian Pinot Noir grapes make beautifully crisp Rosé, and can rival the famously dry Rosés of France,” he explained.
Customers are also increasingly choosing Australian sparkling over French Champagne.
“Many producers – in particular in Tasmania – make a premium sparkling wine using the Méthode Traditionelle, which is the same method they use in the Champagne region. Even Masters of Wine have admitted they can’t always taste the difference between French Champagne and Tassie bubbles,” he said.
And polarising Chardonnay is back with a bang – especially if it’s from Margaret River.
“Margaret River’s has consistently good vintages, and the Chardonnay that’s coming from there is world class quality,” he said.
Dan Murphy’s is planning on making the Decoded Wine Awards an annual event.
And the winners are …
Under $20 Award Winners
Lighter white: Knappstein Hand Picked Riesling Clare Valley
Verdict: A deliciously fresh, light and dry Riesling. The perfect wine to enjoy with your favourite Asian cuisine.
Fuller White: Devil’s Lair The Hidden Cave Chardonnay
Verdict: A superb Chardonnay. This is an impressive, affordable option for your next dinner party.
Lighter red: Z Wine Rustica Grenache
Verdict: This juicy, fresh and vibrant Grenache is perfect to drink now.
Fuller red: Langmeil Three Gardens Grenache Shiraz Mataro
Verdict: A savoury, medium-bodied Barossa blend with ripe red fruit, it’ll complete your Sunday Roast.
Over $20 Award Winners
Lighter white: Craggy Range Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
Verdict: This Craggy range is as good as New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc gets.
Fuller white: Xanadu Estate Chardonnay 2018
Verdict: This mouth-watering wine is crisp and a prime example of a lighter style of Chardonnay.
Lighter reds: Seppelt Drumborg Vineyard Henty Pinot Meunier 2018
Verdict: Although commonly used as a component in sparkling, this wine proves that Pinot Meunier more than stands up on its own. A must try for adventurous Pinot Noir lovers.
Fuller reds: Xanadu Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Verdict: A generous wine that showcases the best of Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon. A perfect addition to your next dinner party.
Other category winners
Rosé : Blue Pyrenees Bone Dry rosé
Verdict: This salmon-pink Rosé has delicious flavours of strawberries and cream. Dry and crisp, it’s the perfect picnic drop.
Sparkling: Jansz Tasmania Vintage Cuvée 2014
Verdict: A world-class sparkling that is elegant and perfect for a celebration.
Fortified wine: Morris Old Premium Rare Liqueur Topaque
Verdict: Heady and concentrated, it’s a great wine with cheese or dessert.