Rob Doolan celebrates win

Australia named best in the world for vodka, whisky and Cabernet in Hong Kong

November 16, 2020
By Ioni Doherty

For the first time ever, Australian producers have been awarded Best Vodka, Best Whisky and Best Cabernet in the world at the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition.

The 12th Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition (HK IWSC) Gala Awards Ceremony were held on November 11, when Archie Rose Original Vodka received the trophy for Best Vodka and Starward Tawny Single Malt Whisky received the trophy for Best Worldwide Whisky 2020. Yarra Valley winery, Rob Dolan, won the worldwide trophy for Best Cabernet/Cabernet Blends 2020.

On receiving the Best Worldwide Whisky 2020 Trophy, Starward Founder, David Vitale said: “World’s Best is an award we’ll wear with a badge of honour and a huge smile. To be recognised amongst the world’s best producers and to come out as top of the charts is something truly humbling and buoying — showing that there is a true place in the world for Australian whisky.

“This specific whisky is a great example of our innovative ethos, it’s an example of what experimentation and a bit of ‘caution to the wind’ can produce. It’s Australian Whisky, it’s what we make it. Now, the world is celebrating it with us!”

Based in Melbourne, Starward distillers produced the much lauded Tawny Single Malt Whisky as part of Starward Projects, a program during which distillers were invited to experiment with different whiskies and create flavour forward and unique expressions.*

Starward Tawny Single Malt Whisky

Archie Rose Founder, Will Edwards said: Our Original Vodka is a truly Australian vodka made from 100% New South Wales grown wheat and twice carbon and RO-filtered Sydney water, so to be awarded best vodka overall in this prestigious global competition is testament to the quality of raw ingredients we have available in Australia and the care we take in all aspects of distillation and production.”

Up against Cabernet and Cabernet blends from all corners of the world, the 2017 Rob Dolan Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon (RRP $80) took home top place for Best Cabernet/Cabernet Blends 2020.

Recent accolades include best Cabernet Sauvignon in the 2017 Yarra Valley Wine Show and Pinot Noir of the Year with Winestate magazine but Dolan  says this award takes the winery to a new level.

“To receive a trophy in such a prestigious event is an honour. While our recent successes have been Australia-based, this competition was us against the world…

“To receive this incredible award and be recognised on the world stage just a decade in is so humbling. To the winemaking team, our incredible growers and everyone who has supported us on this journey  so far, thank you,” he said.

Master of Wine Meg Brodtmann said the win is remarkable not only for Rob Dolan, but to showcase Yarra Valley Cabernet.

“The category features wines from the top Cabernet regions in the world – such as Bordeaux, Chile and Argentina. The wines are blind tasted by some of the top palates, and it’s a real testimony the quality of Yarra Valley Cabernet, but also the winemaking skills of the team at Rob Dolan.

“The Yarra Valley was built on Cabernet and it’s about time it was re-elevated to its rightful position” she says.

Winners in recent years of the international trophy include producers from warmer regions such as McLaren Vale, Argentina, California and Margaret River.

Australia was the most prolific medal winning country at the awards receiving 23 gold, 98 silver, 99 bronze and six trophies. The HKIWSC is Asia’s most prestigious wine and spirit competition and sister to the London-based IWSC which takes place this week.

HKIWSC, represents a true voice of Asia with 74 judges from 10 Asian cities sipping, debating and deliberating their way through thousands of glasses of samples to ensure an authentic pan-Asian voice on the very best international wines, sake, spirits and now beer for the Asian market. The full results of the Cathay Pacific H K IWSC can be found here.

*Starward Tawny Single Malt Whisky is no longer available, however the latest Starward Projects release has just been launched, Dolce, which has been matured in Australian red wine barrels and finished in dessert wine barrels, that held an Australian interpretation of a Sicilian Dessert Wine. Dolce is available at Starward distillery, and select retailers nationally. RRP: $119 per 500 ml bottle.

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