Two Australian wines take Best in Show at Decanter World Wine Awards

July 8, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Fermoy Estate’s Reserve Chardonnay 2019 from Margaret River and Calabria Family Wines’ The Iconic Shiraz 2018 from the Barossa Valley have been awarded Best In Show awards at the 2021 Decanter World Wine Awards. It is the second time both wineries have shared the top awards.

Calabria Family Wines won Best in Show in 2018 for the Calabria Saint Petri Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2016, alongside the Fermoy Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2019. They were the only two Best In Show wines from Australia in 2018 as well.

Fermoy Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2019

Fermoy Estate is located in Wilyabrup, “the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the famous wine making region of Margaret River” and was established by John and Beryl Anderson in 1985. The winery is led by Chief Winemaker, Jeremy Hodgson.

He said, “2019 was a great vintage for Chardonnay, with cooler conditions allowing for a gradual ripening and retention of natural acids. Making the wine was a joy – whole bunch pressed direct to barrel with full solids, natural fermentation proceeded to dryness with little fuss before a natural malolactic fermentation was stopped at perfect acid balance. I knew we had a good wine on our hands, but after six months in bottle the wine really started to sing, with subsequent show success a wonderful reward.”

The Decanter judgest said: “This 2019 Reserve Chardonnay has scents of bergamot and lemon zest underwritten by a faint, subtle coffee cream. It is spotlessly clean, pure and fine-spun on the palate, with ample citrus and samphire freshness and a pungent finish: very much a Chardonnay for fish and seafood.

“Aesthetically speaking, too, it has much more in common with our other four Best In Show Chardonnay wines than you might imagine from a zone with the same heat summation figures as Napa: this is emphatically cool-climate in style.”

The Iconic Grand Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz 2018

The Iconic Grand Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz 2018 celebrates the Calabria Family Wines’s arrival in the Barossa Valley.

Family winemaker, Bill Calabria says, “Someone was working hard in 1914 when they planted these vines, and we’ve done our very best to maintain the integrity of the vines and the fruit they produce. This premium wine represents not only our family’s love and dedication for the craft of winemaking, but also the families before us that worked hard and made sacrifices to develop the vineyard.” 

“We are beyond thrilled to be recognised again as Best in Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards. This wine in particular marks a special time in our family’s winemaking history as we took a gamble over a decade ago to venture into the Barossa Valley to expand our fruit sourcing and winemaking capabilities,” third-generation Sales & Marketing Manager Andrew Calabria said.

“It appears that our gamble has paid off in a big way with this award and we are so honoured to be recognised as one of the best amongst a sea of outstanding international wine producers.”

While the wine is due to release in early 2023, Calabria Family Wines have made the bottle available for pre-order. Join the waitlist to purchase the Calabria Iconic Grand Reserve 100 Year Old Barossa Valley Shiraz 2018 (RRP $175), register your interest here.

Decanter judges’ said: “Barossa’s ancient, varied soils and up-country, dry-land climate produce famously attractive, voluptuous Shiraz, and it was just such a wine which inched ahead of its Australian red-wine peers to merit a place in this year’s top 50 Best In Show.”

On the whole, Decanter said that Australia “showed strength in depth with top medals awarded to all styles of wine from sparkling to fortified with Morris’ Old Premium Rare Topaque from Rutherglen, Victoria receiving 98 points”. Only 14 wines in the entire competition achieved 98 points.

Morris’ Old Premium Rare Topaque from Rutherglen achieved the most points for any Australian wine submitted.

The judges described it as: “Fabulously aromatic and stupendously complex. Cloud-like in texture; full, yet somehow delicate and brimming with raisins, molasses, smoky caramel, orange peel, freshly roasted coffee and strawberry yoghurt.”

Australia received 15 Platinum and 60 DWWA medals this year. France and Spain dominated the 100 Best In Show wins receiving 15 and 9 Best In Show medals, respectively. And while New Zealand is renowned for Sauvignon Blanc, it won Best In Show for Tohu’s ‘Whenua Matua’ Chardonnay 2018 from Nelson and varietals Syrah and Pinot Noir winning the country’s two Platinum medals.

Co-Chair Sarah Jane Evans MW said of the results, “You know that this is something that’s been through a really rigorous judging process. We’re not playing at judging here. This is blind tasting. We have absolutely no idea what the wines are and we’re tasting them not only in panels together where we have to each discuss and think about them deeply, but then they go up to Regional Chairs who are experts in those countries.”

She added, “It’s a very, very rigorous process, but it highlights fabulous wines at the end of it.”

It was thje biggest year to date for the world’s largest wine competition with more than 18,000 wines tasted from 56 countries.

Judging is a fifteen (consecutive) day process and almost 170 expert wine judges, including 44 Masters of Wine and 11 Master Sommeliers, awarded 50 Best in Show, 179 Platinum, 635 Gold, 5,607 Silver and 8,332 Bronze medals.

Andrew Jefford, judge and DWWA Co-Chair, said, “if you get a medal from DWWA it really is worth having and is respected internationally. We get entries from every corner of the wine world, so it is as it were the closest you can get to a universal benchmark.”

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