In 2015 Orange winery owner Peter Mortimer handed winemakers Chris Derrez and Simon Gilbert five tonnes of shiraz grapes each and asked them to do their best to create a great wine.
This week one of them was judged to be the best shiraz in NSW at the 2018 Great Australian Shiraz Challenge.
Mr Mortimer said he was delighted his Chris Derrez 2015 Shiraz had won the coveted award.
The $60 bottle of wine is only available at Mortimer’s Wines cellar door at March.
“We didn’t make a lot of it,” he said.
Mr Mortimer said Mr Derrez had matured his grapes in new French oak for 11 months to produce a “more minerally” drop with hints of raspberry.
On the other hand Mr Gilbert put his allocation into two and three year old French oak and 25 per cent American oak for 21 months.
Mr Mortimer said it had produced a smoother drop with a “slight vanilla coffee and black currant” taste.
So which one does the winery owner prefer?
“The one I’m drinking at the time,” he said.
We didn’t make a lot of it.Peter Mortimer, Mortimer's Wines
Mr Mortimer said both had been rated 95 out of 100 by wine judge Huon Hooke and Mr Gilbert’s wine had outscored Mr Derrez’s wine at another judging.
He said providing a little competition was the best way to achieve quality.
So much so, he is keen to have another go.
“We are going to make it again in 2018,” he said.
Mr Mortimer said the wine show results showed a positive trend for cool climate shiraz.
He said three other wineries from Orange also scored medals in what is regarded as Australia’s best shiraz showcase.
“Brangayne of Orange, Heifer Station and Tamburlaine also scored medals for the variety traditionally considered more suited to a warmer climate,” he said.
The 2018 challenge attracted a record 480 entries from 69 regions with vintages ranging from 2002-2018.
The main award was won by Kaesler Wines from the Barossa Valley with its 2016 The Bogan Shiraz.
This was the 24th year the challenge has been held.
It is open to commercially available wines that must be currently on sale.
The average retail price of all the wines entered in the challenge was $45 a bottle.
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