New bargain blend snares top trophy

Tyson Stelzer

A new blend of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon defeated wines up to six times its price to win top honours in an Australian wine show on Wednesday. Annie’s Lane Queltaler Watervale Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, which retails for AUD$25 (£16), made history as the lowest-priced wine to win The Great Australian Red competition, a wine show dedicated to Australia’s shiraz cabernet blends.
“When I first proposed the blend, there was a lot of pressure against it from my marketing team, suggesting that consumers don’t perceive it as a premium style,” said an ecstatic Treasury Wine Estates’ Annie’s Lane Winemaker, Alex MacKenzie, who was inspired to resurrect the style after tasting identical blends from the same Clare Valley vineyard dating back to the 1970s. “It’s a classic style that is part of the history of the Clare,” he said.
MacKenzie takes both the top trophy for The Great Australian Red and the trophy for the best shiraz-dominant blend to the Clare Valley for the first time. Other trophy winners have a strong record of past success in the competition. Yalumba FDR1A Cabernet Shiraz 2010 was awarded best cabernet-dominant blend, the best wine under $20 (£13) went to Lake Breeze Wines Bernoota Shiraz Cabernet 2009 and the best wine over $50 (£32) was snared by Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2008.
The judging day coincided with the launch of Australia’s most expensive release this year, Penfolds Bin 620 Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz 2008 (AUD$1000, £650), also a past trophy winner in the competition.
The Great Australian Red organisers Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer said the day exemplified the diversity of Australia’s shiraz cabernet blend to trump every price point.

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