Unusual varieties give show new look

Ray Jordan Wine EditorThe West Australian

The emergence of non-traditional Australian varieties was the highlight of this year's Perth Royal Wine Show.

Trophies to Millbrook Geographe's tempranillo 2012 and Selena Estate's vermentino from South Australia were firsts for these varieties at any Australian national wine show.

It marks the continuing development of these and other varieties as a point of difference from traditional Australian staples such as chardonnay and riesling for whites, and cabernet and shiraz for reds.

Millbrook winemaker Damian Hutton said the tempranillo almost made itself.

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"It was just too easy from the time we got the fruit into the winery to the time we bottled," he said. "It was just so smooth. I wish all winemaking could be that easy.

The battle for best WA wine was between the Amberley Estate Secret Lane cabernet merlot 2012, the best WA red, and the 3 Oceans The Explorers chardonnay 2012, the best WA white.

It went to 3 Oceans, a major milestone because this is the brand that rose from the ashes after Palandri went into administration in 2008.

Another notable success was for West Cape Howe. For the second year running, its riesling won best 2013 dry white table wine and best riesling, beating the South Australian rieslings.

Tiny Margaret River producer Grace Farm, owned by Perth property developer John Mair, won best cabernet to confirm Margaret River as the nation's best cabernet region.

Another small producer, the Swan Valley based Mandoon Estate, won as most successful WA producer crushing less than 300 tonnes and most successful WA producer overall.

Another WA winery, Watershed, took out best shiraz for the 2011 vintage and Flinders Bay had the best semillon sauvignon blanc blend.

Top wine was the Tyrrells Vat 1 semillon 2005.

Chief judge Brian Croser said the range was spectacular and no other country could assemble such quality.

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