THE public “turned out in droves” for open tastings at last week’s 16th International Cool Climate Wine Show at Mornington Racecourse.
More than 400 wines over many classes – with 20 per cent coming from the Mornington Peninsula – had earlier been appraised by a team of judges.
Cool climate wines are produced on the peninsula by 170 wineries and sold through 50 cellar doors. Wine lovers at the show had the chance to compare and contrast these varieties with cool climate wines from around the world.
The public tasting added a touch of mystery, with wine lovers bravely wending their way through a field of up to 600 masked wines, testing their tastebuds and then checking their catalogues to help identify class and entry number with type of wine, vintage and estate of origin.
Winemakers say the peninsula’s maritime climate has a special effect on its wines, helping them produce some of the world’s finest cool climate varieties with outstanding flavours, balanced acidity and fine tannins.
The Cool Wines Public Tasting and Cool Wines Awards explored wines from 2012-2015 (and older vintages in some classes), compared wines of the same grape variety from different regions, and focused on wines from specific regions or vintages.
“Cool climate wines are rapidly capturing the hearts and minds of wine enthusiasts,” International Cool Climate Wine Show project manager James Baldwin said.
“The latest trends and winning wines from leading cool climate wine regions in Australia and overseas were revealed.”
About 20 competition classes, included sparkling wines, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, riesling, pinot noir, and shiraz, were assessed by an experienced 12-member team led by master of wine Meg Brodtmann.
She presented the gold medal and announced trophy winners, along with her personal selection of unusual, interesting and trend-setting wines, on Friday night.
The wine show is internationally recognised as Australia’s foremost show for inspirational cool climate wines, Mr Baldwin said.
“Many are from smaller vineyards where grapes are handpicked and wines handcrafted by winemakers with a passion for exploring terroir and the true expression of the grape.
“For winemakers, this was an opportunity to benchmark in a show where like is judged against like, where elegant wines with restrained fruit are seen at their best, and where diversity is encouraged and rewarded.
“For fine wine retailers, restaurateurs, sommeliers, wine educators and wine enthusiasts, this was an opportunity to taste the extraordinary breadth and depth of cool climate wines.”