Brisbane’s pre-eminent wine show has just been completed with a swag of gold medals, 113, whereas the previous year the count was 55.

As a panel chair judge this gives me a very good fix on the current quality of the 2010 harvest (for the first time nationally), 2009, 2008 and occasionally the older vintages.

The 2010 harvest indication is drawn from the riesling, semillon, sauvignon blanc, other varietals and rose. Generally these were quite pedestrian wine classes so the vintage so far did not have many highlights.

But the better drops were riesling (Dandelion produced a stunner from Eden Valley as they did last year), semillon from the Hunter Valley (First Creek and Hungerford Hill) and Houghton cabernet rose.

Given that many 2010 wines were not yet bottled, the next capital city wine show in Adelaide in September should see a stronger showing of the vintage.

The year 2009 is a stunning event for young whites and pinot noir from all over this country really.

There were five riesling and seven chardonnay golds (Eden valley and Clare origins the first), (Adelaide Hills, Yarra Valley, Margaret River, Coonawarra and Tumbarumba for the latter), two semillon (Hunter and Barossa), four other varieties, viognier (Eden Valley), two verdelho (Granite Belt and Capel) and pinot gris (Adelaide Hills).

The two golds for pinot came from Tollana (Mornington Peninsula) and Bay of Fires (northern Tasmania).

Most 2009 reds are not bottled but they will be far superior to the previous 2008 vintage which is essentially lacklustre – be careful keeping any 2008s very long because many are destined to collapse quite quickly from poor colour, porty flavours and a general lack of character.

The South Australian heatwave that year had a telling blow.

The Australian wine show fraternity annually anoint a table wine which has been the most successful entrant in all capital city wine shows (six).

During the 2009 show season this award went to a white wine, Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2008 with the 2009 RNA entrant being a 2003 Hunter Valley semillon.

Despite the chief judge of this 2010 RNA wine show Phillip John lamenting the fact that Australian red wines are “missing in action” from the champion of champion award, the Brisbane entrant for the 2010 show season will be Leo Buring Leonay Riesling 2005.

So white has triumphed over red yet again; this time by a solitary vote (64 to 63) over a Coonawarra shiraz cabernet from Lindemans.

In alternative varieties a tempranillo from 2009 (Wrattonbully) won the trophy from an inky Durif 2008 (Riverina origin).

The moral of the show was the demise of Leasingham Classic Clare Cabernet 2006 for being sealed under cork: after gaining top gold in the open cabernet class it waivered in the trophy line-up against seven other red styles for best red of the show.

After two re-pours in the taste-off, both being tainted, the judges went on to concentrate on the fresher wines under screw cap, with the Lindemans wine prevailing.

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