Decanter UK magazine World Wine Awards is one of the handful of international wine competitions attracting over 10,000 entries.

That makes all Asian wine competitions look piddly in comparison. But this part of the world will eventually have its day as wine popularity continues.

After all Decanter now has a Chinese version of its magazine published from Taiwan.

My colleague Andrew Graham took the time to highlight the Australian trophies and gold medals shortly after their announcement during the London Wine Trade Fair – the largest trade event of the UK year:

The three major significant regional trophies (awarded from within Australian entries only) ought to be for best chardonnay, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon but there were seven.

The regional chardonnay over USD 14.50 went to a Margaret River wine; Cullen Kevin John 2007 (USD 62), it’s nice to get what you pay for; shadowed by another Margaret River, Voyager 2007 (USD 30), the famous Eileen Hardy 2008 from the Yarra and Tasmania (USD 55; best wine of show-Australian Wine Circuit 2009-2010), McWilliams’ fabulous Barwang Tumbarumba 842 2008 (USD 30) and the irrepressible Adelaide Hills McGuigan The Shortlist 2009 (USD 14.50).

One white trophy which the Peter Lehmann camp have virtually dominated for many years, even to the extent of taking a further trophy against German exhibitors, is Riesling over USD 14.50. This year it was with Wigan 2004 (USD 44).

There were two other white trophies, single varietal under and over USD 14.50 – both awarded to Hunter Valley semillons – McGuigan Bin 9000 2003 and Tyrrell’s HVD 2004 (USD 35).

And the most important wine trophy for Australian makers is shiraz (Rhone style) over UDS 14.50, and a surprise to identify the Riverina brand Nugan Estate taking the gong with Parish Vineyard from McLaren Vale 2008 (USD 10). Wines from this area have a habit of winning top red trophies due to their flavour generosity.

Other shiraz in contention were Angoves Vineyard Select 2008 from McLaren Vale (USD20), Glaetzer Wallace Shiraz Grenache 2008 Barossa (USD 22), three Murray Street Barossa wines – Sophia 2006 (USD 75), Gomersal 2007 (USD 55) and Benno 2006 (USD75), Pieri Azzardo 2008 McLaren Vale (USD 26), O’Leary Walker Claire from Clare 2006 (USD44), Schild Reserve 2007 Barossa (USD 50), Standish The Relic 2006 (USD 76) and Taylors Jaraman-Clare/McLaren Vale (USD 24).

Of note is the fact that not one Aussie shiraz in this line-up hails from a cool growing area, unlike the chardonnays, and this UK wine show clearly highlighted the big flavoured, probably highly-alcoholic warm region reds as a general preference.

This of course flies in the face of recent UK media criticism about these climate-change enhanced reds, probably judged by some of the same scribes who criticise the style.

So there is always a place for blind judging competitions – unlike the book reviewers who generally write tomes with the wine label in view.

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