July’s Royal Queensland Wine Show had a string of highlights. There were over 60 gold medals awarded.

On the exhibitors’ day these were all out for producers to try at their leisure – quite early starting at 7.30am and finishing late morning.

I spent several hours tasting through. Why? Because the opportunity cost to be thrifty with time and dollars outlayed to taste such a collation was very low, and the experience resounding.

Diverse tastings are not put together easily, so when the situation presents, grab it with all the effort that you palate can accept.

Top wine of the Show was Seppelt Drumborg Riesling 2005-a museum product, probably now creating a headache for its brand manager, for the Seppelt brand has been diminished so much under the past Fosters reign that it is essentially only a Victorian table wine range.

Best of Show-Seppelt Drumborg Riesling 2005

The wine is exciting, freshy aromatic for its age, pale, hardly showing age, composed in its development, linear, mineral-bred and taut.

The growing conditions in south-west Victoria encourage the meanness that comes with this style-and consequently the slow development in bottle. In future, if you see a bottle, grab it.

Seppelt produced a similar wine from Eden Valley in 1984 which is still widely lauded amongst those that know.

Aside from local Mark Ravenscroft’s Ravens Croft Chardonnay 2009 taking gold in chardonnay, Penfolds brand did particularly well with chardonnay on several fronts. Best Chardonnay of the Show was Thomas Highland 2010 judged in the commercial class.

Best Chardonnay-Penfolds Thomas Hyland Chardonnay 2010

Its competitors in the judge-off were from the mature class, Penfolds Reserve Bin A 2008 and the one-year-old class, Penfolds Reserve Bin A 2010, later disqualified for being cloudy.

Other Commercial class golds for chardonnay were Woolworths Cowbombie 2009 and the above-mentioned Ravens Croft.

Mature chardonnay to score gold was Devils Lair 2009, Wolf Blass White Label 2009 and Penfolds Reserve Bin A 2009-a bit of a haul for Treasury Estates.

Pinot gris is increasingly under our gaze. The results took a new turn with the outstanding Wine Society Tasmanian Pinot Gris 2010 awarded gold, being pink. Now gris often gives brassy-coloured wines because it is a grey/brown grape yet this delightful example was highly praised.

A pinkie-Wine Society Tasmania Pinot Gris 2010

Quite often the pinot grigios of north-eastern Italy arrive with pink tinges, so instead of removing the colour as most Australian winemakers have to do, here it is looking naturally.

Vermentino had its moments too: Trentham Estate collected a gold the second year running, with La Famiglia Vermentino 2010, now a lovely, crunchy, savoury/tangy drink, while Golden Grove’s 2011 took a silver.

Trentham La Famiglia Vermentino 2010

Finally, one for those following the rise of new red Italian varieties in Australia. Warburn Estate 1164 Limited Release Montepulciano 2009 from the Riverina was an outstanding winner with this crunchy and savoury red with oozy palate features.

Warburn Estate 1164 Montepulciano 2009

Peter Scudamore-Smith is a Brisbane-based Master of Wine, winemaker and educator www.uncorkedandcultivated.com.au

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