By James Atkinson

The unprecedented dominance of the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards (RMWA) by two Pinot Noirs heralds a new chapter for the varietal in Australia, according to chairman of judges, David Bicknell.

Two Victorian Pinot Noirs took out four of the seven marquee awards in the RMWA. Yabby Lake Vineyard’s Yabby Lake Block 1 Pinot Noir 2012 took out the Jimmy Watson, while Innocent Bystander’s Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 took out The Victorian Trophy for Best Victorian Table Wine and The Douglas Seabrook Single Vineyard Trophy, as well as being named Best Pinot Noir.

Bicknell told TheShout there were a lot of reasons why a Pinot Noir had never previously won the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy.

“I think a lot of it was prejudice but a lot of it was lack of quality as well,” he said.

“We’ve gotten to a stage with Pinot in this country now where there’s appropriate vine age – 20 to 40 year old vineyards that are actually producing the quality that’s demanded.”

Up until a few years ago, the Jimmy Watson was awarded to unbottled barrel samples of just one year old wines, and Bicknell said “bigness” was the key virtue the judges used to look for.

“The bigger they were the more chance they had of winning,” he said.

“It’s changed to being bottled finished wine now. It’s kind of opened the door and a lot of people now are looking for more than just size.”

Bicknell said there were no more than 270 cases made of the winning Yabby Lake wine, while quantities of the Giant Steps Pinot were under the 250 case minimum required for it to be a Jimmy Watson contender.

A total of 22 trophies were awarded including:

The François De Castella Trophy for the Best Young White Wine was awarded to Tightrope Walker Chardonnay 2012; Tightrope Walker, a Yarra Valley Chardonnay;

The Trevor Mast Trophy for Best Shiraz went to Block 14 Shiraz 2012, The Lane Vineyard, South Australia; and

The Bill Chambers Trophy for Best Fortified Wine was awarded to Morris Cellar Grand Reserve Liqueur Muscat NV, made by fifth generation Morris winemaker, David Morris, custodian of more than 150 years of family tradition.

Click here for the full results.

The Shout Team

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