By Andy Young
Australia's wines and spirits have pulled off a strong performance at the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Competition, picking up an impressive 28 gold medals and nine trophies.
Australian Vintage Limited collected three trophies, the Best Australian Wine and Best Semillon went to the 2003 Tempus Two Copper Zenith Semillon and the Best Riesling trophy was awarded to the 2008 McGuigan Shortlist Riesling. In total AVL collected 31 medals as well as the three trophies.
Commenting on the winery’s success in Hong Kong, chief winemaker of McGuigan Wines, Neil McGuigan, said: "As the outgoing 2015 President of the International Wine & Spirit Competition, I can’t help but feel nostalgic and grateful that we have taken out such a top honour for our Riesling in Hong Kong.
"The IWSC Hong Kong is a very high calibre show due to the quality of the judges. Winning awards in this exhibition gives us a great opportunity to showcase our wines into the emerging Asian, but more particularly, Chinese market. Our marvellous strike rate at this show is testament to our company’s commitment to over-delivering on quality at every price point."
De Bortoli Wines picked up the Best Fortified (Worldwide) Wine for its De Bortoli Black Noble NV. The company said that the win was even more special because Black Noble is one of the only fortified wines on the market to be made from botrytis grapes.
Julie Mortlock, De Bortoli Wines' senior winemaker who produces both Black Noble and Noble One, said: "It's fascinating to watch the Black Noble develop as it ages over 10 years in barriques previously used for Noble One. When the botrytised Semillon grapes are harvested for Noble One, a parcel of fruit at approximately 20 – 22 baume is selected to produce Black Noble’s intense sweet flavours. As the Hong Kong trophy recognises, Black Noble is the perfect way to finish a meal."
Allen Gibbons, IWSC group chief executive officer and Cathay Pacific HKIWSC director commented: “What is perhaps most pleasing about this years’ competition is seeing the growth of interest in Hong Kong as a route to Asia for more and more companies. Not only did we welcome new countries this year, we also increased the spread of entrants in terms of regions and size of producers. Congratulations to all our entrants and especially to our winners: you are Asia’s Choice as decided by Asia’s Voice”.
Debra Meiburg, Master of Wine and founding director of the Cathay Pacific HKIWSC added: “Both the results and the entrants in the 2015 competition are extremely encouraging for the wider industry. The breadth of entries continues to be enriched, which is demonstrative of the 'normalisation' of Hong Kong and Greater China’s wine market development. Where several years ago, non-traditional winemaking countries – and even some New World wine regions – were intimidated by the unquenchable thirst for fine wine from France wine that characterised the market in its infancy, now there is a wider view that the high quality, high value mid-market segment is offering huge potential for new entrants."
Other Australian trophy winners include the St Agnes Distillery, which had its St Agnes XO Imperial 20 Year Old named as the Best Grape Brandy, while the McWilliams 842 Chardonnay 2013 was named Best Chardonnay. The three remaining trophies were for food and wine matching: Dickinson Late Harvest 2014 was named Best Wine with Hainan Chicken; Richard Buller Wines' Reginald Moscato Rosso 2015 was named Best Wine with PorkThai Green Curry and the Wingara Wine Group picked up the Best Wine with Sashimi trophy for its Deakin Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2015.