It’s no secret that current Australian wine consumption trends tend toward the highly drinkable, vibrant, juicy and fresh styles. Slurpable or smashable are commonly used positive descriptions for these kind of wines. And we all love them. So it is no surprise that these are also the wines being highly awarded in wine shows these days.
It would however be a shame to overlook the broodier wines, the wines that take time to evolve and come out of their shell. The wines that benefit from a bit of age, be they white or red. Wines whose makers exercise patience, waiting for the right moment for the wines to come out of the cellar and greet the world. They may not be so-hot-right-now down at your local, but these wines can offer some of the most memorable wine experiences. Worth the wait.
From 2019 to 2022 the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show awarded a specific trophy for older wines, The Best Museum Wine. To be eligible the wine must have been at least four years old. It could be any variety or blend and was judged in its varietal class alongside wines from younger vintages. From the first year the Museum trophy was instated some excellent older wines got up for trophies, and not just the Museum specific one. Chief of Judges at the time Sophie Otton said “I love the idea of getting an understanding of a variety’s ageing curve, it’s secondary characteristics. It shows the maturity of the Australian alternative variety scene that we now have older wines we can pull from the cellar which can hold their own in a line up with a few years on them.”
Fast forward to 2023 and the AAVWS Committee have decided to take things one step further. On the back of the strength and success of the older wines having been entered over the last four shows, the AAVWS has moved beyond the idea of awarding a single older wine and are instating a Provenance Award from the 2023 show onwards.
This will involve exhibitors entering a specific Wines of Provenance class where their entry will consist of three vintages of the same wine from the same vineyard spanning 10 years. Those sets of wines will be assessed by a special group made up of the panel chairs and chief of Judges. They will be looking for quality and consistency of expression, varietal character, authenticity, age-ability and of course just delicious, distinctive wines.
We are absolutely thrilled that long-term sponsors of the AAVWS, Riedel, are throwing their support behind the evolution of this award from Best Museum Wine to the Provenance Award. No specific minimum on-hand quantity is required at the time of entering for submitting Wines of Provenance, although we do like exhibitors to be able to supply wine to showcase trophy winners at the following year’s Long Lunch as per our entry conditions.