This time it's not the big guns standing out at Canberra's wine show


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The Canberra Times


It’s the second day of the Canberra and Region Wine Show and the big guns have come out to play.

The classes up today are shiraz and riesling, traditionally the strongest varieties produced in the region and 80 wines are up for judging.

There have been a record number of entries for the 2018 show, 330 wines are being judged in 2018, including 40 shirazes, 40 rieslings and 30 chardonnays.

But it’s the category of “Other varieties and/or blends” that has already caught the eye of chairman of judges, Sebastian Crowther.

“The first day was great because we did a whole variety of different things, wines which are new and emerging for the area, wines which increasingly excite me,” he says.

 “We were looking at wines which are less mainstream, not your cabernet or shiraz or rieslings, but wines made from lesser known grape varieties such as mondeuse, graciano, gamay grapes, which, in the hands of the right people, are being made into wonderful and exciting wines.”

The Canberra region punches above its weight, Crowther says.

“The industry here is full of intelligent, passionate people who are happy to play around with different styles while they’re still producing their world-class shiraz and rieslings and it’s important we keep doing that.”

Crowther, who has worked in the industry for more than 15 years, as a sommelier, with Neil Perry’s Rockpool group, and now as a consultant, says he’s surprised Canberra region wines are still under-represented nationally.

 “You're up against some big states like Victoria and South Australia which have historically been the leaders on the national and international stages,” he says.

“There's still a funny feel about the Canberra district and maybe it’s because Canberra is the home of politics, so people have this idea in their head what the wine is going to be like.

“But now there's been a move away from the warm-climate wine-producing regions like South Australia and there's more interest in cooler sites such as Tasmania, pockets of Victoria and around this area, you're starting to see an increase in interest.”

Kirstin Redding