I was interested to have pointed out to me (thank you to the relevant person :)) a relatively new wine award entitled the “Gramp, Hardy, Hill Smith Prize for Outstanding Wine of Provenance” that is awarded as part of the Royal Adelaide Wine Show. I understand that the prize is given for three vintages of one wine which the judges identify as having strong regionality, consistency and a sense of place. The winner in 2010 is the Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon from Great Southern (though I haven’t tried this wine).
Though medals on bottles look good, and I understand are good for sales, I am generally not “pro” wine shows from a consumer perspective, if only because (i) there seem to be too many wine shows, (ii) with too many awards of varying currency (eg silver might be great, but not if first prize is say platinum), (iii) not all wine shows will follow the same approach, (iv) I wouldn’t know the relationship between the awarding body and the candidate wineries without having to do research, (v) I wonder whether “big wines” and “safe/technical wines” are inadvertently favoured in wine show style blind line ups, and (vi) I also wonder how good the evaluations are with so many wines to review at once in what appear to be somewhat unnatural conditions compared with tasting, say, at home, in a restaurant or at a winery. It would certainly be a task beyond me to judge dozens wines in a day and come out with conclusions I’d wish to stand by.
The Gramp, Hardy, Hill Smith Prize for Outstanding Wine of Provenance award, however, seems a step in the right direction, and I really like the idea that consistently high performing terroir wines might be recognised in this wine show going forward. Hopefully others will follow. For some further reading, see http://www.adelaideshowground.com.au/showground/news-and-focus-container-page-only/2010-wine-show-winners-announced.jsp and http://www.businessday.com.au/executive-style/top-drop/prize-for-a-test-of-time-20101026-171sh.html.