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History made with first Pinot Noir to win the Jimmy Watson Trophy

Publish Date: 25 Oct 2013

Authored by: Media Release

The results for the 2013 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards (RMWA) conducted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria have been announced. Two outstanding Victorian Pinot Noirs have taken out four of the seven marquee awards including the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for the Best Red Wine of the 2011 and 2012 Vintages winner; Yabby Lake Block 1 Pinot Noir 2012, Yabby Lake Vineyard. This is the first time in the RMWA’s 52-year history that a Pinot Noir has won the coveted trophy. 

The inaugural James Halliday Trophy for Best Pinot Noir presented by James Halliday’s Wine Companion was awarded to Innocent Bystander’s Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012. This was the first of three trophies for this Yarra Valley wine also awarded The Victorian Trophy for Best Victorian Table Wine presented by the Victorian Government and The Douglas Seabrook Single Vineyard Trophy. 

The top wines of the 2013 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards were widely lauded by the judging panel. 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. 

Chairman of Judges, David Bicknell said, “With the uniformly strong 2012 vintage behind us there were a number of apparent trends: a general improvement of alternative varieties and alternative blends, definitive improvement with Pinot Gris/Grigio and ground breaking work with Pinot Noir. The excitement we have seen in the last few years when looking at Chardonnay classes has seemingly caught on to both Grenache (and variations) and Pinot Noir. Gris, Merlot and Rosé days are numbered and may finally be supported and embraced in the fine wine category. Vintage 2011 red wines again stood up extremely well, surpassing the expectations of many. Fortified wines were outstanding, if in tiny numbers.”

Here is the full list of winners:

THE JIMMY WATSON MEMORIAL TROPHY FOR BEST RED WINE OF THE 2011 and 2012 VINTAGES

One of the wine industry’s most coveted awards, The Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy has been awarded every year since 1962. The Watson Trophy is awarded to the best one or two year old red wine and is named after the legendary Jimmy Watson, who championed table wine at his Carlton wine bar. This is the first time in its 52 year history that the Jimmy Watson Trophy has been awarded to a Pinot Noir. 

Yabby Lake Block 1 Pinot Noir 2012 - Yabby Lake Vineyard, Mornington Peninsula, VIC: The Yabby Lake Block 1 Pinot Noir 2012, yet to be released, comes from Yabby Lake’s Single Block Collection. Each year since 2009 Yabby Lake Vineyard has released a series of single block releases. Yabby Lake’s Chief Winemaker Tom Carson sets out to ensure this collection of wines reflects the Yabby Lake philosophy of expression over impression.

THE JAMES HALLIDAY TROPHY FOR BEST PINOT NOIR PRESENTED BY JAMES HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION

The inaugural James Halliday Trophy for the Best Pinot Noir recognises the importance of Pinot Noir to the Australian wine landscape and the development of Pinot Noir as a mainstream varietal. This trophy has been named in Halliday’s honour for his lifetime contribution to the Australian wine industry and to Pinot Noir production. 

Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 - Innocent Bystander, Yarra Valley, VIC: In the first of three major trophies won by this fabulous wine at this year’s awards, winemaker Stephen Flamsteed has created a wine fitting of the inaugural James Halliday Trophy. Handpicked and hand sorted, this wine was assembled from two parcels of fruit one which was 100% whole bunch fermented, the other de-stemmed to whole berries. Both parcels were cold soaked. The wine was racked off gross lees to oak for indigenous malolactic fermentation and matured in a mix of new and aged French oak. 

THE TREVOR MAST TROPHY FOR BEST SHIRAZ 

Awarded for the first time last year, the Trevor Mast Trophy for the Best Shiraz recognises the lifetime contribution Mast made to the Australian wine industry. Trevor was a long-time winemaker at Australia's Mount Langi Ghiran winery and a legend in the Victorian wine industry for his visionary cool climate wine production. 

Block 14 Shiraz 2012 - The Lane Vineyard, Adelaide Hills, SA: Winemakers John Edwards and Michael Schreurs chose a parcel of fruit from atop a hill in a north facing vineyard with an elevation of 450 metres. The Block 14 Shiraz 2012 offers lifted violets, wild flowers and black fruit on the nose with a soft and silky palate. 

THE VICTORIAN TROPHY FOR BEST VICTORIAN TABLE WINE PRESENTED BY THE VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT

The Victorian Government Trophy for Best Victorian Table Wine is presented on behalf of the Victorian Government in recognition of excellence in the Victorian Wine Industry. Wines entered must be 100% grown, produced, and vintaged in Victoria. 

Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 - Innocent Bystander, Yarra Valley, VIC: This wine was made with the utmost attention to detail, from the handpicked and hand sorted fruit to the whole cluster fermentation. The organic nature of the winemaking technique meant that there was little intervention. The result is a seductive and compelling wine with intense aroma and delicate fruit and earthy characters. This is the second award presented to Innocent Bystander for the Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012. 

THE FRANÇOIS DE CASTELLA TROPHY FOR BEST YOUNG WHITE WINE 

The François De Castella Trophy is one of the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards marquee awards. The trophy is named in honour of François Robert De Castella (1867-1953) a Swiss-born Victorian viticulturist and winemaker who wrote the influential Handbook on Viticulture for Victoria. As the state’s viticultural expert he helped the fledgling industry through very difficult times during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Tightrope Walker Chardonnay 2012 - Tightrope Walker, Yarra Valley, VIC: The grapes selected for the Tightrope Walker Chardonnay 2012 were carefully hand-harvested in the cool morning and chilled overnight. They were then sorted and whole bunch pressed for minimal phenolic pick up and maximum flavour extraction, the key to this style of Chardonnay. It was blended and bottled after nine months of maturation in French barriques and Hogsheads. 

THE DOUGLAS SEABROOK SINGLE VINEYARD TROPHY 

This prestigious annual Royal Melbourne Wine Award Trophy is named after iconic 1970s Australian wine judge and commentator Douglas Seabrook. To qualify for this award, all exhibits must be produced using at least 95% grapes from an individually named single vineyard. 

Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 - Innocent Bystander, Yarra Valley, VIC: Situated high up in the Yarra Valley, the Applejack Vineyard is located on a dramatic slope and is close planted and meticulously tendered. The vineyard is owned by viticulturist Ray Guerin and managed by his son Mark Guerin. This vintage was particularly rewarding with excellent growing conditions. The fruit was cropped at less than two tonne per acre. This is the third award presented to Innocent Bystander for the Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012. 

THE BILL CHAMBERS TROPHY FOR BEST FORTIFIED WINE 

The Bill Chambers Trophy for Best Fortified Wine is awarded to the best fortified wine. The Award is named after Rutherglen legend, Bill Chambers, both for his contribution to Victorian fortified wine and his role as Chairman of Judges for 25 years with the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards. 

Morris Cellar Reserve Grand Liqueur, NV Muscat - Morris Wines, Rutherglen, VIC: The 1991 vintage was used as the basis of this wine, with it and other vintages giving intensity and richness to this superb wine. The youngest material from the 1995 vintage provides freshness to the bouquet. This Liqueur Muscat exhibits the aromatic fruit characters and luscious flavour of ripe brown Muscat. 

THE FIIG SECURITIES TROPHY FOR BEST SPARKLING

Coldstream Hills Chardonnay / Pinot Noir Sparkling 2009: Coldstream Hills, Yarra Valley, VIC 

THE DAN MURPHY’S TROPHY FOR BEST RIESLING 

Jacob's Creek Riesling 2012: Jacob's Creek Wines, Barossa Valley, SA 

THE AMCOR CLOSURE TROPHY FOR BEST CHARDONNAY 

Seville Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2011: Seville Estate, Yarra Valley, VIC 

THE EXPONET TROPHY FOR BEST SEMILLON 

Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon 2006: Tyrrell's Vineyards, Hunter, NSW

THE PORTAVIN INTEGRATED WINE SERVICES TROPHY FOR BEST SAUVIGNON BLANC OR BLEND OF SEMILLON & SAUVIGNON BLANC
Chapman Grove Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc 2013: Chapman Grove Wines, Margaret River, WA

THE DAN MURPHY’S TROPHY FOR BEST SINGLE VARIETAL WHITE
Tahbilk 1927 Vines Marsanne 2006: Tahbilk, Goulburn Valley, VIC

THE GRAYSONLINE TROPHY FOR BEST WHITE BLEND
Bellariva Pinot Grigio / Vermentino 2012: De Bortoli Wines, Riverina, NSW

THE ROYAL AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA TROPHY FOR BEST SWEET WHITE WINE
Tamar Ridge Botrytis Riesling 2012: Brown Brothers, Tamar Valley, TAS

THE RIEDEL TROPHY FOR BEST ROSÉ
Swings & Roundabouts Shiraz / Malbec / Sangiovese Rosé 2013: Swings & Roundabouts, Margaret River, WA

THE GRAYSONLINE TROPHY FOR BEST CABERNET SAUVIGNON, MERLOT OR BORDEAUX VARIETAL BLEND
Rosemount District Cabernet Sauvignon 2012: Rosemount Estate, McLaren Vale, SA

THE RIEDEL TROPHY FOR BEST SINGLE VARIETAL RED
Elicere Cabernet Franc 2012: Lavina Wines, McLaren Vale, SA

THE AMCOR GLASS TROPHY FOR BEST GRENACHE, OR RHONE VARIETAL, OR RHONE VARIETAL BLEND
Rosemount Estate Grenache / Shiraz / Mataro 2012: Rosemount Estate, McLaren Vale, SA

THE RURAL FINANCE TROPHY FOR BEST SHIRAZ/CABERNET SAUVIGNON BLEND
Devil's Lair Margaret River The Hidden Cave Cabernet Sauvignon / Shiraz 2012: Devil's Lair Vineyard Pty Ltd, Margaret River, WA

THE KUBOTA TROPHY FOR BEST RED BLEND
SC Pannell Tempranillo / Touriga 2012: SC Pannell Wines, McLaren Vale, SA

THE FIIG SECURITIES TROPHY FOR BEST MATURE WINE
Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon 2006: Tyrrell's Vineyards, Hunter, NSW 

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