The Jimmy Watson Trophy, awarded each year in October to the best one or two year old dry red wine by the judges of the Royal Melbourne Wine Show, is the most coveted wine award in Australia. This year Best’s Great Western Shiraz Bin 1 2011 not only picked up the Jimmy Watson, but also won the Victorian Trophy for Best Victorian Table Wine and the inaugural Trevor Mast Trophy for Best Shiraz in Show. Pretty impressive for a wine that retails for around $25 a bottle!

Winning the Jimmy Watson can be life-changing, not just for the winery but for the region as whole. The judges, which this year numbered 37 and included several international wine experts, seem to be very good at recognising potential.

When Cape Mentelle won the Jimmy Watson back-to-back for its 1982 and 1983 dry red claret, it focused the world’s attention on Margaret River as a top producer of cabernet sauvignon. Last year the wine world was abuzz when Glaetzer-Dixon picked up the Jimmy Watson for its Mon Père Shiraz 2010. Not only was it the first time that a Tasmanian winery has ever picked up the prestigious gong, but before Glaetzer-Dixon’s win hardly anyone had recognised the potential of Tasmania for producing superb cool-climate shiraz! (How winning the Jimmy Watson can put not just a winery but a whole region on the map! Cellarit Wine Blog, 1 February 2012)

Like last year’s winner, Best’s Great Western Shiraz Bin 1 2011 is also an example of a medium bodied cool-climate shiraz. While the wine hails from an area predominated with shiraz plantings, some of which are over 140 years old, the Great Western region is somewhat of a quiet achiever. The last time a wine from the area won the Jimmy Watson … Read the rest