On Saturday I attended a tasting for the 12th annual Canberra International Riesling Challenge at the Albert Hall in Canberra. The tasting was a great excuse to make the trip from Sydney to Canberra with one of my oldest friends and it also gave us an opportunity to squeeze in a visit to the Fred Williams retrospective at the National Gallery. (A quick aside – Fred Williams: Infinite Horizons is on until 6 November 2011. Not only does it confirm Williams’ place as one of Australia’s greatest landscape artists, but also demonstrates his amazing talent as a portraitist!)

Anyway, back to my other great passion – wine. The tasting itself proved to be quite a challenge. Over 440 wines from 10 different countries were available to try. Wow, where to start? With our Riedel riesling glass in hand, we headed over to the winners’ table.

The overall winner this year was the Waterton Vineyard Riesling 2009 from the Tamar Valley in Tasmania. It picked up four awards: Best Wine of the Challenge, Best Riesling From Tasmania, Best in Australia and Best Dry Riesling. Fruit forward with delicate citrus flavours, its lively acidity was balanced by a slightly silky texture and good length.

When I got home I checked James Halliday’s rating for the wine. Interestingly he had only scored the wine 89 points in the 2011 edition of Australian Wine Companion. But as Chairman of the Tasmanian Wine Show, he re-tasted the wine in January of this year. Here’s his glowing review:

This is well composed and balanced; it has smooth lime/citrus flavours of very good length and balance; a complete wine that has improved out of all recognition in the past 12 months. Top Gold Tasmanian Wine Show 2011. 11% alc; screwcap; 
Rating: 96 points Drink: to Read the rest