Judging at the Canberra Regional Wine Show.
Judging at the Canberra and Region Wine Show. Photo: Katherine Griffiths

Ravensworth’s 2013 riesling was named champion wine of the show at the Canberra and Region Wine Show on Friday night.

Ravensworth is the label of Bryan Martin, who is also winemaker for Clonakilla, Canberra’s best known and most successful winery (Martin is also a Food and Wine columnist).

His riesling was named best Canberra district riesling, best dry white of the show and champion wine. It was up against 25 rieslings, six of which won gold medals in a class head judge Mike Bennie described as outstanding.

Bryan Martin, owner and winemaker at Ravensworth.
Bryan Martin, owner and winemaker at Ravensworth. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

“An extraordinary class of glorious rieslings - a true benchmark nationally and beyond,” the judges concluded.

Bennie said the Ravensworth wine had the mix of qualities judges looked for in exceptional riesling: purity, length of flavour, complexity, subtlety, freshness, and most importantly, drinkability. He described the acidity intrinsic to riesling as “gossamer-like” in this wine, fine and adding complexity.

“So credit where it’s due, there were many exceptional rieslings that made the upper echelon of the riesling class, but this wine unanimously had judges wanting more and describing it as a wine of extraordinary provenance,” he said.

The trophies at the show, announced on Friday evening, were shared by just a few producers, with Moppity and Mount Majura sharing the honours with Ravensworth.

The trophy for top red went to Moppity Vineyards 2012 Hilltops shiraz, made in the Hilltops region near Young. Moppity also won the trophy for best chardonnay for its 2012 Lock and Key chardonnay, made with grapes grown in Tumbarumba, an emerging star region for chardonnay.

Best shiraz from the Canberra district went to Mount Majura’s 2011 shiraz. Mount Majura also won the category for best red of “other varieties” with its 2012 Dinny’s Block, a blend of cabernet franc, merlot and cabernet sauvignon.

Best “other varieties” white went to Coolangatta Estate’s 2005 Semillon.

Riesling and shiraz are Canberra’s most highly regarded varieties and that was reflected in the gold medals awarded at the show. The other gold medallists in the 2013 riesling class were Clonakilla, Dionysus, Helm Classic Dry, Mount Majura and McKellar Ridge.

Ravensworth shiraz-viognier also won gold in the 2012 shiraz class, along with Gallagher, Barwang Estate

Tumblong Estates’ Domaine Paulownia Syrah, Moppity  Hilltops, Mount Majura and Grove Estate’s Hilltops the Cellar Block.

Still judging on Thursday, Bennie said he had never judged two better classes of wine than the shirazes and rieslings at the show. “They were incredible wines – rieslings of incredible poise and purity, intensity and delicacy, and shiraz of glorious aromatics and medium-bodied elegance.”

Martin has had ongoing success at the Canberra wine show. Last year, the champion wine was Halfmoon  riesling made by Alex McKay. The year before it was Martin’s Ravensworth 2009 shiraz-viognier, and in 2010, Clonakilla Hilltops shiraz.

The show received 233 entries, up 25 per on last year. Judging with Bennie were wine writer, sommelier and television personality Matt Skinner, and local winemaker Nick O’Leary.