Tas winery best in show

Grandsons of the late Jimmy Watson, Simon and Nigel Watson flank the winner of this year’s Jimmy Watson trophy, Nick Glaetzer, the winemaker of Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers, Frogmore Creek near Cambridge. Also pictured is Allan Watson, son of Jimmy Watson and proprietor of the historic Jimmy Watson wine bar in Carlton, which was founded by his father. A TASMANIAN winery at Frogmore Creek near Cambridge, the small Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers, has won this year’s prestigious Jimmy Watson trophy for best red wine of the 2009 and 2010 vintages.

The award was announced at the 127th Royal Melbourne Wine Show awards presentation dinner in Melbourne last week.

It was the first time a Tasmanian winery has won the country’s most acclaimed wine award in its 50th year for a one year-old red wine produced by winemaker Nick Glaetzer with his 2010 Mon Pere (French for my father) Shiraz.

This year entries for the first time included two year-old bottled wines.

Mr Glaetzer’s cool climate Shiraz grapes are sourced from vines planted in the early 1970s, in the Coal River Valley in the south and in the Tamar Valley in the north of the State.

Earlier this year he was named Young Winemaker of the Year by Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine.

He moved to Tasmania with his wife Sally Dixon from South Australia’s Barossa Valley in 2005.

Mr Glaetzer’s family settled in the Barossa Valley in 1888 and his father Colin, who started boutique wines Glaetzer Wines was named Baron of Barossa for his work in the South Australian wine industry.

He has studied winemaking in France and Germany and has worked for some of the top winemakers in Australia.

But his passion was for pinot noir and Riesling, so in 2005 he left the Barossa for Tasmania searching for cool climate premium vineyards to source grapes.

Mr Glaetzer saw some shiraz grown down there and thought he’d “have a crack”.

“This is the only year I’ve been able to enter the Melbourne Wine Show with a minimum requirement of (producing) 250 dozen (bottles),” he said.

“I did 12 barrels in 2010 which gave me 272 dozen and only made five barrels this year.

“So if I was going to do it, it was 2010.”

After his win Mr Glaetzer told ABC Radio National once he saw the fruit on the wines he got his father to have a look at the vineyards in late May and thought back then the fruit was pretty special.

“My uncle Johnny, the previous Jimmy Watson winner in the family (with a 1974 Wolf Blass Black Label wine), told me when I was said I was going to Tassie to make pinot noir he said ‘what do you want to do that for’?” he said.

“I spoke to him earlier tonight and he is very happy for me.”

Mr Glaetzer said the potential for producing high quality Shiraz in Tasmania was huge.

“Look at all the guys down there that are proud of the cabernets and merlots that they do,” he said.

“That ripens two weeks later than Shiraz. So they’ve got plenty of sights to grow their cabernets so there are more sights than that to grow Shiraz.”

For his award Mr Glaetzer picked up $15,000 travel scholarship towards a study tour to an overseas wine making region or regions of his choice.

Last year’s Jimmy Watson winner winemaker Stuart Pierce from Western Australia’s Harvey River Bridge Estate winery said nothing had repercussions like the Jimmy Watson.

“When I got back to work they said the phone hadn’t stopped ringing for three days and they could have sold the wine three times over. They said it was standing room only in the cellar door. That’s a reaction you don’t get with anything else,” he said.

Mr Pierce told the ABC Radio National’s Mark Baker that small producers were putting out “some stunning wines” and getting more savvy.

“I tasted that Shiraz tonight and it is absolutely outstanding. It just shouts attitude,” he said.

Two Victorian wineries Yabby Lake International from Moorooduc on the Mornington Peninsula and Morris Wines from Rutherglen were also major trophy winners.

Tom Carson the chief winemaker at Yabby Lake took out The Victorian Government trophy for best Victorian table wine with his Yabby Lake Vineyard chardonnay 2010. He also took out the Douglas Seabrook Single Vineyard trophy with this vintage.

Morris Wines claimed the Bill Chambers trophy for best fortified wine in show with its Morris Cellar Reserve Liqueur Muscat.

The judging panel awarded 19 trophies for the best of the best Australian wine including the Jimmy Watson trophy.

Overall there were 3298 entries in this year’s wine show, entered by 538 exhibitors and judged by a panel of 33.

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