The rumour mill was spot on. The Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy has just been awarded to Glaetzer-Dixon, Mon Père Shiraz 2010 Tasmania. A Tasmanian Shiraz! It's the first time the award has been taken off the mainland – and the shock is doubled by the grape variety. Cool Tasmania is certainly not famed for its Shiraz (until now, perhaps?), especially in an Australian context – rather it is known for its sparkling wines, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
This is seen as a rebuff to the world-renowned South Australian Shiraz style made famous by McLaren Vale and the Barossa, and as a vindication of the new wave of sophisticated, restrained, aromatic wines with elegance and purity rather than power and weight. Yet, funnily enough, the roots of Glaetzer-Dixon is firmly in the Barossa, where Ben Glaetzer makes such sizeable Shiraz as the Amon-Ra and Anaperenna.
Even so, post-modern Australian wine has triumphed tonight, and there is a palpable buzz in the country right now as it fully restores its vinous credibility and reputation. American wine writer James Suckling is currently racing around the regions supposedly in search of 'real aussie wine', and the Jimmy Watson trophy seems fully to emphasise this trend.
See also Australian fine wine – no oxymoron.