The 2022 Liquid Luxury Amateur Fortified Wine Show Results.

The 2022 Liquid Luxury Amateur Fortified Wine Show Results.

The Liquid Luxury Amateur Fortified Wine Show is a new annual event where barrel owners have the opportunity to showcase their fortified wine creations. A panel of wine professionals taste and grade each home blend before crowning a winner in each category - Muscat, Topaque and Ruby/Tawny.

The inaugural event took place on Wednesday, the 24th of August. Overall, the judges were blown away by the high calibre of the 67 entries across all categories and classes.

Before announcing the winners of each class, category and overall winner, we have a few notes to share from the judges.

The Liquid Luxury Amateur Wine Show utilised the 20-point scoring system, popular within the Australian wine show circuit. The 20-point system awarded up to three points for appearance, seven for the nose and ten for the palate. Scores were then added up and medals were awarded for Bronze, Silver, and Gold as follows:

Gold: 18.5 to 20 – an exceptional blend.
Silver: 17 to 18.4 – an extremely good blend
Bronze: 15. 5 to 16.9 – a good blend

We were astonished to find that almost 90% of our Liquid Luxury Amateur Wine Show entries were of high enough quality to earn a medal. Usually, in Australian wine shows, 10% of entries (slightly higher in fortified classes) receive awards. Even if entrants did not win best in class, category or show, they should still be proud of receiving a Gold, Silver or Bronze - a feat many aspire to achieve.

Our judges found the strongest category to be the Topaque entries, particularly in Class 2 and Class 3.

Every single entry in the Topaque category received a medal with six gold medals across the classes.

The entries received were fantastic examples of the Rutherglen Topaque style and showed beautiful expressions of the Muscadelle fruit. We were pleased with the number of entries in this category and hope that the popularity of Topaque continues as we believe it to be one of the most underrated wine styles, often overshadowed by its far more famous and well-known sibling, Muscat.

In each class, our judges were looking for specific characteristics in the wines, which dictated the final scores. The three classes in each category and the judging criteria in each were as follows:

Class 1: Young, Fresh and Fruity.
Class 1 wines should have been pure expressions of fresh fruit. Ageing was not crucial in this category; it was about the seamlessness of the fruit with the spirit and the freshness and vibrancy of these flavours.

Class 2: Complex, Rich & Luscious.
Class 2 wines should have some aged characteristics but focus on rich and luscious fruit flavours. Class 2 wines are more developed and have a more sophisticated complexity than Class 1.

Class 3: Dark, Decadent & Aged.
Class 3 wines should show complex ageing flavours and characteristics. Class 3 wines are further developed again than Class 2 and show extra layers of complexity brought in from an extended time in oak. It was important to the judges that these aged wines still had brightness and freshness to help balance the ageing acidity.

Overall the majority of wines met the challenge, and the judges were impressed and found it a pleasure to taste and judge each entry.
So, without further ado, allow us to announce the winners and stand-out entries of the inaugural Liquid Luxury Amateur Fortified Wine Show!

Let's start with the wine that our judges unanimously voted as the best in the show. Congratulations to the winner of all winners, Mr Michael Flageltaub of Balwyn, Victoria.

Best in Show:
Michael Flegeltaub 19/20 Gold
Category 2: Topaque / Class 3: Dark, Decadent & Aged.

This entry was in exceptional condition, beautifully bright and clean.
It showed complex Rancio notes with molasses flavours, dried apricots, dense fruit cake, concentrated acids, and sugars balanced with coffee and mocha. The judges were impressed at the complexity of the layers of flavour on the front, middle and back palate. The standout wine of the category and the competition received the only score of 19.5/20. The judges commend Michael on his dedication to crafting this exceptional blend.

Michael has won a Fortified Blending Masterclass at Stanton & Killeen for himself and three friends.

If you're not Michael, you now have a year to work on your barrel and attempt to knock him off the top spot in next year's competition.

Now, lets look at the other outstanding entries in each category.

Category 1 / Muscat:

Overall Category Winner: Richard Lukins 18.5/20 Gold.
Category 1: Muscat / Class 2: Complex, Rich & Luscious.

Richard's entry was in good condition, clean and bright. Complex Rancio flavours were balanced with pretty florals, christmas pudding and dried fruit. The judges were impressed with how luscious and long the palate was.

Muscat Class 1 Winner:
Peter English 18.5/20 Gold.
Muscat Class 2 Winner:
Richard Lukins 18.5/20 Trophy
Muscat Class 2 HC:
Peter Lowe 18.5/20 Gold.
Muscat Class 3 Winner:
Bradd Grimson 18.5/20 Gold
Muscat Class 3 HC:
Paul Holland 18.5/20 Gold.
Category 2 / Topaque:

Overall category Winner:
Michael Flegeltaub 19/20 Gold
Category 2: Topaque / Class 3: Dark, Decadent & Aged.

Topaque Class 1 Winner:
Darren Reed 18.5/20 Gold.
Topaque Class 2 Winner:
John Storen 18.5/20 Gold.
Topaque Class 3 Winner:
Michael Flegeltaub 19.5/20 Trophy.
Topaque Class 3 HC:
Steve Sparkes 19/20 Gold.

Category 3 / Ruby/Tawny:

Overall Category Winner:
ITP (Ison's Syndicate) 18.5/20 Gold.
Category 3: Ruby/Tawny / Class 3: Dark, Decadent & Aged.

This entry was in good condition, clean and bright. The judges found this wine super complex, showing great age and drive. Cedar, Rancio, coffee, mocha, and sultana cake with outstanding balance and length. The judges applaud Ison's Syndicate at how elegant this wine is. A pleasure to drink and by far the standout in this category.

Ruby/Tawny Class 1 Winner:
William Abbott 17.5/20 Silver.
Ruby/Tawny Class 2 Winner:
John Storen 18/20 Silver.
Ruby/Tawny Class 3 Winner:
ITP (Ison's Syndicate) 18.5/20 Gold.

All category winners will receive a bottle of Rare Muscat or Rare Topaque or a 1997 Vintage Fortified.

All class winners will receive a bottle of Classic Muscat or Classic Topaque or a 2018 Vintage Fortified.

We thank all 67 entrants for supporting our wine show. We're excited to continue working and co-creating to make next year's award show even better and more competitive than this year! We will provide all 2022 entrants with a detailed analysis and judge's notes on their wines.

Until next year, keep on sipping, testing and topping!

You can also access your benchmark results here - to see where your entry sits within your class and category. view here

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