The 2023 Liquid Luxury Amateur Fortified Wine Show Results.

The 2023 Liquid Luxury Amateur Fortified Wine Show Results.

The Liquid Luxury Amateur Fortified Wine Show, an annual celebration of fortified wine craftsmanship, has once again concluded for a second time running. This event provides a stage for barrel owners to proudly display their exquisite, fortified wine creations. Distinguished wine professionals gathered to assess and grade each home-blend before unveiling the champions in four categories - Muscat, Topaque, Ruby/Tawny and Other varietals. 

This year's installment, held on the 25th and 26th of September, demonstrated the exceptional quality and craftsmanship of the 105 entries across all categories and classes. The judges, overwhelmed by the impressive submissions, had their palates treated to a diverse range of flavours and aromas.

Before revealing the triumphant wines in each category and class, let's take a moment to delve into the insights shared by our discerning panel of judges. In an exciting change for this year's competition, the Liquid Luxury Amateur Wine Show adopted the 100-point scoring system, a widely acclaimed approach within the Australian wine show circuit. This scoring system evaluates wines based on their unique qualities and characteristics. It offers a nuanced perspective, with scores resulting in medals of distinction:

  • 95-100: Classic – representing an exceptional home blend, worthy of a Gold Medal.
  • 90-94: Very Good – indicating an extraordinarily well-crafted home blend, rewarded with a Silver Medal.
  • 85-89: Good – showcasing a home blend with distinctive attributes, meriting a Bronze Medal.
  • 80-84: Solid – signifying a commendable home blend with minor imperfections.
  • 75-79: Mediocre – acknowledging a drinkable home blend.
  • 50-74: Not Recommended.

Trophies were bestowed upon the best wine in each class, and from these champions emerged the best in category. The four finest wines from each category then engaged in a fierce competition for the coveted title of Best in Show.

We were astounded by the impressive number of entries that achieved medal-worthy status. Typically, in Australian wine shows, only around 10% of submissions (with fortified classes slightly exceeding this rate) receive such accolades. Every entrant who earned a Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal, even if they did not secure the top honors, should take pride in their accomplishment, as it is a feat many aspire to achieve.

Among the categories, the Muscat entries, particularly in Class 1 and Class 3, showcased exceptional strength and depth.

Each class demanded specific characteristics from the wines, which significantly influenced the final scores. The three classes within each category adhered to distinct criteria:

Class 1: Young, Fresh and Fruity. Class 1 emphasized the purity of fresh fruit expressions. Aging played a secondary role here; it was all about the seamless integration of fruit and spirit, ensuring a vibrant and fresh flavor profile.

Class 2: Complex, Rich & Luscious. Class 2 wines blended aged characteristics with rich and luscious fruit flavors. These wines exhibited a sophisticated complexity, making them more developed than those in Class 1.

Class 3: Dark, Decadent & Aged. Class 3 wines, the most mature of all, demonstrated complex aging flavors and characteristics. With extended time in oak, they boasted additional layers of complexity. The judges emphasized that these aged wines-maintained brightness and freshness while balancing aging acidity.

The majority of wines met the judges' rigorous standards, leaving them deeply impressed and pleased.

Now, without further delay, let's celebrate the winners and outstanding entries of the second annual Liquid Luxury Amateur Fortified Wine Show!

We commence by applauding the winner that our judges unanimously declared as the Best in Show. Congratulations to Mr. Stan Gyles from South Melbourne.

Best in Show: Stan Gyles 98/100 Category 2: Topaque / Class 2: Complex, Rich & Luscious.

This exemplifies a classic Topaque, featuring notes of cool malted barley, burnt orange peel, fruit cake, and Rancio. It boasts a rounded palate, with classic Topaque flavors and fruit, accented by hints of tea leaves and menthol on the finish. A truly outstanding creation. During the trophy tasting, Chris Pfieffer described it as "a really attractive wine with good fruit and a nice, rounded palate," while Wendy Killeen noted that "this is what a Classic Topaque should taste and smell like; this is the standout wine." Congratulations, Stan!

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

For those not named Stan, you now have a year to hone your barrel skills and strive to dethrone him in next year's competition.

Let's proceed to recognize the remarkable entries in each category.

Category 1 / Muscat:

Overall Category Winner: Brian Sargent 97/100 Gold.

Category 1: Muscat / Class 2: Complex, Rich & Luscious.

Brian's entry delighted the senses with its cleanliness and brightness. The palate unfolded a symphony of vanilla extract, orange rind, and bread pudding. This rich and elegant wine offered notes of coffee and cocoa, harmoniously balanced with freshness. Secondary flavors of burnt caramel and crème Brule added complexity and length, making it a lighter style Muscat of exceptional quality.

Muscat Class 1 Winner: Rodney Mackenzie 97/100 Gold. Muscat Class 2 Winner: Garry Henry 97/100 Gold. Muscat Class 2 HC: Peter Joyce 96/100 Gold. Muscat Class 3 Winner: Brian Sargent 97/100 Trophy.

Category 2 / Topaque:

Overall category Winner: Stan Gyles 98/100 Trophy & Best in Show Category 2: Topaque / Class 2: Complex, Rich and Luscious.

Topaque Class 1 Winner: Peter Lowe 95/100 Gold. Topaque Class 2 Winner: Stan Gyles 98/100 Trophy & Best in Show. Topaque Class 3 Winner: Corey Siles 96/100 Gold.

Category 3 / Ruby/Tawny: 

Overall Category Winner: Keith Thompson 97/100 Gold Category 3: Tawny / Class 1 & 2: Combined due to similarities in entries into both classes.

Keith's entry shone with its brightness and clarity, offering a full palate of red and blue fruits. Soft tannins and a good body made it exceptionally easy to drink. It exhibited a fresh, bright, and juicy character, promising a bright future. During the trophy tasting, Chris Pfeiffer noted, "There are some nice flavors here. I prefer this drier style. It's a little bit simple but it's easy drinking and enjoyable." Congratulations, Keith!

Ruby/Tawny Class 1& 2 Winner: Keith Thompson 97/100 Gold.

Category 4 / Other varietals : Open Class

Overall Category Winner: Gary Douglas 95/100 Gold Category 4: Class: open

Gary's entry had a rounded palate of fresh fruits. Apricots, fennel, and mint chocolate. The nose draws you in and the palate delivers. Nice length, good secondary characters. Enjoyable. At the trophy tasting Adriaan Foot said “What I like most about this wine is that it tastes exactly like what it smells like, fresh and vibrant fruits and some refreshing mint and fennel. The pick of the bunch.” Congratulations, Gary!

All category winners will receive a bottle of Rare Muscat or Rare Topaque or a 1995 Vintage Fortified.

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

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all entrants for their unwavering support of our wine show. We eagerly anticipate the journey ahead, working together to elevate next year's awards show, making it even more competitive and exceptional than this year's. Rest assured, all 2023 entrants will receive a comprehensive analysis and the judges' notes on their wines.

Until we meet again next year, continue sipping, testing, and striving for perfection! You can also access your benchmark results here to gauge where your entry stands within your class and category.

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