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The verdict is in: shiraz the star at this year's Hunter Valley Wine Show

Glasses have been raised, wines have been tasted, results have been tallied and celebrations have begun at this year's CCL Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show Celebrations Luncheon at Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort.

Over the three days of judging leading up to today, the judging panel tasted over 700 wines, with 49 gold, 77 silver, 210 bronze and 20 trophies being awarded to the winning wine producers.

With the Hunter Valley experiencing one of the best vintages on record in 2017, the week's judging was dominated by last year's stunning vintage, which continued to impress the panel throughout the tasting, including this year's international judge, Asia Wine Service and Education Centre Senior Wine Educator Corinne Mui.

'At this moment, Australian winemakers are making the best wine ever,' she said.

'The Shiraz in particular is fragrant and elegant, bursting with vibrant fruit.'

Chair of Judges Sarah Crowe said it had been an extremely rewarding week, with Hunter Shiraz just pipping Semillon at the total medal count post to be the most successful variety entered.

'Shiraz from 2017 really stole the hearts of the judges and dominated the medal tally,' Sarah said.

'Pristine fruit with flavour intensity has been handled with respect in the winery, and the many beautiful examples meant it was a delight to judge. These wines are youthful and have a very strong future and I expect they will perform well in future shows too. 'Teasing out the top wines was very difficult and full respect goes to the winemakers who showed restraint with oak and bottled their wines so bright and fresh. These are the wines collectors should seek out for cellaring.'

Sarah said the very young 2018 Semillons also performed well and she expected them to be even better again next year once they'd had time in the bottle.

'The 2017 Semillon classes were stunning, the wines showing great purity of fruit with pristine acidity,' she said.

'In the museum Semillon class, the 2013 vintage was very strong. With five years' bottle maturation, coupled with the intensity of fruit, they are now hitting their straps and were rewarded accordingly. Having said that, there were also stunning examples of 2009, 2006 and 2005 showing how remarkable a wine style Hunter Semillon is.'

Other high-performing whites were Chardonnay and Verdelho, which Sarah said had 'returned to form' with a trophy going to a bright, fresh style of a well-loved variety.

'A new variety to the Hunter, the Fiano, also had the judges talking,' she said.

'The Fiano seems well suited to the Hunter Valley and we're looking forward to watching this variety in the future.'

Hunter Valley Wine Show President David Flynn said the show not only showcased the quality of the region's excellent wines, it was also a valuable tool for winemakers to gain a valuable industry benchmark.

'It was great to see the fruits of last year's fabulous vintage – our winemakers have once again demonstrated the excellence the Hunter Valley is so highly regarded for,' he said.

The Hunter Valley Wine Show is considered one of Australia's oldest wine shows and has been held continuously since 1974. The annual regional wine show aims to assess and showcase the quality of wines being produced by the Hunter Valley, with medallists selected through a rigorous testing process

2018 CLEAR IMAGE HUNTER VALLEY WINE SHOW TROPHY WINNERS

Marshall - Flannery Trophy
Best Current – Semillon (Classes 1, 23 & 34)
Winner: Tyrrell's Vineyards Pty Ltd 2018 Stevens Semillon (Entry 23-7)

George Wyndham Memorial Trophy
Best Current and One-Year-Old Chardonnay (Classes 2 9, 25, 26 & 34)
Winner: First Creek Wines 2017 Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay

J.Y. (Jay) Tulloch Trophy
Best Verdelho (Classes 3, 10, 27 & 34)
Tamburlaine Hunter Valley Reserve 2018 Verdelho

Henry John Lindeman Memorial Trophy
Best Two–Year-Old and Older Chardonnay (Classes 14, 26 & 34)
First Creek Wines 2015 Reserve Chardonnay

Alexander Munro Memorial Trophy
Best Current and One-Year-Old Shiraz (Classes 6, 11, 29 & 35)
Mount Pleasant 1880 Vines 2017 Shiraz Old Hill Vineyard

Ed Jouault Memorial Trophy
Best One-Year-Old Dry Semillon (Classes 8, 24 & 34)
Agnew Wines Audrey Wilkinson 2017 Winemakers Selection Semillon

Best Other Red Trophy
Classes 7, 12, 17, 31, & 35
De Iuliis Wines 2017 LDR Vineyard Shiraz Touriga Nacional

McGuigan Family Trophy
Best Mature Two-Year–Old and older Semillon (Classes 13,24 & 34)
Tyrrell's Vineyards Pty Ltd 2013 Belford Semillon

Trevor Drayton Memorial Trophy
Best Fortified Wine (Class 20)
Drayton's Family Wines NV Heritage Vines Liqueur Verdelho

John Lewis Newcastle Herald Trophy
Best Museum Red Wine (Class 22)
Tyrrell's Vineyards Pty Ltd 2007 Stevens Shiraz

Graham Gregory Memorial Trophy
Best Museum White (Class 21)
Mount Pleasant 2009 Lovedale Semillon

Hector Tulloch Memorial Trophy
Best Shiraz
Mount Pleasant 1880 Vines 2017 Shiraz Old Hill Vineyard

Maurice O'Shea Memorial Trophy
Best Semillon
Tyrrell's Vineyard Pty Ltd 2013 Belford Semillon

Murray Tyrrell Chardonnay Trophy
Best Chardonnay
First Creek Wines 2017 Winemaker's Reserve Chardonnay

Drayton Family Trophy
Best Named Vineyard Red Wine (Classes 29, 30 & 31)
Mount Pleasant 1880 Vines 2017 Shiraz Old Hill Vineyard

Tyrrell Family Trophy
Best Named Vineyard White Wine (Classes 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 & 28)
Tyrrell's Vineyard Pty Ltd 2013 Belford Semillon

Len Evans Trophy
Best Named Vineyard Wine
Mount Pleasant 1880 Vines 2017 Shiraz Old Hill Vineyard

Petrie-Drinan Trophy
Best White Wine of the Show
Tyrrell's Vineyard Pty Ltd 2013 Belford Semillon

Doug Seabrook Memorial Trophy
Best Red Wine of the Show
Mount Pleasant 1880 Vines 2017 Shiraz Old Hill Vineyard

Iain Riggs Wine of Provenance
Classes 32 & 33
Tyrrell's Vineyards Stevens Semillon

The Alasdair Sutherland Scholarship
Brendan Kaczorowski

2018 Silver Bullet Judges Award
Tyrrell's Vineyards Stevens Shiraz - 2007, 2014, 2017

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