October 2013

Hong Kong: Australian Wines score high in VIP wine club taste-off

South Australian wines by Penfolds and Parawa Estate were recently declared the joint winners of an exclusive international wine challenge in Hong Kong.

The two limited release premium red wines triumphed at a tasting of international wines in a private wine challenge. The winners were the 2007 Parawa Estate Grand Reserve Ingalalla, and the 2004 Penfolds Bin 60A.

In terms of its exclusivity, Crown Wine Cellars is acknowledged as one of the world’s finest wine cellar facilities, dedicated to the meticulous handling, storage, long-term maturation and ultimate enjoyment of wine. In a night of fine wines, fun and friendship, Hong Kong’s premium wine club, Crown Cellars, held the tasting of international wines for its members.

Initially proposed by Parawa Estate wine owner, Mr. Peter Simic, as an opportunity to showcase Australia’s most exclusive wine, the Parawa Estate Ingalalla Grand Reserve and the new release Parawa Estate Eden Grand Reserve Syrah to club members, CEO Mr. Gregory D’Eb had other ideas.

He counter-proposed that members should bring along their favourite international wine to challenge these highly-acclaimed wines. The only criteria was that wines submitted had to be in the 2001 or younger window.

Accordingly, 18 VIP members, including two Masters of Wine (Hong Kong’s Debra Meiburg and visiting English born/French resident, Matthew Stubbs) confirmed their attendance with 20 wines on show. The list ranged from a 2002 Chateau Latour to a 2001 Chambertin Grand Cru to the recently awarded 100 point Parker wine, Penfolds Grange 2008.

The list of wines presented were:

Chateau Latour, 2002;
Parawa Estate Ingalalla Grand Reserve 2007; Yao Ming's Family Reserve 2004;
Pontet-Canet 2002; Joseph Phelps, Insignia, 2002;
Chateau Haut-Brion, La Mission, 1996; Penfolds, Grange, 2008; Stags Leap, 2001;
Burton Reserve Shiraz, 2002; Sine Que Non, Five-Shooter Grenache, 2010; Chateau Monbousquet, 2003; Ackerman, 2007; Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru from Drouhin, 2001; Pontet-Canet, 2009; Parawa Estate Eden Grand Reserve Syrah 2008; Hall, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010; Penfolds Bin 60A 2004; Soldera, Brunello Di Montalcino, 2002; Vergelegen, South Africa 2002; Chateau Pichon-Longueville, 2000

Master of Ceremonies Gregory D’Eb and Cellar manager, Guy Llewellyn, prepared wines by pouring each into individually numbered “blind” decanters eight hours before the event.

The wines would be tasted in three flights, two of seven wines and one of six. As the night ensued there was much amusement when some of the members, who were CEO’s of prominent wine merchant companies, tried to pick their own wines.

After much rivalry and differences of opinion among these stylistically diverse wines, the group voted on their top two wines in each flight. Then for the final taste-off, the top six wines were returned and presented for re-evaluation.

At the end of a spirited night, members gave their final vote on the top two wines. And the joint winners were:

2007 Parawa Estate Grand Reserve Ingalalla
2004 Penfolds Bin 60A

The latter wine proved to be a blockbuster in the typical rich Barossa style renowned of Penfolds. The former was described as a unique wine - an elegant seamless Bordeaux-style red worthy of being placed in the First Growth range, yet with a depth of fruit that signifies its Australian origins.

Parawa Estate owner, Peter Simic, said of the result: “to perform well against this group of prestigious wines, judged in this company, is indeed humbling. I would like to thank the members for bringing along their favourite world class wines to share with each other, making the evening a spectacular success”.

Background

The Parawa Estate philosophy is to produce the maximum expression of varietal fruit character, from individual source vineyard premium terroir, with expert winemaking skill. With a heat summation averaging 1135 - 1250C per annum, the Estate vineyard has a range that at its coldest resembles Burgundy and at its warmest is closer to Bordeaux and Rhone Valley in temperature terms. Summer temperatures at the nearby Parawa weather station are regularly the coldest in South Australia with Antarctic winds and strong cloud cover coming in from the south. The Parawa vineyard, nestled in the valley below the Parawa hills, enjoys the benefit of cool temperatures without the extremes of chill factor from hill winds. The latest and finest Bordeaux and Rhone Valley varietals supplied by the Dijon (France) nursery now make up the ultra-premium Parawa Ingalalla “Bordeaux Blend” wine and Parawa Eden Grand Reserve Syrah. Parawa Estate Ingalalla Grand Reserve 2007 retails for $USD1100. Parawa Estate Eden Grand Reserve retails for $USD800. Both wines are single vineyard, estate grown with only 2,400 bottles produced of each.

Crown Wine Cellars is acknowledged as one of the world’s finest wine cellar facilities, dedicated to the meticulous handling, storage, long-term maturation and ultimate enjoyment of wine. Located in Shouson Hill, an exclusive suburb on Hong Kong Island, Crown Wine Cellars is nestled in a park-like setting which is also of immense historical significance having been declared a UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Site in 2007. Crown Wine Cellars boasts six underground cellars and a private members clubhouse comprised of two underground bunkers as well as a newly constructed conservatory.

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