IT'S something you wouldn't expect in a contest restricted to wines from high-altitude vines, but the Hunter-based Tamburlaine winery has blitzed the Australian Highlands Wine Show with nine of the 15 trophies.
The trophies included the best wine of the show, best white wine and best riesling to the Tamburlaine 2019 On The Grapevine Riesling and the best red of the show and best other varieties red to the 2018 Orange Reserve Malbec.
The show is open to any Australian wine from vineyards beyond 500 metres above sea level and the 2019 judging brought 160 entries from Orange, Mudgee, New England, Southern Highlands, Tumbarumbra, Hilltops and Canberra.
Tamburlaine, one of Australia's largest organic wine producers eschewing non-organic fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides, owes its Highlands triumph to the 190-ha Borenore vineyard. At an altitude of up to 870 metres, it was planted at Orange between 1997 and 2001 and became fully organic in 2006 - now providing 95 per cent of Tamburlaine's 100,000 to 240,000 cases of annual output.
As well as the $22 triple-trophy 2019 On The Grapevine Riesling and dual trophy $64 2018 Reserve Malbec, trophies were won by the $64 2018 Orange Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (best cabernet sauvignon), 2018 Marlowe Act One Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon (best red blend), 2018 On The Grapevine Merlot (best merlot)and 2018 On The Grapevine Shiraz (best shiraz).
The riesling is $22 a bottle at independent retailers and the malbec and cabernet sauvignon sell for $64 at tamburlaine.com.au and the Pokolbin winery. The Marlowe and the On The Grapevine shiraz and merlot are not currently available. The Marlowe will be on limited release at $120 a bottle next year and when on sale the shiraz and the merlot will cost $25.
Tamburlaine also flexed its Orange muscles in the 2019 Australian Cool Climate Wine Show at Murrumbateman with trophies to the 2018 Orange Reserve Malbec and the 2018 Orange Reserve Merlot and the unreleased 2019 On The Grapevine Pinot Gris
Aaron Mercer, Tamburlaine Organic Wines' senior winemaker, said the show results were a great tribute to vineyard and winery teams' efforts to improve quality and consistency across wines and vintages.
Tamburlaine was founded in 1966 by Cessnock medico Dr Lance Allen and bought in 1985 by a group led by former psychologist Mark Davidson, who between 1999 and 2003 converted the McDonalds Rd vineyard to fully certified organic status.
GLOWING deep garnet and with 14.7% alcohol and cassis and violet scents, the Tamburlaine 2018 Orange Reserve Malbec thoroughlydeserves the three trophies it recently collected. The front palate has vibrant cherry flavour, the middle palate bramble jelly, raspberry, spice and savoury oak and the finish smooth minty tannins.
DRINK WITH: cherry-glazed roast duck.
AGEING: 15 years.
RATING: 5.5 stars
FROM an altitude of 870 metres on the Borenore Orange vineyard, Tamburlaine 2019 On The Grapevine Riesling is green-tinted pale straw, passionfruit-scented and with deliciously elegant grapefruit front-palate flavour. The middle palate shows green apple, lime zest, gunmetal and nascent leatherwood honey characters and a flinty acid finish.
DRINK WITH: scallops.
AGEING: 10 years.
RATING: 5 stars
BERRY BLISSFUL CABSAV
WITH today's other wines, this 14.6%-alcohol, inky purple Tamburlaine 2018 Orange Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon isat tamburlaine.com.au and the Pokolbin winery. It has scents of plum and caramel, juicy, ripe blackberry front-palate flavour and middle-palate dried cranberry, mint, licorice and mocha oak. Earthy tannins play at the finish.
DRINK WITH: rack of lamb.
AGEING: 10 years.
RATING: 5 stars