, , , , , , , , , ,

IN A new initiative, the 2014 McLaren Vale Wine Show will introduce food into the judging process, a new category for Vermentino and a series of public dinners to celebrate the award-winning wines.

While it’s been done before by national shows, this is the first time a regional Australian wine show has incorporated food into the judging of wine. The McLaren Vale Wine Show will also be the first to invite Australian ‘Silver Bullets’ – a term coined by James Halliday to describe a guest judge of particular influence – to join the judging discussion.

Following news that the show will revolutionise the format of regional shows, entries to the 2014 show have flooded in record numbers with a total of 717 wines submitted from 112 wineries throughout McLaren Vale.

Daniel Zuzolo, McLaren Vale Wine Show committee chair, said these numbers were very encouraging.

“In some ways we took a risk this year by adding these new elements to our show but, as a committee, we believe our excellent local produce and talented chefs are an integral part of our lifestyle and should all be shared with the wider public,” he said.

“While the wine judging process will still uphold all the integrity of our past shows, we saw this as an opportunity to add something of a cultural celebration into the program.

“To have record entries from the vast majority of McLaren Vale’s wine producers is testament to our region’s progressive and community-spirited nature.”

Judging will take place across four days chaired by Jim Chatto of McWilliam’s Wines. Four Silver Bullets including James Halliday, Huon Hooke, Iain Riggs and Brian Walsh will join the panel of judges for one day each.

Major categories including Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and whites have been selected for showcasing and each day judging will focus on one of these classes, with the highest scoring wines being selected for call back.

Each afternoon, the call back wines will be taken to one of the region’s restaurants where the chef will have a specially designed dish to complement the variety. This is where the judges will finalise their scores while sampling the wines alongside the dish.

Once they have made their decision, a sub group of judges will join public guests in the restaurant to enjoy the dish accompanied by wines including 2013 category winner.

This new format will replace the show’s awards night which was not previously open to the general public. It allows the region to showcase its world class produce, hospitality and culinary skills alongside its best wines.

Entrants and the local industry will be invited to attend the exhibitor’s tasting on Tuesday 28 October where they will have the opportunity to taste the submitted wines.

Following the exhibitor’s tasting, the traditional Bushing King luncheon will be held on Friday 31 October where all wine show categories will be awarded, culminating with the Bushing King award for the winemaker who produced the wine of show.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Bushing King festivities, which include a ceremonial crowning of the new king and the singing of a traditional festive song.

To round off the event, a tasting will be held at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide on Friday 14 November to give the wider public an opportunity to taste the winning wines of the 2014 McLaren Vale Wine Show.