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THE KINGS: Matt Caldersmith and Nic Bowen were crowned this year’s McLaren Vale Bushing Kings.

CHATEAU Reynella winemakers Matt Caldersmith and Nic Bowen were crowned the Bushing Kings of 2014, ending the two-year reign of Rosemount Estate’s Matt Koch.

The lads behind the top drop at the annual McLaren Vale Wine Show were crowned at the Bushing Luncheon held this afternoon and will now take on the role of ambassadors for the region.

The 2012 Chateau Reynella Shiraz was the highest scoring wine, judged by this year’s panel which included Silver Bullet judges James Halliday, Huon Hook, Iain Riggs, Brian Walsh and international judge Jeremy Stockman.

Jim Chatto, chair of judges, praised the quality of McLaren Vale’s red wines as well as the region’s willingness to challenge convention. “Certainly the real strengths of the show are the Shiraz and Grenache – including Grenache blends – with the latter claiming a staggering 16 per cent strike rate on golds,” he said. “This really strengthens the region’s claim as the number one place to grow Grenache. Major awards were shared among 13 producers attesting to the depth of quality across the region and particularly exciting are the emerging ‘Mediterranean’ varieties, which seem very well-suited to the maritime climate and cuisine of the region.”

This year’s judging marked the first time the McLaren Vale Wine Show included food in the process and, to extend the food and wine theme even further, a series of public dinners were held each evening.

Marc Allgrove, McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association (MVGWTA) chief executive officer, said the dinners provided great insight into the wine show process for the general public. “The feedback from the dinners was fantastic and proves we’re definitely on the right track from the consumer’s perspective,” he said. “This was the first year of a very new, regional wine show model and all things considered, I think we have managed to introduce some ground-breaking concepts while maintaining the integrity of the show very well.”