Sally Cranney, one of the Gorgeous Festival Directors recently compiled a panel of wine aficionados and blind sampled 150 wines, resulting in a short-list of 10 which will be featured at this year’s Gorgeous Festival. The following is her insight in to how this year’s wine list was selected.
When selecting the wines for Gorgeous Festival 2013, we had a mammoth job on our hands. The wine list has always been my baby and this year I wanted to stretch my knowledge and interest in McLaren Vale wines and also up the integrity of the Gorgeous Bar for our gorgeous audience.
There are more than 88 cellar doors in McLaren Vale, the majority being small family-owned and run boutique wineries and I wanted to expose them all! Even living in the region and being a very, very regular drinker of all things McLaren Vale there is a lot of booze around here that I don’t know about.
So I put together an application form for wineries to apply to be involved and set up a judging form and a panel. Not having done this before I trusted the knowledge and guidance from Gill Gordon-Smith (Professional Wine Judge). As McLaren Vale is known for its Shiraz we thought it necessary to have an ‘Iconic McLaren Vale Shiraz’ as one of the categories, while the others were related to Sparkling, White, Rose, and alternative red varietals.
Now the panel…
The criteria for the Gorgeous Festival Bar is ‘Gorgeous McLaren Vale wines that folks will enjoy at a music festival’. We enrolled the pallets of Philip White (our regional wine judge, writer and (interestingly) music fanatic), Gill Gordon-Smith (of course), Head Chef and Owner of The Elbow Room, Nigel Rich (he is very passionate about his wine list and we needed a venue with a great menu for our lunch break), myself, and Co-Director Alistair Cranney (also husband and drinking partner).
We had 46 wineries submit to participate which resulted in a day of trying over 165 wines. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good session, but ‘tasting’ and ‘judging’ is a whole different ball game! The entire tasting was ‘blind’, meaning of course that we were not aware of what label we were tasting- not that we were ‘blind’, and each segment had 12 glasses lined up across our tasting stations with note pads and pens ready to concur the task at hand.
First we attacked the Sparkling, then the White, the alternative Reds and finally the Iconic McLaren Vale Shiraz. It was an honour and pleasure to taste such amazing local wines alongside a panel of wonderful wine lovers with so much passion, opinion and flair about selecting the right wines for our Gorgeous Bar this year.
It was difficult to narrow it down, particularly because we have so much support from everyone in the region and we are such big fans of so many of the wineries.
The list for Gorgeous Bar 2013 is:
Sparkling White: Maxwell N.V Envious Pinot, Chardonnay
Sparkling Red: Settlement N.V Shiraz
Gorgeous Moscato: Oliver’s Taranga 2013 Frontignac
Gorgeous White: Serafino 2013 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc
Gorgeous Rose: Wirra Wirra 2013 Grenache Rose
Gorgeous Red: Dowie Doole Hooley Dooley 2010 Cab/ Shiraz/ Merlot
Premium White: Yangarra Estate 2012 Viognier
Premium Red 1: Chalk Hill 2012 Sangiovese
Premium Red 2: Sellicks Hills Wines 2006 Dio GSM
Icon Shiraz: Paxton 2011 Quandong Farm