The team here at Vintage Cellars look forward to our annual Best Of Awards with great enthusiasm, and this year hasn’t let us down. We’ve tasted our way through hundreds of wines, beers and spirits to make sure the selection that you see in store represents the best the world has to offer.
As we leap towards spring it’s a great time to look back and reflect on the year so far. ‘The Best of 2015’ pays homage to the producers, the trailblazers, the market leaders, and the guys and gals that are responsible for producing the best of the best.
So let’s have a look and see who the lucky winners for 2015 are:
Wine of the Year: Teusner ‘The Independent’ Shiraz
Kym Teusner is no stranger to danger. He’s much loved and isn’t scared to let people know exactly what he thinks. The candid honesty he displays in life is evident in this stunning release from the Teusner crew. Pound for pound it has to be one of the best value wines around and it punches many divisions above its weight.
Sparkling Wine of the
year: Pol Roger Non-Vintage, France.
The white foil, the air of sophistication, the connection to Sir Winston Churchill. The legendary Champagne house that is Pol Roger carry on delighting our taste buds with the current batch of their Non-Vintage masterpiece. Pure class in a glass.
White wine of the Year: Deep Woods Estate Margaret River
The Chardonnay revolution is in full swing and Margaret River has come to the party! Deep Woods Estate, at the northern end of Margaret River in Yallingup, has gone from strength to strength under the Fogarty family who acquired the property in 2005. This Chardonnay quite rightly deserves to walk off with the White of the year prize.
Red wine: Teusner
‘The Independent’ Shiraz Mataro, Barossa.
The Teusner Independent that we waxed lyrical about above takes home the Red Wine of the Year. If you didn’t know in a blind tasting that it was a $20 wine, you’d be quite happy paying $40 or $50.
Premium wine: Yalumba
Signature, Cabernet Shiraz, Barossa.
Louisa Rose and the rest of the Yalumba winemaking team have been on something of a role of late. ‘The Signature’ is an Australian classic. A blend of Cabernet and Shiraz, it’s a wine of enormous complexity and warmth. It’s regal, righteous and will live long in the dark corner of your cellar.
Imported wine: Cave de Lugny Macon Villages,
A sure fire sign that working together can produce great results. From one of the largest Co-operatives in France (with over 250 growers) the Cave de Lugny Macon Villages smashes the ball right out of the park when it comes to the quality and quantity ratio.
Sainte Roseline Perle de Roseline, Cotes de
There’s Rose and then there’s Rose. Provence sets the bar high when it comes to producing delicate, savoury wines that are not only delicious and a breeze to drink but that are also complex and thought provoking. Sainte Roseline’s ‘Perle de Roseline’ sings out for the sunshine and is sure to be one of the biggest hits once the sun pops its head out. It’s a striking blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah and is a benchmark that others aspire to match.
Fortified & Dessert Wines: De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis
Semillon 2013 & Valdespino Pedro Ximenez Yellow
Our Best Fortified and Best Dessert Wine winners and both hugely deserving of their accolades. De Bortloi Noble One is an Australian icon and rightly sits at the top of the dessert tree in the land down under. Built for the long haul but so good in its youth. Valdespino are one of the most respected Bodegas in Jerez and their Yellow Label PX is pure decadence. You don’t even need a dessert to eat with it. It’s the perfect way to wrap up any meal.
Whisky: Nikka ‘From the Barrel’.
This might be the biggest surprise of the year, the Scottish have been out Whiskied by the Japanese as the Nikka takes home the title of Whisky of the year. For some it might not be that big a shock though as Nikka has been slowly but surely building an enviable reputation in the whisky world for the last 70 odd years. There’s heritage and history here as well as incredible flavour and intensity.
Tanqueray is one of those drinks that is always there but not celebrated as much as it should be. Its success lies in its ability to satisfy even the pickiest of Gin aficionados. It’s not that it is a catch all style, it’s simply that this is Gin the way that Gin should be. Add a squeeze of lime and some tonic and you’re on the path to tastiness!
Vodka: Hippocampus Organic Vodka.
The Vodka category is one that year on year is added to by new players mixing it up with new releases from some of the most established in the Spirits industry. It’s testament to the guys at Hippocampus, based in Perth, WA, that it’s an Australian Vodka that is walking off with this years’ award. Made from biodynamical grown wheat, this is real vodka, designed for real drinks and thoroughly deserves the title of Vodka of the year.
Rum: Pampero ‘Anniversario’.
The Venezuelan based Pompero kick goals when it comes to producing Rums of incredible depth and richness and the Anniversario sits right at the top of the Rum tree. It’s richness of fruit and spice is complimented by a real sense of drinkability and is a more than ample replacement for top quality Whisky and Cognac at the end of a meal.
Blood Orange Liqueur.
A liqueur made from Blood oranges grown on the slopes of Mount Etna (on the Italian island of Sicily) by a Gin master distiller. It seems like an unlikely tale yet that’s the story behind this incredible tipple that takes out the Liqueur of the year title. Made from handpicked blood oranges this is an awesome addition to any drinks cabinet and it is a must for those that fancy their hand when it comes to mixing up cocktails.
Australian Craft Beer: Newstead Brewery India Pale Ale.
The hotly contested craft beer scene is one that seems to be expanding almost daily. With brewers pushing the limits and releasing single batch brews the whole scene is awash with talent and innovation and it is great to see the Newstead Brewery continuing to thrive. Their ‘Two to the Valley’ IPA is a proper IPA bursting with intensity and depth of flavour and, although maybe not for the feint hearted, sums up exactly what the craft beer scene is all about.
International Craft Beer: Budejoviky Budvar.
From the Czech city of Budvar that inspired Budweiser, Budvar uses spring water from an underground lake and is matured for 90 days. It pours clean with a creamy head and delivers sweet notes of vanilla, caramel and clementine. This gives the beer a generous and satisfyingly happy bitterness with a slightly dry mouth feel on the finish. It’s refreshing with an Indian Curry.
Cider: Thatchers Gold
The Cider boom may have abated of late but when it’s good it is still incredibly good. Thatchers are a traditional cider producer based in Somerset, England, the home of traditional cider production. Don’t expect anything other than brilliant cider once you pop the top off this classic, fresh, clean bottle of goodness.
Winemaker of the year: Virginia Wilcox – Vasse Felix.
Virginia Willcock is a bit of a legend around the winegrower’s scene and it’s with great pleasure that she is unveiled as Winemaker of the Year in ‘The Best of 2015’ awards. She has taken Vasse Felix, in Margaret River, WA to new heights and the quality of the wine she produces, right from the entry level blends up to the stunning and iconic Heytesbury releases, is improving with every vintage. It’s exciting to see where she can take the property and it’s a ride we all want to be part off.