The Jimmy Watson Trophy is Australia's most prestigious trophy. Last year, it was won by the 2010 Glaetzer-Dixon Mon Pere Shiraz, from Tasmania. I remain critical of this, Australia's most prestigious award for a couple of reasons.
1) Only 250 cases of this wine were made, probably the smallest amount of any trophy winner in the trophy's 50 year history. This should not be allowed for such a big accolade. I suggest 1000 cases should be the minimum to ensure a certain availability. Given the circumstances, the retailer where I tasted the wine decided you can only buy one bottle of this in a mixed dozen of - quite frankly - pretty undistinguished wines. (Well, I wouldn't buy any in any case, see below).
2) The Jimmy Watson Trophy is awarded to the 'best' one (now allowing two) year old red wine. 2011 was the first year, where the wine had to be finished and bottled. In previous years, barrel samples could be submitted. It is pretty tough, even for experienced judges, to make the right call and anticipate the maturing process correctly. Following are the winners for the last ten years:
2011: 2010 Glaetzer-Dixon Mon Pere Shiraz
2010: 2009 Joseph River Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2009: 2008 Eden Road Long Road Hilltops Shiraz
2008: 2007 Flametree Cabernet Merlot
2007: 2006 Scarpantoni Brothers Block
2006: 2005 Shingleback D Block Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
2005: 2004 Geoff Merrill Reserve Shiraz
2004: 2003 Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon
2003: 2002 Saltram Eighth Maker Shiraz
2002: 2001 Rosemount Traditional
These were the best wines in the last ten years? Oh really? No Henschke, Penfolds, Cullen, Moss Wood, no Pinot Noir?
I have more issues with this trophy. The Chairman of judges usually plays a significant role, as he would give some guidelines for the judging. Clearly, over the last few years, the rule has been: let's go for light, less alcoholic wines. How else do you explain the 2009 winner, the 2008 Eden Road Long Road Shiraz from Hilltops?
And this is similar. I first tasted the 2008 and 2009 versions of this wine. A winemaker from Central Otago would call them pretty light Pinots. They come from very young grapes with pretty cherry flavours. For the 2010, Nick Glaetzer had access to grapes from a more mature vineyard in Southern Tasmania, and as a result, there is more depth of fruit in this wine. A small pertentage of white wine is blended into this wine. I have been told it is mainly Pinot Gris. This wine is an elegant, female kind of wine, with pretty peppers and fine grained tannins. But that's all it is: pretty (90 points).
I also tasted the 2011 Advance, and the 2008 Reveur Pinot Noir. These are light reds, not particular varietal, the 2011 a bit green, the 2008 with a better flavour profile, but no depth (85/88 points).