The VIC100 Festival of Wine had Sauvignon Savvies and Pinot Noir Novices alike pouring into Federation Square’s Atrium to try Victoria’s 100 best drops for the year.
There was a wine for every palate and every occasion in this year’s line-up, judged by seven of the state’s rock star winemakers and buyers, and headed by Festival Curator Nick Stock.
With almost 600 entries into this year’s event, we can imagine it was tough to pick the 100 faves, not to mention choosing this year’s VIC ONE; the one wine to rule them all! The top spot went to Dominique Portet Winery’s 2015 Origine Chardonnay; of which the judges said was a very complex, layered palate of citrus across ripe white peach, and a super flinty, refined oak spice.
The VIC ONE wine also passed with flying colours for its Yarra Valley region’s award, alongside other regional winners: Fighting Gully Road’s Sangiovese (Beechworth), Clyde Park Vineyard’s Block D Pinot Noir (Geelong), Best’s Great Western Bin 1 Shiraz (Great Western), De Bortoli’s Villages Shiraz Grenache (Heathcote), Seppelt’s Drumborg Reisling (Henty), Shadowfax’s Pinot Noir (Macedon Ranges), Quealy Winemakers’ Campbell & Christine Pinot Noir (Mornington Peninsula), Blue Pyrenees Estate’s Richardson Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Pyrenees) and Morris Wines’ NV Cellar Reserve Muscat (Rutherglen).
It seemed 2015 was also a flourishing and successful year for Winemakers, as majority of the wines to make the list hailed from last year’s crop. Red also played a favourite this year, with Pinot Noir and Shiraz having a very strong presence in the 2016 list. And while we’re on favourites, the Yarra Valley’s dominant wine culture was out in full force for this year’s VIC100, with more than 30 per cent of the chosen wines hailing from the region (not hard when you have 150+ wineries in the area, but we digress).
Also flying the flag for eastern region was Yarra Valley Dairy, offering tasty testers of their finest farmhouse fare. We strongly recommend the highly popular Persian Fetta for a deliciously creamy all rounder, or if you want to heat things up, try the Hot Cow – a fresh cows milk curd mixed with fresh chives, parsley, garlic and chilli, um YUM.
Can we just say there was So. Much. Wine to be sipped, swirled and savoured, and while we tried our best to test all of them, at some point you just need to grab a bite from Lady Paella, sink a refreshing soft bevvy from Capi and have a little breather.
What we can tell you is a few of our favourites that deserve honourable mentions for the day. For the lovers of divine white wine, we really enjoyed Yarra Valley Great’s Rob Dolan Field Blend from their True Colours range. This drop was crisp, floral and aromatic; it was easy to drink and not over powering in taste. Made with the best hand picks of Savagnin (40%), Gewurztraminer (25%), Pinot Gris (25%) and Chardonnay (10%) vineyards, this wine carries all your favourite attributes from each, a very well thought and easy going white wine.
For those of the red persuasion, Dirty Three’s Three Pinot Noir from Gippsland offered a tipple of great complexity, perfume and punchy taste. Dirty Three’s Pinot is a blend of three different South Gippsland vineyards; one on Phillip Island, Berrys Creek and the Dirty Three vineyard on Holgates Road. A pleasant drop with subtle hints of oak.
There were only a handful of Rose’s on offer at this year’s VIC100, but we thought it was rude to leave them out altogether! Our pick of the pink was from Tellurian Wines in Heathcote. A 2016 vintage, this Rose was fresh and dry but not overpowering, and best of all they served it nice and cold at the festival! Pale salmon in colour, the palate was lightweight and crisp and so delicious we went back for seconds.
Now for one of our favourites, the fizzy fun time of sparkling wines! Sparkling just screams celebration, so it would be rude not to have it at least once a week, right? And we may have found the perfect flute of bubbles that you could go back for time and time again. King Valley is known for its fantastic adaptation of Italian wines, and Sam Miranda’s Prosecco is no exception. Pale in colour, but not in flavour, this sparkling offers a fresh aroma of green apple, and is soft on the palate with a sherbet like acidity that leaves a crisp finish. This is our pick for Christmas lunch, and it even comes in Piccolo bottles – what’s not to love?!
VIC100’s third collection did not disappoint, we look forward to seeing the flavours and fashions that come through for next year’s pick, and while we do envy Nick Stock’s spot as head judge, we think 2016 will be a hard act to follow.