This year's Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for the Best in Show Dry Riesling over £15 went to Pewsey Vale, The Contours Museum Reserve Riesling, Eden Valley, South Australia 2008 (12%)
- Cave de Turckheim, Riesling, Grand Cru Brand, Alsace, France 2010
This Trophy-winner had to face down some stellar opposition in a grand cru Riesling from one of the grape’s heartlands. It was a neck-andneck finish, with our judges admitting the final judgement was a close call. In the end, the prize went to Australia, with our judges extolling the wine’s varietal character, along with its limpid, generous but delicate nature, and a level of complexity that is second to none at this price.
Pewsey Vale was born on the back of an advert. It was in the late 1830s that Englishman Joseph Gilbert saw an ad in London’s Times newspaper, outlining the land opportunities in Australia. He took a chance and embarked on one of the next ships heading down under.
Two years later, in 1841, he had his patch of land in South Australia and six years on planted his first vines, making it Eden Valley’s very first vineyard. He called it Pewsey Vale after his home back in England – Wiltshire’s Vale of Pewsey.
Gilbert’s vineyard was a success until the 1920s when it fell into a state of disrepair and was abandoned. It was reborn four decades later when the land’s then owner, Geoffrey Angas Parsons, discovered its origins and set about restoring it. The winery today is part of the Hill Smith Family Vineyards group.
Louisa Rose, a much-decorated and wellknown figure on the Australian wine scene, directs winemaking operations at Pewsey Vale. A Roseworthy graduate, she grew up in Melbourne and helped work the family’s vineyard in Yarra Valley at the weekends. ‘Our Pewsey Vale represents the ultimate in single-vineyard Eden Valley Riesling,’ she says. ‘When making our wines there is no compromise, and quality is our paramount objective: to capture the essence of the vineyard.’
The Contours is Pewsey Vale’s bottle-aged Riesling and its multi-awarded flagship wine. It is labelled a Museum Reserve as it matures in the winery for five years before it is released, by which time it displays complex, evolved characters such as truffle and kerosene.
Written by Decanter