Mamba awards 2019: Liberty Wines wins Decanter importer trophy

Legendary names of Australian wine lived up to their billing at the recent Mamba Riedel Decanter Awards in the UK.

The awards, hosted and sponsored by Roger and Sue Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn in Wiltshire, champion the value and quality of Australian wine in the UK. The awards are now in their 15th year.

Two annually changing wine categories are judged – non-blind, with prices revealed – by more than 100 members of the wine trade. Glassware maker Riedel hands out its iconic Mamba decanters to the winners of each.

In this year’s 91-strong Chardonnay category, Cullen’s Kevin John 2017 (£87.99, Liberty Wines) was the critics’ choice, followed by Pierro 2017 (£44.95, Layton’s) and Penfolds’ Reserve Bin 17A (£79, Wine Treasury), with Brian Croser’s 1979-planted Tiers Vineyard celebrated in fourth and fifth places, through Petaluma, Tiers 2016 (£34.99, Accolade) and his own Tapanappa, Tiers 2017 (£48.60, Mentzendorff).

Liberty Wines won the Decanter-sponsored perpetual trophy, given to the most successful importer on the evening. In addition to the top Chardonnay, it imports three of the five Pinot Noir winners this year: the critics’ favourite By Farr’s Farrside 2016 (£59.99) as well as third and fourth places, with Jane Eyre 2017 (£45.99) and Tolpuddle 2017 (£59.99). Second place went to Paringa Estate’s Estate 2014 (£55, Hallgarten) and fifth place to Vinteloper, Odeon Lenswood 2016 (£84, Graft Wine Co).

Head judge, Decanter’s Steven Spurrier, presented the Yvonne May Memorial Trophy for the best-value wine of the evening as chosen by the tasters: Penfolds’ Koonunga Hills Chardonnay 2018 (£9, Wine Treasury). The award, sponsored by Wine Australia, is in honour of the generic body’s former regional director, who died in 2014.

Money raised from donations and a charity raffle goes to the drinks trade charity The Benevolent.

Roger Jones judges wines for Decanter both at panel tastings and at the Decanter World Wine Awards. The Harrow’s wine list of more than 1,000 bins has one of the country’s best selections of Australian wine.