IWSC 2024 Wine Judging in Margaret River: judges' deliberations

Wine news

Fri 7 Jun 2024

By Ciaran Griffiths

For the second year in a row, the IWSC has gathered a panel of international and local judges in Western Australia for our Wine Judging in Margaret River, in partnership with Margaret River Wine Association and Wines of Western Australia. Our panel of industry decision makers was led by Alex Hunt MW, a member of the IWSC Wine Judging Committee.

We caught up with our judges after the tasting to find out which styles of wine impressed them. Overall, our judges were pleased with the quality on show, stating "this was an accomplished set of wines, something you can see with the huge number of medals that were awarded".

One of the most successful flights was the 2023 Chardonnays with the judges awarding almost 20 silver medals and some gold medals.

"The 2023 Chardonnay was really shining today - bristling with energy, concentration and all-round winemaking finesse - and we awarded a number of gold medals in this category. The best examples showed well-integrated acidity that carry the wine through to finish," explained the judges.

One of these gold-winning wines was praised for its rich flavours of "pithy white grapefruit, with strong florals of germanium and lily, beautifully spiced with nutmeg and cumin." The judges were also pleased to see a well-balanced use of oak in this wine. 

Similarly, the second gold-medal winning 2023 Chardonnay was spotlighted for its balance and vibrancy on the palate. "Smoky reductive aromatics with hints of granite and white pepper. It is impressively balanced, vibrant and tangy on the palate with a zingy zestiness  and a long, integrated finish," noted the judges.

The 2022 Chardonnays also performed well with several strong silver medals. "The 2022 Chardonnays showed great clarity of aromatics, but slightly fell short of the winning post in regards to structure and intensity," explained the judges. One of the silver medal winning 2022 vintage Chardonnays was described by our judges as possessing "subtlety, freshness, energy and vigour."

White blends won their fair share of bronze and silver medals. Those expressions that stood out to our judges were found to have a solid base of freshness and salinity. One white blend was described by our judges as "a style packed full of sea breeze, maritime salinity, sherbet and green citrus." 

Margaret River Syrah saw a majority of bronze medals, but one high-scoring wine was awarded a silver medal. "Charcuterie notes to nose, pomegranate, pink peppercorn and spice, there's a meaty bresaola character with a salty undertow, a bit of grip, and dark fruited finish," said the judges. Another Syrah from Margaret River that was awarded a silver was highlighted because of its "classy, washing acidity and fine tannins with a peppery finish".

A silver-winning Pinot Noir from Pemberton impressed our judges who noted that its "intoxicating herbal aromas with a cherry menthol hint led to a plush mid-palate bursting with cherries, blackberry and blood orange."

Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the specialities of the region, saw a strong performance at this year’s judging winning many medals. The judges were pleased with the overall standard of the style, stating "The Cabernets showed a consistent level of quality across Western Australia regions".

The standout Cabernet Sauvignons were noted for their precision, subtle complexity and solid aging potential. One of the wines was described by the judges as "an exotic expression with swirls of lingering acidity and poise." While another was praised for having "good purity and even ripeness with well-balanced use of new oak."

Those Cabernet Sauvignons awarded gold were on two different ends of the spectrum. One of them was labelled as "quiet, sultry and nuanced with a meaty and gamey character", whereas another one was described as "alive and electric, with balance, concentration and good structure".

This has been another successful IWSC Judging in Margaret River. Our judges noted "successful medal winning wines showed brightness and a good varietal character and skilled wine-making."

Full medal results of the IWSC 2024 Wine Judging in Margaret River will be announced on Monday 10 June.