Cuttings - Chris Pfeiffer - October 2014
By Chris Pfeiffer
At this time each year we hold the Rutherglen Wine Show and Australian Fortified Wine Show. It is an exciting time as it allows the winemakers of Rutherglen to have their wines peer reviewed alongside wines from around Australia. It is a great opportunity to do some benchmarking, to confirm directions for your wine styles and see what other winemakers are doing.
As Chairman of the Judging Panel, Pfeiffer Wines do not enter, however we do get to see what other winemakers are doing, observing the trends and training our palates. We believe that we are extremely fortunate to have this opportunity on our doorstep.
Each year as we approach vintage we discuss the wines we hope that we are going to make, talk about the quality bar we wish to reach and then set about doing it. Having the opportunity to taste the wines entered in the wine show helps in all these discussions.
We do like to have our wines benchmarked by our peers and we do this at a number of different wine shows. Not entering at the Rutherglen Wine Show (at Pfeiffer Wine we don’t enter wine shows that Jen or I judge), means we have to look elsewhere. We try and choose shows that allow us to enter as well as have good entries of the wine styles we make. This is not difficult with table wines as there are plenty of opportunities here, however there are not many shows that attract significant fortified entries.
The 2 shows that we are drawn to for our fortified entries are the Riverina Wine Show and the Riverland Wine Show. Both are in areas that produce considerable amounts of fortified wines, so we enter our wines to benchmark them against a wider range of wines than in many other wine shows. We are proud to say that our Pfeiffer Grand Rutherglen Muscat won the trophy in both the Riverina Wine Show and the Riverland Wine Show for best fortified sweet dessert wine. We also won a number of other Gold medals in both shows and were awarded the most successful exhibitor in the Riverland Wine Show. Those of you who have purchased some of our 2012 Pfeiffer Durif will be pleased to hear that it won the trophy for best alternate red variety entered in the show.
The 126th Rutherglen Wine Show (yes, it has been running for a long time) was assessed by 12 judges this year, a significant number of whom were, what we might call, the next generation of wine show judges. It was exciting to see the wine styles that they were favouring, as they will have some influence on the direction that wine styles will take. They certainly love the elegant savoury styles. This is reassuring to the Pfeiffer Wines team as these are the styles that we enjoy making and is the path we have been taking. We are lucky being in Rutherglen that we can pursue flavour and craft elegance and savouriness in our wines. A wonderful case in point is our 2012 Pfeiffer Durif (which you will be glad to know features in this Spring’s Wine Club packs).
Achieving success in wine shows is satisfying; however it does not mean that we rest on our laurels. I have trouble with the concept of a 100 point wine. Is a wine the perfect example of what the style can be (=100 points), or is it an exceptional example (= <100 points)? We strive for the perfect wine, which results in quality winemaking and high quality wines for our Pfeiffer “pfriends” to enjoy. Perhaps one day I will change my mind and accept that a wine can be the perfect example. It hasn’t happened yet, which makes our job exciting as we pursue this ideal.
Our Spring Wine Club packs are a nice choice coming into Spring and reflects our desire to pursue elegance and flavour in our wines. Our 2012 Pfeiffer Pinot Noir is a special wine, as the weather conditions in 2013 and 2014 resulted in very little fruit, consequently little wine. In fact, we did not make a wine in 2013 and we made so little in 2014. We have our fingers crossed for 2015, not just for the Pinot Noir but all across the vineyard. We don’t want another frost or high heat conditions leading into 2015 vintage.
As we approach the years end, we near the completion of celebrating our 30th year. We have enjoyed sharing moments with all our members and customers throughout the year. We, the Pfeiffer Team, all appreciate the support you continue to give and look forward to catching up over the years to come.
It seems early, however this is the last Cuttings for the year, so the Pfeiffer Team join me in wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We also remind those that take advantage of our gift giving service in the UK, it is time to act.
Jen and I are looking forward to a great vintage in 2015. It is only bud burst at the moment, with a number of vines approaching 2 leaf stage, so a lot can impact on us. However we are confident that we will make some delicious 2015 wines.
In vino veritas,