Fox Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, from McLaren Vale, with an online price of about $40 a bottle, was among 2,249 wines tasted for the inaugural DAWA awards held in Hong Kong in September, whose 13 international trophy winners were announced last night.
Decanter, which has been holding its World Wine Awards in London since 2004, created a separate competition to test the notion of a distinct “Asian palate,” said Sarah Kemp, publishing director at Decanter and founder of the Asian wine awards.
Hong Kong is now the world’s largest rare and fine-wine auction market, and the average price per bottle sold at retail is roughly three times what people spend on wine in the U.K., reflecting that “in terms of palate, they have quite rarefied taste,” Kemp said in an interview.
More than 40 judges from China, Japan, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong took part in the four-day tasting overseen by more experienced oenophiles including Hong Kong-based Master of Wine Jeannie Cho Lee and Gerard Basset, a Master of Wine and Master Sommelier.
“It’s all about educating judges who are here,” said Cho Lee, who plans to eventually have the entire judging panel made up of Asians.
The reason for setting up separate Asian awards, apart from its marketing appeal, was to see how regional tastes differ.
“There are differences in what consumers prefer around the world,” said Cho Lee. “The U.S. palate is different from the European palate. We want to discover if there is an Asian palate.”
She said the Asian judges awarded more gold medals to the Bordeaux category than was the case in the World Wine Awards, the likely result of French wines’ greater availability in the region.
Of the 13 international trophies, Australia clinched six. The winners included Eden Springs High Eden which took the Riesling trophy, Bay of Fires from Tasmania for Chardonnay, and Brokenwood Maxwell Vineyard Semillon from the Hunter Valley topping the single-varietal white category.
France won three, with Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne 2004 taking the Sparkling Wine category, Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes Bordeaux 2005 the Sweet Trophy and the Red Rhone Varietal Trophy going to Cave de Roquebrun, Seigneur d’Aupenac, St. Chinian- Roquebrun Languedoc Roussillon 2009.
(Frederik Balfour is a reporter-at-large for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)
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