First Pinot Noir scoops Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy

A Pinot Noir has won the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for best red wine in Australia for the first time, penetrating the duopoly of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz over the prize’s 52-year history.

Yabby Lake Vineyard’s 2012 Yabby Lake Block 1 Pinot Noir was announced as the 2013 trophy winner at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards.

The prize, one of the most coveted in Australia’s wine industry, is named in honour of Jimmy Watson, known for championing table wine at his Carlton wine bar in Melbourne. It is handed out annually to a red wine no more than two years old.

Pinot Noir accounts for around 2% of Australia’s wine production, according to government figures, but plantings have risen strongly in the past decade from a low base. Award judges said victory for the varietal reflects increasing diversity in premium Australian wine.

‘With the uniformly strong 2012 vintage behind us, there were a number of apparent trends: a general improvement of alternative varieties and alternative blends, definitive improvement with Pinot Gris/Grigio and ground breaking work with Pinot Noir,’ said chairman of judges, David Bicknell.

Each year since 2009, Yabby Lake, located in the state of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, has released a series of ‘single block’ wines.

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First Pinot Noir scoops Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy