Article by Nicky Lefebvre first appeared in the Augusta Margaret River Mail Newspaper, Wednesday 13 April 2022
"EVERYTHING about this wine is exquisite - from flavour to label."
So say the 2022 London Wine Competition judges, who awarded Margaret River region winery Gralyn Estate the highest prize of the event, the coveted 'Wine of the Year'. Judging for the 2022 competition took place at St Mary's Church in London's Marylebone this week, with a record, 300 wines submitted from 36 countries. To be a medal winner, wines must score highly in all three criteria, with a weighting on scores for quality. The only wine to score 97 points, the Gralyn Estate Artizan Rare Muscat NV was also awarded 'Best in Show by Country' and 'Best Wine of the Year by Quality'.
Gralyn Estate was founded in Wilyabrup in 1975 and was the first to open a commercial cellar door in Margaret River in 1978.
Owners and winemakers Scott and Annette Baxter took the helm two years ago from Annette's parents, founders Graham and Merilyn Hutton. Scott Baxter said the secret to the success of the fortified wine came down to the quality of the fruit, the barrel age, and blending and freshening. "Very old brandy barrels are used to store the Artizan, so as not to impart too much oak character, allowing it to develop rancio complexity," Mr Baxter said.” These wines are precious as there is considerable loss each year from evaporation, what's described as the Angel's Share, and this gives the wine it’s power." The wine is produced using the Solera System, a winemaking practice where younger wines are blended in barrels storing older wines, and hence termed non-vintage or NV. The solera in the Artizan Rare Muscat NV dates back 40 years. "We're winning accolades now because Annette's parents had the foresight 40 years ago to barrel age this beautiful wine," said Mr Baxter." They knew it was special, they knew it had its place and they believed that they were on to something for which we're very grateful, because now we're reaping the rewards of their vision and hard work." Gralyn Estate was awarded Gold for both its 2017 and 2018 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
Image: Scott and Annette Baxter toasting to their success at the London Wine Competition