Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Horsham Week 2009 – An Absolute Corker

The 42nd tasting of yet another vintage Horsham Week was conducted at the Horsham Aerodrome and Wimmera Lakes Resort from the 7th to 14th February under some of the most severe tasting conditions ever recorded. The competition saw Waikerie Gliding Club ably represented by pilots Craig Vinall, Greg Jackson and Peter Paine assisted by Leslie Snel and John Ridge as crew with a total fleet of 35 (11 Standard Class(whites) and 24 Open Class (reds). The burgeoning reputation of WGC was no doubt enhanced by solid wins on every competition day to the extent that no other club shared any of the prize bottles. Horsham 2009 turned out to be an extraordinarily palatable event characterized by the most difficult of task-setting leaving the finest after-taste imaginable. There were no out-landings under the table for the entire week.

Friday 6th February – Arrival and set up

An interesting road trip to Horsham – sometimes with all wheels a-turning and for one moment it became a bit of a drag. On registration we lined up our best for an unofficial practice.

RESULTS: Winner sports Class John Ridge 800 points for his Sangiovese and running-up with a home grown advantage Verdelho – The competition was going to be tough as John was not even supposed to be competing.  Greg came in a distant second with the ‘Italian job’ and a chase to the finish.

Saturday 7th February – Practice Day

A truly horrible day! 46 degrees with gale force northerlies and destructive fires forcing all pilots and crew to evacuate the tasting room for the sanctuary of the local Hotel. Day cancelled in favour of beer and iced coffee. Crew and Pilots carbo loaded (pasta & Mussels) in expectation of some hard work ahead.

RESULTS:-  Bailey from northern Victoria and an MC2 did not make the finish so the winner was declared much later in Standard class. Greg 800 points with a Semillion, lemon but zesty race.

Sunday 8th February – Contest Day 1 (not to be)

No task was set but all pilots consumed their share to become familiar with relevant G.I.’s (Geographical Indications) and to check the competition (all closures could be entered), task organization (the finest of tasting glassware provided by Vinalls), and scoring (decanting was mandatory for Open Class).

RESULTS:-  We could see this comp would eventually be won by age. d’Arenberg had three entries – Olive in standard, Peter with his Footbolt ‘ed to the prize, and some would say a Craig’s Deadarm was a soar point.  Pilots scores averaging over 800 points each.

Monday 9th February – Contest day 1

TASK: – AST (Anonymous Sensory Trial) – A difficult task format with the turning points unavailable to the pilots at take-off.

RESULTS:- Lots of vertical lift with this event. We looked towards  Rockford, climbing through 1999 to 2001, showing a totally different taste experience.  On shear volume Greg’s “ The Bishop” had the last say – 850 points.

WINNING PILOT:-  Craig Vinall

Tuesday 10th February – Contest day 2 (not to be)

Another day of extreme tasting conditions sent by Mother Nature! No task set but all pilots showed their dedication in opting for more intense practice.

RESULTS:-  Sailing over the Riesling VineVale was worth another 800 points but the long way home over Margaret River “Cullen Homestead” provided the lifting spirit –  well done Craig, 1000 points. Daily prize a bottle of Chardonnay

Wednesday 11th February – Contest Day 2

TASK: – AAT (Aromatic Attributes Test) – A straight-forward task with each pilot able to consume as much of each area as they wish. The trick with this task however was the long final glide to the Bordeaux area of France!

RESULTS: – The pilots were not letting out any secrets and the games were on. We award 1000 points to Peter for picking the winner Calon Se’gur Saint. Greg didn’t have a clue where he was so got lost over Jock’s Block.

WINNING PILOT: – Peter Paine

Thursday 12th February – Contest day 3

TASK: – AST (Anonymous Sensory Trial) – Another difficult task with masked turning points but all pilots are now warming to the task of flying blind (working FLARM mandatory under local rules).

RESULTS: – Overcoming the competition on today’s task – Greg 850 points with a Normans of a day in Standard. Craig flew well all day but had the ‘on final’ word.  Amon-Ra

WINNING PILOT: – Greg Jackson

Friday 13th February – Contest Day 4  

TASK: – AST (Anonymous Sensory Trial) – Blind tastings are now familiar to all pilots and those still having PDA and ALTAIR problems are coping well. Look out Multi-Class 2010!

RESULTS: –  To fly today was difficult with smokey wood-charred RWT. Also it was noted Greenock Creek was dry since 99. Undisputedly Craig 1000 points for keeping on track.

WINNING PILOT: – Craig Vinall

Saturday 14th February – Contest Day 5

TASK: – RUN (Regional Under-vine Nuances) Task – With senses tiring from an exhausting schedule we were warned by the Contest Director not to forego safety in pursuit of palate perfection. Another difficult and demanding tasting with increased pressure from the strict time limit (not to interfere with the wind-up dinner)!

RESULTS: – Last day and with an outstanding result. Greg 900 points for finishing at St Andrews followed closely by Craig 850 points in open class finishing at Parker Coonawarra.   

WINNING PILOT: – Greg Jackson

Overall Result

With all pilots having had their share of wins and place finishes hopes were running high for the award of Master of Wine. Although protests were non-existent the scorers navigated with great thirst through the ferment of handicaps however at the conclusion were unable to separate the top three pilots. At the wind-up dinner the Contest Director took great pleasure in announcing a three-way tie to Craig, Greg and Peter of “Team WGC” with a special thank-you to Leslie for abstaining from the final task in order to return the pilots and crew safely to their local tasting rooms.

Full list of Turn points included with coordinates in years followed by description and score. Please note all pilots should use discretion when selecting entries to use in this competition. Next year’s turn points will change so please check the lists regularly.


2001 Cullen Margaret River Chardonnay – Whole bunch wild yeast ferment (sensational) (9)

2002 Normans unwooded Chardonnay nicely aged (8.5)

2004 Pikes Polish Hill Riesling True to region (8)

2006 Rockford Vine Vale Riesling (120+ year old vines) (8)

2002 Jenki Semillion Lemon and zest (8)

2001 Pan Terra Barossa Semillon (released Feb 2008) made by Grant Burge. This wine winning the 8th consecutive Blue Gold medal for this style at the Sydney International Wine Challenge. (8)

2002 Grossett Polish Hill Riesling (8)

2008 Trevena private label Verdello – bit young and burning on the back pallet due high Alc. (7)

1999 d’Arenberg The Olive Chardonnay (7.5)

2008 Clean Skin Trevena Rose’ Sangiovese – ideal pre dinner balanced and fruity made at Waite (7.5)

1998 Jim Barry Watervale Florita vineyard Riesling – The cork had given up, with the result of premature aging (5) 


1999 Greenock Creek; Creek Block Shiraz 14.5%/Vol. Perfect wine to drink now made by Michael and Annabelle Waugh. (9)

2004 Calon Se’gur Saint – Estephe Grand Crue Bordeaux – surprise such a big wine very nice (9)

1996 Katnook Estate Odessey Cab Sauv (bottle N0 1235) (9)

1999 Taylors St Andrews Shiraz Clare Valley Great Bottle of wine (9)

2001 d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz – Great wine consumed at its peak (9)

2001 Penfolds RWT (bottle 6386) Barossa Valley Shiraz (9)

2001 Rockford Basket Press (9)

1999 Rockford Basket Press (8.5)

1999 Leasingham Bin 56 Cabernet Malbec – not a lot of aging present, good nose with a very dry finish on the pallet. (8.5)

1999 Parker Coonawarra Estate Terra Rossa 1st Growth Cab Sauv Merlot Cab Franc (limited production 2750 cases) (8.5)

2003 Amon-Ra – this is a Ben Glaetzer made for overseas market high oak, in your face wine. (8.5)

1999 Ben Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz (magnum) (8.5)

1999 Moss Wood Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon – Old barrel nose light in colour and not unlike a blended wine with Cabernet  Franc & Petit Verdot, spicy (8)

2006 Italian Valpolicella (Corvine Rondinella Molinara) Nice and spicy good with food. (8)

2000 Jeanneret Cab Sauv (8)

1998 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon  – good colour and nose, let down a little on the pallet aster and lacked body (8)

2001 Mount Mary Vineyard (Yarra Valley) Quintet – French style wine (8)

1998 d’Arenberg  The Footbolt Old Vine Shiraz might have been better a couple of years ago (7.5)

1999 Kingston Estate Durif – interesting perfume characteristics big well aged wine especially for a Riverland. (7.5)

2005 Jock’s Block Shiraz; needed to have this with food could do with a few more years in the bottle (7.5)

1998 Jim Barry the Armagh Shiraz (7.5)

2002 Kirrihill Estates Shiraz Langhorne Creek (7)

2006 Rymill Mc2 Cabernet, Disappointing (6)

2008 Baily’s of Rutherglen Cabernet – Bitty (6)

To All Pretenders –Beware Horsham Week 2010



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