Entries are open for the Hot 100 SA Wines with a brand new head judge and some fresh faces on the judging panel for the new year.
Barely have the vines dropped their autumn colours and we are already thinking ahead to the crowning of the next Hot 100. This year we have a new head judge at the helm, Vanessa Altmann and she has selected a panel that will uphold the Hot 100 principles of discovering our State’s most drinkable wines and have fun doing it.
“As wine adventurers we are seeking, above all things, drinkability,” Altmann says. “We are looking for balance, for wines that are outstanding examples of each class.”
One of the things that sets the Hot 100 SA Wines apart from more traditional shows is that the wines are not classed by grape variety but wine style.
Hot 100 classes
A signature celebratory beverage from traditional styles through to fun and frivolous
LIGHT AROMATIC WHITE
Refreshing and bright wines perfect for summer drinking. Think crisp acid bright delights that can be consumed readily
WHITES WITH TEXTURE
These wines drink well anytime and are classically richer and heavier in mouthfeel, generally partnered with food bringing complexity and texture
ORANGE AND ROSÉ
Skin fermented whites or reds which can form into common-styled Rose’ or skin fermented orange style allowing tannin and texture through the wine
FRUIT FORWARD REDS
Bright, light crunchy and refreshing, fruit driven reds are wines that are consumable and diverse expressing perfume and elegance
STRUCTURAL AND SAVOURY REDS
Medium-weight with attributes such as herbs, darker fruits and spice that counter with moderately built tannins
REDS WITH POWER AND PRESENCE
Wines with a heavier, richer focus, pronounced fruit intensity and complexity through the use of oak adding dimension to mouthfeel and length
VERMOUTH, DESSERT AND FORTIFIEDS
A broad category that encompasses wine styles from aperitif through to after-dinner sweeter options
Judges will taste up to 1500 entries in October this year with judging groups headed by a panel chair to keep track of the scores and comments.
Wines are first tasted according to class with noteworthy wines recalled for a closer look and group discussion. Panel chairs are also urged to listen to their judges, some of whom are not from traditional wine backgrounds. “They often have a unique and beautiful way of describing wine which can provide little gems that can be shared with readers later should that wine make it into the Hot 100,” Altmann says.
Panel chairs for this year will include Gill Gordon-Smith from Fall From Grace, last year’s winning winemaker, Charlotte Hardy from Charlotte Dalton Wines, Margot Muir from Edinburgh Cellars, Alex MacKenzie from Saltram Wines and winemaker Shawna Domnelli.
Meet our Head Judge
Vanessa Altman started making wine when she was 19 at an organic winery in Langhorne Creek, and worked crafting wines while studying winemaking at university.
She worked her way through the company over 15 years, eventually becoming winery manager. “I was always tasting, making, reviewing and learning about wine in varied contexts from the cellar through to my family’s kitchen table and all the wine bars in-between,” she says.
She was granted a place in the Len Evans Tutorial in 2010 which fast tracked her wine judging skills and in 2013 she was granted a scholarship to undertake The Governor’s Leadership Foundation Program, which encourages participants to reflect on our state and how aspects of culture, economy, society, environment, business and Government are connected. Between hectic vintages Vanessa started her own business – Switch Organic Wine, in 2010 and also completed a Master of Business Administration.
Meet our Head Steward
Kirrilee Hay grew up in the Adelaide Hills and attended high school in the Barossa.
She has always been surrounded by wine. Her first position after university was coordinating the South Australian Regional Awards program that saw her travel across the state to celebrate businesses, organisations and individuals in regional communities, including those in the wine industry.
Kirrilee works in the marketing team of the Royal Adelaide Show and Wine Show, and has been a panel steward for the Royal Adelaide Wine Show for the past three years.