German Wine Wins An International Contest In Canberra

A German wine, described as having a flavour that lasts for five minutes after tasting, has won an international contest in Canberra.

A 2006 vintage of Weingut Juliusspital Iphofer Julius-Echterberg Riesling Beernauslese - quite a mouthful in more ways than one - was named world's best at Canberra International Riesling Challenge.

The winning wine hails from the Franconian region, east of Frankfurt, which is famous for producing dry wines in the distinctive "Bocksbeutels" - a flat round bottle made famous by the popular Mateus Rose.

Challenge chairman Ken Helm, a Canberra region vigneron, described the winner as a sweet-style riesling with a flavour that doesn't go away.

"It's smooth and extremely elegant with a pleasant flavour that hangs around - you can still taste it five minutes later," he said.

"It is in the middle range of sweetness and is very well-balanced in acid and flavour".

A 2002 St Helga Eden Valley drop from the Orlando stable won the award for best Australian/New Zealand riesling.

It was the second time the vintage has won an award at the challenge after taking out the best museum class (older than four years) last year.

"The St Helga is a dry wine with enormous flavour and balance but no harshness," Mr Helm said.

"People often believe that rieslings don't age well but the judges agree that this wine shows it will drink well during the next 20 years."

The competition, which has been running for eight years, reinforced the taste divide between the two hemispheres: the southern wineries were strongest with the dry-style entries with their northern counterparts excelling in the sweeter varieties.

Mr Helm said the judges had a difficult job separating the top 22 Australian wines.

"We were surprised by the enormous quality of the wines," he said.

"We normally give out awards to the top 10 but this year the judges went down to 22.

"For the first time they will all get the top 10 sticker."

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