Australians Celebrate Australia Day As Debate Continues Over Changing The Date
Australians Celebrate Australia Day As Debate Continues Over Changing The Date

MAX CRUS: Got to make the best of a bad situation

There's one thing that really gives me the pip: entitled white guys (and women) jumping up and down because their public holiday celebrating good ancestral fortune is threatened by a growing majority who are a bit more compassionate, a bit less afraid of modernity and who appreciate that inclusiveness doesn't really seem the appropriate word for a celebration of one mob's compulsory acquisition of another's land.

Paradoxically, confiscation of land and lifestyle isn't even the worst bit of die-hard 26th of January types, it's that even after nearly 250 years some people still think it's a great thing to celebrate, right in the face of the mob they pinched everything from.

How appropriate then that Gladys Knight and the Pips came to the rescue back in 1973 by cementing a phrase in our lexicon just right for the occasion.

So with that spirit in mind, the announcement of the winner of the venerable Max Crus Trophy, until five years ago celebrated on January 26, is again keeping in tune with Triple J's Hottest 100 and announced as close as possible to that date without appearing to be associated with white privilege, Q-Anon, Scotty from Marketing and his hard done by ancestors and National Party voters.

Thus with further ado … what to choose from?

Well, from only 530 wines (reflecting our responsible reduction in consumption), five achieved the equal top ranking of 9.7/10.

However, like any event, you need support races so in the Max Crus Varietal Stakes, first up and just missing selection for the main race were 25 wines which scored 9.6/10 among which were the top chardonnays of 2020, Brown Brothers Limited Release Banksdale King Valley Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2011, Cook's Lot Orange Allotment No. 168 Barrel Aged Chardonnay 2017, a couple of other oddball, interesting whites, Tahbilk Ngambie Lakes 1927 Vines Marsanne 2014, Topper's Mountain New England Gewurztraminer 2016 and if you can call semillon oddball, Meerea Park Hunter Valley Alexander Munro Individual Vineyard Semillon 2014.

Meanwhile how to select a winner from the main event? I can't afford five trophies, so into the barrel it is …

… and the winner is … not Hardys (McLaren Vale) Eileen Hardy Shiraz 2016, $154. Nor Hanging Rock Macedon Cuvee Ten Late Disgorged (Extended Yeast Lees Ageing pinot noir Chardonnay), Sparkling Wine, NV $115. Robert Oatley Margaret River Limited Release (Larry Cherubino) Assemblage (cabernet Blend) 2017? Nup. Vickery Watervale WVR 603K Koerner G6 Block riesling 2017, was an absolute bargain at $32 but there can be only one winner in this eponymous trophy's silver jubilee year and that is …

Hurley Vineyard Balnarring Mornington Peninsula 'Hommage' Pinot Noir 2018 $75 (bottle no. 1276). Absolutely gorgeous pinot that even hardened red deniers loved, dang it. That meant less for the rest of us. 9.5/10.

Hurley Vineyard Balnarring Mornington Peninsula 'Hommage' Pinot Noir 2018 $75. (bottle no. 1276).
Hurley Vineyard Balnarring Mornington Peninsula 'Hommage' Pinot Noir 2018 $75. (bottle no. 1276).

Congratulations to the burley, curly crew from Hurley your trophy is in the post and now shares a slice of history alongside, from 1996: Seaview Shiraz, Jacob's Creek riesling, Taylor's cab sav, Ingoldby cab sav, Banrock Station shiraz cab, Dromana Estate Verjus, Oxford Landing shiraz, Fox Creek Shadow's Run shiraz cab sav, Plunkett gewurztraminer, Gramps shiraz, Angoves Nine Vines rosé, Logan gewurztraminer, Zema Estate cabernet, Mollydooker's Enchanted Path shiraz cabernet, Torbreck Woodcutters shiraz, yellow tail Premium cabernet sauvignon, Pimpernel pinot noir, Churchview zinfandel, Fox Gordon 'The Sicilian' Nero d'Avola, Berton Vineyard High Eden The Bonsai 2012, Howard Park Wines 2012 Leston shiraz, Quarisa The Great Bonza Reserve shiraz cabernet 2015, Tim Stevens Mudgee 'Signature' shiraz 2016, and Ox Hardy 1891 Ancestor Vine shiraz 2008.