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Little Harry wins big

Larry Cherubino Wines, a tiny producer in Western Australia imported into the UK by Novum Wines, has been awarded one of Australian winemaking’s greatest accolades. The winery has been named as James Halliday’s Winery of the Year in the just released 2011 Australian Wine Companion

Larry Cherubino Wines, which produces only small volumes of high quality wine from the Frankland River, Margaret River and Pemberton regions, and was established in just 2005, received the top gong over more than 1,487 wineries listed in Australia’s most authoritative wine guide.

Along with the top award Novum Wines and Hallgarten Druitt also had four other wineries rated as 5 star, placing them in the top 8% of Australian wineries according to Halliday. Haan (Barossa), Penny’s Hill (McLaren Vale) and Leabrook Estate (Adelaide Hills) joined Novum’s other Australian producer Setanta Wines (Adelaide Hills) as top rated producers while Setanta’s Black Sanglain Cabernet Sauvignon was named third best Cabernet in Australia.

In an extraordinary piece of symmetry, Cherubino was also this week awarded Producer of the Year in the 2011 edition of Matt Skinner’s Wine Guide.

“No other winery had such a percentage success rate. Is there a reason? Yes, for whether the wines are Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Merlot, all have balance, line, length and, above all else, elegance. If this were not enough, every one of those varietal styles has at least one wine at 94 points or above.”

While Halliday is the acknowledged leading Australian wine critic, Skinner is quickly gaining audience for his refreshing, no-nonsense, simplistic approach. That both have chosen the same winery as Australia’s finest is a truly remarkable achievement.

While Cherubino has received more than his share of glowing reviews over his winemaking career, the 40-year-old is justifiably elated, and a bit shocked by this latest double.

“To be named Winery of the Year in Halliday’s Companion is quite possibly the highlight of my career – I’ve respected James for more than a decade and given the sheer volume of great wines he tastes every year I am blown away by this award”, Cherubino said. “And then for Matt Skinner to do likewise – well, that capped off a hell of a week”.

“Western Australia is our winemaking heartland and over the years we’ve got a pretty good handle on what works where. Everything we do reflects our strong belief that when you get the right varieties in the right sites you’re well on your way to making good wine,” Cherubino said.

Cherubino, and his wife Edwina, started Larry Cherubino Wines in 2005 and now have three ranges under the Yard, Ad Hoc and Cherubino labels.

Cherubino is renowned for his passionate commitment to maximising wine quality in both vineyard and winery. His experience consulting to large and small wineries, from vineyard to bottling, has won him many international awards in Australia, Italy, New Zealand, US and South Africa.

After graduating with a degree in horticulture and viticulture, he went onto complete a degree in winemaking. Larry then used his technical knowledge to establish a career in the industry.  His time at Hardy’s was prominent, where he gained an in-depth understanding of processing techniques and wine styles and during this time he worked in many wine-growing regions throughout the world to gain a better understanding of what makes great wine.  In 1998, Larry stepped up to senior winemaker/regional manager for Constellation winery, Houghton, turning it into one of its most successful. It was there at the West Australian winery that his technical craft was realised – 80 trophies and 350 gold medals to count.





1 September 2010 - Felicity Murray