The Adelaide Hills has come of age as a red wine region and is a “new force to be reckoned with”, according to Nick Stock, chairman of judges at last week’s Adelaide Hills Wine Show.
Boutique producer Michael Hall Wines won Best Wine of the Show for his 2015 Syrah, the second year in a row that a Shiraz/Syrah has taken top honours.
Michael only started producing wine in 2008 after emigrating from Switzerland and training with some of Australia’s best winemakers and he now makes small batch, individual wines from selected Hills vineyards.
“The winning Syrah is a distinctively cool climate wine striking a beautiful balance between power and elegance,” Nick said. “Its complexity is even more noteworthy given it is just a 2015 wine but it has the legs and structure to age well.”
Nick said while the more established “regional heroes” in the Adelaide Hills continue to make some of Australia’s best white wines – Shaw + Smith won Best Sauvignon Blanc and Best Chardonnay trophies – it was the small producers who seemed to be “stretching the envelope with red winemaking”.
“The Syrah/Shiraz coming out of the Hills has a quite unique profile now,” he said. “But the Pinot Noir is also more distinctive and confident.
“The Trophy winning 2015 BK Wines Gower Pinot Noir was as good as I’ve seen – a very, very exciting wine. Adelaide Hills Pinot seems have turned the corner and I think it is these small producers who are making less extracted, more fragrant and more elegant world class Pinots.
“I think they have crystallised a style that the Adelaide Hills can own and it comes at a time when consumers are looking for approachability as well as complexity. I just love the diversity in this region where the small producers and the larger wineries complement each other.”
Nick said the show was of a very high overall standard, helped by an exceptional 2015 vintage.
“The top 15 wines we benched were all excellent and at the end of the day there was only a point or two in it for the Wine of Show Trophy.”
Nick said the region’s sparkling credentials were now well established with trophy winner the 2011 Deviation Road Beltana Blanc de Blancs a classic wine from a mature sparkling producer.
He was also full of praise for the work being done by a group of about 25 determined Gruner Veltliner producers.
“I hosted the chairman of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board Willy Klingner to a tasting where we compared Austrian and Adelaide Hills Gruners,” Nick said.
“He was very impressed with the freshness and depth of flavour. These producers have made amazing strides in a relatively short time and it is another evolving variety that the Adelaide Hills owns in Australia.
“In particular the trophy winner, the 2016 Hahndorf Hill White Mischief Gruner Veltliner was very impressive.”
Peter Leske won the Judges Award for services to the Adelaide Hills Wine Region.
Best Sparkling Wine of the Show – 2011 Deviation Road Beltana Blanc de Blancs
Best Riesling – 2016 Wirra Wirra The Lost Watch Riesling
Best Sauvignon Blanc – 2016 Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc
Best Chardonnay – 2015 Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay
Best Pinot Gris/Grigio – 2016 Lobethal Road Pinot Gris
Best Gruner Veltliner – 2016 Hahndorf Hill White Mischief Gruner Veltliner
Best White Wine in Classes other than Classes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 – 2016 Nepenthe Winemaker Select Arneis
Best Rosé – 2016 Somerled Pinot Noir Rose
Best Pinot Noir – 2015 BK Wines Gower
Best Cabernet Family or Blend – 2015 Mike Press Cabernet Sauvignon
Best Shiraz – 2015 Michael Hall Adelaide Hills Syrah
Best Red Wine in Classes other than Classes 9, 10, 11, and 12 – 2016 La Linea Mencia
Best Sweet Wine – 2016 K1 by Geoff Hardy Autumn Harvest
Best Wine in Museum Classes – 2009 Wolf Blass White Label Adelaide Hills Chardonnay
Best Wine of the Show – 2015 Michael Hall Adelaide Hills Syrah
Best Producer (less than 100 tonnes) – Hahndorf Hill Winery
Best Producer (more than 100 tonnes) – Shaw + Smith