Monday 9 December 2019

Murdoch Hill and other family businesses dominate the 2019 Adelaide Hills Wine Show

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The 2019 Adelaide Hills Wine Show has been dominated by smaller family companies including Murdoch Hill which won seven trophies including Best Wine of Show.

The show attracted almost 700 entries – 62 more than last year. The judges handed out 48 gold medals, 85 silver and 240 bronze.

From traditional Shiraz and Chardonnay, now being created in more modern versions, to many new and alternative varieties, the Hills’ diverse range is a key factor in it leading the evolution in Australian wine styles, says the region’s 2019 seven-trophy winning winemaker, Murdoch Hill’s Michael Downer.

Murdoch Hill ran away with the three majors – best red, best white and best wine of show – at this week’s judging for the 2019 Adelaide Hills Saint Martin Wine Show, the 2018 Landau Syrah awarded best Shiraz, best single vineyard wine and best red wine, while the 2018 Rocket Chardonnay was judged best Chardonnay, best white and top wine of the show.

Murdoch Hill was subsequently awarded the trophy for best producer (under 100 tonnes) in the region.

The dominant performance of Chardonnay at the show, with 112 entries and 66 medals awarded, plus trophies also in the sparkling wine division, the museum class and for the wine of provenance, confirmed the variety’s perfect synergy with the region, chair of judges Sarah Crowe, chief winemaker at the legendary Yarra Yering estate in the Yarra Valley and former Halliday Winemaker of the Year, said.

“Across the board the Hills chardonnays were wonderfully restrained but still complex, and the best examples were really quite effortless and not at all forced,” Ms Crowe said.

“The Hills’ producers have a lot of a respect for their vineyards and the fruit, and they’re just trying to tap the essence of their sites and support that with their excellent winemaking.”

The week’s judging and associated masterclasses prompted a lot of discussion about the evolution of Australian chardonnay, Michael Downer said after the awards were announced.

“It’s been so dramatic,” Michael said.

“The style of Chardonnay has swung so wildly from big and buttery to what I call ‘anorexic’, to now where we are looking to discover flavour, to refine oak use and to encourage natural acidity.”

Shiraz has been a little slower in its evolution, but there are really exciting things now happening around the country especially in some of the cooler climate regions as winemakers look to express the variety’s vibrant fruit characters, he said.

While the Hills is leading the evolution in both those varieties, both Michael and Sarah agree the range of elevations, sites and micro-climates in the region, along with progressive winemaking, has been a key factor in the Hills becoming one of the most diverse wine producing regions in the country.

“There’s always a vibrancy of fruit that comes to the fore in most Adelaide Hills wines,” Michael says.

“The diversity of the region is quite unique with beautiful sparkling wines from the higher areas to the eastern fringes with some incredible Syrah (Shiraz).”

While the key varietals were the classic chardonnay and shiraz, there was far more depth on show from the region than just that,” chair of judges Sarah Crowe said.

“While those two perform so well – there’s a lot of experience now in handling them here – there is a whole lot of other exciting stuff happening as well.”

A rise in alternative variety entries also impressed her; white variety gruner veltliner, originally from Austria, has become a big focus in the region, while other emerging white and red varieties highlighted the region’s progressive nature.

“Australian winemakers are really inquisitive, and we are now responding to our sites and searching for varieties that suit our sites instead of just going with the traditional French varieties and trying to make them fit,” Ms Crowe said.

“There’s more to come in that space – it’s very exciting.

“It’s almost as if we have been released from the clutches of the traditional, and what was experimental 10 years ago, now the vines have come of age, winemakers have got a few years under the belt with these varieties, and as winemakers we are thinking about how lighter, aromatic reds for instance suit our climate and fit in the Australian environment.”

Full results…

Best Sparkling Wine of the Show
Sponsored by Vinpac
Deviation Road 2013 Beltana Blanc de Blanc Chardonnay

Best Riesling of the Show
Sponsored by Atlas Event and Party Hire
Paracombe Wines 2018 Holland Creek Riesling

Best Sauvignon Blanc of the Show
Sponsored by National Wine Centre
Sidewood Estate 2019 Sauvignon Blanc

Best Pinot Gris/Grigio of the Show
Sponsored by Hahn Corporation
Grounded Cru 2019 Pinot Gris

Best Gruner Veltliner of the Show
Sponsored by Negociants Australia
Tomich Wines 2018 Woodside Vineyard Gruner Veltliner

Best Chardonnay of the Show
Sponsored by Prowine
Murdoch Hill 2018 The Rocket Chardonnay

Best White in Classes Other
Sponsored by APAL
Landhaus Estate 2019 Arneis

Wine Show Committee’s Award of Recognition
Sponsored by Ed Cellars
Helen Lane

Best Rose of the Show
Sponsored by Glass Print Solutions
Wicks Estate 2019 Rosè

Best Pinot Noir of the Show
Sponsored by F Miller & Co
Shaw + Smith 2018 Pinot Noir

Best Shiraz of the Show
Sponsored by Laffort
Murdoch Hill 2018 The Landau Shiraz

Best Cabernet Family or Blend of the Show
Sponsored by RSN Australia
Wines by Geoff Hardy 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon

Best Red in Classes Other
Sponsored by Frame
RedHeads Wines 2019 Rusty Roof Barbera

Best Sweet Wine of the Show
Sponsored by TK Print
No Award

Best Wine in Museum Classes
Sponsored by Udder Delights
Mordrelle Wines 2012 Blanc de Blancs

Chanticleer Award for Best Cellar Door
Sponsored by Stanley Bridge Tavern
Golding Wines

Avant Garde Award
Sponsored by Mother Vine
Vinteloper 2019 Park Wine White Gewürztraminer

Best Producer <100 tonnes of the Show
Sponsored by The Haus Group
Murdoch Hill

Best Producer >100 tonnes of the Show
Sponsored by Lexus of Adelaide
Bird in Hand

Best Single Vineyard Wine
Sponsored by Clemens Technologies Australia
Murdoch Hill 2018 The Landau Shiraz

Best Wine of Provenance
Sponsored by Multi Colour Corporation
Shaw + Smith 2017, 2015, 2010 M3 Chardonnay

Best White Wine of the Show
Sponsored by Langley & Co
Murdoch Hill 2018 The Rocket Chardonnay

Best Red Wine of the Show
Sponsored by Classic Oak Products
Murdoch Hill 2018 The Landau Shiraz

Best Wine of the Show
Sponsored by Saint Martin
Murdoch Hill 2018 The Rocket Chardonnay

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