A Bendigo shiraz has triumphed over the Barossa to take out the nation’s top wine award at the National Wine Show of Australia.
Sutton Grange Winery’s 2019 Fairbank Syrah scooped the Prime Minister’s Trophy for Champion Wine of Show, having also picked up the trophies for Best Shiraz and the James Halliday Red Wine of Show at the nation’s pinnacle awards event.
National Wine Show Chair of Judges David Bicknell described Sutton Grange’s trifecta-winning entry as a wine that couldn’t be mistaken as coming from anywhere else but Australia.
“It tastes like the country – like it’s grown and made in Australia,” Bicknell said. “It has depth of flavour, real aromatic qualities, complexity, length and it’s beautifully balanced as well – all the attributes we look for in fine wine. It takes a skilful hand to do that, and also a good vineyard.”
The awards presentation dinner was held in Canberra on Friday, May 20, delayed due to COVID-19 issues.
As the major sponsor of the awards, Endeavour Group, noted: “Another winner was crowned this weekend, just a stone’s throw from Parliament House in Canberra.
“We were honoured to be the major sponsor of the National Wine Show, and our CEO Steve Donohue said he was committed to continuing to play a significant role in the Australian wine industry, and to champion Australian wine.”
The Len Evans Memorial White Wine of Show was awarded to Cherubino’s 2020 Margaret River Chardonnay, described by Mr Bicknell as “the zeitgeist of modern Australian chardonnay”.
“The chardonnay and Riesling classes were fiercely competitive, and there was palpable excitement among the judges about the quality of the wines being assessed,” Bicknell said.
Among the other surprises in this year’s awards was Mudgee’s Robert Stein Winery 2021 Reserve Riesling
winning the Best Riesling trophy.
“The Riesling category has traditionally been dominated by the Clare and Eden Valleys,” he said. “When we got to the top half-dozen Rieslings there were six different regions at the table – some really beautiful wines – but the Robert Stein won the trophy. Most people don’t see Mudgee as an area that’s great at Riesling, so I think this win is awesome.”
The Red Varietal Trophy was won by South Australia’s The Lane Vineyard’s 2021 Provenance Cabernet Franc. Bicknell said Australian winemakers are becoming increasingly sophisticated at producing wines from hardier, European-style varieties, suited to the changing Australian climate.
“In the past, there haven’t been enough varietals to have their own class, but we’ve seen some really good wines this year – a whole raft of different varieties. There was The Lane’s beautiful Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, and a very good Nebbiolo among them. Five golds ended up coming out of the red varietals class.”
Despite the significant challenges facing Australian winemakers in the past few years, Bicknell said the National Wine Show results were proof of the industry’s resilience.
“The list of winners includes winemakers from all corners of the country, who have done well with all sorts of varieties. Australian wine is in a good place and, despite what the industry has faced, you could argue it’s getting better,” he said. “We’re adapting, and we’re doing it in clever ways.”
National Wine Show of Australia 2021 winners
Prime Minister’s Trophy for Champion Wine of Show: Sutton Grange Winery 2019 Fairbank Syrah
James Halliday Red Wine of Show: Sutton Grange Winery 2019 Fairbank Syrah
Len Evans Memorial White Wine of Show: Cherubino 2020 Margaret River Chardonnay
Pinot Gris/Grigio Trophy: Longview 2021 Queenie Pinot Grigio
Riesling Trophy: Robert Stein Winery 2021 Reserve Riesling
Semillon Trophy: Briar Ridge 2013 Stockhausen Signature Semillon
Sauvignon Blanc Trophy: Sidewood 2020 Mappinga Fume Blanc
Chardonnay Trophy: Cherubino 2020 Margaret River Chardonnay
White Varietal Trophy: Hahndorf Hill 2021 White Mischief Gruner Veltliner
Blended White Trophy: Hanging Rock 2021 The Jim Jim Three Pinot Gris Gewurztraminer Riesling
Pinot Noir Trophy: Lowestoft Estate Tasmania 2020 La Maison Pinot Noir
Grenache Trophy: Krondorf 2020 Founder’s View Barossa Grenache
Shiraz Trophy: Sutton Grange Winery 2019 Fairbank Syrah
Cabernet Sauvignon Trophy: Xanadu 2019 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Red Varietal Trophy: The Lane Vineyard 2021 Provenance Cabernet Franc
Grenache Blends Trophy: St Hugo 2020 Barossa Grenache Shiraz Mataro
Shiraz Blends Trophy: Deep Woods Estate 2020 Shiraz
Cabernet Blends Trophy: Bleasdale Vineyards 2019 Frank Potts Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec Merlot Petit Verdot
Alternate Red Blends Trophy: De Bortoli Wines 2020 Villages Tempranillo Touriga
Sparkling Wine Trophy: B Seppelt & Sons Limited 2015 Seppelt Salinger Vintage Cuvee
Sweet White Trophy: De Bortoli Wines 2018 Deen Vat 5 Botrytis Semillon
Rose Trophy: Xanadu 2021 DJL Shiraz Graciano Rose`
Fortified Trophy: Morris Wines NV Old Premium Topaque