Fairbank Syrah top winner among wine show winners

A Bendigo shiraz lauded as an unmistakable taste of Australia has taken home 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 at the awards presentation dinner in Canberra on Friday May 20, 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,” Mr 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 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,” Mr Bicknell said.

Among the 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. Mr 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, Mr Bicknell said the National Wine Show results were proof of the industry’s resilience.

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“The list of winners includes winemakers from all corners of the country, who have done well with all sorts of varieties,” he said.

“Australian wine is in a good place and, despite what the industry has faced, you could argue it’s getting better. We’re adapting, and we’re doing it in clever ways.”

Full list of National Wine Show winners:

Wine of Show: 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

White Wine Trophies:

Len Evans Memorial White Wine of Show
Cherubino 2020 Margaret River Chardonnay

Pinot Gris/Grigio Trophy
2021 Queenie Pinot Grigio

Riesling Trophy
Robert Stein Winery
2021 Reserve Riesling

Semillon Trophy
Briar Ridge
2013 Stockhausen Signature Semillon

Sauvignon Blanc Trophy
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

Red Wine Trophies

Pinot Noir Trophy
Lowestoft Estate Tasmania
2020 La Maison Pinot Noir

Grenache Trophy
2020 Founder’s View Barossa Grenache

Shiraz Trophy
Sutton Grange Winery
2019 Fairbank Syrah

Cabernet Sauvignon Trophy
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 et al

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

Other Trophies:

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
2021 DJL Shiraz Graciano Rose

Fortified Trophy
Morris Wines
NV Old Premium Topaque

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