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3/08/2017

Langhorne Creek winemaker stands out

The annual Halliday Wine Companion awards bestowed one of its highest accolades to a winemaker from the often overlooked region of Langhorne Creek, naming Paul Hotker from Bleasdale Vineyards as ‘winemaker of the year’.

Hotker was among those recognised by the fifth annual Qantas epiQure Halliday Wine Companion Awards ceremony, held on Wednesday night in Melbourne ahead of the public release of the annual wine guide.

The ‘wine of the year’ and ‘best Shiraz’ titles were claimed by the 2012 Henschke Hill of Grace, which is handpicked from 152-year-old vines in the Eden Valley. The Yarra Valley was in the thick of the awards with single-vineyard estate Mount Mary announced as ‘winery of the year’ and producer of the ‘best Pinot Noir’, while Dappled Wines was named ‘best new winery’ and Boat O’Craigo the ‘dark horse’ or winery to watch. Clare Valley’s Grosset Wines took out ‘best value winery’.

The awards are based on the reviews in the 2018 Halliday Wine Companion book which features more than 1200 wineries (including 78 new listings) and around more than 6800 individual wine ratings.

“I am really proud of this edition, my 12th, and love that Australia is returning to produce the classic varieties of Chardonnay and Shiraz, with Pinot Noir the rising star. All can confidently share the world stage; Australian wine is in a really good place now,” James Halliday said.

 

Award winners:

• Wine of the Year (sponsored by Qantas epiQure): 2012 Henschke Hill of Grace

• Winery of the Year (sponsored by Wine Australia): Mount Mary

• Winemaker of the Year (sponsored by Wine Australia): Paul Hotker, Bleasdale Vineyards

• Best Value Winery of the Year (sponsored by Thomas Foods International): Grosset Wines

• Best New Winery: Dappled Wines

• Dark Horse Winery of the Year: Boat O’Craigo

 

Bleasdale Vineyards senior winemaker Paul Hotker has been storming the wine show circuit over the past two years, drawing comparisons with Langhorne Creek pioneer Wolf Blass. This edition of the Halliday Wine Companion sees seven of his wines (three Shiraz and three Malbec) rated 95 points or above, and the multi-trophy-winning 2015 Wellington Road GSM clocking 98 points.

Third-generation winemaker Sam Middleton is making sure Mount Mary “shines brighter than that of any of the 174 wineries in the Yarra Valley”. Middleton took advantage of a superlative 2015 vintage to secure scores of 97 and above for all four wines in the classic portfolio.

Dark Horse of the Year was awarded to little-known Yarra Valley winery Boat O’Craigo, with wines made by influential winemaker Rob Dolan. The winery achieved a five-star rating for the first time with a trilogy of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir emerging the hero wines.

 

Top scoring varietals:

• Sparkling: 2007 Seppelt Show Sparkling Limited Release Shiraz, 97 pts

• Riesling: 2016 Duke’s Vineyard Magpie Hill Reserve, 98 pts

• Semillon: 2016 Silkman Reserve Hunter Valley, 97 pts

• Chardonnay: 2014 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Margaret River, 98 pts

• Sauvignon Blanc: 2016 Oakdene Jessica Single Vineyard Bellarine Peninsula, 96 pts

• Pinot Noir: 2015 Mount Mary Yarra Valley, 99 pts

• Other Reds: 2015 Yarra Yering Dry Red No. 1, 99 pts

• Shiraz: 2012 Henschke Hill of Grace, 99 pts

• Cabernet Sauvignon: 2014 Deep Woods Estate Yallingup Reserve, 98 pts

• Fortified: 1917 Seppeltsfield 100-Year-Old Para Liqueur, 100 pts

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WID 2017