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Hahn red blend victorious at international show

Tiny Barossa wine producer Haan Wines has outclassed its much larger colleagues to be announced as the Best Australian Producer at this year’s International Wine and Spirit Competition in London. The remarkable David-Goliath story was due in part to the outstanding performance of its Wilhelmus 2002 which won The Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Trophy for the Best Blended Red Wine in the competition. The 2002 Wilhelmus is a blend of five classic varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot. “When we started our small winery on the Barossa Valley floor in the mid 1990s we wanted to make a European blend as well as traditional Barossa varietals such as Shiraz and Semillon,” proprietor Hans Haan said. “This Bordeaux blend confirms the old adage that the sum is greater than its many parts. The actual blend changes slightly every year but the style remains the same. We aim for elegance, complexity, forward fruit and the potential to age superbly.” The International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) is the premier competition of its kind in the world. Its aim is to promote the quality and excellence of the world's best wines, spirits and liqueurs. “Winning the red blend of the competition is indeed an honour as we were competing against 5100 wines from 57 countries,” Hahn said. “There were 450 entries in total from Australia and while obviously not all of those would have met the criteria for our award, we were thrilled to be acknowledged as the Best Australian Producer 2005. “We are certainly in very good company with Henschke Wines winning Best Shiraz and Wakefield (Taylor’s Wines) winning Best Cabernet Sauvignon. The other shortlisted Australian wineries were Brown Brothers and Katnook Estate.” Hahn said overall performance in the competition dictates which producers win these awards. “Things like average marks, the percentage of entries with medals, the number of wines rejected due to faults all go together to form the shortlist. “In particular, the judges look for innovation and I think we have shown a willingness to experiment despite our short time in the industry. We were one of the first to make a Cabernet Rosé (Chantecleer) and I am sure we are the only winery in Australia to double pick our Viognier Prestige, from inside and outside the canopy, to achieve fruit intensity and acid balance. We also make a Viognier Ratafia, a port style dessert wine.” Hahn and his wife Fransien travelled to London to receive the awards from Comtesse de Lalande, at a gala dinner. Following her year in office in 1993 as International Wine and Spirit Competition President, the Chateau Pichon Longueville’s Comtesse de Lalande, decided to introduce an award for the best blended red wine to celebrate the IWSC's silver jubilee. “It was her wish to encourage winemakers to produce outstanding blends and she felt that the parameters and varieties should be left fairly open in order to give freedom to express the art of blending,” Hahn said. “The only restriction placed on the winemaker is that a minimum of three grape varieties should be used, any one variety being not less than 45% but not more than 70%. “The prize includes an annual trophy designed by Mme de Lencquesaing in conjunction with the distinguished "maitre Verrier" Jean Paul Van Lith along with a trip to stay for a week in the Chateau as a guest and a cheque for £1000. Hahn paid tribute to winemakers, James Irvine who assisted in starting Haan Wines and restoring and replanting the old vineyards on the property and Mark Jamieson, current winemaker who has since taken over the role and blended the 2002 wines. “Irvine is truly one of the legendary winemakers of the Barossa and he has been a wonderful mentor over the last 10 years, while Jamieson brings an innovative and adventurous approach to the wines.”

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WID 2017