Oakbank based winery Murdoch Hill has blitzed the Adelaide Hills Wine Show with a haul of seven trophies, culminating in the top wine of the show with its Murdoch Hill 2018 Rocket Chardonnay.
The best in show award crowned a successful competition for winemaker Michael Downer, with his number one Chardonnay also taking out both best Chardonnay and best white wine of the Hills region, while his Murdoch Hill 2018 Landau Syrah won the trophies for best Shiraz, best single vineyard wine and best red white wine of the show.
Murdoch Hill was subsequently awarded the trophy for best producer (under 100 tonnes) for the region.
The dominant performance of Chardonnay at the annual regional Adelaide Hills Wine Show in 2019 has confirmed its natural affinity with the region, chair of judges Sarah Crowe said after the judging was finalised this week.
“Among all the different styles and varieties, Chardonnay stood out as the top wine across the Hills,” said Crowe, chief winemaker at the legendary Yarra Yering estate in the Yarra Valley and former Halliday Winemaker of the Year.
The Chardonnay classes attracted 112 entries with an impressive strike rate of 66 medals.
The variety also came up trumps in the sparkling wine division, with Deviation Road’s 2013 Beltana Blanc de Blanc (Chardonnay) topping the class, while another Hills sparkling, the Mordrelle Wines 2012 Blanc de Blanc, was voted best in the museum class.
Rounding out Chardonnay’s great showing, the Best Wine of Provenance, judged for three different years of the same wine, was awarded to the Shaw+Smith M3 Chardonnay for its 2017, 2015 and 2010 vintages.
“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,” 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 appearance of Shiraz as the best judged red wine and making the final showdown taste-off for best wine in show also cemented the popular variety’s unique styling in the region.
“It’s a top varietal across Australia, and the country’s red champion, in many guises,” Crowe said.
“Shiraz suits the Hills’ great diversity of sites, and the region’s winemakers can shape it many ways.
“I love the fragrance and the medium-bodied nature of the wines.
“They are really attractive, accessible, and very contemporary wines,” Crowe added.
This year’s Adelaide Hills show received a jump in entries to 701 wines with 373 of them receiving medals, 48 of those being gold scores.
The diversity of wines in the judging, from sparkling wines to Cabernets as well as a big rise in alternate varieties showed how exciting the region had become, Crowe commented.
“The key varietals are the classic Chardonnay and Shiraz, but there is far more depth to the region than just that,” she said.
“While those two perform so well, there’s a lot of experience now in handling them here and there is a whole lot of other exciting stuff happening as well.”