Adelaide Hills wines and community spirit show their true colours

Shiraz has continued its rise in prominence as a wine that represents the true colours of the Adelaide Hills, taking out the top honours in the region’s 2020 Wine Show.

Bird in Hand 2018 Syrah was awarded three trophies – Best Shiraz, Best Red Wine, and the Best Wine of Show – at the region’s celebration of its finest wines, announced exactly a year after a shocking bushfire impacted a large portion of the Adelaide Hills’ prized vineyards.

While the 2018 Shiraz class was one of the highlights of the show in terms of the wine excellence, chair of judges Toby Barlow noted that this year it was equally important to recognise the quality and resilience of the region’s people who have shown incredible engagement and community support.

“The effort needed to survive such a year, from the fires followed by all the COVID 19 challenges that impacted the wine industry, including even organising a wine show under severe restrictions, has been extraordinary,” Barlow said.

“I am not sure you can ask for much more in a wine community across any year, let alone 2020,” he added.

The reputation of Adelaide Hills Shiraz has again been enhanced with the winning showing by Bird in Hand’s 2018 Syrah.

“The best wines showed a variety of styles at the same benchmark quality level,” Barlow said, “There is no doubt that, whilst stylistically different, the top Adelaide Hills wines stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of Australian Shiraz”.

“This rise in the variety’s prominence is pretty exciting for South Australia as a whole, given the Adelaide Hills region connects the two traditional Shiraz heartlands of McLaren Vale and Barossa.”

Other classes of wine to excel in terms of overall quality and medal tallies were the sparklings, Grüner Veltliner, and Chardonnays.

Penfolds 2017 Cellar Reserve Chardonnay took out the varietal trophy as well as best white wine, whilst Shaw + Smith won two trophies for their M3 Chardonnay in the best museum class and wine of Wine of Provenance award.

“We always look forward to Adelaide Hills Chardonnay classes at the show and it didn’t disappoint,” Barlow said.

Other varietal white and red classes also prompted a lot of excitement from the judges, with a new category for Italian red varieties included for the first time to meet the growth in those styles out of the Hills.

Barlow said he expected the popularity and suitability of these wines to continue to grow in line with consumer preferences and climate change suitability in the Hills region.

“The versatility the Adelaide Hills wine region to produce high quality wines across a number of varieties should not be altogether surprising when you look at the breadth of the region from a viticultural perspective,” he said.

“However, it’s more than just the landscape and conditions. It’s the pioneering, courageous and resilient people who have made it such an exciting region for many fine wines and innovative styles.”

Adelaide Hills Wine Region executive officer Fiona LeSage also paid tribute to the courage and tenacity of the region’s growers, winemakers and show organisers.

“Given everything that had been thrown at us in the past year, we showed our true colours in not just the exceptional wines but also the extraordinary resilience and wine community spirit to make this event happen,” LeSage said.

“With all of the challenges presented this year – postponement, format adaption, ensuring everyone’s health and safety – off the back of an already difficult year for the region and its wine industry, this was a great feat.”

Trophy winners:

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