Chardonnay is the star at the 2021 Solitaire Adelaide Hills Wine Show

Kym Penfold accepting the award for Wine of Show. Courtesy of Adelaide Hills Wine Region

The winners in the 2021 Adelaide Hills Wine Show were announced, demonstrating the region’s diversity and pioneering philosophy of its winemakers.

‘Wine of Show’ went to Penfolds 2020 Bin A Chardonnay, showing how the hero grape of the region is still punching above its weight in terms of global reputation.

“Chardonnay often takes home the top trophy, and this wine is a great example of Adelaide Hills regional strength in this varietal. A world class wine of great complexity and texture,” chair of judges Toby Barlow said.

The Chardonnay was competing for the number one spot with the Best Red Wine, which for the first year ever went to an Italian alternative varietal – the Protero 2019 Nebbiolo.

The winery was acquired by Steve and Fiona Pannell, of SC Pannell in December 2019.

“In select vineyard sites and climates the Adelaide Hills can undoubtedly make great Nebbiolo, but to date it hasn’t received the attention that it deserves,” Barlow said.

“It’s exciting to see more producers planting Nebbiolo, which hasn’t always been appreciated in shows given its lack of bright red colour, savoury flavour profile and robust tannins.”

The Adelaide Hills Wine Show first took place in 1997 and recognises and rewards the region’s winemakers and grapegrowers for the quality of their wines in over 20 categories.

The judging team of 16 industry experts reviewed around 630 different wines and winners were announced at a luncheon for members of the Adelaide Hills Wine Region, held at the National Wine Centre on 2 December.

“Judging the Adelaide Hills Wine Show is always a pleasure. It was great to have a diverse judging team comprising experts from different fields, such as hospitality, which brings the food environment perspective,” Barlow said.

“As expected, the classics of Chardonnay, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc impressed, as well as some stylish Hills sparkling wines”

Other notable wins include Best Other White going to Golding Wines 2021 Single Vineyard Series La Francesa Savagnin.

The show also saw some of the less familiar producers receive recognition, with Q1908 2021 The Clubhouse Sauvignon Blanc taking home the trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc and Small Victories Wine Co 2021 Pinot Gris winning the best Pinot Grigio/ Gris category.

Best Sparkling went to Mordrelle Wines for its 2015 Blanc de Blancs Chardonnay, which also took home the trophy for Best Single Vineyard wine.

“This year Sauvignon Blanc really shone, as foreseen by the fantastic conditions of the 2021 vintage,” Barlow continued.

“It’s great to see so many producers investing significant resources in the grape and upping their game.

“There’s been some clever, intricate winemaking which results in Sauvignon Blancs that are layered, and show how good this variety can be, going above and beyond a commercially appealing fruit-forward wine.

“I was also really impressed with the ‘other white’ class, seeing great examples of wines such as Pecorino, Arneis and Savagnin farmed and made skilfully with respect for expression.

“The Hills is also a regional front-runner in Australian Grüner Veltliner with a stand-alone varietal class in 2021.

“Pleasingly we are also seeing different styles of wine gaining prominence, such as 2021 young drinkable reds. The continuation of the Hills pioneering wine movement has led to the emergence of new styles in the show, such as a number of younger, approachable red wines that are great served chilled and offer a totally different drinking experience.

“The Adelaide Hills has a pioneering history, winemakers and viticulturists that are open to being that little bit more courageous and push boundaries in pursuit of beautiful wine are now seeing the fruits of their labour. It’s a super exciting time for the region, which has had a tough few years, but it is coming out stronger, producing some phenomenal wines that hold the Hills in good stead for the future.”


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