Coonawarra Cabernet conquers again

 Yalumba senior winemaker Heather Fraser and viticulturist James Freckleton. Photo: Adrian Gale

A Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon has claimed top honours at the Limestone Coast Wine Show, outclassing 443 other entries from 62 exhibitors. Yalumba’s 2021 Sanctum Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon won the Bill Redman Trophy for Best Wine of Show at last night’s celebration dinner at Padthaway Estate, after earlier collecting the HR (Ron) Haselgrove Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon (Current to 3 Year Old), and the David Wynn Trophy for Best Red Wine of Show.

Chief of judges Philip Rich said the winning red, which retails for under $30 a bottle, impressed from the outset. “It was a hotly contested class which highlights what a fantastic year 2021 was for the region, but we just loved this wine’s combination of concentration and depth of fruit while also having some finesse and elegance about it at the same time – ultimately, it’s a beautifully balanced wine,” he said.

The grapes selected for the winning wine come from the Menzies Estate Vineyard – a patch of vivid red soil that Yalumba describes as Coonawarra’s “inner sanctum” and “the holy grail of all Cabernet purists”. Viticulturist James Freckleton won the Arthur Hoffmann Trophy for Viticulturist of the Year for his role in producing such an exceptional wine, taking Yalumba’s overall trophy haul to four.

Pam Dunsford Trophy for Best Chardonnay – 2022 Balnaves of Coonawarra Chardonnay. Sponsor Nigel Sneyd from VAF Memstar with Balnaves winemaker Jacinta Jenkins


The family-owned Balnaves of Coonawarra was the other big winner last night collecting three trophies. The Balnaves of Coonawarra 2022 Chardonnay was awarded the Pam Dunsford Trophy for Best Chardonnay and the Colin Kidd Trophy for Best White of Show, while the 2017 vintage won the Trophy for Best Museum White.


Karl Seppelt Trophy for Best White Wine (excluding Chardonnay) – 2023 Raidis Estate ‘The Kid’ Riesling. Sponsor Stuart Purdie from Multi-Color with Steve Raidis from Raidis Estate


Two more family-owned Coonawarra wineries celebrated a double trophy haul; Raidis Estate won the Karl Seppelt Trophy for Best Aromatic White (excluding Chardonnay) for the Raidis Estate 2023 The Kid Riesling and the Trophy for Best Rose for their 2023 Laila Rose, while Majella Wines won The Ewen Fergusson McBain Trophy for Best Museum Red for its 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon and shared the Most Successful Exhibitor trophy with Wynns Coonawarra Estate.


Chief of judge’s Wine to Watch – 2021 Wynns V&A Lane Shiraz. Chief of judges Philip Rich, sponsor Mick Derrington from Lawrence’s Irrigation with Wynns Coonawarra Estate winemaker Sarah Pidgeon


Wynns Coonawarra Estate’s Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon (2021, 2015, 2010) won the Best Wine of Provenance Trophy, while the Wynns Coonawarra Estate 2021 V&A Lane Coonawarra Shiraz was named the chief of judges ‘Wine to Watch’. “The Shiraz class was incredibly strong, and I chose this particular wine because it was a slightly more modern expression of Coonawarra Shiraz,” Philip Rich said. “It was very pure and fruit-driven, and I loved its perfume and elegance – it’s just a terrific wine.”

Sweden’s Madeleine Stenwreth was also asked to pick a favourite, and gave her International Judge’s Award to Brand and Sons Wines’ 2021 Sanctuary Cabernet Sauvignon.

The trophy for Best Individual Vineyard Wine went to Orlando Wines’ 2019 Lawson’s Padthaway Shiraz, with Orlando’s 2019 Jacaranda Ridge Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon winning Best Cabernet Sauvignon 4-6 years old. Meanwhile, it was a back-to-back trophy win for Mount Benson winery Wangolina, collecting the Peter Wehl Trophy for Best Other Single Variety of Italian, Portugese or Spanish Heritage – this time for the 2022 Wangolina A-Series Montepulciano. Coastal neighbour Cape Jaffa Wines won the Small Batch Experimental Wine Award for its 2022 Aura Project Barbera. Rounding out the trophy winners, the Eric Brand Trophy for Best Shiraz went to Katnook Estate’s 2021 Prodigy Shiraz and Leconfield Wines’ 2021 Merlot won the Trophy for Best Other Single Red Variety of French Heritage. Smith and Hooper’s 2021 Cabernet Merlot won the Trophy for Best Blended Red, and Grey-Smith Wines’ 2018 Mount Gambier Blanc de Blancs won Best Sparkling Wine.

A total of 50 gold medals were awarded during the 22nd-anniversary event, and winners are on show this morning at the Coonawarra Soldiers Memorial Hall.

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