East Coast Wine Trail

East Coast Wine Trail
East Coast Wine Trail

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Honour for Henschke; validation for Varney in Wine of the Year Awards

Henschke, one of Australia’s oldest family-owned wineries, has been named Halliday Wine Companion 2021 Winery of the Year, while the 2018 Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz from the Hunter Valley was named Wine of the Year.

The other major awards were: Winemaker of the Year: Brett Grocke (Eperosa Wine), Barossa Valley; Value Winery of the Year: Best’s Wines, Great Western, Victoria;, Darkhorse Winery of the Year: Yarran Wines, Riverina, NSW; and New Winery of the Year: Varney Wines, McLaren Vale.

Varney Wines were featured on this blog a few months ago as a winery to watch. Alan Varney spent several years working at d'Aarenberg.

Fifth-generation winemaker Stephen Henschke and his viticulturist wife Prue are recognised around the world for their exceptional quality wines, innovation and sustainability in the vineyard.

In recent years they have welcomed sixth-generation family members Johann, Justine and Andreas into the family business.

"It’s a great honour be named Winery of the Year and we are overjoyed to share this award with our fantastic, loyal and hardworking staff," said Stephen Henschke.

"We celebrated 150 years of family winemaking in 2018 and we couldn’t be prouder to receive this accolade, in a year that our oldest Hill of Grace vines, the ‘Grandfathers’, turn 160 years of age. As we reflect on our own journey as Henschke custodians, we pay tribute to the trailblazers who laid the foundations for our Henschke story.”

Halliday’s reviews and scores of Henschke new release wines have been published in the 2021 Halliday Wine Companion book, which went on sale today.

The book is a comprehensive guide to Australia’s leading wines, wineries, grape growing regions and includes all awards.

The Wine of the Year recognised veteran winemaker Iain Riggs AM, who has just retired from Brokenwood.

"This, our 30th Graveyard release, is the culmination of a perfect vintage and great teamwork, starting in the vineyard with the late Keith Barry and now his daughter and Vineyard Manager Katrina. Everything came together superbly,” Riggs said.

The 2021 varietal winners were:
  • Riesling – 2019 Seppelt Drumborg Vineyard Riesling
  • Chardonnay – 2017 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay
  • Semillon - 2014 Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon
  • Sauvignon Blanc – 2018 Flowstone Queen of the Earth Sauvignon Blanc
  • Other White Varieties and Blends – 2019 Stargazer Tupelo
  • Sparkling – 2005 House of Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged
  • Sweet – 2018 Lethbridge Bortytis Riesling TBA
  • Rosé – 2019 Nocturne Carbunup SR Sangiovese Nebbiolo Rose
  • Pinot Noir - 2017 Bannockburn Serre Pinot Noir
  • Cabernet Sauvignon – 2016 Moss Wood Wilyabrup Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cabernet Sauvignon and Family – 2018 Mount Mary Quinet
  • Shiraz – 2018 Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz
  • Grenache and Blends – 2018 Brothers at War Single Vineyard Grenache
  • Shiraz Viognier – 2019 Serrat Yarra Valley Shiraz Viognier
  • Other Red Varieties and Blends – Mayer Nebbiolo
  • Fortified – 1920 Seppeltsfield 100-Year-Old Para Liqueur

You'll notice I have not listed the scores. While the reviews and awards are valid, points become pointless when you score everything between a narrow band of 90-100.

Tasmania, which accounts for less than 1% of production, won two awards for House of Arras and Stargazer, Sam Connew's new venture.

This is the third year running that House of Arras has taken Best in Category following the success of the EJ Carr Late Disgorged 2004 (99 points) in 2019 and the House of Arras Rosé 2006 (97 Points) in 2018.

“It is immensely gratifying to receive Best Sparkling Wine, especially for the second year running for EJ Carr Late Disgorged," said winemaker Ed Carr. "A true testament to the work and dedication of the House of Arras team, this award cements our vision to craft world-class sparkling wines."

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