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Saturday 4 November 2023

Tasmanian wines sparkle in Melbourne

Tasmania produces just 1% of all the wine made in Australia, but punches well above its weight when it comes to quality.

While GoTR has a policy of not reporting on wine show awards, yesterday's results from the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards 2023 merit an exception.

Not only did the Lowestoft 2022 La Maison Pinot Noir win one of the most coveted wine award in Australia - the Jimmy Watson Trophy for Best Young Red - it was the second Tasmanian winner over the past eight years, and the third in 13 years.

That's over a 25% strike rate.

And in another Tassie triumph family-owned East Coast producer Freycinet Vineyard was awarded the Dr Tony Jordan Trophy for Best Sparkling for its Radenti Grand Vintage Sparkling 2016.

The 2022 La Maison was also awarded the James Halliday Trophy for Best Pinot Noir. A third straight triumph.

The Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy is presented in recognition of services rendered to the advancement of the Australian wine industry by the late Jimmy Watson. The award is for the best one- or two-year-old dry red wine.

“It is a great honour for me and our winemaking and viticulture teams to be able to produce such amazing wines from the Lowestoft vineyard," said Lowestoft’s chief winemaker and general manager Liam McElhinney (above) from the Fogarty Group. 

"This is a small three-hectare site [on the banks of the River Derwent north of Hobart], densely planted in 1986 and the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy and the ‘three-peat’ James Halliday Trophy win shows the immense quality this vineyard produces year after year."

The first Tasmanian pinot noir to win a Jimmy Watson was the 2014 Home Hill Kelly's Reserve Pinot Noir in 2015. Before that Nick Glaetzer won with a Tasmanian shiraz, the 2010 Glaetzer-Dixon Mon Père Shiraz, in 2011.

Meanwhile. Freycinet Vineyard's win came with a single vineyard sparkling wine grown and
made on their estate.

Already renowned for its pinot noir, Freycinet Vineyard commenced sparkling wine production in 1993.

Founders Geoff and Susan Bull were both lovers of Champagne and foresaw Tasmania’s exceptional potential for producing sparkling wines, encouraging their winemaker daughter Lindy and her partner Claudio Radenti to try their hand.

Now in its 30th year of production, Radenti is one of a select few grower-producer sparkling wines produced in Australia.

Winemaker Claudio Radenti, pictured above with fellow winemaker Keira O'Brien, said: “We are humbled to receive this trophy and it reinforces what an extraordinary place Tasmania is for premium sparkling wine and is also a wonderful honour for my family who have supported the vision of creating world class sparkling wine from our vineyard in Tasmania.

"The 2016 vintage was relatively warm but our focussed approach to growing fruit dedicated to sparkling wine has paid dividends. The win is the result of consistent effort from our team, who work tirelessly to ensure the quality of our wines from vineyard to bottle.”

Freycinet Vineyard founder Geoff Bull fondly recalls Dr Tony Jordan as an early mentor, saying “Tony educated me on how to produce the best wines possible with his motto ‘no compromise’. It was Tony who influenced me and the rest of my family to start producing sparkling wine. It is an honour to receive this trophy bearing his name.”

The Melbourne Royal Wine Awards is one of Australia’s oldest and most respected wine shows, recognising and rewarding excellence in Australian winemaking.

Established in 1884 with just thirteen entries, the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards have evolved and grown into a premier celebration for the Australian wine industry, attracting over 2,425 entries from more than 420 wineries across the nation.

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