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Shiraz and Cabernet make way for lesser known SA wines at prestigious awards

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South Australian wines have taken out 10 of the 24 national trophies on offer at the prestigious Melbourne Royal Wine Awards, with some unexpected performances from the state’s lesser-known varieties.

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Local wines missed out on the prized Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon trophies and the iconic Jimmy Watson Trophy for best young red wine.

However, the white wine equivalent of the Jimmy Watson – The François De Castella Trophy – was won by a Tasmanian Chardonnay produced by the owners of renowned Adelaide Hills winery Shaw + Smith.

Shaw + Smith was also awarded the trophy for Best South Australian Chardonnay for its 2020 Lenswood Vineyard Chardonnay.

Fellow Adelaide Hills wineries Wicks Estate and Longview also featured, taking out the Best Sparkling and Best Pinot Gris/Grigio trophies.

The Barossa Valley was also among the winners but not for the bold reds it is famous for. Instead, the region took out trophies with a Rose, a Vermentino and a Grenache Blanc.

Among the other South Australian winners, Langhorne Creek’s Bleasdale Vineyards won the Best Single Varietal Red with its 2020 Second Innings Malbec, Henschke (Eden Valley) won the Best Riesling Trophy and Majella (Coonawarra) won the trophy for Best Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon blend.

The Jimmy Watson Trophy – the most Australian wine industry’s most coveted prize – was awarded to Victoria’s Fallen Giants Winery for its 2019 Shiraz, which also won the Best Shiraz Trophy.

Shaw + Smith founders Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith purchased the Tolpuddle Vineyard near Hobart in 2011 and produced their first vintage in 2012 using winemaking skills brought in from the Adelaide Hills.

The Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay sells for about $90 a bottle.

It is the third year in a row that winemaker Adam Wadewitz (Shaw + Smith, Tolpuddle Vineyard) has been awarded the Francois de Castella Trophy for Best Young White Wine at the Melbourne Wine Awards following wins in 2019 with the 2018 Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay and in 2018 with the 2017 Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay.

The awards were not held in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“It was a great honour to win this award once. To win the ‘Frankie’ three times in a row is something we could never have imagined and I’m so proud of the team,” Wadewitz said.

“It’s a great credit to the team in the vineyard and the winery, and wonderful to get recognition for all the hard work. How good is Tassie and Adelaide Hills’ Chardonnay?”

Tolpuddle Vineyard has accumulated 20 trophies since 2012 including the 2020 Champion White Trophy at the International Wine Challenge in London for the 2018 Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay, crowning it best white wine in the world.

SA trophy winners at the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards

Best Riesling: Henschke, Julius Riesling – 2021

Best Sauvignon Blanc: Scarpantoni Estate, Sauvignon Blanc – 2021

Best Pinot Gris/Grigio: Longview Vineyard, Queenie Pinot Grigio – 2021

Best Single Varietal White: Small Victories Wine Co, Vermentino – 2021

Best Rosé: Turkey Flat, Rose Grenache – 2021

Best Single Varietal Red: Bleasdale Vineyards, Second Innings Malbec – 2020

Best Grenache: Pinnacle Drinks, The Ethereal One, Fleurieu Grenache – 2020

Best Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon Blend: Majella, Musician – 2019

Best Sparkling: Wicks Estate, Pamela Chardonnay Pinot Noir – 2015

Best Organic Or Biodynamic Wine: Tscharke, Gnadenfrei White Grenache Blanc – 2020

Best South Australian Shiraz: St Hugo, Barossa Shiraz – 2019

Best South Australian Chardonnay: Shaw + Smith, Lenswood Vineyard Chardonnay – 2020

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