Home Hill triumphs at 2015 Tasmanian Wine Show

Home Hill’s Terry Bennett (next to me) holding one of his pinot awards – a poster by Tasmanian artist Tom Samek. Phil Laing, the show’s colourful president, is at left.

It was Home Hill’s night at the awards ceremony for the 2015 Tasmanian Wine Show last Friday. In recent years Home Hill has emerged as the most consistently successful Tasmanian pinot noir producer, a record it upheld last week.

The 2013 Home Hill Kelly’s Reserve Pinot Noir (previous tastings) won the trophies for best red wine of show and best pinot noir, while the 2008 Home Hill Estate Pinot Noir (tastings) won best wine in the museum class. As well, Home Hill took home of the trophy for the 2015 pinot noir producer of the year, an award which is determined by the aggregate performance of three pinot noirs of different vintages entered in the one show – in this case, I figure the wines were the 2013 Kelly’s Reserve (gold and two trophies), 2012 Estate (gold – tasting) and 2011 Kelly’s Reserve (silver – tasting). As well, Home Hill’s 2013 Landslide (gold), 2013 Estate (silver) and 2011 Estate (bronze – tasting) backed up strongly.

The owners, Terry and Rosemary Bennett, didn’t have far to carry their spoils as the dinner was coincidentally held in their superbly-designed winery restaurant at Ranelagh, in the Huon Valley, half an hour’s drive south of Hobart. Incidentally, the seven-course meal prepared by chef Simon Davies was outstanding. In particular, the duck leg confit with sloe gin and peaches will linger long in many of the guests’ gastronomic memories. And the scallop ceviche with pumpkin remoulade, water-cress purée and basil seeds (pictured below) looked every bit as stunning as it tasted.

The Home Hill pinots are utterly delicious, bursting with dark-cherry and spice fruit, seemingly nailing perfect ripeness with metronomic frequency, judging the oak perfectly and achieving soft ripe tannins and velvety mouth-feel with apparent ease.

I was astonished to learn from Terry Bennett that his pinot noir yields across the board average 6.5 tonnes/hectare, and in 2013 – a stellar vintage – averaged 9.5! And that was after judicious crop-thinning.

These figures will make pinot noir growers across the country, nay the globe, green with envy. I regularly hear pinot makers say 1.5 tonnes/acre (3.7 tonnes/hectare) is the upper limit for high-quality pinot.

It can only mean one thing: Home Hill enshrines a magical combination of the right grape variety and viticultural methods with the climate and soil of a truly distinguished site.

More on the pace-setting Tassie wine show next week.

Results are at www.taswineshow.org

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