Boutique Wine Awards winners
Home Hill Kelly’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2015 scooped the pool at the recent Boutique Wine Awards, winning four trophies – for best pinot noir, best red wine, best wine of show, and best estate grown and produced wine.
This stunning pinot is racking up a stellar career, although it’s pretty well sold out has probably ended its show career. The same wine won a gold medal at the 2017 Tasmanian Wine Show and has also won golds at Cowra, Rutherglen, Winewise and Winestate in 2016.
Previous vintages have also shone in the shows: the 2014 won three trophies at the Tasmanian Wine Show early this year, crowning with best wine of show. Oh, and a certain award at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards, the Jimmy Watson Trophy two years back.
Home Hill, established in 1993, is just a half-hour drive south of Hobart at Ranelagh in the Huon Valley. Its 6 hectares of vines are 80% pinot noir, but owners Terry and Rosemary Bennett are desperately short of wine, thanks to the demand their success has attracted. Terry Bennett told me:
“We just don’t have enough wine, and all my agents are squealing, so we have bought 14 hectares of land neighbouring the vineyard, and we are currently planting 4 hectares to pinot noir. My plan is to plant 4 hectares a year for the next few years.”
The question is whether that land will yield pinot as great as the original block. To that, Terry replies that the land is much the same as the original vineyard – flat and not very distinguished to look at. But there is obviously some magical x-factor there, that’s not apparent to the human eye.
Several other great wines triumphed at the Boutique Wine Awards. Coolangatta Estate Semillon 2009 (Shoalhaven Coast) won trophies for best white wine and best semillon; Sittella Grand Vintage Méthode Traditionelle 2012 (Pemberton grapes, made in the Swan Valley) won best sparkling wine; Heydon Estate The Willow Chardonnay 2013 (Margaret River, made by Mark Messenger) won best chardonnay; Hahndorf Hill White Mischief Grüner Veltliner 2016 (Adelaide Hills) won best ‘other’ white varietal; Brash Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Margaret River, made by Bruce Dukes) won best cabernet sauvignon; Sittella Tinta Rouge Shiraz Grenache Tempranillo 2016 (Swan Valley) won best red blend; Tenafeate Creek Tempranillo 2016 (One Tree Hill, SA) won best ‘other’ red varietal; Twisted River Shiraz Viognier 2016 (north-west of Orange, made by Chris Derrez) won best shiraz; Stanton & Killeen Classic Muscat (Rutherglen) won best fortified wine; Jaeschke’s Hill River Estate Riesling 2015 (Clare Valley) won best riesling; Wanted Man Marsanne Viognier 2012 (Heathcote, made by Matt Harrop) won best white blend; The Darling Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Marlborough) won best sauvignon blanc; and Charles Sturt University Boutique Tempranillo Rosé 2016 (Riverina) won best rosé.
The 13 Australian wines came from an impressively diverse array of 12 regions, spanning the continent, from the Swan Valley to the Shoalhaven, from southern Tasmania to the Riverina.
One of the many interesting features of the results was that two trophies went to wines outside any registered GI (official geographic region). The Twisted River Shiraz is from a vineyard owned by Michelle Davies and Helen Armstrong 60km north-west of Orange; and the Tenafeate Creek Tempranillo is from a vineyard owned and run by the Costa family (winemaker is Michael Costa) located roughly in the centre of a triangle formed by Adelaide, the Barossa Valley and the Adelaide Hills.
It all serves to underline the fact that while Australia has a terrific range of wine regions, it also possesses a multitude of places as yet unexplored, where great wine could be produced.