AND the winner is — Heathcote.
Well it’s also Sanguine Estate, but the attention its success in the 2017 Saint Martin Great Australian Shiraz Challenge has focused on the region makes everyone a winner.
Sanguine’s 2012 Progeny Shiraz Heathcote had already been voted Best Victorian Shiraz at the St Martin before it then received a second trophy for the Best Shiraz over five years old.
One of Australia’s most prestigious and sought-after wine awards, this year’s event attracted 386 entries from 55 regions which ensured the judging panel, headed by Gary Baldwin, was provided with a diverse spread of high quality Shiraz.
Most of the entries came from South Australia — at 41 per cent — followed by Victoria (31 per cent) and NSW with 16.
The oldest vintage entered was 2003, the youngest, 2017 as a total of 281 medals were awarded including seven trophies, 44 gold, 73 silver and 164 bronze medals.
Not only did Sanguine Estate receive two trophies in the competition, it also received a silver medal for its 2014 Inception Shiraz and two bronzes for its 2012 Estate Shiraz and 2016 Progeny Shiraz.
Sanguine Estate chief executive Jodi Marsh said the number of Victorian entries and the awards gathered made a bold statement for the industry against the powerhouse South Australian red wine makers.
“It goes without saying how proud we are of Mark (Hunter) and his amazing winemaking skills but it is also an incredibly proud day for Heathcote, with a Heathcote wine representing the best Shiraz in Victoria at such a prestigious challenge,” Jodi said.
Judging panel chairman Gary Baldwin said “as a group of judges, our task is to sort and determine the highest quality wines of each style of Shiraz in Australia”.
“That extends from the big ripe and fuller styles from South Australia to the leaner but aromatic and spicy examples from the cooler climates of Victoria, NSW and even Tasmania,” Mr Baldwin said.
“And everything in between.”
Jodi said entering any competition with your wine is putting yourself right out there being judged by your peers, by people who also make wine.
She said at the same time taking part was so valuable for Sanguine and the region on so many levels.
“This sort of competition attracts a lot of interest in the export market and that is a major plus for many of us in the wine industry,” Jodi said.
“The Asian market in particular is very award conscious, if you are doing well in major events such as the St Martin it really does have an impact on the bottom line when it comes to demand for your product,” she said.
“It is third party endorsements such as these that you cannot replicate with your own marketing, an independent achievement such as this is as good as you can get.
“We also value these opportunities because you get to benchmark your own performance against others in the industry and in your product categories.
“But we are mostly delighted because these trophies are giving Australia the chance to really sit up and take notice of what Heathcote can do against something as dominating as the Barossa Valley.”