The Limestone Coast Wine Show 2017 – and the winners are…

The trophy winners – Limestone Coast Wine Show 2017

For the last eight days I’ve been focused on the Limestone Coast, with three days of producer visits in Coonawarra and Wrattonbully, followed by judging at The Limestone Coast Wine Show.

This was my fifth visit to the region.  The show, which was chaired by Australian wine writer Jane Faulkner (pictured in full swing below), provided the perfect window on wines from the Limestone Coast.

Inevitably, its best known and most intensively planted regions Coonawarra, Padthaway and Wrattonbully were best represented in terms of entries – 498  in total, nominated by 74 different exhibitors.

Judging panel or jail birds?!? Me and my fellow judges

But the love was shared when it came to the trophies which, for the first time, were awarded to all of the Limestone Coast’s GI sub-regions, including Mount Benson, Robe and Mount Gambier.  These cooler, more coastal regions are producing some bang on trend lighter aromatic whites and reds.

Although red wines dominated, accounting for 70 per cent of overall entries, I really enjoyed seeing a diversity of styles, whether within the classics (Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz) or as a consequence of a focus on other Bordeaux red varieties or alternative varieties, including a Lagrein.

I had the honour of awarding the International Judge’s Trophy.  So what caught my eye?  While Coonawarra is famous for its classically structured, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignons, with Wrattonbully snapping at its heels (judging by Malone’s double win), my visit introduced me to an exciting, bang on (vin de soif) trend style of Limestone Coast reds – early release (current vintage) reds.  I was thoroughly beguiled by their freshness, aromatics, fruity purity and exuberance.  Characteristics which not only seem a natural fit for the Limestone Coast, but also show the region’s playful side.  And so it was that I selected Karatta Wine Co. Lost Ram Syrah 2017 from Robe (pictured above), one of three early release reds at the show (the others being a Merlot and a Shiraz).

I reckon we’ll see more of this early release style.  Indeed, before the show I encountered a terrific example (pictured below right) – a 2017 Cabernet Franc from Penley Estate and, due for release next month, Punch Down Boys Field Blend 2017 (Cabernet Sauvignon with a splash of Shiraz and Cabernet Franc) made by Dan Redman of Redman Estate and Tim Bailey of Leconfield Estate.

As I board my plane home shortly, my notes on key wines and visits will follow. For now, here is a list of all the trophy winners.  The Limestone Coast Wine website lists the full results and has plenty of background information about the region/its sub-regions.

The Trophy Winners

2017 Bill Redman Trophy for Best Wine of Show, sponsored by CCL Labels

Wolf Blass Gold Label Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

2017 Arthur Hoffman Trophy for Viticulturist of Best Wine of Show, sponsored by Vinpac International

Martin Wirper, Wolf Blass Wines

2017 David Wynn trophy for Best Red of Show, sponsored by Cooperages 1912

2015 Wolf Blass Gold Label Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon

2017 Colin Kidd Trophy for Best White of Show, sponsored by Limestone Coast Local Government Association

2017 Otellia Mount Gambier Riesling

2017 Karl Seppelt Trophy for Best White (excluding Chardonnay), sponsored by Multi-Color

2017 Otellia Riesling (Mount Gambier)

2017 Trophy for Best Chardonnay, sponsored by VA filtration

Brand’s Laira of Coonawarra Blockers Chardonnay 2016

2017 Trophy for Best Alternative Red Variety, sponsored by Eura Carla

Leconfield Wines Cabernet Franc 2016 (Coonawarra)

2017 Peter Wehl Trophy for Best Merlot, sponsored by Classic Oak Products

Majella Wines Merlot 2016 (Coonawarra)

2017 Trophy for Best Blended Red, sponsored by Padthaway Wine Region

Lindemans Coonawarra Pyrus Red 2015  (Coonawarra)

2017 Eric Brand Trophy for Best Shiraz, sponsored by Lallemand

Norfolk Rise Vineyard Shiraz 2016 (Mount Benson)

2017 HR (Ron) Haselgrove Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon, sponsored by Wrattonbully Wine Region

Wolf Blass Gold Label Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

2017 Trophy for Best Individual Vineyard Wine, sponsored by Must Apartments

Malone Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (Wrattonbully)

2017 Award for White Wine of Provenance, sponsored by Della Toffola

Ladbroke Grove Wines Schoolhouse Riesling 2016, 2010, 2005 (Coonawarra)

2017 Award for Red Wine of Provenance, sponsored by Torresan Wine Estates

Redman Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, 2009, 2000 (Coonawarra)

2017 Ewen McBain Fergusson Trophy for Best Museum Wine, sponsored by Hahn Corporation

Malone Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Wrattonbully)

2017 International Judges Award, sponsored by Seguin Moreau

Karatta Wine Co. Lost Ram Syrah 2017

Chief of Judges Wine to Watch, sponsored by Lawrence’s Irrigation

Wangolina Lagrein 2016  (Limestone Coast)

Most Successful Exhibitor, sponsored by Kauri

Wynns Coonawarra Estate

2017 Trophy for Best Sparkling Wine 

Woodsoak Wines Blanc de Noirs 2015 (Robe)

2017 Trophy for Best Sweet Wine

Hollick Estates ‘The Nectar’ 2016 (Coonawarra)

2017 Small Batch and Experimental award

Leconfield Wines Coonawarra Petit Verdot 2016

2017 Trophy for Best Rosé

Atlas Wines The Cellar Works Rosé 2017 (Padthaway)





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