Hunter wines winning big on 2020 wine show circuit

2020 has been a roller coaster of a year for Hunter wineries and yet a Hunter wine has just been named best wine in New South Wales.

At the 2020 NSW Wine Awards a total of 18 trophy winners have been announced with ultimate prize, the NSW Governor’s 2020 Best in Show awarded to Briar Ridge 2018 Dairy Hill Single Vineyard Hunter Valley Semillon (RRP $35). This outstanding wine, made by Gwyn Olsen with Alex Beckett, was also named NSW Best Semillon.

Briar Ridge was not alone in its successes, with De Iuliis Wines 2018 LDR Vineyard Shiraz Touriga Nacional (RRP $40) being awarded the trophy for the Best Red Blend and Margan Wines taking home the trophy for Best Other Red Variety for its Margan 2019 Saxonvale Mourvèdre (RRP $50). Mount Pleasant won the trophy for Best Fortified for the Mount Pleasant NV Tawny Port Syrah (RRP $60)

Dave Brookes, Chair of Judges in his fourth and final year at the helm of the state wine show commented in his post judging synopsis “The Hunter surprised no one with the strength of its delicious Semillons and gorgeous medium-bodied Shiraz styles that spoke clearly of their sense of place.”

He noted that “there was much discussion surrounding the wines at the pointy end of the show and this year’s 2020 Wine of the Year was awarded to the Briar Ridge 2018 Dairy Hill Semillon – a wine of fine precision, detail and clarity and one that highlights all that is great about the Hunter’s iconic and world-renowned grape variety. A beautifully composed wine; delicious at this stage of its evolution and one with a promising cellar life in front of it too.”

Last week’s show was perhaps a warm-up for many Hunter Valley hopefuls who eagerly await the judge’s verdict of the Hunter Valley Wine Show. Now in its 48th year, the Hunter Valley Wine Show is one of the nation’s oldest and certainly one of the most prestigious.

Photo by Chris Elfes