The 2018 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show judges were mightily impressed with the quality of wines, awarding 21 trophies and 49 gold medals – and, happily, 23 of them can be bought now.
The show’s first female chair of judges, winemaker-manager of the top-rank Yarra Yering brand Sarah Crowe, said the standard of entries was “something the Hunter Region could be proud of” and the 2017 vintage semillons and shiraz reds had lived up to the early hype.
“Buyers should be seeking out these wines,” she told the record crowd of 400 at the show presentation luncheon on Friday at Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort, Pokolbin.
The show’s star performers were iconic producers, McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant and Tyrrell’s, claiming 16 gold medals and 14 of the 21 trophies awarded.
Mount Pleasant won six gold medals and six trophies, five of which went to its 2017 1880 Vines Old Hill Vineyard Shiraz, due for release to wine club members in October at $135 a bottle.
The wine claimed trophies for the best red of show, best current and one-year-old shiraz, best shiraz, best named vineyard red and best named vineyard wine.
The Mount Pleasant 2009 Lovedale Semillon won the trophy for the best museum white wine and is available to wine club members in limited quantities at $90 a bottle.
Tyrrell’s won 10 golds and eight trophies, four of which went to the 2013 Belford Semillon that will go on sale in October at $35 a bottle. It won the trophies for the best white of the show, the best two-year-old and older semillon, the best semillon and the best named vineyard white.
The Tyrrell’s 2018 Single Vineyard Stevens Semillon was judged the best current-vintage semillon and can be bought for $35 now at tyrrells.com.au and the winery.
It played a role in Tyrrell’s Iain Riggs Wines of Provenance Trophy win with 2004, 2011 and 2018 Stevens semillons. The company won its eighth trophy, the Silver Bullet award, with 2007, 2014 and 2017 Stevens Shiraz reds.
The 2007 Stevens Shiraz, existing only in museum stock, won the John Lewis Newcastle Herald Trophy for the best museum red.
First Creek winery won three trophies with chardonnays crafted by Liz Jackson. The First Creek 2017 Winemakers’ Reserve Chardonnay won best chardonnay and best current-vintage and one-year-old chardonnay trophies and is available at $65 a bottle at the winery and on firstcreekwines.com.au.
The 2015 Reserve Chardonnay won the trophy for the best two-year-old and older chardonnay and the 2018 Winemaker’s Reserve Semillon and 2017 Single Vineyard Oakey Creek Semillon won gold and all three wines are yet to be released.
Beyond the success of her First Creek wines, Liz Jackson’s magic touch was also in evidence in the gold medal $30 Silkman Estate 2017 Semillon and the $80 Silkman 2017 Silk Chardonnay. Silkman is the five-year-old boutique venture of husband and wife team of Shaun Silkman and Jackson.
Agnew Wines won a trophy and five gold medals, with the $30 Audrey Wilkinson 2017 Winemaker’s Selection Semillon claiming the best one-year-old dry semillon trophy. It is at audreywilkinson.com.au and the De Beyers Road cellar door, as is the 96-point gold medal-winning Audrey Wilkinson 2017 Winemaker’s Selection Shiraz. Also available at cockfightersghost.com.au and the De Beyers Road winery is the Agnew Group’s gold medal $30 Cockfighter’s Ghost Reserve Semillon.
Among the other trophy winners, the Tamburlaine 2018 Reserve Verdelho (best verdelho) and the De Iuliis 2017 LDR Vineyard Shiraz-Touriga Nacional (best other varieties red) are unreleased but the Drayton’s Family Wines Non-Vintage Heritage Vines Liqueur Verdelho (best fortified wine) sells for $90 a bottle at draytonswines.com.au, the 555 Oakey Creek Road, Pokolbin, winery and some bottle shops.
Other currently available gold medal wines:
Tyrrell’s 2017 Mothers Shiraz - $35 and 2013 Vat 1 Semillon: $85 at tyrrells.com.au and the winery
McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant 2017 1965 Vines Rosehill Shiraz: $50, 2017 Old Paddock and Old Hill 1921 Vines Shiraz: $50 and 2017 Old Paddock 1921 Vines Shiraz: $135 during September and October at mountpleasantwines.com.au and the Marrowbone Road winery
De Iuliis 2017 The Garden Vineyard Semillon, a 96-point gold winner - $25 at dewine.com.au and the De Iuliis 1616 Broke Road, Pokolbin, winery
Eagles Rest Estate 2015 Chardonay: $29 at eaglesrestwines.com.au
Margan 2017 White Label Cabernet Sauvignon: $50 at 1238 Milbrodale Road, Broke, and margan.com.au
McGuigan 2013 Bin 9000 Semillon: $50 only at the McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, cellar door
Two Rivers 2013 Museum Release Stones Throw Semillon: $50 at tworivers.com.au and at Yarrawa Road, Denman
Hart and Hunter 2018 Single Vineyard Semillon: $30 at 463 Deasys Road, Pokolbin, and at hartandhunter.com.au
Bimbadgen 2017 Single Vineyard Palmers Lane Shiraz: $45; and 2013 Signature Semillon: $50 at bimbadgen.com.au and the McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, winery