Awards gala honours best of Margaret River wine industry

The Xanadu team, led by Glenn Goodall, celebrated after taking home four Trophies from the 2019 Langton's Margaret River Wine Show, including Most Successful Exhibitor and Trophy for White Wine of Show, Best Chardonnay and Best Single Vineyard White for the 2017 Xanadu Reserve Chardonnay.

Three Trophies for Wine of Show, Red Wine of Show and Best Cabernet Sauvignon went to the winemaker Heather Fraser's 2018 Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon, from premium grape growers in the Cowaramup area of the Margaret River wine region.

The 2019 Langton's Margaret River Wine Show attracted 118 exhibitors and 734 entries to the 18th Margaret River Wine Show, with judging at Ramada Resort Dunsborough and the Wine Show Gala Dinner at Leeuwin Estate.

Chair of Judges, David Brookes led the team of 20 judges and associate judges who awarded 455 medals; 57 Gold, 111 Silver and 287 Bronze.

Brookes said "The 2019 Margaret River Wine Show results show the strength of the outstanding 2018 vintage beginning to flex its muscles.

"Chardonnay brackets from both the 2017 and 2018 vintages were both world class with the top wines showing pedigree, diversity of style and a regional typicity that spoke clearly of their Margaret River roots.

"Rosé wines from the region continued their run of fine form and wonderful wines came to the top in the white blends, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon classes and the alternative varieties of Chenin Blanc and Fiano impressed.

"In the reds, Malbec continues to show that in the right hands it excels in Margaret River and 2018 Shiraz showed that it is a force to be reckoned with. 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon wines continued to impress and the 2018 red wines that are currently in bottle floored the judges with the fruit purity, depth and sense of place.

"Ultimately, the trophy for Best Red Wine and indeed, Best Wine of Show went to a wine from this much anticipated vintage, the 2018 Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine which displayed gorgeous fruit depth, pitch-perfect tannins and an inherent drinkability straight out of the gate along with the potential to improve with time in the cellar."

Juniper Estate and Higher Plane Wines viticulturistIanto Ward received the 2019 Viticultural Excellence Award and said he was proud to accept the accolade.

"I love working with a great team, caring for three outstanding parcels of land across Margaret River and contributing to much loved wines," Mr Ward said.

The award relates, in part, to Mr Ward's improvements and innovations on the Higher Planevineyard.

Over the past 12 years a regeneration has taken place; improvements in the health of the soil and vines, through implementing a range of sustainable management techniques, much of which has had an organic focus; revegetation of the natural bush and creek lines; trialling various pruning and canopy management techniques; as well as introducing innovative varieties such as Fiano, Graciano, Malbec and new clones of Tempranillo and Merlot.

"I am passionate about sustainable farming and natural practices. I understand my small role in leaving a 'lighter touch' on the earth and maintain a healthy and prosperous environment for my children," Mr Ward said.

"I commend MRWIA and Happs Winesfor their appreciation of the role that great viticulture plays in shaping wines of provenance in Margaret River. It is an honour for me on behalf of the vineyard team, to receive this recognition from such respected peers."

Joe Czerwinski, Managing Editor of Robert Parker Wine Advocate and Reviewer for Australia, New Zealand and Southern France, joined the show as this year's International Judge, supported by Singapore Airlines, to provide an important international perspective to Margaret River's regional wine show.

Czerwinski awarded the Singapore Airlines International Judge's Trophy to the 2018 Driftwood Estate Single Site Chardonnay, saying "to me it represents the best of Margaret River Chardonnay. The moment I tasted it on the trophy-judging table this was going to be my wine.

"It's lush and generous, yet focused and long, with great fruit purity yet ample complexity. Immediately appealing, it represents a contemporary updating of a classic style."

Naming Rights Partner, Langton's Fine Wine Principal, Andrew Caillard MW, judged the Wine of Provenance Class, saying "This region makes extraordinary Chardonnay with the structure and fruit for aging.

"They have an individual voice that speaks of place more than any other Chardonnay genre in Australia.

The Chardonnays all showed wonderful aromatics (grapefruit, lemon curd, pure but not over tropical fruits, sometimes flinty notes), al dente textures and pure acid cut," Mr Caillard continued.

"The winning Chardonnay was a level above the rest showing extra richness, layers and freshness with increasing complexity with age.

"Margaret River Cabernet - both single variety and blends - have remarkable intensity, richness, vigorous structure and torque.

"When you consider the wine culture and investment in Margaret River and the vision, we should reward achievement like this.

"We loved the winning Cabernet Sauvignon because of its varietal integrity, overall richness and purity of fruit and superb vigorous tannins. The 2018 was spectacular to say the least and then supported by two other impressive vintages - each showing inky complexity, density and energy.

"Margaret River is indebted to the likes of Dr John Gladstones, Trish and Denis Horgan, Dorham Mann, Tom Cullity, Kevin and Diana Cullen and David Hohnen etc.

"There are many others too. Their spirit of optimism and generosity underpins the Margaret River fine wine aesthetic. In our view the provenance prize is a celebration of progress and collaboration. The winning wines completely show the magic of Margaret River Chardonnay and Margaret River Cabernet. Congratulations to all."

Langton's Margaret River Wine Show Results

Langton's Trophy for Wine of Show - Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Seguin Moreau Trophy for Red Wine of Show - Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Labelmakers Group Trophy for White Wine of Show - Xanadu Reserve Chardonnay 2017

Vinline Mobile Bottling Trophy for Most Successful Exhibitor - Xanadu Wines

Langton's Trophy for Wine of Provenance - White - Brookland Valley Estate Chardonnay 2008, 2013, 2018

Langton's Trophy for Wine of Provenance - Red - Houghton Gladstones Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, 2013, 2018

Singapore Airlines International Judge's Trophy - Driftwood Estate Single Site Chardonnay 2018

SWAT Winery Equipment Specialists Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon - Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Multi-Color Trophy for Best Chardonnay - Xanadu Reserve Chardonnay 2017

Tonnellerie de Mercurey Trophy for Best Single Vineyard Red - Brash Vineyard Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Portavin Trophy for Best Single Vineyard White - Xanadu Reserve Chardonnay 2017

Cospak / Saverglass Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon Blend - Deep Woods Estate Single Vineyard Cabernets 2018

VA Filtration / Memstar Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc - Millbrook Regional Sauvignon Blanc 2019

BFL Trophy for Best Blend of Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon - Clairault Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2019

Saint Martin Trophy for Best Oaked White other than Chardonnay - Higher Plane Fume Blanc 2019

CHEP Trophy for Best Shiraz - Domaine Naturaliste Rachis Margaret River Syrah 2018

Chr. Hansen Trophy for Best Rosé - Abbey Vale Premium Rosé 2019

Laffort Trophy for Best Other Blend or Varietal - Marq Malbec 2018

Lifetime Achievement Award - John Evans and John Tate

Happs Wines Viticultural Excellence Award - Ianto Ward, Juniper Estate

Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association (MRBTA) Wine Tourism Excellence Award Winner - Ulrika Larsson, Clairault Streicker Wines

The 2019 Langton's Margaret River Wine Show Full Results are available at https://margaretriver.wine/margaret-river-wine-show/