Qantas epeQure 2017 Halliday Wine Companion Awards winners announced

For the first time a female winemaker has won Winemaker of the Year

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Halliday Wine Companion 2017

Halliday Wine Companion 2017 [©Hardie Grant Books]


Australia’s doyen of wine, James Halliday AM, has anointed Sarah Crowe of Yarra Yering his Winemaker of the Year for 2017 – the first time a female winemaker has won arguably the most prestigious award of its type in the country.

The Qantas epiQure Halliday Wine Companion Awards for 2017 were held in Melbourne on the 3rd August with the Wine of the Year being awarded to Best’s Thomson Family Great Western Shiraz 2014 and Winery of the Year going to the Hunter Valley’s Mount Pleasant.

Featuring 1302 wineries, the776-page 2017 Halliday Wine Companion is the nation’s most authoritative and comprehensive wine guide, and it’s on shelves nationally now.

Sarah Crowe has carved a remarkable reputation at Yarra Yering and is at the top or her game as Australia’s best winemaker. Incredibly, her red wines from one of the oldest and most revered vineyards in Victoria’s Yarra Valley made two 2014 vintage reds that scored a remarkable 99/100 (of only seven table wines that scored 99 in the book) and four that received 98 points.

The Hunter Valley’s Mount Pleasant, established in 1921, was named Winery of the Year with seven shirazes scoring between 97 and 99 points, supported by three semillons scoring more than 95 points. Halliday credits the appointment of  Chief Winemaker Jim Chatto in 2013 as key to the winery’s growing success and the renaissance of Australia’s original winemaking region.

Best’s Thomson Family Great Western Shiraz 2014 took out Wine of the Year. From a small block of just 15 rows of shiraz planted in 1867, this wine was crafted by young gun Justin Purserand scored 99/100. Best’s celebrates 150 years of winemaking in 2016.

For this year’s book, Halliday tasted more than 9000 wines over a period of 630 hours or 26 cumulative days.

“There are more than 1300 wineries profiled in this edition and I often get asked 'How do you do it?' With help, of course, but even after 11 editions it still brings me great joy in seeing the quality of wines and the increasing talent of winemakers from Australia. And now we are witnessing an ever-increasing diversity of sub-regions, sites and varietals. It continues to be a very exciting industry to be working alongside,” Halliday said.

Honoured with a second Halliday award, Larry Cherubino Wines won Best Value Winery (Cherubino won Winemaker of the Year in 2011). Of the 35 Larry Cherubino wines that appear in the 2017 Halliday Wine Companion, 28 (80 per cent) of them have the value red star – in essence they are great and awesome value.

Best New Winery was presented to McLaren Vale’s Bondar Wines, the business of Andre Bondar and wife Selina Kelly. Despite no family history in winemaking or vineyards, the couple started Bondar in 2012 when a small group of their friends and family handpicked a couple of tonnes of shiraz grapes for their first ever wine. With the help of one of Australia’s best shiraz vineyards, McLaren Vale’s Rayner, the couple has since turned their passion into a successful career.

Dark Horse of the Year was awarded to Arlewood Estate at the southern end of WA’s Margaret River. The winery dates back to 1988 and is now owned and run by Garry Gosatti, who spent 2008 to 2012 living on what was a very run-down vineyard. Today, Arlewood’s cool Forest Grove property produces exceptional chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and red and white blends made by winemaker Stuart Pym.

During the awards at the National Gallery of Victoria, guests sipped on 26 wines worth over $95,000 including a perfect 100-point 1916 Seppeltsfield Para Liqueur retailing for $700 per 100ml. Over 2200 Riedel glasses and decanters were used at a shelf cost of $66,000.

Head of Qantas epiQure Lisa Hudson said: “Qantas epiQure is proud to be associated with these prestigious wine awards and recognise the best in Australian wine. We look forward to making available some of the awarded wines including the Wine of the Year to our online food and wine community.”

The Halliday Wine Companion 2017 is available to now at all good booksellers nationally for RRP$39.99, paperback.

Marjor award winners

  • Wine of the Year (sponsored by Qantas epiQure): Best’s Thomson Family Great Western Shiraz 2014
  • Winery of the Year (sponsored by Wine Australia): Mount Pleasant (Jim Chatto)
  • Winemaker of the Year (sponsored by Sub-Zero and Wolf): Sarah Crowe, Yarra Yering
  • Best Value Winery of the Year (sponsored by Kennards Wine Storage): Larry Cherubino Wines
  • Best New Winery: Bondar Wines
  • Dark Horse Winery of the Year: Arlewood Estate

Varietal winners (sponsored by Langton’s)

  • Sparkling: House of Arras Blanc des Blancs 2005, 97 pts
  • Riesling: Seppelt Drumborg Vineyard Riesling 2015, 98 pts
  • Semillon: Mount Pleasant Lovedale Hunter Valley Semillon 2009, 98 pts
  • Chardonnay: Leeuwin Estate Art Series Margaret River Chardonnay 2013, 98 pts
  • Sauvignon Blanc: Geoff Weaver Ferus Lenswood Sauvignon Blanc 2014, 97 pts
  • Pinot Noir: Bass Phillip Premium Pinot Noir 2014, 98 pts
  • Other Reds: Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard The Peake Cabernet Shiraz 2013, 98 pts
  • Shiraz: Best's Wines Thomson Family Great Western Shiraz 2014, 99 pts
  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Yarra Yering Carrodus Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, 99 pts
  • Fortified: 1916 Seppeltsfield 100 Year Old Para Liqueur, 100 pts

Halliday Wine Companion - facts and figures

  • 9018, the number of wines tasted for this edition of the Halliday Wine Companion 
  • 405,810, the total millilitres of wine tasted, based on an average pour of 45-ml per wine whichequates to 1.4 barrels of wine or 541.5 bottles of wine (which if you lined all the bottles up side by side is 4.329km)
  • 630, the approximate number of hours spent tasting
  • 10, the approximate number of Riedel glasses broken during the tasting process
  • $95,000, the total retail cost of the wine to be served at this year’s Halliday Wine Companion Awards
  • $4,000, the retail cost for a bottle of each of the wines to be served at this year’s Halliday Wine Companion Awards
  • $375, the retail cost for a glass of each of the wines to be served at this year’s Halliday Wine Companion Awards
  • 2200, the number of Riedel glasses used at this year’s Halliday Wine Companion Awards
  • $66,000, the total retail cost of the Riedel glasses used at this year’s Halliday Wine Companion Awards

 See links below for further details on the wineries.

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August 18th, 2016
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