2021 HILLTOPS WINE OF THE YEAR

2021 HILLTOPS WINE OF THE YEAR

Hilltops Wine Awards 2021:  Winners of Peter Robertson Trophy – Jill and Michael Bynon, Corang Estate.

HILLTOPS HERO

2021 WINE OF THE YEAR – CORANG ESTATE HILLTOPS SHIRAZ 2019

The Hilltops wine region is arguably best known for its shiraz grapes and wines, and again this year the variety triumphed at the 2021 Hilltops Wine Show.

The 2021 Hilltops Wine of the Year and Peter Robertson Trophy has been awarded to Corang Estate Hilltops Shiraz 2019, the highest pointed and Gold Medal winning wine in Class 5.

Other high performing shiraz wines were McWilliams 660 Hilltops Reserve Shiraz 2018, Calabria Pierre d’Amour Shiraz 2018, Hungerford Hill Hilltops Shiraz 2019 and McWilliams 1877 Shiraz 2018.

Chair of Judges Gwyn Olsen singled out the shiraz class for its consistency of style and high calibre.

‘The Hilltops traditional hero red varieties are shiraz and cabernet,’ commented Hilltops Wine President, Brian Freeman.  ‘Increasingly, winemakers from other regions are attracted to the quality of Hilltops cool climate grapes and are forging new expressions that impress.’

‘Hilltops grapes will again be in strong demand in 2022 and we look forward to seeing more out-of-region producers featuring Hilltops GI wines in their portfolios.’

Corang Estate in the NSW Southern Tablelands is a relatively young brand established by Jill and Michael Bynon.  Their own sustainable vineyard was planted in 2018 to shiraz and tempranillo and they harvested their first crop in 2021.

‘We are delighted to be able to source grapes from the Hilltops and this award will be a significant boost to our brand development,’ said Jill Bynon.

TIPTOE THROUGH THE HILLTOPS

TIPTOE THROUGH THE HILLTOPS

Seeking alternatives for a NSW mini-break? Well, DELICIOUS magazine has a suggestion.
And it hasn’t anything to do with tulips…
The 20th birthday edition features a come hither travel story entreating readers to head to the #HilltopsRegion… to explore winding country roads, rustic Cellar Doors, Pick-Your-Own Fruit, great pubs, cafés, bakeries…comfy cottages…bush walks…  What are you waiting for?

Cellar Doors:  Ballinaclash, Chalkers Crossing, FREEMAN Vineyards, Grove Estate, Trandari

www.hilltopswine.com.au

HILLTOPS HIGHLIGHTED

HILLTOPS HIGHLIGHTED

The Hilltops Region may constitute just 2% of NSW vineyards but according to sommelier Samantha Payne the region is nothing less than “small but mighty.”  Punching enough weight to score a double-page spread in this month’s Australian Gourmet Traveller.  Samantha’s Top 5 Picks include estate grown #FREEMANSecco2015 and #MoppityEscalierShiraz2014, and three wines crafted from Hilltops grapes by talented Canberra winemakers – Sam Leyshon Mallaluka Pet Nat, Nick Spencer Rosé and Bryan Martin’s Ravensworth Nebbiolo.

According to winemaker and viticulturist Brian Freeman, President of Hilltops Wine and founder of FREEMAN Vineyards, the key to the region’s special character is ‘an intensity of flavour’ found in all varieties.

Micro-climates also play a part.  ‘The temperature and climate have very similar notes to Italy, making it perfect for slower ripening varieties like Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Rondinella and Corvina.’

For Canberra based Nick Spencer, ‘It’s the one NSW region you go to if you want something interesting.’  And more winemakers are doing just that, sourcing and making exciting go-to wines.

Hey wine explorers, next stop Hilltops?

HILLTOPS WEATHER REPORT

HILLTOPS WEATHER REPORT

Fortunately the recent severe weather system largely skirted the NSW Hilltops Region.  The white varieties had already been harvested, with vignerons reporting good quality and yields for pinot gris, chardonnay and prosecco. 

And the earlier ripening reds like tempranillo were also already in the tank.  Other red grapes had been picked for making rosés.

According to Hilltops Association President, Brian Freeman, the impact on the traditional workhorse Hilltops red varieties – shiraz and cabernet is yet to be fully assessed.  But most of the shiraz crop had already been harvested.

‘ The thicker, tougher skinned varieties like cabernet and the later ripeners, notably the Italian varietals like sangiovese and nebbiolo, are now hanging out to dry under sunny skies and should prove resilient.’

‘The weather cell hovered over the region for three days but fortunately the region is as named, hilly with 18-metre deep granite loam soils that soak up water like a sponge.  Vineyards can typically be accessed within four hours of a downpour.  We should be back to harvest action in a day or so,’ commented Brian Freeman, proprietor of FREEMAN Vineyards.

In fact, the total region rainfall over the three-day period was about 100mms and while it halted harvesting, the rainfall is not expected to seriously impact the overall vintage.

More information:  Call Jane Adams M:  0417 733715

FINDING FIANO

FINDING FIANO

Hilltops vignerons are among grape growers innovating to accommodate changing climate.

And one white variety that is showing serious promise is Fiano [fee-ah-no].  An immigrant from southern Italy, it is acknowledged as a versatile variety that likes the Hilltops region terroir and elevation.

The regional news website The Riot-ACT has just published an article looking into Fiano… Read it here https://the-riotact.com/finding-fiano-the-new-buzz-grape-variety-thats-delivering-for-a-changing-climate/431718