This year marked the 21st annual Decanter World Wine Awards, and Australia brought home an impressive array of medals, including eight Best in Show medals and 10 platinum medals.

Out of 18,000 entries, only 50 Best in Show medals were awarded, putting winners in the top 0.27 per cent of the world’s wines.

According to Decanter Awards judges, a Tasmanian Pinot has never before been included in the Best in Show selection, and this year, there are two: Lowestoft 2022 Single Vineyard Jacoben Pinot Noir and Bay of Fires 2022 Pinot Noir.

Regional Chair of Judges Stefan Neumann said that Australian Pinot Noirs were a highlight of the awards.

“The overall quality of these wines is just outstanding. It was such a joy to judge; we were running out of superlatives of what to call them, so really, really good,” he said.

Lowestoft Chief Winemaker Liam McElhinney said that the award recognises the quality of Pinot Noir in Tasmania.

“This recent award follows last year’s remarkable achievements; we were crowned Best Pinot Noir in Australia following the award of the Jimmy Watson and James Halliday trophies at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards. To now be recognised on an international level as producing one of the best Pinot Noir wines in the world, reaffirms the exceptional place that Tasmania is, and the extraordinary quality of the fruit we are privileged to work with each year,” he said.

New Zealand was also recognised for its Pinot Noir, with Central Otago’s McArthur Ridge 2022 Southern Tor Pinot Noir receiving a Best in Show medal.

McArthur Ridge International Sales Manager, Jason Dellaca, highlighted the hard work of the winemaking team that lead to this accolade.

“This is an outstanding result. showing yet again how special our vineyard site in Alexandra is and the ability and quality of our vineyard team, led by Murray Petrie. Our sole focus as a team is to produce the best wines possible from each vintage, and to be globally recognized for this hard work is extremely rewarding for everyone at McArthur Ridge,” he said.

McLaren Vale winery Penny’s Hill was awarded Best in Show for its 2023 Yeenunga Single Vineyard Grenache, with judges commenting on the finesse and grace the wine displays.

Penny’s Hill was purchased by Randall Wine Group in 2022, and Chief Winemaker said that the award vindicates the winery’s new direction under the current leadership.

“We’re thrilled with the timing of this recognition as Penny’s Hill enters a new chapter, adding new wines to the collection and featuring contemporary packaging highlighting the iconic Penny’s Hill red spot,” she said.

Another Best in Show went to Fermoy for its 2020 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. It had previously won Gold at last year’s Decanter World Wine Awards, and the 2021 Reserve Cabernet also received a gold medal at this year’s awards. Just a week prior, the 2022 Reserve Cabernet took home gold at the International Wine & Spirit Challenge Margaret River, reaffirming the quality of Fermoy’s younger wines.

Senior Winemaker Jeremy Hodgson said that the award reflects the quality of the Margaret River region.

“We’re in Cabernet country, it’s our raison d’être, the pinnacle of what we do. To win an award for Cabernet is exceptionally gratifying.

“It’s the world’s largest and most influential wine competition, and to have our Reserve Cabernet recognised as the very best is not only a win for Fermoy, but it shines the light once again on Margaret River being a consistently world-class producer of Cabernet Sauvignon,” he said.

Australian Best in Show medals:

  • Lowestoft 2022 Single Vineyard Jacoben Pinot Noir
  • Red Knot by Shingleback 2022 Classified GSM
  • Penny’s Hill 2023 Yeenunga Single Vineyard Grenache
  • Chaffey Bros. 2021 Evangeline Syrah
  • Fermoy 2020 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
  • McGuigan 2014 Bin 9000 Semillon
  • Stella Bella 2022 Luminosa Chardonnay
  • Bay of Fires 2022 Pinot Noir

Australian Platinum medals:

  • Peter Lehmann 2018 Stonewall Shiraz
  • Morris Wines NV Old Premium Rare Muscat
  • Sidewood 2022 Owen’s Chardonnay
  • Yarra Yering 2022 Pinot Not
  • Yarra Yering 2022 Underhill
  • Dawson James 2020 Chardonnay
  • House of Arras 2015 Grand Vintage
  • House of Arras 2014 Blanc de Blancs
  • Calabria Family 2022 Saint Petri Shiraz-Carignan
  • Wynns Coonawarra Estate 2020 John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon

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