McLaren Vale’s 2021 Best Wine of Show and prestigious ‘Bushing Monarch’ title was awarded on Thursday 28th October at a black tie trophy presentation dinner live streamed from Beresford House.
Dandelion Vineyards winemaker Elena Brooks and Zar Brooks were crowned the 2021 Bushing Monarchs for their 2020 Lion's Tooth McLaren Vale Shiraz Riesling.
From almost 800 exhibits, the 2020 Lion's Tooth McLaren Vale Shiraz Riesling was the highest scoring wine of the 2021 McLaren Vale Wine Show as judged by an impressive panel of South Australian judges including Kate Laurie (Deviation Road), Tim Dolan (Peter Lehmann Wines) and Natasha Mooney (The Wine Architect) and lead by esteemed wine writer Tony Love.
The winners were recognised in front of fellow winemaking peers and trophy winners, sponsors of the McLaren Vale Wine Show and invited guests. Chef Todd Steele curated a menu with a regional focus, which was complemented by the trophy winning wines of the Show.
“It was a privilege to judge at the McLaren Vale Wine Show and witness the breadth of excellent wines representative of one of the most progressive regions in the country”, said Chair of Judges, Tony Love. "It was most encouraging to see the first ever separate Fiano class trophy awarded, indicative of the region's celebration of the "new". Nero d'Avola also is standing up as a variety to further embrace. Grenache continues to grow in stature. And it's always a joy to see contemporary styles surfacing out of the more traditional Shiraz and Cabernet classes".
Mr Love noted the focus towards evolving wine varieties and styles suited to the district, from Grenache to other Mediterranean reds and whites, was exciting. Mr Love was also pleased the attention still given to traditional styles remained respectful and critical to the region's reputation and economic well-being. "To see such diversity and quality across all four days of the show judging suggests McLaren Vale is in a very good place in its winemaking journey. I hope we have been able to bring to the forefront the best wines of the year for all to enjoy, knowing they have managed to impress all the judges and rise to the trophy podium on their individual merits".
McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch is thrilled the Best Wine in Show celebrates the region's most notable variety and awards a female winemaker for a second year in a row. "Shiraz is our region's most predominant grape variety and our region's most historical - more than fifty percent of McLaren Vale is planted with Shiraz, and our oldest producing vines are Shiraz which date back to 1887 - suffice to say, we have a long-term love affair and reputation for producing exceptional Shiraz wines, globally", said Ms Lynch.
"Congratulations to Dandelion Wines and winemaker Elena Brooks - in 2020, we celebrated Chalk Hill Wines and winemaker Renae Hirsch with her 2019 Alpha Crucis Old Vine Grenache - it is thrilling to witness the celebration of another of our region's phenomenal female winemaking talent as the Best of Show for a second year in a row."
Please click here to download the 2021 McLaren Vale Wine Show Results.
Every year in October, the great producers of the McLaren Vale wine community prepare their most prized wines for judging at the annual McLaren Vale Wine Show - one of the most significant regional wine shows in Australia. The McLaren Vale Wine Show provides a platform for presenting wines that demonstrate varietal expression, excellence in viticulture and production, as well as provenance and sub-regionality.
The McLaren Vale Wine Show is highly regarded by international and national wine media and trade, and annually attracts a panel of high-calibre wine judges.
In 2014, McLaren Vale became the first regional Australian wine show to introduce a food component into the judging process with the intention to invite the public along to be part of the experience through a series of intimate local wine dinners for epicurean devotees. It also became the first regional wine show to invite Australian ‘Silver Bullets’ to guest judge varieties of particular influence and lead the discussion for the attendees at the dinners. The Consumer Dinner Series inclusion proved to be hugely successful and paved the way for the future trajectory of the event.
For more than half a decade, the McLaren Vale wine community has celebrated the culmination of the McLaren Vale Wine Show through the Bushing tradition.
The tradition dates back to medieval times when tavern owners would place ivy bushes above their tavern doors to celebrate the arrival of the new vintage wine, or fresh mead. The hanging ivy represented the opportunity to savour wines at their best.
In the early 1970’s, McLaren Vale winemakers incorporated this tradition to welcome the release of new vintage wines, by hanging olive branches over their cellar doors. Nowadays, olive branches (and their olives) are much more valuable, but the tradition still continues with olive trees placed (or planted) outside cellar doors.
The Bushing tradition coincided with local winemakers discussing how to improve the quality of the wines produced in the region, and ultimately – improving the region’s reputation as a producer of high quality wines. This resulted in the formation of McLaren Vale’s first Wine Show Committee, with the first McLaren Vale Wine Show being held in 1973.
Whilst McLaren Vale is one of Australia’ oldest wine regions, it is devoid of pomp and ceremony – except for the crowning of the Bushing King or Queen.
The winemaker of the ‘Best Wine of Show’ is crowned as the Bushing King or Queen at the McLaren Vale Wine Show Bushing Lunch. The ‘disrobing’ of the previous years’ King or Queen and ‘coronation’ of the new winning winemaker is cause for much celebration and is the pinnacle of the Bushing Lunch.
The Bushing Lunch is attended by the McLaren Vale community, key stakeholders to the region and industry members, and provides the region’s wine producers with due recognition and highlights their contribution to McLaren Vale.