The Adelaide Hills is raising a glass to their new favourite son, Steve Pannell.
Nothing puts a winemaker (and a wine region) on the Australian wine consumer's GPS quite like a Jimmy Watson win. And when it is a trifecta of firsts – for SC Pannell Wines, for the Adelaide Hills and for Adelaide Hills Shiraz then the moment is especially sweet.
"Awards like this are momentous, they literally change perceptions overnight," Adelaide Hills Wine Region Chief Executive Robin Shaw said. "It doesn't matter how many times we tell people that the Hills makes the type of Shiraz that consumers want to drink in 2014, it is only when a major award like this comes to our region that everyone believes it.
"We have all been congratulating Steve all weekend – he's our new Shiraz evangelist – and the party is set to continue."
Robin said Steve's comments when accepting the award encapsulated the 21st century direction Adelaide Hills winemakers are taking.
"He has reaffirmed to all of us that Shiraz doesn't have to be a caricature wine. It doesn't have to be big and ripe and alcoholic. It can be refined and delicate and elegant and this is the future for the Hills.
"Steve described us as a great illustration of the ongoing journey of Australian wine – from sparkling to Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, and now Shiraz/Syrah.
"It is clear from the rapid growth in Pinot Noir sales in recent years that consumers want more finesse and refinement in their reds. But Pinot is an exceptionally hard variety to get right and sometimes consumers are disappointed.
"Shiraz is Australia's "own" grape variety – there is more planted here than anywhere else on earth – and we believe that Adelaide Hills Shiraz is an exciting new direction, that we want everyone to experience."
Adelaide Hills Honour Roll
Bird in Hand Nest Egg Shiraz 2010: World’s Best Shiraz (Winestate, 2012)
Shaw+Smith 2012 Shiraz: Best Australian Red 2014 International Wine Challenge
Lobethal Road 2012 Shiraz: Best in Show 2014 Sydney Royal Wine Show
Sidewood 2012 Shiraz Top 5 Shiraz in Wine of the Year Awards (Winestate 2013)
Longview Yakka 2010 Shiraz: Gold at AWC Vienna International Wine Challenge