ARGUABLY the best value-for-money chardonnay in the world this year was grown on the foot hills of Mount Canobolas and produced by Ross Hill Wines.
Judges at this year's London Wine Competition, which boasts 1300 entries from 36 countries, have named the Orange winery's 2019 Pinnacle Series Chardonnay as Best in Show by Varietal after scoring it as a gold medal wine.
To take the honours, the wine beat entrants from all over the globe and Ross Hill owner James Robson was understandably delighted.
"It hasn't happened before and we're very excited," Mr Robson said.
"We were up against other wines from Australian, France, England, Spain, New Zealand, American wines ..."
The London Wine Competition's point of difference is its recognition of a wine's potential on the market. Judges take into account quality, value for money and shelf presence, unearthing wines that have clear market value for consumers and trade buyers.
Nominated for the show by its London distribution firm One More Wine Shop, the 2019 Pinnacle Chardonnay wasn't the only Ross Hill wine to medal with the winery's 2018 Pinnacle Shiraz and the 2019 Jack's Lot Shiraz scoring silvers while the 2019 Pinnacle Series Pinot Noir earned bronze.
Augullong Wines, which are also distributed by the One More Wine Shop, earned silver with its two entries, the 2018 Crossing Reserve Shiraz and the 2017 Crossing Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
"It's a part of our marketing, when you win, it's pretty cool, pretty amazing," Mr Robson said.
"It's a not only an extraordinary thing for Ross Hill, it's extraordinary for Luke [Steele], it just shows what a gifted wine maker he is."
Ross Hill winemaker Luke Steele, who joined the Ross Hill team in 2019, said the recognition in his first vintage with the winery was very satisfying.
"This one's an interesting one because it's not only just blind tasted for quality, they look at it as a value proposition, as a total package and how it will eventually sell at the end of the day," he said.
"And that's a great thing, that these European gatekeepers are thinking that a wine from Orange is up there with some of the best chardonnays in the world in that price bracket and quality.
"And these guys see some of the most expensive wines in the world and they're saying this is up there."
Ross Hill's chardonnay block was planted by Mr Robson's late mother, Terri, in 1996 at its Griffin Road property which has an elevation of 750m.
"She would have been absolutely over the moon," he said.
"The quality of chardonnays in this little town is extraordinary."
Angullong Wines Ben Crossing, who was involved in the winemaking, said gaining international recognition was rewarding.
"[The LWC] draws wine from all over the world so to get a silver in an international wine show is great," he said.
"It helps going out there with brands from Australia and relative unknown producers on an international stage, so it's nice to have those sort of accolades for them to go out and to sell and promote the wines.
"It's well worthwhile when you put these things in to get some reward from it."
Chardonnay, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon were the top three varieties entered at the LWC.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Send a letter to the editor using the form below
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.