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Evans & Tate, Devil’s Lair score big at National Wine Show of Australia in Canberra

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
National Wine Show chair of judges Matt Harrop with Devil's Lair senior winemaker Matt Byrne.
Camera IconNational Wine Show chair of judges Matt Harrop with Devil's Lair senior winemaker Matt Byrne. Credit: Supplied

Several Margaret River wineries have enjoyed major wins on the national stage, with Devil’s Lair Wines in Forest Grove scoring the gong for best red in the country.

Held in Canberra on Thursday, May 30, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in attendance, the National Wine Show of Australia handed one of three major trophies to Devil’s Lair.

But chair of judges Matt Harrop said it was a close call between Devil’s Lair and Adelaide’s Murdoch Hill for the PM’s trophy Wine of Show award, which ultimately went to the South Australian producer.

“The Devil’s Lair has everything you could want in a young cabernet — a lot of flavour, lovely colour, perfect aromatics,” Harrop said.

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“If you were going to say, ‘here’s an example of how good Australian cabernet can be’, you don’t need to go further than this wine.”

The awards ended the dominance of fellow Margaret River winery Xanadu, which had taken out the top cabernet trophy at the nation’s leading wine show for the past nine years.

The Devil’s Lair product also won the top cabernet trophy amid a slew of awards handed out to the country’s best reds.

Senior winemaker Travis Clydesdale said he and his team were thrilled at the outcome.

“We take enormous pride in our cabernets, so to be adjudged as the Best Cabernet Sauvignon and Best Red Wine of Show at the national wine show is particularly satisfying, and a huge achievement for everyone involved with Devil’s Lair, especially our growers,” he said.

The national wine show was considered the most prestigious, partly because of rigorous entry requirements, which underscored the stellar result, Clydesdale told the Times.

The award was also a testament to the Margaret River wine region, which has taken out top honours on the national stage for more than a decade, he noted.

“Pound for pound, there’s simply no better location on the planet to craft luxury cabernet sauvignon than Margaret River,” he said.

A national trophy also went to Freya Hohnen’s Once & Well label, which took home the Blended White award for the Frankie Garden white blend 2023.

Another famed Margaret River producer Evans & Tate claimed the Cabernet Blends trophy for its 2021 Redbrook Estate Cabernet Merlot which was also the only local wine to receive a top gold medal in its category.

With fruit sourced from local vineyards and produced at the Margaret River Vintners facility, senior winemaker Matt Byrne said the vintage exceeded his and his team’s expectations.

“The team has worked so hard and intelligently on this tiny blend for many years now, and multiple vintages have been awarded on the national and international stage,” Byrne said.

“We are very satisfied and proud of each other to say the least.”

Byrne said the strong showing for Evans & Tate and other local wineries was a fitting tribute to wine industry founder Dr John Gladstones who died last week.

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