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Barossa, This One’s For You

By Saturday 29 October 2022August 30th, 2023No Comments

Hentley Farm winemaker Andrew Quin, 43, sounds fairly coherent for someone who won the Jimmy just a few hours earlier.

After a few Bobo cordials, the boy from Melbourne’s bayside suburbs hit the pillow at 3am.

“We had a fairly good crack at it,” he croaks.

The Old Legend Grenache 2021 ($69) has lived up to its name.

What does it all mean to Andrew?

“It’s still sinking in,” he says.

“It’s disbelief, to be honest, mate.

“I think everyone would agree, when you start making wine you hear about the Jimmy; it’s the thing you dream of winning.

“We’ve had successes, but this surpasses them all.”

Andrew thanked a few people in his speech.

“I did my best, I fumbled through it,” he says.

“A few thank you’s and that’s about it.

“I got off there as quickly as I could; speeches aren’t really my thing.”

He thanked the owners, Keith and Alison Hentschke, and fellow winemaker Siobhan Wigan.

Siobhan’s husband is Yalumba winemaker Sam Wigan, son of Andrew, ex-Peter Lehmann Wines – The Old Legend himself.

Andrew has been with Hentley Farm for 14 years – the last eight with Siobhan.

“She does all the real work,” Andrew says.

“She keeps the train on the track. She does an amazing job.”

Did Andrew see something special in the Jimmy winner early on?

“Yeah, definitely,” he says.

“Everyone knows what a great vintage 21 was, but the thing that really made this wine was the whole bunch component; it was just absolutely singing.

“It had so much beautiful bright fruit and aromatic lift.

“Sometimes managing stalk tannin can be hard, but in this wine the stalk tannin was so beautifully balanced.”

The wine comes from two Grenache blocks – 200 metres apart – at Seppeltsfield, planted by Keith.

“One that sits up on a higher altitude part of the property, and one that sits a bit lower,” Andrew says.

“The lower block has a bit more naturally confected fruit and that’s where we do the whole bunch, and the one further up on the hill is all spice and flowers and all those sorts of characteristics – and that’s the one we leave on skins.”

Like most other wine regions, the Barossa is doing it tough; the China thing was cruel.

Andrew hopes the Jimmy will give everybody a lift.

“The Barossa is doing it as hard as anyone at the moment,” he says.

“There’s excess Shiraz, it would seem, and prices are dropping.

“So yeah, I think there would be a lot of excitement in the community to see Barossa Grenache doing well and the Jimmy coming back to the Valley.

“I’d like to think it will give the place a bit of a spark.”

It was the first Melbourne Royal Wine Awards dinner Andrew had been to.

One of the longstanding traditions is the winner of the Jimmy shouting Champagne for everyone at Jimmy Watson’s Wine Bar the day after.

“I didn’t even know that until last night,” Andrew says.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got Keith’s credit card.”

Andrew reflects on 14 years with Hentley Farm.

“It’s been a pretty long stint,” he says.

“Looking back at the start of my journey at Hentley Farm, I was young – in my late twenties – when Keith gave me the job.

“He gave me complete freedom, really, to make the wines as I saw fit.

“It was pretty risky for him to do that at the time. But, yeah, hopefully it’s worked out well.”

Photograph: Andrew Quin with Siobhan Wigan.

• This article was first published in our cult-following Friday newsletter The Week That Was. Subscribe here.

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