Bird in Hand – a rare breed beats the world’s best

For those of us who love our wines we all know that there are some wineries where you try one wine and love it and then try another and think – hmmm not so impressive… It’s not often you come across a winery where you love all of the wines and are confident that any newbies being released will also be excellent and you would happily buy blind.

For me one of the wineries fitting the bill as a sure bet every time is Bird in Hand winery in the Adelaide Hills. Having lived in Adelaide for six years it was one of the first local wineries I came across, with its divine sparkling pinot noir, an inexpensive but classy slighly blush sparkling that is an icon in South Australia. I have visited the winery over the years several times and every time been greeted by friendly and knowledgeable staff and the wine has been consistently excellent – well, actually there are always standouts of course. (The wines are listed below.) Furthermore, the venue is in such a beautiful setting, it is often used for weddings and other functions. An unforgettable experience at cellar door – for all the right reasons – and great wine that I regularly enjoy, this winery is a firm favourite. It’s great to see that the world agrees!

Tigs at Bird in Hand

On one of my visits to the winery I met Leah Adint – a wine graduate originally from Alaska who studied and made wine in California and then in Adelaide and is now working in the Adelaide Hills with two excellent South Australian winemakers – Peter Leske and Taras Ochota (the Australian flying Swedish-Italian winemaker in the hills!). She was a great ambassador for the winery as are all of the staff they have at cellar door. With the excellent wines by Kym Milne MW, the winery’s Chief Winemaker, the formula is a winner.

So I am happy to note that Bird in Hand has won yet another award for its shiraz!

Bird in Hand’s 2010 Nest Egg Shiraz has won Winestate magazine’s World’s Best Shiraz Competition, taking the title of World’s Best Shiraz.

This is a massive achievement and a big boost for Adelaide Hills shiraz in general. In a field of over 700 shiraz wines, it was up against big hitters including the 2007 Penfold’s Grange, 2007 Henschke Hill of Grace, and Torbreck’s 2006 The Laird. It was also rated above some highly respected French wines including 2007 Paul Jaboulet Aîné – La Chapelle De L’Hermitage and 2007 E.Guigal Côte-Rôtie – Château d’Ampuis.

Bird in Hand shirazes have also been honoured in recent years including:

2005 Bird in Hand Shiraz – Worlds Best Shiraz $30-40, Winestate magazine

2009 Two in the Bush Shiraz – Worlds Best Shiraz under $20, Decanter magazine

2009 Bird in Hand Shiraz – Best Australian Red (International Wine Challenge, UK), Trophy (International Cool Climate Wine Show), Gold (Decanter magazine)

While the shiraz is the show stealer in terms of awards, the cabernet sauvignons are a cab lover’s dream. They are the intense, complex, serious cabernets with excellent fruit and balance that I love. As a chardonnay lover, I also have to give a thumbs up to the chardonnay range. The elegantly oaked and balanced wines are the type of chardonnay that should push this varietal back into first place ahead of sauvignon blanc. We make this wine so well in this country. I thoroughly recommend going and trying the entry level Two in the Bush chardonnay for $20 and you will be amazed at the quality of this wine. It is divine. Then you have the next two levels to treat yourself to! Then of course there is the Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir– a lightly blush sparkling that is crisp, fruity, balanced and just perfect for any occasion. I’ll be consuming plenty over the summer – and again the price is very reasonable.

One last point of interest is the bold step of Bird in Hand to establish itself in China, not just as a brand among many, but it has set up two cellar doors in Liaoning province in north-eastern China in the two coastal cities of Dalian and Yingkou. Visitors are treated to a cellar door experience complete with original vines transported from the Adelaide Hills.

Bird in Hand wines (vintages at time of writing):
Nest Egg range – Shiraz 2010; Cabernet Sauvignon 2010; Merlot 2010; Chardonnay 2010; Joy (sparkling) 2010.
Bird in Hand range – Shiraz 2010; Cabernet Sauvignon 2010; Merlot 2010; Chardonnay 2010; Sauvignon Blanc 2012; Riesling 2011; Honeysuckle Riesling 2011; Rosé 2011; Sparkling Pinot Noir 2011.
Two in the Bush range – Shiraz 2010; Merlot/Cabernet 2011; Chardonnay 2010; Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012.

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About tigchandler

English-born, lived several years in Wellington, NZ, then in Adelaide, South Australia, and recently moved back to New Zealand. With an economics background, I have worked in researching wine consumption patterns, marketing, economics and social media at the University of Adelaide. I also worked a vintage and in wineries in McLaren Vale so have seen both the research/analytical side of the industry and the practical/hands-on side. I have retail experience and many ongoing industry links all around Australia and overseas. This blog reflects my ongoing passion for everything related to the wine industry.
This entry was posted in Adelaide Hills, Cabernet sauvignon, Chardonnay, New World wine, Sauvignon blanc, South Australian wine, Syrah/Shiraz, Wine news and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Bird in Hand – a rare breed beats the world’s best

  1. Pingback: Tigs’ pick of wines to buy in Adelaide | Wine news from Tigchandler

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