Fallen Giants takes home coveted Jimmy Watson trophy from Melbourne Royal this week

December 3, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Victoria’s Fallen Giants Winery, 2019 Shiraz was awarded the iconic Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for Best Young Red at the 2021 Melbourne Royal Wine Awards Trophy Presentation at Melbourne Showgrounds this week.

The Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy is the Australian wine industry’s most coveted prize, awarded annually to the best one or two-year-old red wine and is named after the legendary Jimmy Watson who championed table wine at his Carlton wine bar.

The Fallen Giants 2019 Shiraz also won the trophies for Best Victorian Shiraz and the highly regarded Trevor Mast Trophy for Best Shiraz. 

Remarkably, Fallen Giants has a strong connection to the late, great, Trevor Mast with the Fallen Giants vineyard having previously been part of Mount Langi Ghiran, during Trevor Mast’s time as their Chief Winemaker. The vineyard was purchased by Rebecca and Arron Drummond and renamed Fallen Giants in 2013. (Ms Drummond is pictured above with winemaker Justin Purser.)

This year, the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards acknowledged the contribution of the late, Dr Tony Jordan. Most notably, Dr Jordan founded Domaine Chandon Australia in the Yarra Valley in 1985, establishing one of Australia’s most celebrated and successful sparkling wines.

Melbourne Royal was pleased to award the inaugural Best Sparkling Wine trophy in Dr Tony Jordan’s name, honouring his lifetime of work, many achievements and lasting contribution to the Awards. Dr Jordan’s wife, Michele presented the inaugural Dr Tony Jordan Trophy for Best Sparkling to Wicks Estate for their 2015 Pamela Chardonnay Pinot Noir.

The François De Castella Trophy for Best Young White was awarded to Tasmania’s Tolpuddle Vineyard for their 2020 Chardonnay, with the same wine also being awarded The Douglas Seabrook Trophy for Best Single Vineyard Wine and the team behind it the Kym Ludvigsen Trophy for Viticultural Excellence. Tolpuddle’s Viticulturalist, Murray Leake, and Vineyard Manager, Carlos Souris, were recognised as being part of the team behind the grapes that produced the Douglas Seabrook Single Vineyard Trophy-winning wine.

For the sixth consecutive year, The James Halliday Trophy for Best Pinot Noir was awarded to a Tasmanian Winery with Lowestoft Winery being recognised for their 2020 La Maison Pinot Noir.

Yarra Valley winery, Giant Steps was awarded the trophy for Champion Victorian Winery, presented by the Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Ms Mary-Anne Thomas. This trophy recognises the winery’s top four scoring wines, with Giant Steps coming out on top after receiving four gold medals and the trophy for Best Red Blend with their 2019 Yarra Valley Syrah Carignan Grenache. 

Reflecting on the success of the awards, Melbourne Royal CEO, Brad Jenkins was thrilled that the 2021 Melbourne Royal Wine Awards could proceed this year to recognise and celebrate the best Australian wines and wineries.

“The Melbourne Royal Wine Awards recognise and celebrate excellence in Australian wine making. The Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy is the trophy wine makers from all around Australia want to win and Melbourne Royal congratulates Victoria’s Fallen Giants Winery on being the 2021 winner.”

“Along with the Jimmy Watson trophy, the Francois De Castella, Trevor Mast and James Halliday trophies are some of the most respected winemaking awards in the country and are recognised both nationally and internationally,” said Mr Jenkins

“Winning a trophy in the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards can be a game changer for a winemaker and winery. The Melbourne Royal seal of excellence provides great marketing value to winners as it has significant cache in the wine industry and with consumers.”   

Following the introduction in 2019 of state-based trophies for Shiraz, the 2021 Melbourne Royal Wine Awards saw the inclusion of best state-based trophies for Chardonnay, with the Yarra Valley’s Oakridge Wines being awarded Best Victorian Chardonnay.

The winners of each state trophy were tasted off against each other to award the trophy for Best Chardonnay, with Tolpuddle first winning the Best Tasmanian Chardonnay, and overall category trophy of Best Chardonnay with their much-acclaimed 2020 Chardonnay. 

Tolpuddle Vineyard

This is the second time Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay has won the exact same trophies at the Melbourne Wine Awards, the last time being in 2018 for the 2017 vintage. Tolpuddle has also won a Consistency of Excellence medal for the 2020 Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay. The medal recognises Exhibits of the same label that have been awarded a gold medal at the RMWA for three consecutive years since 2018.

It is also the third consecutive wine made by Adam Wadewitz that has won the Francois de Castella Trophy for Best Young White Wine at the Melbourne Wine Awards, often seen as the ‘white wine’ Jimmy Watson – this year, in 2019 with the 2018 Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay and in 2018 with the 2017 Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay. The Awards were not held in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

Mr Wadewitz said: “It was a great honour to win this award once. To win the ‘Frankie’ three times in a row is something we could never have imagined and I’m so proud of the team. 

“We’ve loved seeing the 2020 Tolpuddle wines evolve into where they are now, with great balance and intensity. The season combined small yields and a cool February, which was the perfect combination. It’s a great credit to the team in the vineyard and the winery, and wonderful to get recognition for all the hard work. How good is Tassie Chardonnay?”

The vineyard is named after the Tolpuddle Martyrs whose ‘reward’ for starting England’s first agrarian union was to be transported to Tasmania as convicts.  

Melbourne Royal Wine Awards Committee Chair, Samantha Isherwood saw the successful delivery of the 2021 Melbourne Royal Wine Awards as a highlight of the year. 

“To see the judging and presentation of the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards go ahead has indeed been a highlight of 2021. Tasting wines from all regions of Australia completely independent, with integrity and professionalism is so important to the grape growers, viticulturists, wine makers, distributors, restaurateurs, retailers and consumers,” said Ms Isherwood. 

Conducted by Melbourne Royal since 1884, the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards provide producers with a valuable opportunity to benchmark their wines against industry standards, seek advice from an independent panel of experts, and promote and market award-winning products using the Melbourne Royal seal of excellence.

“The Melbourne Royal Wine Awards provide Australian winemakers with a unique and valuable platform to leverage their success locally and internationally by incorporating the Melbourne Royal seal of excellence in marketing and on packaging”, Mr Jenkins said

2021 Melbourne Royal Wine Awards Trophy Winning Wines

  • The Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for Best Young Red: Fallen Giants, Shiraz – 2019
  • The Francois De Castella Trophy for Best Young White: Tolpuddle Vineyard, Chardonnay – 2020
  • The Trevor Mast Trophy for Best Shiraz: Fallen Giants, Shiraz – 2019
  • The James Halliday Trophy for Best Pinot Noir: Lowestoft, La Maison Pinot Noir – 2020
  • The Douglas Seabrook Trophy for Best Single Vineyard Wine: Tolpuddle Vineyard, Chardonnay – 2020
  • The Bill Chambers Trophy for Best Fortified Wine: Morris Wines, Cellar Reserve Topaque NV Muscadelle
  • The Kym Ludvigsen Trophy for Viticultural Excellence: Murray Leake, Viticulturalist and Carlos Souris, Vineyard Manager, Tolpuddle Vineyard
  • Dr Tony Jordan Trophy for Best Sparkling: Wicks Estate, Pamela Chardonnay Pinot Noir – 2015
  • Champion Victorian Winery: Giant Steps, Yarra Valley 
  • Best Semillon: Tyrrell’s, Belford Semillon – 2017
  • Best Chardonnay: Tolpuddle Vineyard, Chardonnay – 2020
  • Best Riesling: Henschke, Julius Riesling – 2021 
  • Best Sauvignon Blanc: Scarpantoni Estate, Sauvignon Blanc – 2021
  • Best Pinot Gris/Grigio: Longview, Queenie Pinot Grigio – 2021
  • Best Single Varietal White: Small Victories Wine Co, Vermentino – 2021
  • Best White Blend Hanging Rock, ‘The Jim Jim Three’, Pinot Gris Gewurztraminer Riesling – 2021
  • Best Sweet White Wine: Deen De Bortoli, Botrytis Semillon – 2018
  • Best Rosé: Turkey Flat, Rose Grenache – 2021
  • Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Thompson Estate, The Specialist Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019
  • Best Cabernet Sauvignon Blend: Deep Woods Estate, Cabernet Merlot Malbec – 2019
  • Best Single Varietal Red: Bleasdale Vineyards, Second Innings Malbec – 2020
  • Best Grenache: The Ethereal One, Fleurieu Grenache – 2020
  • Best Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon Blend: Majella, Musician – 2019
  • Best Red Blend: Giant Steps, Yarra Valley Syrah Carignan Grenache – 2019
  • Best Organic Or Biodynamic Wine: Tscharke, Gnadenfrei White Grenache Blanc – 2020
  • Best Victorian Shiraz: Fallen Giants, Shiraz – 2019
  • Best South Australian Shiraz: St Hugo, Barossa Shiraz – 2019
  • Best NSW/ACT Shiraz: Lerida Estate, Cullerin Syrah – 2019
  • Best Western Australian: Shiraz Fermoy, Shiraz – 2019
  • Best Tasmanian Shiraz & Best Queensland Shiraz: Not Awarded 
  • Best Victorian Chardonnay: Oakridge, 864 Funder And Diamond – 2019
  • Best South Australian Chardonnay: Shaw + Smith, Lenswood Vineyard Chardonnay – 2020
  • Best NSW/ACT, Queensland Chardonnay: Not Awarded
  • Best Western Australian Chardonnay: Deep Woods Estate, Single Vineyard Chardonnay – 2020
  • Best Tasmanian Chardonnay: Tolpuddle Vineyard, Chardonnay – 2020
Consistency of Excellence (2018, 2019 and 2021)

Exhibits of the same label that have been awarded a gold medal at the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards for three consecutive years (2018, 2019 and 2021) are awarded a Consistency of Excellence Medal.

  • Tyrells Vineyards, Belfords Semillon – 2019 
  • Flametree Wines, Flametree SRS Wallcliffe Chardonnay – 2020
  • Grant Burge Wines, Grant Burge 20 Year Old Tawny Port, NV Blend 
  • Morris Wines, Morris Wines Old Premium Topaque, NV
  • Tolpuddle Vineyard, Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay, 2020  
  • Xanadu Wines, Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon, 2019
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