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McHenry Hohnen takes rosé trophy at Langton’s 2023 Margaret River Wine Show

The rosé class saw a record number of entries and gold medals this year, with the 2023 McHenry Hohnen Chloé taking home the Chr. Hansen rosé trophy and ‘Pink Jacket’.

Established in 2002, the Margaret River Wine Show once again celebrated the best of the region’s bottlings last week.

Margaret River is unequivocally known for its Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, both of which held court as expected in the show this year. However, it would be remiss to ignore the rise of rosé over recent years, with regards to both quality and consumer demand.

Writer Nick Ryan, who chaired the judging panel for the third time this year, said: ‘If anyone thinks that rosé is an afterthought, a bit of giggle juice and something you pump out while concentrating on “serious” wines, you’ll be left behind. I think we make much more serious rosé in this country than we ever have.’

‘Rosé is a serious wine, and it deserves to be treated as a serious wine. Its context is fun and hedonistic, but all fine wines should be in a fun and hedonistic environment, really,’ he added.

Julian Langworthy’s production figures at Deep Woods Estate speak volumes. ‘The year I started, we made about 200 dozen bottles of rosé. In 2022, we made about 25,000 dozen bottles of rosé, which is a pretty meteoric rise in 12 years,’ he said.

In 2015, the Margaret River Wine Show began the custom of anointing the rosé trophy winner with a dapper pink jacket.

For the first three years, the show’s rosé trophy winners received a custom-tailored pink jacket made by iconic Sydney atelier P. Johnson. However, over the past five years, the Margaret River Wine Association has allocated funds to other areas of development. Recent trophy winners have received sizeably less expensive and less stylish, off-the-shelf jackets.

However, entrepreneur Murray McHenry OAM has generously sponsored ten new custom-tailored jackets to be crafted by P. Johnson to replace those given to the past five winners and to be awarded to future winners.

It was a nice touch of serendipity that the 2023 McHenry Hohnen Chloé rosé joined the ranks of trophy winners this year. McHenry founded the eponymous winery in 2004 with his brother-in-law, David Hohnen.

‘Two years ago I noted the pink jackets being awarded, and then noted the initial recipient, Julian Langworthy’s jacket being beautifully tailored compared to the winner that year. I undertook to have all winners receive the same well-tailored jacket. I hope this tradition continues and the jacket be sought after,’ McHenry said.

The race for the ‘Pink Jacket’ has intensified with the reinstatement of the tailor-made prize. Winemakers wear it with pride, and it’s highly sought after. The jacket is inspired by the iconic ‘Masters Green Jacket’, presented at the professional golf championship to the winner in the immediate aftermath of the victory.

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