2021 Seppelt ‘St Peters’ Shiraz
This is winemaker Clare Dry’s first ‘St Peters’ Shiraz, and what a debut it is – perfumed, intense, spicy, silky and just so effortless with it.
In any year, this is a sure candidate for Australia’s top rosé – for both quality and value – and the 2023 is stellar. Red fruits and watermelon are features, as is the typically textural play on the palate that is swiftly refreshed with perfectly balanced acidity.
The suite of reserve wines is a welcome addition to the Sigurd portfolio, with this elevating a variety so infrequently celebrated in the Barossa. Mineral, spicy and laced with umami on a bed of citrus, this is textural, chewy and so engagingly savoury and complex.
Jo Marsh is helping to shed light on the Alpine Valleys and less-common varieties. Case in point is her 2022 fiano, which embraces the coolly fragrant side of the grape, with floral, apple and pear notes, and a pleasing grip closing out.
The devotion of Giles Cooke MW and Fergal Tynan MW to grenache is on display here with the full gamut of grenache flavours from wild red fruits and florals to an earthy growl of old vine fruit, with a natural tannic spine supporting.
This is a cinsault to get people talking about cinsault. Pitched in a very of the moment midweight style, this sports a riot of red berries paired with spice and dusty minerality, a fine but engagingly sandy tannin cleaning up the finish.
From the Alpha Box & Dice crew, this is a skinsy take on pinot gris that takes the coppery ‘ramato’ inspiration into deeply coloured and flavourful territory, with notes of pear, guava, peach and watermelon and a palate rolling into a gently grippy and textural zone.
From the certified biodynamic Cullen vineyard, this is Vanya Cullen’s foray into orange wine territory. A predictably amber hue, this has herbal and citrus notes, lemongrass and a savoury accent, with pithy grape-skin tannins giving characteristic grip.
Giant Steps may be a Yarra Valley icon, but here it spreads its wings into the hallowed pinot noir territory of Tasmania, with an expression full of ripe wild berries and violets dusted with baking spices that front a palate of silky plushness and sneakily assertive tannins.
This is Aphelion’s pinnacle grenache – a wine made up of the best parcels in the best years, and the 2021 is at once vibrant and brooding, with notes of cherry, cranberry and rhubarb, layered in with wild herbs and earthy notes that channel through a finely pitched palate.
This is the first syrah that Owen Latta has made since 2015, and it’s stunning stuff. An incredibly complex and darkly seductive wine, with wild fruits accented by exotic spices and craggy minerals – midweight, chewy and speaking loudly of place.
A blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon from older vines. Cullen has given the fruit a bit of a luxury Bordeaux treatment with plenty of classy oak, but the vibrant lift of cut herbs and cassis leave the strongest impression, with a textual but brightly fresh palate following up.
Owen Latta’s take on viognier is a world away from the norm of exotically lifted wines, dripping in apricot floral. Instead, his is a wine of orchard fruits creeping to ripeness with pops of honeycomb and nuts, a slip of texture and a gently pithy palate to gnaw on.
Sourced from three sites, with vines from 55 to 90 years old, Pete Schell crafts the fruit into a democratically priced everyday wine that over delivers in a major way. Crushed red berries and cherries, spices and florals leading to a palate shot through with rocky and earthy minerality, the balance impeccable.
John Hughes’ mastery of the riesling grape has already been amply proven, but in the superb 2021 vintage that dial’s been turned up to new limits. This is an intense play of jasmine and lime, effusive but not overly exotic, with tension and effortless balance through a long finish underlining its pedigree.
A decade in barrel, first under flor yeast, then on ullage (an oxidative environment), it’s fair to say this is a unique wine for this country. This bristles with briny Sherry notes, roasted nuts and linseed, an explosion of orange-skinned citrus and spice riding the uber-dry and saline palate.
Built from mataro, grenache and cinsault, this illustrates what makes blends so compelling – each component pooling into the gaps left by the others, leaving a seamless whole, laced with ripe red fruits, spice and floral notes, the palate supple, with fine grip and natural freshness.
This rosé is an expression of all the red varieties in the Cullen vineyard viewed through a deep pink lens. Fragrant, spicy and herbal, with a plump of richness cleaned up with a gentle grip working in concert with the acidity.
The ‘Fresh Prince’ marshals a quartet of red varieties with decent crossover on a Venn diagram but are rarely all seen together, offering a fragrantly floral and spicy nose, with earthy notes, red and dark fruits and a palate of chewy, grapey tannins and fresh zip.
Subtle orchard fruits and dryly savoury. Light on its feet, with a fine, lightly textural and grippy feel.
Sweet, but cut through with salted nut and smoky notes, and alcohol spirit lending it shape and line. Crittenden Estate’s take on the Macvin of France’s Jura region, with flor-aged savagnin combined with unfermented new-vintage juice, then fortified.
A savoury, textured and mineral chardonnay from 2020’s Young Gun of Wine.
Such a new Australian perspective on Sicily’s most important red grape. Light, vibrant, cherry scented and detailed, pitched to take a chill, or not – this is required drinking.
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Cabernet lovers may scoff, but chardonnay and pinot noir are undoubtedly the hero varieties of the Yarra Valley. It is the latter, though, that leads the plantings, and substantially so. Sheer representation aside, the roster of high-quality wines from makers both large and small make a compelling case for the region being Australia’s prime producer of the grape. So much so that a Deep Dive was called for.
It was riesling that got the modern Tasmanian wine industry rolling with a modest crop in the early 1960s. Fast forward, and while riesling hasn’t exploded in volume like pinot noir and chardonnay, there are exciting expressions coming from across the island state. So much so that a Deep Dive was called for. We gathered every Tasmanian riesling (excepting dessert wines) that we could find and set our expert panel the task of finding the wines that compelled the most. All wines tasted blind.
The top 50 finalists have been selected based on the pursuit of fruit and wine quality, vine health, innovation, and sustainability – encompassing environmental, social and economic sustainability.
“By focusing on the vineyards, on the places where wine comes from, and on the practices of sustainable grape growing, these awards can help recalibrate how we think about wine, shifting our perception of it from a liquid commodity in a glass to a cultural product of the country it’s from,” said awards panellist Max Allen.
“It was thrilling to visit each of these vineyards, albeit vicariously,” continued Allen, “and learn about all the hard work going into looking after the land, nurturing the health of the vines, and – most importantly – continually improving wine quality.”See the list here
As voted on by over 100 of the country’s leading sommeliers, winemakers, hospitality tastemakers and journalists, Wineslinger is the ultimate guru’s guide to Australia’s best wine haunts. This year’s Top 50 venues are a fantastically mixed bunch, but one thing they all have in common is they love wine, and they want to share that love with you. Whether you’re in for the long haul or a quick drink and a snack, these Wineslingers just want to see you, and to share what they know, share what they love.
Registrations for the 18th Annual Young Gun of Wine Awards are now open (closing December). Lauren Langfield or Orbis Wines will join the YGOW tasting panel in 2024. She knows what winemakers are going through.
Nick Dugmore, the ‘Vigneron’ trophy winner at the 2023 Young Gun of Wine Awards, was recently diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer. Nick is just 38, and he has two young children with his wife, Bec. Nick is one of the nicest people in the wine game, generous of spirit and well loved. He is also a seriously talented grower and maker who has set his sights on championing his beloved region of Kangaroo Island, which rarely gets due attention.
Designed to place vineyards and growers across the nation at the heart of the Australian wine story, and the heart of the Australian wine community, the 2023 Vineyard of the Year Awards – the fourth annual edition – is now open for registrations.
History was made at the 2023 Young Gun of Wine Awards, which were awarded at a ceremony on Monday night. Six trophies were presented, but for the first time in the 17 years of the awards, which champions emerging winemaking talent, an employee of a wine business took out the top trophy, the Young Gun of Wine, from a field of 50 finalists.
“If we went back 10 years, the relationship between sugar and acidity would be a lot more obvious – all over the shop. There’d be sugar here, acid there, and things would not be anywhere near as in balance as a lot of the wines we saw today.”