Australian winemakers continue to reach new heights. Though shiraz stands out among assessments of the best wines, it’s not the country’s only grape of note. Other varietals, including chardonnay, pinot noir and riesling, are well represented. This diversity only spells good things for the future.
TYRRELL’S SHIRAZ HUNTER VALLEY OLD PATCH 2014
Seemingly limitless depth of ripe red and dark plum aromas. Ridiculously silky, supple and yet concentrated style, with a soft, fleshy, enveloping richness through the mid-palate. So profound and alluring: a weapon of mass seduction. Drink in a decade or more.
CLONAKILLA SHIRAZ CANBERRA DISTRICT VIOGNIER 2015
Full of life, this beauty delivers power with elegance. From fine musky florals to white pepper and almost every imaginable spice. Then an exuberant explosion of boysenberry, raspberry and cherry of every shade takes centre stage. The palate has an incredibly deep draw. Best from 2022
VASSE FELIX CABERNET SAUVIGNON MARGARET RIVER TOM CULLITY 2013
Seductive. A fusion of bright redcurrant, boysenberry and red cherry together with cassis, blue plum and mulberry. The palate’s immaculate and supple, the tannins are long and polished, with detail as well as depth, before an incredibly fresh finish. Everything a great wine should be and a new step for Vasse Felix. Drink 2020-30+
SAMI-ODI SHIRAZ BAROSSA VALLEY MAHÉ & RIBO 2015
Deep sense of flavours and texture, featuring ripe blackberry aromas that move into damson-plum and blueberry territory and some sarsaparilla. The palate folds rich chocolate into the mix of dark plum and berry fruits, while the tannins are commanding but not confronting.
PENFOLDS CHARDONNAY ADELAIDE HILLS RESERVE BIN A 2015
The nose has candied citron, lime and white spring flowers that combine with a flinty edge before opening to white peach and nectarine. Really elemental, pared back and restrained—an infant of a wine with much to come in time. Give this until 2019 to build in the bottle.
BINDI PINOT NOIR MACEDON RANGES BLOCK 5 2015
A spicy edge across bright red cherry and blueberry as well as a lilting, floral layer of perfumes, and fresh, sappy and slightly leafy notes. The acidity is very much a part of the wine’s vibrant style. The balance is superb. A wine of power with grace.
WENDOUREE CABERNET SAUVIGNON CLARE VALLEY 2014
Strong thread of leafy and gently herbal aromas with a tar and eucalyptus edge, as well as some redcurrant, cassis and mint. Profoundly tannic but delivered with finesse, density and a crunchy, gently firm edge. Drink 2022-40
GIANT STEPS PINOT NOIR YARRA VALLEY SEXTON VINEYARD 2015
Engaging and gently herbal, opening up into warmed, peppery spices and some musky florals. The palate is cut with finesse and detail, and is really engaging and structurally complex for a pinot.
TOLPUDDLE CHARDONNAY COAL RIVER VALLEY 2015
Toasty hazelnut and spicy oak, but the bright grapefruit and white peach take centre stage on the nose. A core of intense, commanding acidity on the palate, while peach-custard and lemon-curd flavours hold super long.
PENFOLDS SHIRAZ SOUTH AUSTRALIA GRANGE 2012
Deep and ripe dark plum and black cherry aromas lead the nose, and there’s plum cake too that’s really ripe and deeply spicy. The palate’s incredibly poised. It has a richness with composure driven by tightknit tannins and plenty of ripe dark plum and cherry flavours. Neatly crafted, powerful yet contained and smoothly rendered into the finish. This is a powerful vintage that’s been cleverly polished and tamed; it will live long. Best from 2025.
(Text by James Suckling)