Australia’s 52 top wineries of 2022

Juicy grenache, citrusy vermentino, floral fiano, tangy barbera and mysterious nebbiolo are just some of the wines tempting Australian palates today. There’s also the flourishing array of natural wines and pet nats (shorthand for pétillant naturel, or naturally sparkling). But it’s the mainstays that elevate our greatest wineries to the pinnacle of achievement: chardonnay, cabernet, shiraz, riesling and luscious, sweet fortified wines.

The 2021 vintage was not affected by bushfire smoke and drought like 2019 and 2020. That said, there were challenges. Some wineries, especially in the Murray Valley and Riverina, were hit hard by prohibitive tariffs in China. Elsewhere there have been pandemic-related labour shortages, with pickers unable to enter the country.

The silver lining to these problems was a 2021 vintage of almost universally great quality and healthy yields, which resulted in plenty of good wine being made, and prices mostly holding up, other than at the very low end of the market. (2022 will be a different matter for many East Coast vineyards, where a deluge of rain has brought excessive weed growth, fungal disease and potentially diluted flavours. )

This is the fifth year wine website has published its , featuring 389 wineries, and the third in which it has collaborated with Good Weekend to publish the list’s top 52. How we do it: after tasting more than 10,000 wines released over the past year, from the 2021 vintage and earlier, I and my colleagues at The Real Review aggregate the scores out of 100 for the top wines released by each winery.

Top of this year’s list is Geelong’s , a stellar producer of complex pinot noirs and beautiful chardonnays. Last year’s top winery, Yarra Yering, comes in at number four, while Penfolds continues to excel, its second successive year in second spot. But really, all the wines in the top 52 are top-notch; representing the peak 2 per cent of Australia’s 2156 wineries, they’re truly the crème de la crème.


Location: Geelong region, Vic
Best known for: Wonderfully intense pinot noirs and ultra-complex chardonnays, plus equally mesmerising viognier and shiraz, the viognier arguably Australia’s best.
Huon says: The 2019 vintage truly smiled on the Farr vineyards, the wines among their best ever. Counter-intuitively, the shiraz was as outstanding as the Tout Près Pinot Noir, while the Côte Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sangreal Pinot Noir and 2020 Viognier were close on their heels. The 2020 Côte Vineyard Chardonnay was also gorgeous. A stunning line-up.


Location: Barossa Valley, SA
Best known for: A super array of reds – statuesque, powerful and age-worthy: wines that deserve their reputation as Australia’s most collectable and cellar-able. Chardonnays Yattarna and Reserve Bin A prove it’s no one-trick red pony.
Huon says: Topping the list this year were a remarkably elegant Grange in the 2017 vintage, while the single-vineyard 2019 Magill Estate Shiraz and single-region 2019 RWT Barossa Shiraz really shone, alongside Bin 169 Coonawarra Cabernet and the ever-reliable St Henri Shiraz, both 2018s.


Location: Coal River Valley, Tas
Best known for: Just two wines, a chardonnay and a pinot noir from a single vineyard near Hobart, owned by Adelaide Hills winemakers Shaw + Smith.
Huon says: The 2020 harvest may have been miserly but these wines both scored very highly. The season reduced yields, helping boost flavour. After just nine vintages, these wines have built gravitas year by year.


Location: Yarra Valley, Vic
Best known for: Some of the Yarra’s finest and more cellarable wines, led by expensive but striking Carrodus selections. Pinot noir, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz are produced equally successfully as single varietals and in blends. Our top winery last year.
Huon says: The 2019 Carrodus Pinot Noir topped the list this year; then came Carrodus Cabernet Sauvignon and Carrodus Shiraz – both 2019s – also,
the shiraz-based 2019 Dry Red Wine No. 2, and 2020 Pinot Noir. The cabernet-based 2019 Dry Red Wine No. 1 was a point behind. Pristine beauty.


Location: Clare Valley, SA
Best known for: A suite of magnificent and greedily sought-after red wines based on shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, malbec and mataro, sourced from the estate plantings of old, dry-grown vines.
Huon says: The Shiraz, Malbec, Shiraz Malbec blend and Cabernet Malbec blend, followed by Shiraz Mataro blend, all from the 2019 vintage, were the top scorers. More polished than ever.


Location: Barossa Valley, SA
Best known for: Fortified wines of great antiquity across many port and sherry styles, topped by the annual release of a vintage-dated 100 Year Old Para Tawny. The market for fortifieds is small, but happily the table wines, especially reds based on shiraz and grenache, are also outstanding.
Huon says: Top marks this year went to the Paramount Collection Museum Reserve DP 273 Rich Rare Apera, formerly known as Oloroso Sherry. Other standouts were the non-vintage Para Rare Tawny; also the DP38 Rich Rare Apera. The 2019 Northing, Westing and Easting shirazes, from the Barossa Grounds series, were also impressive.


Location: Rutherglen, Vic
Best known for: Fortifieds, the region’s world-beating speciality. Even the lowly priced Classic range are wonderful drinks and astonishingly good value. The top reds are shiraz, durif and cabernet under the CHM label.
Huon says: The Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat and Topaque were this year’s best wines, but the Old Premium Rare Tawny also scored strongly, as did the Classic Liqueur Muscat, while the 2018 CHM Durif was also in the race.


Location: Coonawarra, SA
Best known for: The triple-gabled 1896 stone winery, which has always featured in Wynns labels, and Coonawarra’s largest and most distinguished lineage of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz reds.
Huon says: The limited-release duo of 2018 John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon and 2018 Michael Shiraz were outstanding, the Riddoch a sensation, but the Michael merely one point behind it. The 2019 Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon and 2018 Harold Cabernet Sauvignon also shone, as did the 2018 Johnson’s Block Cabernet Sauvignon in a pure, fruit-driven style.


Location: Gippsland, Vic
Best known for: Pinot noir par excellence, now delivered in a smaller, more focused range of labels than under founder Philip Jones, who sold the company two years ago to Burgundy’s Jean-Marie Fourrier.
Huon says: The 2019 Reserve Pinot Noir lived up to its reputation and price, with the breathtaking 2020 Premium Chardonnay level-pegging with it, and the 2020 Premium Pinot Noir just two points back. The 2020 Estate Chardonnay and 2019 Estate Gewürztraminer also impressed. The future looks safe.


Location: Macedon Ranges, Vic
Best known for: An array of beautiful pinot noirs and chardonnays.
Huon says: The 2019 vintage from Bindi is blindingly good, the list topped by the Block 5 Pinot Noir closely followed by the Original Vineyard Pinot Noir. Next came the Quartz Chardonnay, the Kostas Rind Chardonnay and the Kaye Pinot Noir. All the pinots are pure and precise, while the Heathcote shirazes are very smart and elegant for that region.


Location: Yarra Valley, Vic
Best known for: An exceptional winery with an impeccable vineyard, now in its third generation, making classic cabernet blend Quintet from all five Bordeaux red varieties, as well as delicious chardonnay, pinot noir and Triolet, a Bordeaux-style, dry white blend.
Huon says: The supremely elegant 2019 Quintet and concentrated Pinot Noir scored equally at the top, followed by the 2019 Chardonnay and 2019 Triolet, a lovely and underrated white that ages superbly for more than 10 years. More consistent and polished than ever.


Location: Barossa Valley, SA
Best known for: Full-bodied reds with shiraz front and centre, but also a leader in grenache shiraz mourvèdre blends; RunRig is a pioneer shiraz viognier blend.
Huon says: The 2018 RunRig topped the list this year over The Laird 2016 shiraz, the 2019 The Factor shiraz and 2020 The Steading grenache blend, all high scorers. More elegant and polished, yes, but they don’t stint on concentration, power and body.


Location: Riverina, NSW; Yarra Valley, Vic
Best known for: Refined and subtle chardonnays and pinot noirs from the Yarra, and world-beating sticky, Noble One Botrytis Semillon, from the Riverina.
Huon says: The 40th-anniversary 2019 Noble One was a stunner, luscious and elegant and definitely not a sugar bomb, while the 2017 Lusatia Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the single-block A8 Syrah 2018 and 2019 Riorret Pinot Noir, all from the Yarra, were also stand-outs.


Location: Clare Valley, SA
Best known for: Riesling, riesling and more riesling! John Hughes has got it bad. He produces it under at least 10 labels, mostly dry or near-dry examples, but also sweet, fortified and sparkling.
Huon says: The 2021 vintage continues a high standard with the No.  2 Polish Hill River sub-region bottling, the No.  10 Zenit and No.  8 Schatzkammer rieslings all wonderful, only topped by the museum wine, 2015 Aged Release No.  6. Three more 2021s were close behind.


Location: Eden Valley, SA
Best known for: Hill of Grace is arguably Australia’s greatest single-vineyard wine and this 154-year-old family company backs it up with a slew of superb wines from distinguished sites. With its sustainable practices, Henschke is also an exemplary land custodian.
Huon says: Nipping at the heels of the still unassailable Hill of Grace (2017) this year were 2017 Mount Edelstone and 2019 Tappa Pass shirazes, with 2021 Julius Riesling ($47) and 2017 Keyneton Euphonium ($63) also in the race, and offering real value for money. We also loved the 2017 Noble Gewürztraminer and 2017 The Wheelwright Shiraz.


Location: Coal River Valley, Tas
Best known for: The first three-generation Tasmanian wine family made its name with superfine rieslings, then added polished chardonnays and pinot noir from its two vineyards. Lately, head-turning reserve-style selections of pinot and shiraz have been added.
Huon says: The 2020 Jack Denis Pooley Pinot Noir topped the list, closely chased by 2021 Margaret Pooley Tribute Riesling, 2020 Cooinda Vale Chardonnay, 2021 Butcher’s Hill Riesling and 2020 Oronsay Cooinda Vale Pinot Noir. The 2019 Pooley J. R. D Syrah is a model for what is now possible with the mainland shiraz grape in Tassie.


Location: Hunter Valley, NSW
Best known for: Truly regional shirazes, semillons and chardonnays, several from very old vineyards.
Huon says: Tyrrell’s had a wipe-out in the bushfire-smoked 2020 vintage, but the stellar performance in recent years of wines like the 2019 Old Patch and 8 Acres shirazes kept it in the top 20, together with the 2018 vintages of the famous Vat 47 Chardonnay and Vat 9 Shiraz, not to mention the lovely 2014 Reserve Stevens Shiraz.


Location: Yarra Valley, Vic
Best known for: Pack-leading chardonnays, refined pinot noirs and stately cabernet sauvignons. There’s a wide range of varietals, including shiraz, pinot meunier, sauvignon blanc, sparkling, merlot and pinot gris/grigio.
Huon says: Our favourites were two 2019 single-vineyard chardonnays:
Henk and 864 Funder & Diamond. Two Henk Vineyard Aqueduct Block wines, 2019 Pinot Noir and 2018 Chardonnay, both 864 selections, were smashing. Over The Shoulder is its entry-level brand.


Location: Margaret River, WA
Best known for: The Margaret River classics, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.
Huon says: Winemaker Luke Joliffe has made his case to join the region’s dress circle, his 2019 Luminosa Cabernet Sauvignon scoring an impressive 99 points, and 2018 Suckfizzle Cabernet Sauvignon, 2020 Luminosa Chardonnay, and 2020 Suckfizzle Chardonnay all going gold (95 points). The good-value entry-level brand is Skuttlebutt.


Location: Canberra District, NSW
Best known for: The famous Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier, which kicked off a fashion for lighter, finer, more aromatic shirazes. Tim Kirk’s wines are restrained and charming – even his southern Rhône Valley blend Ceoltóiri of grenache and up to six other varieties.
Huon says: The 2019 vintage of Shiraz Viognier just beat out the 2021 Viognier, one of the best viogniers in Australia. The 2021 Riesling also excelled, in good company with the 2019 T & L Vineyard Block 2 Shiraz Viognier and 2019 O’Riada Shiraz. In the smoked-out 2020 vintage, Eden Valley viognier and shiraz and Tasmanian chardonnay were sourced, with good results.


Location: Beechworth, Vic
Best known for: Chardonnay with the full suite of winemaking complexities. Going forward, Giaconda’s range will be refined to just five wines from chardonnay, shiraz and pinot noir.
Huon says: The 2019 Warner Vineyard Shiraz carried the baton this year: a stunning wine, concentrated yet elegant, with ripe spiciness and beautifully polished tannins. The 2018 vintages of the magnificent Estate Chardonnay, Estate Shiraz and Estate Pinot Noir, sampled previously, were all gold-ribbon.


Location: Huon Valley, Tas
Best known for: Refined and aromatic pinot noirs, specialising in the cool, extreme southern climes of the Huon Valley. Chatto makes several pinots, the top estate-grown wine being Isle.
Huon says: The 2020 Isle Pinot Noir was the best yet from this still-young property, another example of what a stunning vintage 2020 was in Tasmania, the yields slashed by poor fruit-set. Other 2020 Chatto pinots to score well were Intrigue, Seven Inch and Marion’s, followed by Bird and Glengarry.


Location: Margaret River, WA
Best known for: Cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, which can be among the region’s best, but an extremely concentrated old fortified muscat named Artizan is always threatening to upset the hierarchy.
Huon says: Artizan Rare Muscat, as good as almost anything in Rutherglen, scored 98 points, defying every expectation of Margaret River. It led the charge from the hyper-grapefruity 2018 Reserve Chardonnay, 2018 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and the Classic Muscat, which is a younger sister for Artizan and almost half the price.


Location: McLaren Vale, SA
Best known for: Solid reds that are built to age, led by cabernet and shiraz, while Tasmanian-sourced chardonnay under the Eileen Hardy label is also mighty impressive.
Huon says: The 2017 Thomas Hardy Cabernet Sauvignon, a Coonawarra/Margaret River blend, was quite magnificent and epitomised the less oaky, less contrived style of recent Hardys reds. It was closely followed by the voluptuous 2019 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay and robust 2018 Eileen Hardy Shiraz, while the 2018 HRB (Hardys Reserve Bin) Chardonnay and Shiraz were also in the frame and extreme value for money, as each scored 94 points and cost just $35.


Location: Yarra Valley, Vic
Best known for: Stunning cabernet sauvignons, with shiraz, sauvignon blanc, a stand-out rosé and increasingly impressive chardonnays and pinot noirs from higher up the valley. Ex-Taltarni head, French-born Portet has been joined by his son Ben in the Yarra.
Huon says: The 2019 cabernet sauvignon continues a superb run of cabernets and was only eclipsed by a new flagship cabernet, 2015 André Pierre, a rare $220 bottling. The 2019 Origine Chardonnay scored 96 points – way above its station and great buying at $38.


Location: Gippsland, Vic
Best known for: Minimal-intervention wines sourced from tiny, scattered plantings on the Yarra Valley side of the Gippsland region.
Huon says: In his first year in contention for a Top Wineries listing, Patrick Sullivan impressed with three 2021 chardonnays from the Baw Baw Shire: Ada River, Bull Swamp and generic Baw Baw Shire, while his 2021 Mill Stream Pinot Noir featured an astonishing intensity of fruit. A winemaker to watch.


Location: Adelaide Hills, SA
Best known for: Market-leading sauvignon blanc, beautifully crafted chardonnay, pinot noir, shiraz and occasional riesling. Its high-altitude Lenswood vineyard supplies super-premium chardonnay and pinot.
Huon says: These wines seem to gain in seriousness year by year; the Lenswood pinot noir and chardonnay from 2019 were outstanding. The Balhannah Vineyard Shiraz 2018 and the regular shiraz and pinot noir both from 2019 shone like beacons. The 2021 vintage also gave us a very fine riesling.


Location: Barossa Valley, SA
Best known for: Massive reds from the western Barossa, where shiraz and grenache thrive in the red ironstone soils. Winemaker Andrew Quin’s cabernet, zinfandel, garganega, viognier and Eden Valley riesling can also hit the heights.
Huon says: This year’s beacons: Clos Otto Shiraz and Von Kasper Cabernet Sauvignon, both from the superb 2018 harvest. The H-Block Shiraz Cabernet 2018 also rang our bells, as did The Beast Shiraz 2019. The Old Legend Grenache 2020 scored a gold ribbon.


Location: Barossa Valley, SA
Best known for: Its all-rounder status: an analogy former chairman, cricketer Wyndham Hill Smith, would have enjoyed. Lead proponent of viognier, peerless riesling advocate, champion of the trad Aussie cabernet shiraz blend, and now maker of delicious modern grenache.
Huon says: The standouts: The Octavius Shiraz 2016 and The Caley Cabernet Shiraz 2016 – two great reds straddling the traditional and modern worlds. The Virgilius Viognier 2018 and The Signature Cabernet Shiraz 2016 also registered boundaries on our scorecard.


Location: Margaret River, WA
Best known for: Margaret River’s first vineyard, making benchmark regional cabernet and chardonnay.
Huon says: Heytesbury Chardonnay 2020, a riot of grapefruity local character, led the VF troupe this year, hitting a lofty 98 points; Tom Cullity Cabernet Malbec 2018, a highly polished regional style, was just a point behind. The regular bottlings of 2018 cabernet, 2020 chardonnay and 2019 shiraz also contributed solid scores.


Location: Yarra Valley, Vic
Best known for: Crystalline pinot noir and chardonnay sourced from multiple single vineyards mostly in the cool Upper Yarra; its syrah and Bordeaux-style blend Harry’s Monster also impress.
Huon says: The 2020 vintage yielded great results: the Applejack Pinot Noir level-pegged with the Wombat Creek Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for line honours, while Primavera, Sexton and Fatal Shore (Tasmania) pinots were right in the race. All are tantalisingly different.


Location: Margaret River, WA
Best known for: Cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay at five price levels, all precise, polished and showcasing the region’s distinctive fruit. Shiraz, and occasional graciano, petit verdot and malbec, can also be interesting.
Huon says: The 2019 Reserve Chardonnay, 2019 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and 2018 Stevens Road Cabernet Sauvignon topped the list, a point ahead of the 2019 Chardonnay and 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon. The cheaper Circa 77 and DJL ranges are good value but the regular label is probably the best value, the $40 cabernet regularly winning trophies.


Location: Hunter Valley, NSW
Best known for: Superb traditional Hunter wines from semillon, shiraz and chardonnay which are elegant and ageworthy, produced by Keith and son Alisdair.
Huon says: These wines keep pushing higher: three 2018 vintages top-scored this year, Field of Mars Block 2A Semillon, The Doctor Shiraz, and Field of Mars Chardonnay Block 6 & 4. The Kester Shiraz 2019 and 2014 Museum Release Semillon also delighted us.


Location: Hunter Valley, NSW
Best known for: Traditional semillon and shiraz, headed by the lauded Graveyard Vineyard, but also a panoply of fine wines from other regions such as McLaren Vale shiraz, Orange chardonnay, Canberra shiraz and Beechworth chardonnay.
Huon says: Two 2014 semillons, ILR Reserve and Sunshine Vineyard, top-scored with the 2019 Graveyard Shiraz. Two 2019 chardonnays, Forest Edge from Orange and Indigo from Beechworth, were next in line, all outstanding. Tallawanta Shiraz 2018, and Trevena Kindred Vineyards Semillon 2014 knocked on the door, too.


Location: Hunter Valley, NSW
Best known for: Classic shiraz under myriad labels, all sourced from the estate plantings, plus classic semillons from the home vineyards and from Lovedale on the sandy flats near Cessnock. Bushfire smoke tragically wiped out the 2020 vintage.
Huon says: The 2018 Maurice O’Shea Shiraz takes some beating: it’s a magnificent red. Close behind it were several single-block wines: 2019 1921 Vines Old Paddock Shiraz, 2019 1880 Vines Old Hill Shiraz, and 2019 Mountain D Full Bodied Dry Red. The 2019 Elizabeth Semillon ($22) proudly continues this affordable and exalted line.


Location: Yarra Valley, Vic
Best known for: Outstanding, if pricey, wines and a striking, architect-designed restaurant and cellar door. A rapidly rising star.
Huon says: New was the superb 2018 Chardonnay, a rich and detailed wine that provides a stage for the full chardonnay orchestra to play. Top scorers were the 2016 Samantha’s Paddock Mélange Traditionnelle, 2017 Katherine’s Paddock Chardonnay, 2016 Melissa’s Paddock Syrah and 2016 Colleen’s Paddock Pinot Noir, for individuality as well as quality.


Location: Derwent Valley, Tas
Best known for: Rieslings of bewitching fragrance in styles dry, half-dry and sweet; chardonnay of great tension and elegance from vines that have supplied Penfolds Yattarna, and pinot noir that can also hit the heights.
Huon says: The 2017 Late Harvest Riesling wowed us this year, as did the dry 2019 Riesling and 2018 Calcaire Chardonnay, its name reflecting the chalky, calcareous soil of the Derwent Valley. The 2016 Cane Cut Riesling was also delicious. Derwent Estate wines are keenly priced, especially considering they’re released more mature than most.


Location: Mudgee, NSW
Best known for: Cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, chardonnay and riesling. This family wine company now sources most of its grapes from regions in other states, principally Margaret River. McLaren Vale and Great Southern are also sources.
Huon says: To our surprise and pleasure, two 2018 Limited Release Barossa reds topped the list: a cabernet sauvignon and a shiraz, both outstanding. They level-pegged with 2019 The Pennant Chardonnay, from Margaret River, showcasing powerful grapefruit flavours with lots of detail. Two other Margaret River wines excelled: the more affordable 2019 Finisterre Chardonnay ($45) and 2017 The Pennant Cabernet Sauvignon.


Location: Coal River Valley, Tas
Best known for: Pinot noir with depth and richness, and riesling in four different sweetness grades each year, all potentially superb. A recent acquisition is Morningside, which brings chardonnay and cabernet into the fold.
Huon says: The 2020 Pinot Noir marks a high point for this vineyard, a profound wine of grace and power. The four 2021 rieslings also impressed, the R69 kabinett style our preferred bottle, while the R0 (dry), R9 (off-dry) and R139 (sweet) all earned gold ribbons.


Location: McLaren Vale, SA
Best known for: Superb grenache and shiraz from several SA regions, chiefly McLaren Vale and Barossa. An impressive new outfit directed by masters of wine, UK-based Giles Cooke and Fergal Tynan.
Huon says: The top five Thistledown wines were all McLaren Vale grenaches except Distant Light, a stunning Barossa shiraz-McLaren Vale grenache blend. The others are 2020 Sands Of Time, 2020 This Charming Man, 2021 The Vagabond and 2021 She’s Electric, all from high-altitude vineyards. All are deliciously aromatic and drink well young.


Location: Margaret River, WA
Best known for: Refined chardonnays and elegant cabernets from the cooler end of Margaret River. The sauvignon blanc semillon is also smart and the Girt By Sea label is extra value.
Huon says: Three superb 2019 vintage chardonnays propelled Voyager Estate forward this year: the Broadvale Block 6, the MJW and the regular Estate chardonnay. The 2017 estate cabernet sauvignon and 2016 MJW cabernet sauvignon also scored gold ribbons.


Location: Hunter Valley, NSW
Best known for: Hunter shiraz and semillon, but increasingly reds from Wrattonbully and whites from Orange as well. Owner John Davis, a geologist, has vineyards in those areas and Coonawarra in addition to the Hunter home base.
Huon says: The honours were divided among shiraz, cabernet, semillon and riesling. The Tallawanta and Coquun 2019 Hunter shirazes, the 2019 P. J. P Wrattonbully Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2021 Alluvius Hunter semillon and 2021 Stone Mountain riesling from Orange all excited our taste buds.


Location: Orange, NSW
Best known for: Adventurous styles of Iconique Barrique pinot noir and shiraz fermented in rolled barrels, as well as interest-packed chardonnay, pinot gris, arneis and sauvignon blanc.
Huon says: Three Iconique Barrique Pinot Noirs from 2019 were among the top scorers, also one from 2018, and a 2016 Iconique Barrique Cabernet Sauvignon. The cheaper 2019 Cabernet Merlot and 2019 Shiraz also impressed.


Location: Hunter Valley, NSW
Best known for: Cutting-edge traditional Hunter semillons and shirazes, the top labels Braemore Semillon, both young and five-year bottle-aged, and Kiss Shiraz, a barrel selection.
Huon says: The smoke-affected 2020 vintage was light-on, but the 2019 Kiss Shiraz topped the list, neck-and-neck with the exquisite 2016 Braemore Cellar Reserve Semillon. The 2020 Braemore Semillon also scored well, while 2019 Dam Block Shiraz and 2018 Belford Shiraz ranked highly.


Location: Mornington Peninsula, Vic
Best known for: Pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris that lean on high-altitude Red Hill sites.
Huon says: The 2019 vintage looks to have been outstanding, with the single-vineyard pinots and chardonnays decorating the top level. Mill Hill pinot noir top-scored, Talland Hill close behind, then Talland Hill and Mill Hill chardonnays, the regular 2020 pinot noir also in the running. As always in Mornington, the pinot gris shouldn’t be overlooked.


Location: Mornington Peninsula, Vic
Best known for: Some of the region’s richest and best pinot noirs, thanks to Paringa’s warm site, despite Red Hill being on the highest part of the peninsula. Chardonnays are also outstanding. The shiraz is among the region’s best.
Huon says: Citrusy and mineral, the 2019 Paringa Chardonnay was especially impressive, also the 2020 Robinson Vineyard Pinot Noir. Top scorer was 2018 The Paringa Pinot Noir, an impressively dense, powerful wine,
while the 2019 Estate Chardonnay at $45 was undoubtedly the value buy.


Location: Barossa Valley, SA
Best known for: An extensive range of rich, hearty Barossa reds, spearheaded by shiraz under numerous labels, including sub-regional bottlings. The Everest is the top selection. Very old vines are featured, with separate editions of 50-, 100- and 150-year-old vines.
Huon says: The Everest Grenache and Shiraz ($330 each) took the top two spots, 2019 Terroirs of the Barossa Eden Valley Shiraz next in line, level with the extremely rare 2017 vintage 1858 Field Blend of grenache, mourvèdre and malbec. Terroirs of the Barossa 2019 Marananga Shiraz also rated well.


Location: Eden Valley, SA
Best known for: Attention-grabbing shiraz from its 1880 planting: the apex of an expanding pyramid of reds. The rieslings are also among this area’s finest.
Huon says: 2018 The Cuttings Shiraz, from a vineyard planted with cuttings from the 1880 vines, impressed us almost as much as the 2018 The 1880 itself. A lush cabernet sauvignon, Tempus on Uva Cutis, charmed us, as did two 2021 rieslings: The Eden and The Eden Reserve.


Location: McLaren Vale, SA
Best known for: Some of the most committed biodynamic production in Australia, with a deep reverence for old-vine grenache and shiraz. Among its alternative methods is the use of ceramic eggs to ferment and mature some wine, and Mediterranean grape varieties best suited to their terroir.
Huon says: Four of Yangarra’s five highest-scoring wines this year were grenache, of which its tellingly priced standard-bearer, 2019 High Sands Grenache ($250), ranked first. Clarendon 2019 and 2020 and Old Vine Grenache 2020 (good value at $42) chipped in. The 2020 Kings Wood Shiraz waved the banner for shiraz.


Location: Margaret River, WA
Best known for: Pristine cabernet, chardonnay and more, crafted by talented Julian Langworthy. They are big winners on the wine-show circuit. Even the inexpensive labels can be excellent.
Huon says: The grapefruity, gunflinty 2020 Reserve Chardonnay topped the list together with power-packed 2017 Yallingup Grand Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2019 Cabernet Merlot and the 2018 Single Vineyard Cabernets blend all scoring gold. Even the 2019 Ebony Cabernet Shiraz crashed the party, scoring 92 points for a $15 bottle.


Location: Rutherglen, Vic
Best known for: Classically styled muscats and topaques, but also excellent dry reds and innovative white varietals such as alvarinho and arinto. Iberian grapes are a speciality for this venerable family-owned and operated winery.
Huon says: The majestic 2018 Vintage Fortified – previously vintage port – blended from Portuguese varieties, topped the list. The Grand Muscat and Grand Topaque both scored gold ribbons and Classic Muscat also impressed. The Prince Iberian Blend 2018 is an interesting red with a point of difference.


Location: Geelong region, Vic
Best known for: The Geelong region’s senior winery, still family-owned and with Matt Holmes crafting excellent wines. Famous for pinot noir and chardonnay under various labels, but also smart sauvignon blanc and quirky riesling.
Huon says: The 2019 vintage shone brightly, with the estate Pinot Noir sharing top billing with the flagships, Serré Pinot Noir and S. R. H Chardonnay. The 2019 De La Terre Pinot Noir also impressed, while the 2021 Riesling was superb in its idiosyncratic style.

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