Australia’s 20 best wines of the year

The 2022 Halliday Wine Companion Awards have announced the best wines and winemakers of the year, with Victoria’s Yarra Yering taking out both Wine of the Year and Winery of the Year.

The wine that wowed the judges was Yarra Yering 2019 Dry Red Wine No 1. Jane Faulkner said: “This is mesmerising. Do take time to bask in its fragrance – all floral and spicy with some aniseed and fresh herbs. Enjoy the poised fruit flavours of blackberries, mulberries and a hint of blueberries coated in spicy oak and tethered to the body of the wine. Pulsing acidity and beautiful tannin structure shape this and offer a promise of more to come in time. Wow – what a wine.”

James Halliday told The Australian: “Yarra Yering has lower yields but extraordinary intensity and depths, it is the intensity of flavour and depth of those flavours that so marks those wines.

“Sarah Crowe has an exceptional palate, commitment, it’s aged-old stuff, but attention to ­detail and she really does think hard about the challenge to ­always make a better wine this year than she has ever made ­before. That type of self-perpetuating drive is what distinguishes very good, great winemakers from those who simply go through the motions.”

Crowe (above) admitted: “I tend to think in my mind, wow, don’t get too excited, they still might change their mind. But also I really just think it kind of means all of the hard work is worth it and that we are heading in the right direction, on the right path, and just stick to what you know.”

Here are the top rated wines in each category:

Cabernet Sauvignon: 2019 Yarra Yering Carrodus Cabernet Sauvignon

The judges said: “One wine soared ahead of the flock with an elegance and beauty that made it the favourite of almost every judge.”

Cabernet and Family: 2019 Yarra Yering Dry Red No. 1

The judges said: “It was a Yarra Valley taste-off for the 2022 Cabernet and Family of the Year, with Mount Mary and Yarra Yering neck and neck. Yarra Yering does it again!”

Cabernet Shiraz: 2016 Yalumba The Caley Cabernet Shiraz

The judges said: One of the long-standing champions of this historic blend, Yalumba The Caley reincarnates the great Coonawarra/Barossa blends of the past in a sublime and truly classic flagship – a near unanimous winner in our final taste-off. 

Shiraz: 2019 Tyrrell’s 4 Acres Shiraz

The judges said: ” It was three of the more elegant styles that separated themselves from the pack of 15 hopefuls in our final Awards judging: Mount PleasantTyrrell’s and Yarra Yering, with Tyrrell’s claiming a worthy first place for the Hunter Valley in the final vote.”

Grenache and Blends: 2019 Thistledown Sands Of Time Old Vine Single Vineyard Blewitt Springs Grenache

The judges said: “At the end of the day, it’s McLaren Vale for the win, putting forward more top-scoring wines than every other region put together. Thistledown’s 80-year-old Blewitt Springs bush vines proved to be convincing and worthy in the final showdown.”

Other Reds: 2019 SC Pannell Aglianico 

The judges said: “Our eleven nominees for the top gong represent eleven different varieties and blends, with a worthy winner that prompted its nominator Ned Goodwin MW to ask the question, ‘Why were we not planting this 100 years ago?’”

Pinot Noir: 2019 Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir

The judges said: “The work of Michael Dhillon in the vineyard and winery sets the standard, making Bindi an almost unanimous favourite of every member of the tasting team in the final judgement.”

Rosé: 2020 La Prova Nebbiolo Rosato

The judges said: “The winner is a masterfully executed and thrilling take on nebbiolo from an iconic site in the Adelaide Hills!”

Chardonnay: 2018 Penfolds Yattarna Bin 144 Chardonnay; 2018 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay; 2019 Oakridge 864 Drive Block Funder & Diamond Vineyard Chardonnay

The judges said: “The scores were too close to single out a winner, so we have done the unprecedented and put forward three very different wines from three of the top producers in three very distinct regions. Seek them out. We love them all.”

Other Whites: 2020 Coriole Rubato Reserve Fiano

The judges said: “With a plethora of new names and techniques at play, it’s fitting that a longstanding champion of the great varieties of Italy should take out the mantle of Other White of the Year.”

Semillon: 2011 Meerea Park Alexander Munro Individual Vineyard Aged Release Semillon

The judges said: The Hunter again corners the globally unique category of dry semillon, topping the charts with an aged release that received an almost unanimous vote for Semillon of the Year.

Riesling: 2020 Pooley Margaret Pooley Tribute Single Vineyard Riesling

The judges said: “With just two inclusions in our top 40 (both from Pooley), Tasmania was the surprise dark horse that swept in from the sidelines with a convincing win for Riesling of the Year!”

Sauvignon Blanc: 2019 Terre À Terre Crayeres Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

 The judges said: “The final taste-off was hotly contested by the Margaret River big guns of Moss Wood and Cullen, but the great work of Xavier Bizot in Wrattonbully proved to secure the win (just!).”

Sparkling: 2014 Deviation Road Beltana Blanc De Blancs

The judges said: “One of the finest sparkling wines ever to emerge from the Adelaide Hills pipped Tasmania at the post for the top gong. Champagne, look out!”

Sparkling Rosé: 2017 Bellebonne Natalie Fryar Vintage Rosé

The judges said: “In an almost unanimous clean-sweep vote by the tasting panel, Bellebonne is a fitting winner of our inaugural Sparkling Rosé of the Year.”

Sparkling Red: 2015 Ashton Hills Sparkling Shiraz

The judges said: “It was a clean sweep to the Clare Valley’s sole contender and the oldest inclusion in our shortlist – testimony to the value of age in this category.”

Fortified: 1921 Seppeltsfield 100 Year Old Para Vintage Tawny 1921

The judges said: “There is no contender anywhere on the planet for Seppeltsfield’s mighty 100 Year Old.”

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