The definitive guide to Australian Wines
Each one of these wineries making its debut in the Wine Companion has earned a five-star rating. They are thus the leaders of the 96 new wineries in this edition, although a number of other first-up wineries also achieved five stars. The ultimate selection criteria included the number of wines earning 95 points or above, and also value for money.
It seems a little unfair that James and Careena Kellie, winemaker/owners of Harewood Estate, can acquire a 20-year-old vineyard, start a new estate-based vineyard, and create a new five-star winery. But they have picked the eyes out of the best blocks to make a small range of single vineyard, single varietal wines. Three of the wines scored 95 points, the fourth 94 points.
Five generations of the Dunbabin family have farmed at Bangor; the 6200ha Forestier Peninsula property of today has 5100ha of native forest, grasslands and wetlands, dwarfing the 4ha of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot gris. Three wines received 95 points, the other two 93 and 92 respectively.
The partners of Bent Creek have established ties with growers in McLaren Vale andthe Adelaide Hills, and secured the services of Tim Geddes (and his McLaren Valewinery) to make the wines. McLaren Vale Shiraz from 2010, ’12 and ’13 all came fromvines planted in the 1930s and ’40s, all rating highly, two scoring 95 points.
This year’s winner of Best New Winery 2016, Bicknell fc – Bicknell family company – is owned by David Bicknell, better known for his role as chief winemaker at Oakridge, and his viticulturist wife, Nicky Harris.
Darryl Catlin grew up in the Barossa Valley, worked in Adelaide retail, and then rose from cellar hand to winemaker at Shaw + Smith. His portfolio is anchored on the Adelaide Hills, with two Clare Valley Rieslings completing the six wines tasted, two at 95 points, two at 94, and two at 93, all but one with a value symbol.
Without question the most interesting new winery, with prices for the six wines between $200 and $250. The wines are made at Woodlands by Will Berliner, under the watchful eye of Stuart Watson. The high-class packaging of the 450 dozen of biodynamic Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec garnered three wines with96 points, another with 95.
Life and business partners New Zealand-born Frewin Ries and Barossa-born Candice Helbig crammed in multiple wine lives before establishing CRFT in 2012, their first vintage following in ’13. Four wines at 95 and 96 points, two at 94, and two at 93 say it all: Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir, Gruner Veltliner, Gewurztraminer, Barossa Shiraz ...
Bruce Dukes’ career dates back over 25 years, its foundations built on a master’s degree in viticulture and agronomy from the University of California, Davis. Having made Margaret River wines for others, in 2012 he moved to finally set up his own brand, Domaine Naturaliste, scoring 98 points with his Cabernet Sauvignon, backed up by four excellent Chardonnays and a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon.
A 4000ha sheep station, with sixth, seventh and eighth generation custodians of the land, has an 11ha vineyard heavily skewed to pinot noir (7ha); three wines at 95 points, another two at 93 points. All the wines are estate-grown, Pinot Noir at the forefront supported by Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.
The 1000-dozen side venture of Shaun and Liz Silkman (née Jackson), who both hold senior roles at custom crush First Creek Wines. It’s a powerful team that has three wines at 96 points (one a Shiraz Pinot Noir blend), a fourth at 95, all with value symbols. The wine show record, too, is outstanding.
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Wines considered to offer special value for money.