While perusing James Halliday's annual Top 100 wines list when it was unveiled last week you may have noticed that the hallowed 99-point rating appears not once, not twice, but an impressive five times this year (including one international example).
What takes us into entirely new territory is the fact that one of these near-perfect drops happens to be a white wine. In the three years to January fewer than 30 white wines have received a rating of 98 points, the lion's share being chardonnay, followed at a distance by riesling and then semillon.
Having also picked up the varietal trophy at this year's Qantas epiQure Halliday Wine Companion Awards for the 2016 vintage it is hardly surprising that Duke's Vineyard in Porongurup has already sold out of its 'supreme riesling', but if ever wines were worth pursuing on the secondary market the five to follow clearly make the cut.
2017 Duke’s Vineyard Magpie Hill Reserve Riesling
Be prepared to kneel before the perfection of a supreme riesling, the bouquet's blossom floating in the air of a spring day, the palate a celebration of the purity, elegance, drive and length of a white wine that you absolutely know will outlive your patience.
RRP $35 | 2047 | Duke's Vineyard
View more Whites Over $20 in the Top 100 >
2015 Mount Mary Yarra Valley Pinot Noir
(also named Best Pinot Noir at this year's Qantas epiQure Halliday Wine Companion Awards)
Exudes supreme class: the bouquet has a rose garden of perfume and spice, the palate a concerto for violins and cellos, as predominantly red berry fruits glide around the finest quality tannins of the cello. The length and balance are awesome, and the wine will be singing 20 years on from vintage.
RRP $95 | 2035 | Mount Mary
2014 Mount Pleasant Maurice O’Shea Shiraz
'Arguably, one of the greatest red vintages in living memory', says Mount Pleasant. The flagship wine. Destemmed and crushed, short cold soak, open-fermented, matured in large format French oak (30% new) for 18 months. Has the gently throbbing power of a Rolls Royce; superb, deep crimson-purple hue, itself rare in the Hunter Valley. Countless layers of black fruits have absorbed the oak and put the undoubted tannins into limbo land. O'Shea would have died a happy man had this been his last wine. Dissecting it now is an academic exercise at best, so great is its future. This is as close to a 100-year potential as you are ever likely to find.
RRP $250 | 2064 | Mount Pleasant
2015 Yarra Yering Dry Red No.1
(also named Best Other Red at this year's Qantas epiQure Halliday Wine Companion Awards)
This is a superlative, tightly furled Bordeaux blend of pedigree, age-worthiness and a sapid quiver of black currant to herbal notes: crushed, dried and strewn about the palate, all tightly guarded by gravelly tannins and juicy natural acidity. The oak handling, too, smacks of expertise: a fine-grained and well trained hedge, embellishing the savoury air of the style rather than overwhelming it. A blend of 67% cabernet sauvignon, 16% merlot, 13% malbec and a mere seasoning of petit verdot synergise to make an imperious, beautiful wine with a long, long life ahead.
RRP $100 | 2040 | Yarra Yering
View more Reds Over $25 in the Top 100 >
2004 Krug Champagne
Krug is the greatest Champagne. It is, as others (including myself) have said many times, Champagne’s answer to Burgundy’s Romanee-Conti. It is superbly poised, the flavour and texture as complex as a Beethoven symphony played in a great concert hall under the baton of a great conductor.
RRP $449 | View the other 11 Champagnes in the Top 100 >
Next article: 99-point wines on the rise