Since this award was instituted, there was often a single winery that stood out beyond all others, making the decision easy. It was exactly the opposite this year, with three wineries having nothing between them, and others that just failed to make the 10.
BEST VALUE: Domaine Naturaliste, Margaret River, WA
Chapel Hill, McLaren Vale, SA
Coriole, McLaren Vale, SA
De Bortoli, Yarra Valley, VIC
Hay Shed Hill Wines, Margaret River, WA
Lake Breeze Wines, Langhorne Creek, SA
Patritti Wines, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale, SA
Paxton, McLaren Vale, SA
Singlefile Wines, Great Southern, WA
West Cape Howe Wines, Mount Barker, WA
Eleven wines submitted: 10 value rosettes, one with 97 points, four 96 points, the remainder 94 and 93 points. Bruce Dukes, take a bow. Read the full story.
Chapel Hill had 13 wines attracting the value rosette, spread more or less equally between 90 and 96 points. It must give great pleasure to its owner, the Swiss Thomas Schmidheiny group, which has vineyards and wineries in California, Argentina, Switzerland and here. Makes 60,000 dozens of all natural wines, SO2 the only addition.
Coriole was one of the more successful wineries, with 10 of its wines garnering the value rosette, headed by the Lloyd Reserve Shiraz 2016 and the Estate Grenache 2017, both receiving 97 points. Owned by the Lloyd family, it pioneered sangiovese well before the Italian bandwagon arrived.
De Bortoli (Victoria) won recognition with 14 wines granted the value rosette, 12 with 94 to 97 points – nine from the Yarra, two from Heathcote and one from King Valley. It has been a consistently loyal and generous supporter of the Yarra Valley, its 520ha of vineyards by far the largest holding.
Hay Shed Hill had a 100% value strike rate with its wines between 94 and 96 points. It was also successful with some of its less expensive wines. The leader was Block 6 Chardonnay 2017 on 96 points, followed by a varietal spread across Margaret River’s strengths.
Fourteen wines submitted, 11 with value rosettes. It did well at the top end, with all but one in the rosette mix, and 100% for the wines rated at 90 to 94 points. Langhorne Creek has a perfect climate for shiraz and cabernet sauvignon, and was the making of Wolf Blass.
Patritti has its winery in the Adelaide zone, with its exceptional McLaren Vale vineyard as its most important base but with an outreach to the Adelaide Hills for cool climate, giving it a spread of resources. Value rosettes were given for 12 of the 16 wines submitted, two at 97 points, two at 96. Next year, surely.
Paxton has never been far out of the race and this year had the greatest consistency of any winery recognised, with every wine but one in the 5-glass bracket receiving a value rosette. A skilled viticulturist, David Paxton had a later-life conversion to biodynamics, and this points to the results.
A very clever business plan saw Singlefile acquire a priceless block of chardonnay in the Denmark subregion and then use Larry Cherubino as a consultant to lease high class vineyards spread across the Great Southern region. Value rosettes for 11 wines.
West Cape Howe Wines hasn’t been in this list before but has been a model of consistency. All wines are well made, all clearly regionally driven, and if you are looking for value wines around 90 to 92 points, there’s plenty to choose from here.
This extract is from the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion guide, published by Hardie Grant and available at all good bookstores.