To give recognition to all the incredible finalist considered for a winning spot in this year’s Halliday Wine Companion Awards, we present to you the 2022 Shortlist for Best Value Winery. The Best Value Winery of the Year is closely tied to the awarding of rosettes for wines offering special value for money at their price point. With more than 1400 rosettes awarded this year, the number of value wineries featured in the the 2022 edition of The Companion is considerable indeed – meet our finalists below.
Castelli Estate, Great SouthernCastelli Estate sources fruit from all over Western Australia’s south west and specifically the Great Southern region, meaning their diverse offering spans a number of styles and price points. All are united by Castelli’s ability to extract eloquent regional expressions from the vineyards and present them in a manner that is worthy of both immediate drinking and cellaring potential, too. With five $18 wines clocking in between 90 and 94 points, the value for money is outstanding – EL (pictured 1/10).
Castle Rock Estate, PorongurupRob Diletti has spent years building an enduring reputation for the cool-climate and exceedingly elegant wines of Porongurup. His wines – particularly, but not exclusively his rieslings – are consistently brilliant and all priced under $40. This year, nine wines that were priced from a tantalising $20 to just $35 won ratings from 90 to 97 points, making Castle Rock a shoo-in nomination for this award – EL (pictured 2/10).
Deep Woods Estate, Margaret RiverFogarty group chief winemaker and Halliday Wine Companion Winemaker of the Year 2019 Julian Langworthy has built a reputation nationwide for his jocular and irreverent approach to almost everything, except the outstanding wines that he creates. He and his team of winemakers (Andrew Bretherton and Emma Gillespie) make seriously styled, seriously structured wines from great vineyards within Margaret River. Never underestimate their ability to wow and please. They consistently clean up at wine shows with wins, including the 2019 Jimmy Watson trophy – EL & TS (pictured 3/10).
Duke’s Vineyard, PorongurupIf you’re a fan of riesling, you must try Duke’s Magpie Hill Reserve Riesling. At $45, it is one of Australia’s greatest examples of the variety, making it a ridiculous bang- for-buck proposition. The wines are made by Rob Diletti (Castle Rock) and are famed for their cool-climate elegance, light touch and finesse. The vineyard is planted to just shiraz, cabernet and riesling, ranking among the very best in the region and the finest in the state. Marvellous wines – EL (pictured 4/10).
Harewood Estate, DenmarkHarewood is lodged among the Karri trees in Denmark, arguably one of the prettiest wine regions in Western Australia. The wine offering spans a host of varieties and styles, most of which are sourced from vineyards within the Great Southern. Refreshingly priced between $20 and $30, a line-up of no less than nine labels clocked in with scores between 90 and 95 points this year – EL (pictured 5/10).
Lake Breeze Wines, Langhorne CreekThe Follett family is privileged to a deep history; the family has been tending its vines on the shores of Lake Alexandrina since the 1880s and picking up hundreds of trophies and gold medals in major wine shows across the country for decades. They are fabulous ambassadors for an oft-neglected region and embody the heart and soul that we all love about Australian winemaking. It’s a bonus that their wines also happen to represent some of the best value in the country – TL & TS (pictured 6/10).
Mike Press Wines, Adelaide HillsThe story of Mike Press is well told: he retired from an illustrious winemaking career with the big icon companies to plant a vineyard at a cool 500m of elevation in Lobethal in 1998. Returning to winemaking was never the plan, but he soon found himself personally delivering tantalisingly priced bottles to an increasing list of loyal fans. Two decades on, his wines continue to improve, as Mike settles into his groove and his vines attain maturity. For single-vineyard, cool-climate wines priced almost entirely between $12 and $15, Mike Press is in a league all of his own – TL & TS (pictured 7/10).
Stella Bella Wines, Margaret RiverRecent vintages have seen a decided increase in quality and definition of house style, making Stella Bella great wines to purchase at any price point. Two-thirds of its wines this year won value rosettes, including all three of its $19 Skuttlebutt range and even its $90 Luminosa flagship. Nestled in the heart of ‘cabernet and chardonnay country’, Stella Bella, under the guide of Luke Jolliffe, is well positioned to continue its inexorable rise – EL & TS (pictured 8/10).
West Cape Howe Wines, Mount BarkerThis estate in Mount Barker epitomises value for money, consistently producing superb and satisfying wines that offer joy and pleasure beyond their price. Of West Cape Howe’s 10 submissions priced between $17 and $30 and scoring between 88 and 95 points this year, nine were awarded value rosettes (and the tenth was only $1 off qualifying). Impressive – EL & TS (pictured 9/10).
Xanadu Wines, Margaret RiverNo estate in Australia offers more comprehensive value for money than Xanadu Wines this year, amassing an unmatched 16 value rosettes, the majority for its $20 Exmoor and $26 DJL series but extending all the way up the tree to its $110 flagships. It’s not possible to overstate the exceptional value for money that this offering represents, with every wine scoring in the 90s and as high as 98. All credit to Glenn Goodall and Brendan Carr’s desire to let the fruit do the talking. Their sensitive winemaking has yielded astoundingly impressive wines, the very best of which (Stevens Road and Reserve) belong alongside the most elite in Margaret River in any given year – EL & TS (pictured 10/10).
*This is an edited extract from the 2022 Halliday Wine Companion, with reviews by Jane Faulkner, James Halliday, Erin Larkin, Tony Love, Ned Goodwin MW, Jeni Port and chief editor Tyson Stelzer. Cover illustration by Yoshiko Hada.
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