To give recognition to all the incredible finalists considered for a winning spot in this year’s Halliday Wine Companion Awards, we present to you the 2022 Shortlist for Dark Horse Winery of the Year. Dark Horse wineries are those that are not new to the Companion, but who have received a five-star rating for the first time this year. Meet our finalists below.
Galafrey, Mount BarkerThis year, Galafrey ascended on the wings of a number of wines that showcased the strength and vitality of this dry-grown vineyard in Mount Barker. While the winery has been around for some time, the vines (planted in the late 1970s) are reaching a maturity that is starting to show in the wines. Winemaker/owner Kim Tyrer’s continuation and evolution of style has yielded wines of poise and line – EL (pictured 1/10).
Renzaglia Wines, Central RangesMinimal imprint in the vineyard and winery, judicious use of high-quality oak and courageous extraction gift us with a suite of detailed, precise and prodigiously digestible wines. These are the sort of savoury mid-weighters across price points that this country should make more of. With growing traction on the best lists of Sydney, I suggest you grab some of these wines while the going is still good – NG (pictured 2/10).
South by South West, Margaret RiverLiv and Mij (Livia Maiorana and Mihan Patterson) have been making South by South West wines since 2016 and this year sees a swag of wines that really hit at the heart of modern drinkers’ desires. There are field blends and alternative varieties sourced from all over the state, offering skin-contact and classically constructed wines, and a bevy of flavours and styles within. A very smart offering from a lovely duo – EL (pictured 3/10).
Valhalla Wines, RutherglenA vintage stint at Campbells, Rutherglen, in the late 1990s turned into a life-changing epiphany for Anton Therkildsen, who has gone on to establish his winery and his own take on regional specialities shiraz, durif, grenache, viognier and a stunning marsanne – not to mention a delightful riesling sourced from the King Valley – JP (pictured 4/10).
Whistling Eagle Vineyard, HeathcoteAs can often be the case, Heathcote grapegrower Ian Rathjen got into winemaking unexpectedly when he decided to try his hand at creating wines with an oversupply of fruit. The rest is history. While he is best known for shiraz, watch out for his grenache – JP (pictured 5/10).
*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.