With the annual Halliday Wine Companion awards finally returning to a physical ceremony in Melbourne this week, the authoritative list has once again been published to celebrate the best of Australian wines, giving sipping savants a bit of a curated hit list of sorts. With 8,000 wines and 50 wineries picked apart by the usual tasting panellists reduced to 26 individual winners, what you now have below is a diverse bucket list of Australian wines to help you focus on the finest drops as the Halliday Wine Companion 2023 results aim to highlight the best of the best.
All the winners were announced last night at one of Melbourne’s best restaurants. Stokehouse – a return to form for the Halliday Wine Companion after the previous few award ceremonies were online-only events, for obvious reasons. Other than that, it was mostly business as usual for the well-regarded ceremony, which seeks to recognise Australia’s top wines, winemakers, viticulturists and wineries to establish a benchmark for the following year.
Even if lists like this don’t necessarily appeal to you, it’s hard to deny how insightful such awards are when it comes to picking apart the trends of the Australian wine industry. From the list below, for example, you can tell the Riesling is once again Australia’s best-value grape variety, and one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, Perth Hills, should be getting a nice lick of attention with the $50 Battles Wine Granitis Shiraz 2020 from the area scoring 96 points to win Shiraz of the Year.
For the first time in the history of the Halliday Wine Companion, panellists were instructed to do a blind tasting for all of the shortlisted wines. The significant change in the judging process should add a bit more credence to the results, which this year have been kindest to the Margaret River, Tasmania, Great Western, Yarra Valley and Adelaide Hills.
The highest-scoring wine on the entire list is a bit of a surprise. It’s a fortified – Seppeltsfield 100-Year-Old Para Vintage Tawny 1992 from Barossa Valley. Good luck scoring a bottle though. Obviously, the incredibly rare release is already hard to find. Dan Murphys had a few bottles at $2,000 each, but they all seem to have gone by now.
Although 100-points doesn’t mean the century-old Tawny picks up Wine of the Year. That honour goes to Best’s Winery in Victoria with the 96-point Foure Ferment Riesling 2021 taking out the award. Apart from that, it seems Margaret River is once again in the spotlight, with the region picking up Winemaker of the Year (Glenn Goodall from Xanadu Wines), Dark Horse Winery (L.A.S. Vino) and Best Value Winery (Deeps Woods Estate).
However, Pooley Wines in Tasmania took out what is probably the most coveted of the major awards – Winery of the Year. Granted, it’s the only time Tasmania appears in the Major Awards category, but the state punches well above its weight here considering Tassie made up just 5% of submitting wineries, yet managed to nab one of the major awards as well as three major award nominations and two varietal awards – Pinot Noir of the Year and Sparkling Rosé of the Year.
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Halliday Wine Companion 2023 Results
2023 Major Awards
Winery of the Year – Winery of the Year – Pooley Wines, Tasmania
Winemaker of the Year – Glenn Goodall, Xanadu Wines, Margaret River, WA
Wine of the Year – Best’s Wines Foudre Ferment Riesling 2021, Great Western – 96 points
Best New Winery – Living Roots, Adelaide Hills, SA
Dark Horse – L.A.S. Vino, Margaret River, WA
Best Value Winery – Deeps Woods Estate, Margaret River, WA
Viticulturist of the Year – Tom Carson, Serrat, Yarra Valley, VIC
2023 Varietal Winners
Sparkling White of the Year
Gilbert Family Wines Blanc de Blancs Chardonnay 2016 Orange – 97 points
Sparkling Rosé of the Year
Pipers Brook Vineyard Kreglinger Brut Rosé 2017 Tasmania – 96 points
Sparkling Red of the Year
Teusner MC Sparkling Shiraz 2017 Barossa Valley – 95 points
Riesling of the Year (Two Winners)
Henschke Julius Riesling 2021 Eden Valley – 98 points
Best’s Wines Foudre Ferment Riesling 2021, Great Western – 96 points
Chardonnay of the Year
Stella Bella Wines Luminosa Chardonnay 2020 Margaret River – 98 points
Semillon of the Year
Brokenwood Sunshine Vineyard Semillon 2014 Hunter Valley – 97 points
Sauvignon Blanc of the Year
Flowstone Wines Queen of the Earth Sauvignon Blanc 2020 Margaret River – 96 points
Other White of the Year
Briar Ridge Vineyard Albariño 2021 Hunter Valley – 95 points
Rosé of the Year
Spinifex Luxe 2021 Barossa – 93 points
Pinot Noir of the Year
Lowestoft La Maison Pinot Noir 2020 Tasmania – 96 points
Grenache of the Year
Chalk Hill Alpha Crucis Old Vine Grenache 2020 McLaren Vale – 98 points
Shiraz of the Year
Battles Wine Granitis Shiraz 2020 Perth Hills – 96 points
Cabernet Shiraz of the Year
Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard The Peake Cabernet Shiraz 2020 McLaren Vale– 97 points
Cabernet Sauvignon of the Year
Bleasdale Vineyards The Iron Duke Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 Langhorne Creek – 98 points
Cabernet Sauvignon and Family of the Year
Mount Mary Quintet 2020 Yarra Valley – 98 points
Other Red of the Year
Koomilya Cabernet Touriga 2018 McLaren Vale – 97 points
Sweet Wine of the Year
Brown Brothers Patricia Noble Riesling 2019 Victoria – 95 points
Fortified of the Year
Seppeltsfield 100-Year-Old Para Vintage Tawny 1922 Barossa Valley – 100 points