First Look: 100 Best Australian Wines Report
Daily Wine News
24th of May, 2017
The 100 Best Australian Wines initiative continues to evolve at a fast pace. The Roadshow tastings, over the last twelve months, visited ten different UK cities with sell-out events co-hosted by a hand-picked collection of independent wine merchants. The tour included overseas events in Australia, China and, closer to home in Jersey. Attendance numbers were up on previous years.
“The two specialist sommelier/restaurateur events — one in Edinburgh and one in London — were both amazing with double the number of elite wine-specialist staff attending,” reports Matthew Jukes, author of the 100 Best Australian Wines Report.
“A firm fixture on the sommelier circuit, these intricately planned and executed tastings/lunches are paying off with more and more fine Australian wine listings being registered on all styles of wine list across the country. This cornerstone of 100 Best is vital and feedback back from UK Agents, whose wines have been featured in these events, is extremely encouraging.
Debuts and 40 of 100 Best
Jukes’ report has just been published overnight, and he has kindly offered Winetitles the first word on some of the stats for this year’s 100 Best report.
233 different wineries have appeared in the 100 Best in the last 14 years and there are 12 debut wineries appearing in this year’s list including – Antiquarian, Bird in Hand, Chambers Rosewood, Hentley Farm, Onannon, Pfeiffer, Quealy, Samuel’s Gorge, Sons of Eden, Stargazer, The Story and Thistledown.
Here is a list of the top 40 wineries in 100 Best, in alphabetical order:
Brown Brothers, Chapel Hill, Charles Melton, Cherubino, Cullen, d’Arenberg, De Bortoli, First Drop, Fox Gordon, Glaetzer, Grosset, Hardys, Jacob’s Creek, Jansz, Jim Barry, Leeuwin, McWilliam’s, Mitolo, Moss Wood, Mount Horrocks, Penfolds, Petaluma, Peter Lehmann, Pewsey Vale, Riposte by Tim Knappstein, Shaw & Smith, Skillogalee, St Hallett, Stonier, Tamar Ridge, The Lane Vineyard, Tim Adams, Torbreck, Tyrrell’s, Wakefield/Taylors, Wirra Wirra, Wolf Blass, Yabby Lake, Yering Station and Yalumba.
Winery of the Year 2017
“My Winery of the Year this year is Leeuwin Estate, Margaret River, Western Australia. I have followed Leeuwin Estate closely for 28 years – I tasted my first Art Series Chardonnay in April 1990 and I remember it as if it was yesterday.
“I have bought, sold and/or written about this pioneering estate every single year since. Leeuwin is a titan among Australian boutique wineries. No other estate has such a lofty nor long term grip on Chardonnay supremacy. When I pour Leeuwin Prelude Chardonnay or Art Series Chardonnay at events or on the Roadshow consumers are actively excited to taste the wine.
“These wines have an aura of greatness and even newcomers to wine seem to have heard this name. Perhaps this is because this idyllic estate brings so much more than just its epic wines to our lives. The art gallery (and labels), restaurant and music/concert sub-themes bring this winery to life and they show that Denis and Trish and now Simone and Justin Horgan appreciate how wine is but one part of the overall experience of our artistic and hedonistic existence.
“I will never forget a vertical tasting of Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay, hosted by their most fervent cheerleader, UK agent Hilary Gibbs from Burgundy specialists Domaine Direct, back in 2002. We tasted wines from 1987 – 1999 and every single wine was sublime. Fifteen-year-old Chardonnay, back then, which stood up perfectly and reminded us that Australia was becoming a Chardonnay force to be reckoned with, was a siren call to us all in the UK.
“It was, to my mind, the beginning of Australia’s Chardonnay era, which continues to evolve to this day. Without Leeuwin I feel that the entire country would not have travelled so far so fast and with their standards as high as ever, and with Art Series Cabernet joining the Chardonnay as an important wine for serious wine lovers’ cellars, it is my immense pleasure to announce that Leeuwin has picked up this year’s Winery of the Year title.”
Every wine listed in 100 Best has won its place by gaining immense scores in Matthew’s notes and it has been confirmed by the UK agents that they all have sufficient stock to warrant a listing. As always, these are the only criteria for inclusion.