Top Wineries of Australia 2021: 48 to 45
Location: Clare Valley
Best known for: Riesling, riesling and more riesling! Owner/winemaker John Hughes only makes riesling, hence the name, and there were 10 labels at last count.
Dry, off-dry and sweet, fortified and sparkling, single-vineyard Polish Hill River, wood-matured and bottle-aged, and an Eden Valley wine (all the others are Clare), Hughes does them all. The 2015 No 6 Aged Riesling top-scored, two of the 2020s scored gold ribbons and the other 2020s were close behind. If you love riesling, Hughes is your guy.
Location: Mornington Peninsula
Best known for: Superfine chardonnay and pinot noir under a range of individual vineyard labels, the number varies from year to year depending on the success of the season.
In the 2019 vintage, the KBS Vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir—named with the initials of founder Brian Stonier—both took the top honours. The 2019 Reserve bottlings of both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir both also took gold ribbons (95 points). The pinots are wines of finesse and perfume, not dark coloured or weighty.
46. Frankland Estate
Location: Great Southern
Best known for: Riesling under six different labels, topped by Isolation Ridge Vineyard and off-dry SmithCullam, but recently the shirazes and cabernet blend Olmo’s Reward are just as impressive.
Olmo’s Reward has hit new heights in recent vintages, the 2017 our top wine this year together with the 2019 SmithCullam Riesling and 2018 SmithCullam Syrah. The aptly-named 2016 Isolation Ridge Shiraz and 2019 Isolation Ridge Riesling are gold-ribbon wines as well.
45. Levantine Hill
Location: Yarra Valley
Best known for: An ambitious winery with prices to match, fielding innovative styles that reflect winemaker Paul Bridgeman’s tastes.
The top-end wines are expensive but also impressive, with 2016 Samantha’s Paddock cabernet blend (AUD $200), 2017 Katherine’s Paddock Chardonnay (AUD $125), 2016 Melissa’s Paddock Syrah (AUD $200) and 2016 Colleen’s Paddock Pinot Noir (AUD $200) leading, and the second-rank 2017 Syrah (AUD $80) also rating very highly. The rosé, sparkling and sauvignon blanc semillon are also very good.