The Halliday Wine Companion Awards recognise the nation’s top wines, winemakers, viticulturists, and wineries across Australia’s wine regions.

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2020 Yacca Block, Eden Valley Shiraz – 95 points
“Shiraz from the quartz and ironstone soils of a single site at the top of Menglers Hill in the Eden Valley. There is a distinct ferrous quality to the aromatic profile of this wine with an ironstone and graphite sheathed core of blackberry, black cherry and dark plum fruit underscored with notes of baking spices, licorice and dark chocolate oak. For all its sinew and flex, there is some space to its palate shape with tight granitic tannin support and a mineral-laden seam of acidity providing ample propulsion on the finish.” – Dave Brookes

2020 Coach House Block, Barossa Valley Shiraz – 94 points
“The Coach House vineyard is just outside the township of Greenock. You might have seen it, right next to the freeway turnoff with its tall fermentation shed, under its previous name of Branson Coach House. There is a bright, ferrous undertone to this wine though red fruits and violets come through with increased volume on the nose along with roasting meats, mocha, espresso and light tobacco hints in the distance. Bright acid drive, chalky tannin architecture and a sense of space despite its latent western Barossa horsepower.” – Dave Brookes

2020 Dave’s Block, McLaren Vale Shiraz – 94 points
“Old vines from a trusted grower sited in the local grand cru equivalent of Blewitt Springs. A capacious behemoth, spreading glycerol across the cheeks while staining the palate with flavours of crushed clove, licorice strap, creme de myrtille, raspberry bonbon and nori. Yet somehow there is levity. An ethereal ebb between sheer power and an uncanny lightness of being. Cedar oak rims corral and compress the fray, although the virtual absence of grape tannins is notable. I suppose that it is conducive to the slick flow of fruit that comprises such a highly polished, ebullient and very Australian style.” – Ned Goodwin MW

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2021 Harriet’s Garden, Adelaide Hills Shiraz – 95 points
“This is good. Maker Michael Twelftree is well-versed in the Rhône and it shows. Pointed aromas of green peppercorn, dill, clove, green olive, charcuterie, blueberry, clove and iodine. A little wild, immensely energetic and highly savoury, skittering amidst rivets of finely wrought tannin. The oak, a bit stringy. Good length, all the same. An impressive wine that is mid-weighted of feel, vital and boasts the depth that marks the upper tier of this address.” – Ned Goodwin MW

2021 Lily’s Garden, McLaren Vale Shiraz – 95 points
“The commitment here to showcasing Pandora’s box of shiraz is admirable, each cuvée strongly tethered to its respective region. Here, McLaren Vale fruitcake and baking spices, clove, star anise and boysenberry. The palate expands admirably, absorbing the kit of oak that tends to a feel of older-school astringency on other cuvées. The finish, pulsing, saline and long, shedding the obvious sweetness with air as the tannins grow in stature and grasp the wine’s scruff, imparting a confident augur of age-worthiness.” – Ned Goodwin MW

2021 Bella’s Garden, Barossa Valley Shiraz – 93 points
“Shiraz from a blend of subregions and sites across the Barossa; matured in French oak (15% new) for 18 months. Fragrant and supple with fruit tones of crunchy red and dark plum with red cherry, mulberry and red apple skin in the distance. Hints of citrus blossom, mocha, tobacco, five-spice and earth with sinewy chalky tannins and a bright, sapid acid pulse.” – Dave Brookes

2021 Max’s Garden, Heathcote Shiraz – 93 points
“It’s both grunty with flavour and warm with alcohol but, importantly, it’s also smooth to the touch and well sustained. This will find a lot of admirers. Blackberry, clove, vanilla-coconut and asphalt characters are brightened by citrus and subtle mint. This is a hefty wine with a lot of smooths-skinned flavour.” – Campbell Mattinson

2021 Charlie’s Garden, Eden Valley Shiraz – 92 points
“Sourced from the top of Menglers Hill in the Eden Valley, matured for 18 months in French oak (15% new). Deep crimson in hue with deep cassis and black cherry along with hints of clove, five-spice, mountain herbs, licorice, earth, ironstone and rum and raisin chocolate. Herb and spice-flecked cassis and kirsch fruits on the palate with tight powdery tannins, fine acidity and a slightly broody finish at this stage of its evolution.” – Dave Brookes

2021 Samantha’s Garden, Clare Valley Shiraz – 92 points
“A full-weighted archetype, strongly of region and polished winemaking hand. Scents of peppermint, star anise, blue-fruit allusions and kirsch are lathered on some ropy, oaky rails imparting cedar and mocha overtones. Yet I appreciate the structure here, both astringent oak and grape tannins, imbuing a welcome savouriness to the wine. The finish is forceful, if not clad in oak at this nascent stage. Give it time.” – Ned Goodwin MW

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2021 Fields of Joy, Clare Valley Shiraz – 95 points
“Exceptional warm-climate shiraz. A lustrous and opaque purple. Floral and pulpy initially, with a seriousness imparted by classy French oak and impeccably extracted tannins, evincing authority and class. Like a boysenberry smoothie lifted by scents of violet and amped by a sachet of clove, cardamon and star anise as rivets of complexity unravel with time in the glass. A sluice of kirsch marks the finish. Bouillon and chorizo at its core. Punchy length. A wine of power as much as refinement. Bravo!” – Ned Goodwin MW

2021 Sexy Beast, McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon – 94 points
“A deep, vivid crimson purple. McLaren Vale’s ocean-modulated climate has long since been noted for the quality of its cabernet sauvignons. This great vintage has created a cabernet with its midpoint of luscious full-bodied wines at one extreme, and savoury tannins on the other.” – James Halliday

2022 Brave Faces, Barossa Valley GMS – 92 points
“A blend of grenache/mourvèdre/shiraz (20% whole bunches in the grenache), aged for six months in a combination of new and older French oak puncheons and hogsheads. Spicy and perfumed with lifted red cherry and dark plum fruits with a wash of raspberry. Hints of Asian five-spice, gingerbread, pepper, violets, musk, dried cranberries and roasting meats. There is a nice sweet plum/sour cherry fulcrum and tension and a meaty, exotic edge with a chalky tannin grip and a lacy line of acidity. Good drinking!” – Dave Brookes

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2021 Adams Road, Grenache – 96 points
“This is transparent, diaphanous and the archetype of the oft-used comparison with pinot noir, sans any drying influence of eucalyptus. Dried thyme, fennel, spiced cherry and amaro. Long, lithe and filigreed. Elegance is as much the signature as the intensity of flavour. Sumptuous wine of regional pedigree.” – Ned Goodwin MW

2021 Chaffeys Road, Grenache – 96 points
“An exceptional grenache by virtue of its transparency, spindle of chiffon-like tannin and salty freshness. Best, though, is the mandala of souk-like aromas and their reverberations across a long, seamless finish. No paucity of grip, either. Think tamarind, pickled orange rind, Indian chutney and succulent red berries. Delicious. Fine grenache, here.” – Ned Goodwin MW

2020 Chaffeys Road, Grenache – 95 points
“Lower, rocky site of reddish loam over a silty limestone substrata. More purple fruit-centric with lilac lift segueing to blueberry, plum, lavender and a sluice of iodine reduction. Considerable girth across the mid-palate, but the tannins are assertive, compressing the fruit into a sense of tension and propulsion. I like this. It lacks the ethereal lilt of the Blewitt cuvée, but it is compact, ferrous and hewn of a savoury bone.” – Ned Goodwin MW

2020 Seaview, Grenache Mourvedre – 95 points
love this blend. Perhaps the wine I enjoy most of the suite, at least for immediate pleasure. Immaculate. Floral. The blend, a rivet and weld of perfection. No shiraz, for the better. Mourvèdre, an unsung hero slaying sweetness of fruit in its path with a sabre of ferrous, olive-crusted tannins, all smoked charcuterie-chunky. Twelftree likes the combination of tank and used 500 litre French puncheons, his wont with all eponymous cuvées. A delicious wine, all the same.” – Ned Goodwin MW

2021 Schuller, Grenache – 93 points
“From the ersatz grand cru of Australia, Blewitt Springs. Grand cru? Sure, because the best variety is planted in the best place. Ample eucalyptus is muddled with red fruits, licorice, clove, briar, tamarind, white pepper and bergamot. Quite the potpourri of local scrub and exotica. Just a bit drying across the finish, detracting from a higher score.” – Ned Goodwin MW”

2021 Vinegrove, Grenache – 92 points
“Very good wine. Blue and black fruit allusions, raspberry bonbon, a strap of molten red licorice and a riff of mint and dried salami lace a finish that is, to be churlish, a bit more drying than it needs to be.” – Ned Goodwin MW

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