James... we agree.
Every region around Australia produces wine based on its strongest varietal/s. This can mean that a region might be known for one great wine style or many. Western Australia polls very well indeed with Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon (and cabernet blends) and the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blend, and further south, our Great Southern Rieslings are not to be trifled with.
Thankfully, I am not only commenting from my own observations, there are many well-known writers in the rest of the country (not the least of whom is James Halliday) that also value our strengths in these areas.
In James’s recent 2018 Wine Companion, he lists his Best Wines by Variety.
Best of Riesling 2018
“The Eden Valley empire strikes back with nine wines compared with six from Western Australia.”
Dukes Vineyard Magpie Hill Reserve Riesling 2016 was awarded Best Riesling in Australia (98 points). The winery officially sold out of this wine months ago, and has rolled to the 2017 vintage. With a long history of crafting superb riesling in the Porongurup region, there is every reason to expect that the 2017 is as dynamic as the 2016. Other Great Southern wineries to receive outstanding scores: Harewood Estate, Abbey Creek, Castle Rock Estate, Forest Hill Vineyard and Singlefile all scored 97 points for their rieslings. WA sure is fortunate.
Best of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Blends 2018
“Why does anyone outside of Margaret River bother? Not only does it monopolise the field on points, the wines have typically mouth-watering prices.”
Six wines featured in this list, all from WA, most at around the $30 retail mark (full retail price – ie not on special), and five of the six are from Margaret River. What a scoop. Nothing we didn’t already know: Cape Mentelle (96 pts), Cullen (96 points), Domaine Naturalist (96 points), Larry Cherubino (97 points), Stella Bella Suckfizzle (96 points), Xanadu DJL (97 points).
Next week we’ll be looking at Chardonnay and Cabernet, the undisputed queen and king of Margaret River. In the meantime, the new 2018 Wine Companion is now available online and in bookshops – perhaps some light bedtime reading?