Ray Jordan’s Top 100 Red Wines 2023 Subheading
WA’s leading wine expert Ray Jordan unbottles his list of Top 100 Reds of 2023
Every year, West Australia’s most esteemed wine expert, Ray Jordan shares his insights into the evolving landscape of the Western Australian wine industry. Ray Jordan has over 40 years of wine writing experience behind him and this year, we discover his Top 100 Reds of 2023. Through the lens of Ray’s discerning taste buds is a wine to please every palate, and all for under $40 there’s one to please every budget too.
We got down to business with Ray’s list of Top 5 wines for this year.
“This year, I tasted 700 reds to get down to the Top 100 and I think this was probably the best year yet,” said Ray, when asked how many red wines he tasted this year.
“It’s a challenging exercise as it takes about 3 days to taste 700 wines, then I go back and reassess the best ones until I’m absolutely happy.”
“Determining the Top 100 is a big exercise and is pretty demanding as I do it all on my own, so I’m the only one to blame,” said Ray.
“But I am delighted that with the support of Liquor Barons, we’ve been able to bring 100 independently assessed wines to market, and hopefully you enjoy them.”
Ray Jordan’s Top 5
Ray knows best when it comes to wine, with reds being no exception. With different palates, preferences and budgets in mind, Ray puts his sharp winetasting skills to the test to distinguish 100 world-class reds of 2023.
Winner – Best of the Best Wine 2023
Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 2021
Ray’s quest for the best begins with the crème de la crème and this year, Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 took the title of the top drop for 2023. Ray’s praise for this wine is relentless, as it “exceeds expectations with each sip.” With a score of 96/100, Ray knights this red as having a tight yet powerful expression, with perfumed aromas and a structural core that ensures it ages gracefully. It’s an investment in a bottle, that Ray reckons will only improve with age.
“Another fantastic wine that continues the line that winemaker Goodall established some years ago. It is a wine that always delivers so much above its price point. This is a tighter and slightly firmer expression of Margaret River cabernet than the 2020, yet there is plenty of power and drive through an intense and concentrated palate. Perfumed aromas of blackcurrant and bay leaf with a trace of edgy black olive. The structural core provides so much poise to a wine that will cellar exceptionally well.”
Score: 96/100 | Cellar: 15 years
Best Runner Up 2023
Singlefile Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2021
Next on Ray’s list of top two contenders of 2023 was Singlefile Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2021. Hailing from the prestigious Riversdale vineyard in Frankland River, this cabernet impresses with its deep dark fruits, leafy nuances, and a palate that showcases finesse and elegance. Its long, dry finish leaves a lasting impression.
“One of a number of Singlefile wines that performed so well in the tasting. The Single vineyard is the Riversdale in Frankland. It is one of the best around. This is a most impressive cabernet, chock full of deep dark fruits with a leafy cabernet overlay. The palate reveals a chalky ferruginous mix with the firm support of fine-grained oak and gravelly tannins taking it to a very long finish. A dry, chalky finish completes an excellent wine.”
With a score of 95/100, this wine is aromatic with value for money.
Score: 95/100 | Cellar: 12 years
Best Value 2023
De Bortoli Deen Vat 8 Shiraz 2018
De Bortoli Deen Vat 8 Shiraz 2018 showcases complexity beyond its price point and is a drop that defies expectations, priced at a mere $13.50. Drawing its fruit from the Heathcote and Hilltops regions, it packs a generous middle palate of sweet fruit and oak. At a score of 93/100, it stands tall among its peers, defying conventions of affordable wines.
“This is a wine that defies the normal thinking for these value for money wines in that even after five years it is still holding onto its youth. In fact, it is starting to develop a level of complexity you don’t normally expect at this price point. The fruit for this excellent shiraz comes from the Heathcote and Hilltops regions. Has a distinctive ironstone thread with a soft and generous palate. Delicious, sweet fruit supported by a little oak. This has some extra time, and it is absolutely on song for this style of ready to drink wine.”
Score: 93/100 | Cellar: 3 years
Best Value Runner Up 2023
Houghton Reserve cabernet 2020
This pick of the pack pays homage to one of WA’s most renowned brands, Houghton. With a price tag of $15, this medium-bodied and elegant wine is the Runner-Up when it comes to value, dangerously closely behind De Bortoli.
This drop brings its black olive and blackcurrant nuances to the table, enriched with hints of chocolate and blackberry. Supported by well-integrated oak and tannins, this classy wine exemplifies the quality of WA Cabernet. A score of 93/100 solidifies its position among the best-value wines of the year and Top 4 overall drops.
“Good to see one of the most famous WA brands well into the fore in this tasting. Fact is, Houghton has consistently delivered great value drinking, and this was one of a number that could easily have slotted into the mix for best value. It’s a medium bodied and quite elegant example of WA cabernet in this price point. Has distinctive black olive and blackcurrant nuances with deeper riches of chocolate and blackberry. Has a nice firm spine with good oak and tannin supporting the fruit. Classy wine from a good year.”
Score: 93/100 | Cellar: 4 years
Best $15 – $20 2023
Nikola Estate Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2022
Looking to indulge in a sensational drop, for under $20? Nikola Estate Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2022 is just one wine among many, fitting the bill between the $15 – $20 price point. Crafted with care and precision, it captures the essence of the Swan Valley region. This drop promises a sensory experience and surpasses expectations with every sip. Expect vibrant notes of ripe red berries intertwined with subtle hints of spice, against a velvety smooth backbone that lingers on the palate. Nikola Estate Shiraz Mourvedre is a red that has earned its rightful place among the finest wines of the year, for an affordable price.
“A thoroughly engaging and highly drinkable blend. It all comes together into a seamless medium bodied blend that delivers soft red fruits with power as well. Spicy plum and fragrant rose petal aromas. The palate has a soft red fruit of cherry and strawberry with a dry spicy edge. Brilliant for current drinking.
Score: 94/100 | Cellar: 4 years