Top 100 Reds 2018 selected by Wine expert Ray Jordan


Ray Jordan is Western Australia’s leading wine writer and has has been writing about wine for almost 40 years. Ray is best known around town for his annual Western Australian Wine Guide (first published 2002) which provides thorough wine buying advice for the people of WA. As Wine Editor for Seven West Media, Ray writes two regular weekly columns in The West Australian and the West Weekend magazine, while also contributing to other publications. Each year Ray undertakes the mammoth task of tasting and judging 650+ wines from across Australia, whittling the list down to just 100 of the best red wines in the country. 

For the first time ever, in 2018, Ray was assisted by Rockpool sommelier Kris Ambrozkiewicz.  Kris was the recipient of the 2017 WA Liquor Industry Scholarship, and the Top 100 judging with Ray was part of the prize.


This is our shortlist of Ray Jordan's Top 100 Reds, complete tasting notes are below. Once you have worked your way through the below 15, you'll only have 85 more to try – that’s a drop in the ocean compared to what Ray and Kris got through.

Drop in to your local Liquor Barons today, stocks of these 15 wines are very limited and always sell out fast. You can ask your local independent Liquor Baron's store owner (likely the person at the counter!) if they can get any of the other wines in for you... we all have our favourites so we’re sure you’ll find some of them already on shelves…


Ray's Award for Best of the besT

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Forest Hill Shiraz 2017

In the last few years Forest Hill’s Guy Lyons has been taking these wines in a new direction. While the previous wines were very good, they generally were made with longer term cellaring in mind. Their structure made them quite formidable as youngsters. The new Forest Hill style is more approachable in its early years, and this remarkable shiraz is a perfect illustration of that. The striking feature immediately is the scented seductive aromas with their spicy white pepper characters. These are not indicators of being underripe, but rather a very good example of cool climate shiraz. It’s more medium bodied and so bright and vibrant. The tannins and understated French oak play pivotal roles in supporting the fruit through to a along pure finish.


RAY'S SCORE: 96/100

Best Value RED WINE 

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Houghton Classic Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Where do you start – or stop - in heaping praise on the Houghton winemaking team. The fact they can produce wines of this quality that regularly sell for less than $10 is quite remarkable. This is a combination of equal amounts of Frankland and Margaret River cabernet tat packs plenty of punch and drive into the rich smooth and surprisingly powerful palate. This is a must-buy for the winter, but while you’re at it grab the shiraz and blend to add some variety to your drinking over the next few months.


RAY'S SCORE: 92/100


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Amelia Park Trellis Cabernet Merlot 2017

This is the classic WA blend and it’s right back into form. It was best value wine a few years ago and I am delighted that you can still get it in the price bracket. Great fruit centration with good length and poise. Lots of black fruit merging with a hint of chocolate and mocha. Lick of vanillin oak to complete the picture. This is a complete wine for this price point.


RAY'S SCORE: 91/100


Best Value $20 - $25

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Howard Park Flint Rock Shiraz 2015

Terrific blend of Frankland and Mount Barker shiraz here. Spices and dried herbs on the nose poke through the dark chocolate and savoury plummy fruit characters. The palate is rich in lavish fruit with coffee grinds emerging as further complexity. The dry chalky tannin really set this off.


RAY'S SCORE: 94/100

Best $15 to $20 RED Wine

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Houghton Crofters Shiraz 2015

Oh my, this is pure class. Did a double take to make sure I wasn’t tasting it out of its price category. It’s a Frankland sourced shiraz. Love the sweet cherry and mulberry blueberry notes. Traces of spice and pepper but with fully ripe elegant fruit weight. Great fruit and great winemaking from the Houghton team are clearly on show here.


RAY'S SCORE: 94/100



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Evans & Tate Breathing Space Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Honest wine delivering the goods at this price. Sweet black currant and plummy fruit. Smooth and seamless. All ripe berry, a dollop of oak and some dusty fine oak.


RAY'S SCORE: 89/100

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Castelli Shiraz Malbec 2016

I have been a fan of this wine previously and this stacks up well, although it shows slightly more peppery characters than previously. Might seem an unlikely pairing but by gee it works well. Aromas show a leafy floral character while slightly deep dark fruits provide a captivating stylishness on the palate.


RAY'S SCORE: 92/100

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Deep Woods Ebony Cabernet Shiraz 2016

This cracking blend always hits the mark and this is right up there again. The combo of cabernet and shiraz works so well and this one shows beautiful sweet ripe fruit of medium to full body. A little dab of oak to complete.

2 for $25

RAY'S SCORE: 91/100

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Hesketh Midday Somewhere Shiraz 2017

Oh yes, these guys have been nailing some very handy little wines since bursting on to the scene a few years go. You might remember the name from a couple of years ago when it was best value wine. Well this one is another cracker. Sweet perfumed fruit with a touch of cedary oak. Harmonious and complete.

2 for $25

RAY'S SCORE: 92/100

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Howard Park Flint Rock Pinot Noir 2017

Medium bodied and elegant pinot from the Great Southern. Sour cherry and raspberry notes on the nose dominate the red fruit characters. There are spices and floral notes at work here. Terrific palate hangs together perfectly with fine grained oak and fine chalky tannins adding structure. Excellent wine over the next few years.


RAY'S SCORE: 91/100

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Jacobs Creek Barossa Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Introduced a few years ago with some controversy due to the closeness of the name to anther Barossa maker. Still it has been resolved and the wine stands tall. Sweet black fruits with a tarry, charry character. Intense and concentrated with deft control.

2 for $30

RAY'S SCORE: 92/100

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Moss Wood Amy's 2017

A blend of cabernet, merlot, malbec and petit verdot. It’s still so young but showing excellent fruit concentration. Lush and sweet with juicy fruitiness as you might expect from such a recent vintage. A wine that you can tuck into over the next few years.


RAY'S SCORE: 92/100

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Silkwood The Bowers Pinot Noir 2017

Really intense cherry and raspberry notes on the nose. The palate is medium to light bodied but with a deep driving structure supporting a long finish. Nice to see this small producer from Pemberton emerge among the top wines. Points to promising things ahead.


RAY'S SCORE: 91/100

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Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Such an elegant and stylish cabernet that captures the regional stamp of Margaret River. Black currant and black olive tapenade on the nose. The palate has good oak integration and firm sinewy tannins. Controlled and integrated. It's a wine that clearly over delivers at this price.


RAY'S SCORE: 93/100

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Yalumba Y Series Shiraz Viognier 2016

This is a super example of this blend with the spicy ginger notes of viognier wafting over the top. Really attractive sweet fruit with the feature being the balance between the white highly perfumed viognier and the deep rich shiraz. Nails it.

2 for $20

RAY'S SCORE: 90/100


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