From the tasting team

Campbell Mattinson's best wine moment of 2023

By Campbell Mattinson

20 Dec, 2023

Chief editor Campbell Mattinson reveals his best wine moment of the year.

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You never know where your best wine moment of the year is going to come from. This year it came from a sea of 1041 chardonnay wines, which is the number of chardonnays that we tasted for the current edition of the Halliday Wine Companion

The 17 best of these chardonnays were sent to our annual Awards judging, and there we tasted them blind. Chardonnay is arguably the variety that Australia does best, and so any one of these 17 wines could have won our Chardonnay of the Year gong; it became a matter of trying to split superb wine from superb wine.

Spreadsheets are rarely the hero of any story, but the spreadsheet of voting results from this chardonnay taste-off is fascinating. The spreadsheet records all the scores from all the tasters, including my own. Because the chardonnay bracket was so strong, we whittled the 17 wines down to seven, and then tasted these wines (blind) again. From these seven we selected three, which we tasted for a third time (also blind).

Landaire at Padthaway Estate Chardonnay 2021, PadthawayThere were 1041 chardonnay wines tasted for the 2024 Companion.

So at no stage did we know which wines we were tasting. In the first round of tasting I had the Hoddles Creek 1er Chardonnay 2021 as my most preferred wine. This wine had enough support from the other tasters to make it through to the second round, and indeed it made it through to the final three as well. The other two wines in the final round were Seville Estate Chardonnay 2022, and Landaire at Padthaway Estate Chardonnay 2021.