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James Halliday's 2022 Australian Chardonnay and Cabernet Challenge

By J'aime Cardillo

26 Aug, 2022

The Adelaide Hills and Margaret River have taken out the top gongs at James Halliday's 2022 Chardonnay and Cabernet Challenge.

The Penfolds 2020 Reserve Bin A Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills and the Forester Estate 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River have been crowned the 2022 James Halliday Australian Chardonnay and Cabernet Challenge winners.

In the chardonnay class, 351 wines were entered from across 31 wine regions. The Penfolds 2020 Reserve Bin A Chardonnay rose to the top, winning the 2022 James Halliday Australian Chardonnay Challenge Trophy, after being awarded 98 points.

Glasses of cabernet lined up in a rowThe panel judged 295 cabernet sauvignons from around Australia.

Cabernet sauvignon was as equally tough to judge, with 295 entries from 22 wine regions around the country. The 2020 Forester Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from the west scored 97 points to take out the 2022 James Halliday Australian Cabernet Challenge Trophy.

The judging panel gathered at Margaret River's McHenry Hohnen, chaired by Adam Wadewitz (Shaw + Smith, SA), alongside Adrian Sparks (Mount Pleasant, NSW), Erin Larkin (WA), Gabrielle Poy (VIC), Glenn Goodall (Xanadu Wines, WA), Michael Downer (SA), Natalie Cleghorn (Katnook Estate, SA), Russell Cody (McWilliam's, NSW), Sarah Crowe (Yarra Yering, VIC), and Tom Wallace (Devil's Corner, Tamar Ridge and Pirie, TAS).

Adam Wadewitz smelling a glass of chardonnayAdam Wadewitz.

"The judges dug deep into the best examples chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. We tasted 646 entries from 37 wine regions from across Australia. It was exciting to see so many wines that can stand confidently alongside the world’s best," says Adam.

Wineries who participated in the Challenge were able to submit chardonnay and cabernet of any vintage, which were then judged by region. In a twist, the panel of regional specialists then judged the wines blind – without knowing which region was being tasted.

Wines that received 95 points were then narrowed down to regional winners, each Best of Region wines were then re-tasted to award the chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon Challenge trophies.

Glasses of chardonnay lined up in a rowWineries from more than 30 regions submitted to the Chardonnay Challenge.

James Halliday says that while the logistics of coupling the chardonnay and cabernet challenges are overwhelming, the two work very well together. "The results are a blend of the expected and unexpected, an outcome that will hopefully encourage ongoing support from all those wineries who participated in this and previous challenges."

The 15 regional were trophies each awarded a gold medal and scored between 95 and 98 points.

The 2022 Chardonnay Challenge regional winners:
Adelaide Hills: Penfolds Wines Reserve Bin A Chardonnay 2020
Eden Valley: St Hugo Eden Valley Chardonnay 2021
Great Southern: West Cape Howe Styx Gully Chardonnay 2020
Hunter Valley: Briar Ridge Briar Hill Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2021
Margaret River: Deep Woods Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2021
Mornington Peninsula: Montalto Pennon Hill Chardonnay 2021
Pemberton: Below & Above Chardonnay 2019
Tasmania: Freycinet Vineyard Chardonnay 2019
Yarra Valley: A.Rodda Willowlake Vineyard Chardonnay 2021

The 2022 Cabernet Sauvignon Challenge regional winners:
Barossa Valley: Grant Burge Corryton Park Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Clare Valley: Kirrihill Partner Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Coonawarra: Yalumba The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Great Southern: Forest Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2021
Margaret River: Forester Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
Yarra Valley: Centare Vineyard Old Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2021

The 2023 Challenge will be held in Victoria's Yarra Valley.

For the full list of results, visit australianwinechallenge.com.au.