2023 Varietal Winners

Top Rated: Chardonnay

By The Tasting Team

On top scores, chardonnay ranks a very close third behind shiraz and cabernet for the strongest category in Australian wine today. Margaret River again towers above all others, alone putting forth a tremendous showing of more than half of this year’s standouts. Of the balance, the Yarra Valley stands tall, responsible for almost two-thirds.

No surprise that, just like last year, the two wine regions went head-to-head with Penfolds Yattarna in the final taste-off. And just to prove that lightening can strike in the same place twice, Oakridge 864 was also again a contender for top three. To have two of the same three wines come forward in one of the finest and largest classes in successive years, one judged revealed and the other blind, proves that great wines ultimately triumph, regardless of method. On first vote all three scored equally, and on revote, there was just one vote between them, with Stella Bella Luminosa a stunning winner. All three are deserving – don’t miss them.

2023 Best Chardonnay of the Year in Australia

Stella Bella Wines Luminosa Chardonnay 2020, Margaret River

98 points | Price when tasted $70

Stella Bella Wines Luminosa Chardonnay 2020, Margaret River

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Wow, this is serious business. Indeed the word glorious immediately springs to mind. Toast, flint, grilled white peach, nougat and lemon curd characters come charging at you, first sip until the last, compellingly, authoritatively. Jumps straight out of the box and once it's out, there's no stopping it. – Campbell Mattinson

The 2023 Halliday Wine Companion is available now. Secure your copy of Australia's most comprehensive wine guide here – and at all good bookstores.

Learn more about chardonnay in our essential guide.

*This is an edited extract from the 2023 Halliday Wine Companion, with reviews by Dave Brookes, Jane Faulkner, Ned Goodwin MW, James Halliday, Erin Larkin, Jeni Port, Philip Rich and chief editor Tyson Stelzer.

Top image credit: Wine Australia.