2023 Varietal Winners

Top Rated: Other Reds and Blends

By Halliday Wine Companion

No other class spreads its wings as far or as wide as other reds, and our top 20 comprises a smorgasbord of no fewer than 17 different variety and blends from 13 regions. Trends? Cool climate nebbiolo. Cool climate regions in general. But just to prove that well-established varieties from traditional regions still have clout in this hipster category, our final taste-off saw Swinney Mourvèdre Syrah Grenache up against Koomilya Cabernet Touriga, with this magnificent site in McLaren Vale proving its superiority.

2023 Other Reds and Blends of the Year

Koomilya Cabernet Touriga 2018, McLaren Vale

97 points | Price when tasted $70

Koomilya Cabernet Touriga 2018, McLaren Vale

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This is exceptional, although not for the faint of heart. A mid-weighted and immensely savoury wine that is compact, portentous and so tightly bound to a ferrous orb of tannins that it makes one revel in the anticipation of the next sip. Italian of feel. Steely of resolve. Earthenware, herb, violet, biltong and a dusty swathe of dried plum and tobacco. The tannins are reminiscent of certain Wendouree cuvées or better, great Taurasi. They are a forcefield of enticement, confidence and saliva-sucking moreishness. I want to drink this whole bottle solo, so good is it. A stellar wine hailing from a spellbinding site. – Ned Goodwin

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*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.