The inaugural Halliday Wine Companion Top 100 Wineries selected by Campbell Mattinson is a celebration of the best wineries of right now. Below is the list of wineries ranked from 26 to 50 from across Australia.
"In short, this is a list of producers who know, in their heart and in their head, that consumers don’t owe them a living. This is a list of producers who are prepared to stake their reputation on every single wine they release." – chief editor Campbell Mattinson
Bass Phillip | Yalumba | Bannockburn Vineyards | Tapanappa | Sorrenberg | Bleasdale Vineyards | Serrat | Pooley Wines | Tolpuddle Vineyard | Dappled Wines | Dr. Edge | Leeuwin Estate | Mulline | Penley Estate | Gentle Folk | Deep Woods Estate | Frankland Estate | Joshua Cooper Wines | Xanadu Wines | Place of Changing Winds | Murdoch Hill | Craiglee | Cherubino | Montalto | Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard
26. Bass PhillipGippsland, Victoria
It’s been something of a lone wolf for a very long time now, so much so that you can be tempted to wonder whether the fuss is still justified. Surely, you might think, other producers have caught up, or caught on. They haven’t. When Bass Phillip gets it right, the pictures it paints in the glass are more complex than any other Australian producer, as a general rule. Open one of these wines and think: there is only one Bass Phillip.
27. YalumbaEden Valley, South Australia
The top end of Yalumba matches it with the best that there is. The middle tier of Yalumba, particularly when it comes to grenache and viognier, is rich in goodies, and is a happy hunting ground. The lower end is both hits and misses, but when it hits at this end it does value as well or better than anyone. But really, lash out and drink a Yalumba Virgilius Viognier. Treat yourself to a bottle of Signature Cabernet Shiraz. Yalumba has always been a proud producer but right now, it’s making beautiful wines.
Bannockburn has been a giant of the Geelong region for roughly four decades, but over the past few years it has got its house back in the best of order and has put out a stunning array of wines. It’s full steam ahead at Bannockburn again. The estate Pinot Noir 2022 and Serre Pinot Noir 2022 are positive proof.
29. TapanappaPiccadilly Valley, South Australia
There’s a strength to these wines. It serves them well young, it serves them well at maturity, it helps them have long and healthy lives. Tiers Chardonnay from one of the best chardonnay vineyards in the country; cabernet shiraz from one of the best (Whalebone) cabernet vineyards; pinot noir from a dramatically different (and considered) site, and specific releases thereafter from specific sections of vineyard. Every one of Tapanappa’s wines has presence.
30. SorrenbergBeechworth, Victoria
It could be argued that the path to success, for any small Australian wine producer, is to simply and repeatedly ask yourself: what would Barry Morey do? Barry (and wife Jan) is the driving force behind this seminal, 2.5 hectare Beechworth estate, and while the wines are hard to source – because they are made in such small volume – the influence of this estate cannot be overstated. Sorrenberg is a great Australian winery. Varietal gamay leads the way but the chardonnay, cabernet blend and sauvignon blanc semillon are all routinely stellar.
Langhorne Creek, South Australia
Langhorne Creek’s Bleasdale winery is the giant-killer of Australian wine. Every year, year after year, it takes on a host of more fancied rivals and triumphs. It is no one-trick-pony and yet the simple fact that it has won Cabernet Sauvignon of the Year at the Halliday awards – tasted blind – the past two years running is as telling as it is phenomenal. It’s as if Bleasdale and its head winemaker Paul Hotker eat the reputations of its rivals for breakfast. Value is made here, but so too is great wine.
32. SerratYarra Valley, Victoria
Three La Niña vintages in a row haven’t hurt this cool-climate, Yarra Valley producer, playing to its strengths as it does. In truth, this miniscule producer grows and crafts exquisite white and red wine every year, as if it were easy. If you felt inclined to be loyal to any one producer, Serrat should be high on your list. The prices are fair and the wines are as complex as they are splendid.
33. Pooley WinesTasmania
Pooley is a load-bearing beam of Tasmanian wine. It’s not big but its impact is substantial. It upholds the right of uncompromised, family-owned, not-sweet, well-structured fine wine. It doesn’t punch above or below its weight; it is its weight, it is itself. The range is built on classic, brooding chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah and riesling. And, if anything, recent releases have gone up a level.
Southern Tasmania, Tasmania
Single vineyard chardonnay, single vineyard pinot noir, from the Coal River Valley in southern Tasmania. That’s it, that’s all they do, and that’s all they’ll ever need to do. I could wax lyrical but the wines themselves stand tall, structured and pristine, and do all the talking.
35. Dappled WinesYarra Valley, Victoria
Anyone can drink a fancy label. Only the true enthusiasts are on to labels like Yarra Valley producer Dappled, and blessed be that so. This is the home of stunning chardonnay and pinot noir, usually at can’t-beat prices. Dappled, in short, always delivers.
36. Dr. EdgeSouthern Tasmania, Tasmania
The name is amusing (the winemaker’s surname is Dredge) and the labels are funky, but in the glass these wines are uniformly pure, if not classic. This is the fresh face of quality Australian wine, dedicated as much to the exquisite as to the powerful, with both character and persistence of paramount concern. The riesling and the pinot noirs here are a world of nuance but the chardonnays, wow, they’re quite something. If you can manage to find (and drink) the 2021 version you’ll be converted to this producer forever.
37. Leeuwin EstateMargaret River, Western Australia
You might think that Leeuwin Estate is here thanks to its wonderful Art Series Chardonnay – which never, ever seems to miss – and of course you’re right, but with this proviso: there’s a lot more to Leeuwin Estate besides. Its Prelude Chardonnay, for instance, is in top form, as is its Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon, as is its Art Series Shiraz. This Top 100 list demands that you roll out the gold with monotonous regularity, and Leeuwin does just that.
38. MullineGeelong, Victoria
Mulline is the new quality juggernaut of the Geelong wine region. It doesn’t make a lot of wine but what it makes is of note, or better. These wines are slaying all-comers, everywhere, for their freshness, for their flashes of complex flavour, for their sheer drinkability. It’s all in the glass with Mulline. Open a bottle and you’re hooked.
39. Penley EstateCoonawarra, South Australia
Penley Estate has always been a winery of note but what’s happened here over the past few years is nothing short of wonderful. Take a bow, winemaker Kate Goodman. Classic wines, modern wines, fresh takes, new ideas. The wines here have been reimagined and reinvigorated. Penley Estate has romped its way onto this list.
40. Gentle FolkAdelaide Hills, South Australia
If you grow it, they will come. In some circles Gentle Folk would be known as a natural winemaker but really this Adelaide Hills producer simply grows and makes beautiful wine, and any ‘labels’ look after themselves. Gentle Folk’s barrel-fermented sauvignon blanc, syrah and chardonnay, among other wines, are all magical drinks, and elevate this winery straight into the Top 100 ranks.
Margaret River, Western Australia
People who know cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay know that Deep Woods Estate makes some of the finest examples in the country – and does so year in, year out. Indeed when discussion turns to ‘the best of Margaret River’, Deep Woods demands to be part of the conversation. These wines are Margaret River to their pristine back teeth.
42. Frankland EstateFrankland River, Western Australia
Frankland Estate has appeared on lists like this for a couple of decades (or more) now, and yet if anything its wines get better as time goes on. Of course its rieslings are exceptional, and particular to their site, but its shiraz, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon-based wines are now all seriously, seriously good.
Joshua Cooper looks like a movie star but as a winemaker he places the vineyard in the leading role. This is a producer you absolutely, 100 per cent need to get up to speed with. He has his own, close-planted vineyard in the Macedon Ranges but he also breathes new life, or new interpretations, into a host of storied vineyards around the central Victorian zone; most notably off the Balgownie 1970 Block, most excitingly off the old Flynns vineyard (released under the label Flynn & Cooper), but with scores of hits and fascinations in-between. Get on board now.
44. Xanadu WinesMargaret River, Western Australia
We’re at the ‘needs no introduction’ stage now. Xanadu has long been the producer of interesting wines but what winemaker Glenn Goodall has done here since taking the reins in 2005 is staggering to say the least. In short he’s taken this winery from very good to excellent to outstanding, and he’s done it by improving the wines across the board, for starters, but also by upping the value on offer, and also by championing specific sites. In Top 100 terms Xanadu is a no-brainer.
Macedon Ranges, Victoria
This endeavour is a decade old and yet it feels as though we’re only scratching the surface. We’re onto something special here. The wines are wonderful, complex and considered, mostly made with chardonnay and pinot noir but also with (Heathcote) shiraz. And while they are made in such limited quantity that finding them is difficult, the hunt is worth it, the crusade.
46. Murdoch HillAdelaide Hills, South Australia
Few wineries reach for the stars quite so regularly as Murdoch Hill. Wow, when this winery nails it, it really does drive it home. Murdoch Hill’s The Landau Syrah was the winner of the Companion’s coveted Shiraz of the Year award, and its Apollo Pinot Noir 2022 is right up there too, as indeed is the ‘standard’ chardonnay. Murdoch Hill is a serious ultra-quality player in Australian wine. Take note.
47. CraigleeSunbury, Victoria
The heart of boutique Australian wine lives in a small stone cellar just beyond Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport. It’s in the Sunbury area, and while it’s a wine region in its own right this area would barely rate a mention if it weren’t for Craiglee. Craiglee, effectively, sits on its own, growing beautiful shiraz, as a beacon, where the soil meets the soul. Its other varietal wines are good too and shouldn’t be ignored but it’s all built on the shiraz, the beautiful savoury-peppery shiraz.
48. CherubinoMargaret River, Western Australia
When it comes to reliable quality, across a range of price points and varieties, few do it better than Larry Cherubino. We’ve been saying this of Cherubino ever since its ambitious launch in 2005, but the truth is that this endeavour shows no signs of slowing down, or of ever compromising its quality. The wines here are good, always.
49. MontaltoMornington Peninsula, Victoria
If you ever feel inclined to lash out on a bottle of top-tier chardonnay, Montalto’s The Eleven Chardonnay would be a great place to start, not only because it lays down the quality law in the most emphatic of ways, but also because it gives a keen insight into the drama contained within this most compelling of wine ranges. Montalto is Mornington Peninsula wine with its spinnaker up, at full steam, every breath captured, every sunray considered.
McLaren Vale, South Australia
Few producers do the more emphatic style of Australian red wine as well as McLaren Vale’s Hickinbotham does. All the wines in this range offer a power of fruit in a well-crafted package. Shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, blends of the two, merlot and cabernet franc, all grown and made to superb standards.