Thursday, 31 December 2020

The Best of 2020!

What a year 2020 has been!

Sincere thanks to you, my readers, for your support. Based on conversations through various channels it seems more and more people are becoming increasingly open-minded to the diversity of wines now on the market while also supporting small businesses - be it producers or through independent wine stores, long may this continue.

I've had the privilege of reviewing over 760 wines in 2020 - by far my busiest year. I thank the winemakers, wineries, reps, and marketers for their ongoing support.

I don't get paid to review these wines, but from time to time I have been gifted all sorts of things from producers such as socks, FruChocs (that's a South Australian thing), and T-Shirts among other bits and pieces. However, I do receive a small commission on sales from Langtons, Wine Selectors, The Wine Collective, Vinomofo and Catch. If you do consider buying from any of these businesses, please access via the links and a little pocket money gets thrown my way from any sale made. Graci. 

The diversity of wines I get to taste never ceases to amaze me. There are some incredibly gifted winemakers out there. Some just smash the basics, others want to push boundaries. In all, the pool of deliciousness continues to get deeper and I'm happy to swim in it.

I've been able to travel through a range of regions this year including Coonawarra, Granite Belt, Waipara and Central Otago in New Zealand as well as helping out during vintage in the Hunter Valley, McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley. A shout out to those who made my time in their region memorable - I'm most grateful for your time and hospitality.

But as for the best of 2020, it is hard to narrow down 750 odd reviews to a just few. Here are what I thought were some of the best wines that came across my tasting bench this year. 

Wishing you all the best for 2021!

Summer vibes:

Ballandean Estate Malvasia 2019

Golden Grove Estate Vermentino 2020

Raidis Estate The Kid Riesling 2019

O'Leary Walker Polish Hill River Riesling 2020

Oliver's Taranga Vermentino 2020


Ripping Rosé:

Bailey Wine Co Rosé 2019

Yangarra Estate Rosé 2020

Nikkal Rosé 2020

Schwarz Wine Co Rosé 2020


Medium Bodied Deliciousness:

Brash Higgins Ripple 2020

Comyns & Co Shiraz Pinot Noir 2018

Silkman Shiraz Pinot Noir 2018


The glory of Grenache:

Bondar Rayner Grenache 2019

Dodgy Bros Juxtaposed Old Vine Grenache 2019

Hayes Family Wines Block 2 Grenache 2019

Oliver's Taranga Grenache 2020

Yangarra Estate Old Vine Grenache 2019


Charming Chardonnay:

Bird on a Wire Chardonnay 2017

Curly Flat Chardonnay 2019

First Creek Winemaker's Reserve Chardonnay 2018

Flametree SRS Wallcliffe Chardonnay 2019

Montalto Estate Chardonnay 2019

Seville Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2019

Singlefile The Vivienne Chardonnay 2017

Soumah Equilibrio Chardonnay 2019

Willow Creek Chardonnay 2019


Something a bit different:

Arfion Fever 2019

Brash Higgins Cinsault 2019

Born & Raised Malakoff Nebbiolo 2017

Golden Grove Estate Nero d'Avola 2019

Grandis Wines Touriga 2018

Hidden Creek Prieto Picudo 2020

La Petite Mort Qvevri Saperavi 2019

O'Leary Walker Seasonal Release Pinotage 2019

Smidge Pedra Branca Saperavi 2018

Zema Estate Sparkling Merlot 2018


Age-worthy reds:

Redman Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Soul Growers Gobell Single Vineyard Shiraz 2018

Thomas Wines Kiss Shiraz 2018

Tim Smith Reserve Shiraz 2018


Shiraz!:

Hayes Family Wines Block 1 Shiraz 2018

Yelland & Papps Second Take Shiraz 2019

Thomas Wines Elenay Shiraz 2018


The beauty of New Zealand:

Burn Cottage Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017

Carrick Billet Doux 2018

Maude Mt Maude Pinot Noir 2018

Mt Difficulty Ghost Town Bendigo Syrah 2017

Wooing Tree Sandstorm Reserve Pinot Noir 2014


Value Picks:

Berton Vineyard Winemaker's Reserve Fiano 2019

d'Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2018

Redman Coonawarra Shiraz 2018

Wild Game The Duke Cabernet Sauvignon 2013


Deep Pockets:

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Masons Farm Pinot Noir 2015

Oakridge 864 Henk Vineyard Aqueduct Block Pinot Noir 2018

Patrick Coonawarra Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Pegasus Bay Prima Donna Pinot Noir 2016

Stefano Lubiana Ruscello Pinot Noir 2017

Torbreck The Laird 2015

Tyrrells Vat 9 Shiraz 2018


The Year's Best:

Yalumba The Caley Cabernet Shiraz 2015

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