The Top 100 list 2019

James Halliday unveils his Top 100 Wines of the Year for 2019. It is influenced by value for money and the imperative to offer a balanced, representative choice across varieties and regions.

Whites Under $25

76 wines submitted

Riesling has more to recommend it than semillon in the first few years of its life, although the scales even up somewhat with age. The elephant is chardonnay, with six wines in this group, and eight in the over $25 category, riesling the bridesmaid with 10 all up.


Thorn-Clarke Sandpiper Eden Valley Riesling 2019

Abbey Creek Vineyard Porongurup Riesling 2018

Singlefile Great Southern Riesling 2019

Soul Growers Eden Valley Riesling 2019

Thomas Synergy Vineyard Selection Hunter Valley Semillon 2019

De Iuliis Hunter Valley Semillon 2019

Larry Cherubino Folklore Classic White 2019

West Cape Howe Mount Barker Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Geoff Weaver Single Vineyard Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Xanadu DJL Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2019

Deep Woods Estate Margaret River Chardonnay 2018

Larry Cherubino Ad Hoc Hen & Chicken Pemberton Chardonnay 2018

Flying Fish Cove Margaret River Chardonnay 2018

Hoddles Creek Estate Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2018

Domaine Naturaliste Discovery Margaret River Chardonnay 2018

Devil’s Lair Dance with the Devil Margaret River Chardonnay 2018

Larry Cherubino Apostrophe Stone’s Throw Great Southern Riesling Gewurztraminer Pinot Blanc 2019

Tahbilk Marsanne 2019

Hahndorf Hill White Mischief Adelaide Hills Gruner Veltliner 2018

Yangarra Estate Vineyard McLaren Vale Blanc 2019

Reds Under $30

209 wines submitted

It’s very difficult to deny that this selection of red wines represents the best value for money of this year’s Top 100. There is more demand for the best quality red wines regardless of price coming from China, and less demand for these very good wines.


Hoddles Creek Estate Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2018

Best’s Great Western Pinot Noir 2018

Home Hill Landslide Pinot Noir 2018

Stoney Rise Pinot Noir 2018

Flowstone Moonmilk Margaret River Shiraz Grenache 2017

West Cape Howe Frankland River Shiraz 2018

Oakdene Bellarine Peninsula Shiraz 2018

Schild Estate Barossa Valley Shiraz 2018

De Iuliis Hunter Valley Shiraz 2018

Sidewood Estate Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2018

Bondar Violet Hour McLaren Vale Shiraz 2018

Clairault Halley & Lex Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Wynns Coonawarra Estate The Siding Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Vasse Felix Filius Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Trentham Estate The Family Nero d’Avola 2018

Balnaves of Coonawarra The Blend 2016

Z Wine Rustica Barossa Valley Grenache 2019

Head Red Barossa Montepulciano 2018

Spinifex Miette Barossa Valley Grenache Mataro Cinsault 2017

Hayes Family Regional Series Sam’s Barossa Valley Grenache 2018

Whites Over $25

226 wines submitted

Unsurprisingly, eight chardonnays led this group, but six rieslings and four semillons also demanded inclusion, a single sauvignon blanc and gruner veltliner making up the field. In turn Margaret River (three), Tasmania and the Yarra Valley (two each) supplied seven of the field. The tsunami of near misses underlines the extremely high quality of this group.


Ravensworth Murrumbateman Riesling 2019

Forest Hill Vineyard Block 2 Mount Barker Riesling 2018

Rieslingfreak No. 2 Riesling 2019

Seppelt Drumborg Vineyard Riesling 2019

Duke’s Vineyard Magpie Hill Reserve Riesling 2019

Dandelion Vineyards Wonderland of the Eden Valley Riesling 2019

Meerea Park Alexander Munro Individual Vineyard Hunter Valley Semillon 2013

First Creek Winemaker’s Reserve Hunter Valley Semillon 2018

Thomas Braemore Cellar Reserve Hunter Valley Semillon 2014

Brokenwood ILR Reserve Hunter Valley Semillon 2013

Domaine Naturaliste Sauvage Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Higher Plane Reserve Margaret River Chardonnay 2017

Deep Woods Estate Reserve Margaret River Chardonnay 2018

Mewstone D’Entrecasteaux Channel Chardonnay 2018

Medhurst Reserve Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2018

Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay 2018

Oakridge 864 Single Block Release Drive Block Funder & Diamond Vineyard Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2017

Singlefile The Vivienne Denmark Chardonnay 2017

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Margaret River Chardonnay 2016

Hahndorf Hill GRU Adelaide Hills Gruner Veltliner 2018

Reds Over $30

341 wines submitted

The inclusion of five pinot noirs and four grenaches in an ultra-competitive line-up of high class shirazs and cabernets may seem unbalanced. The justifications are firstly the overall increasing age of pinot vines and discovery of new areas in Tasmania. Grenache has been born anew with bright, fresh fruit flavours.


Home Hill Estate Pinot Noir 2018

Hoddles Creek Estate DML Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir 2018

Dawson & James Pinot Noir 2016

Yering Station Scarlett Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2017

Bass Phillip Reserve Pinot Noir 2017

Duke’s Vineyard Magpie Hill Reserve Shiraz 2018

Yangarra Estate Vineyard McLaren Vale Shiraz 2017

Best’s White Gravels Hill Great Western Shiraz 2017

Bekkers McLaren Vale Syrah Grenache 2017

Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Hunter Valley Shiraz 2017

Tahbilk 1860 Vines Shiraz 2015

Victory Point Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

West Cape Howe King Billy Mount Barker Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Cape Mentelle Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Wynns Coonawarra Estate John Riddoch Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Cullen Diana Madeline 2017

Paxton Thomas Block McLaren Vale Grenache 2018

Turkey Flat Barossa Valley Grenache 2018

Chalk Hill Alpha Crucis Old Vine McLaren Vale Grenache 2018

Kellermeister Rocamora Ancestor Vine Stonegarden Vineyard Eden Valley Grenache 2015

Australian Sparkling

44 wines submitted

Half the wines come from Tasmania, half from the mainland, the best from Tasmania.


Deviation Road Altair Adelaide Hills Brut Rose NV

Yarrabank Brut Rose 2013

Chandon Australia Methode Traditionelle Vintage Brut 2015

Bream Creek Vintage Cuvee Traditionelle 2012

Brown Brothers Patricia King Valley Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut 2012

House of Arras Rose 2009

House of Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged 2005

Delamere Vineyards Blanc de Blancs 2013


75 wines submitted

A field of 75 champagnes provided problems (of the best kind) in selection, especially with some very low prices for household names on one side, small family businesses in the centre, and deservedly relatively high prices for the great producers – compared to the prices for Burgundy or Bordeaux they are very cheap.


Taittinger Brut Reserve NV

Vve Fourny & Fils Grande Réserve Vertus Brut Premier Cru NV

Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve NV

Bollinger Special Cuvee NV

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Rose NV

Devaux D Rose Aged 5 Years NV

Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2012

Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Special Club Grands Terroirs de Chardonnay 2012

Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Blancs NV

Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs Brut 2012

Dom Perignon Vintage 2008

Krug Grande Cuvee Edition 167 NV

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Life: Wine

James writes a weekly column for The Weekend Australian.