2023 Halliday Top Rated

Top Rated: Other Whites and Blends

By The Tasting Team

The depth and breadth of the top end of other white varieties in Australia is exemplified in a final role call of no fewer than 12 different varieties and blends hailing from eight regions. Our final judging exemplified this diversity, with a Hunter albariño, Yarra marsanne, Mornington savagnin and Tasmanian gris rising to the top. Indicative of the importance in this category of building texture and complexity in the winery, our winner enjoyed wild fermentation, skin contact, partial barrel fermentation and lees age.

2023 Other Whites and Blends of the Year

Briar Ridge Vineyard Albariño 2021, Hunter Valley

95 points | Price when tasted $30

Briar Ridge Vineyard Albariño 2021, Hunter Valley

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Maker Alex Beckett has a good handle on this, as he does with fiano, a wine whose evolution I am following with great anticipation. Everything done right: hand picked, fermented spontaneously, with a small portion (15%) in older barriques and a brief period on skins in the press and on lees, post-fermentation. All texture-building exercises. Yet albariño’s pithy stone, frangipani, saline oyster shell to white pepper riffs are not subsumed, but accentuated. Fine textural detail, energetic trajectory and succulent length, the whirl of acidity whetting the palate for the next glass. This is exceptional. Kudos! – 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.