The diversity of regions claiming a coveted position in our riesling shortlist this year is testimony largely to the strength of the 2021 vintage across south-eastern Australia. Fifteen regions spanning five states have risen to the top, confidently led by the Clare Valley, followed by Eden Valley and closely by Tasmania. So strong was this class that we could not separate our two winners on first tasting or on a revote.
Diversity is celebrated in method, too, contrasting the laser precision of Henschke Julius with the body and texture of Best’s Foudre Ferment. It is a grand statement indeed that a foudre ferment style should not only win this category, but go on to White Wine of the Year and all the way to Wine of the Year. On sheer numbers, riesling again ranks behind only shiraz, chardonnay, cabernet and pinot noir as the strongest category in the country – just in case we needed another reminder that we all ought to be drinking more of this magnificent and affordable variety!
2023 Rieslings of the Year
96 points | Price when tasted $35
A wine style that started a minor revolution in Australia when it was first made, with extended skin contact, wild fermentation and maturation on lees in foudre. Each vintage it tingles and impresses and in a good year like ’21, it excels. Jasmine florals, bergamot, lime cordial, lemon curd and peach-skin aromas. A wine of some complexity and nuance, featuring bright, vibrant fruits, soft mealy texture with a hint of savouriness. Seamless and sustained. – Jeni Port
98 points | Price when tasted $47
Citrus and passionfruit blossom soar as you swirl the glass, and the palate achieves the seemingly impossible with the volume ofturbo-charged fruit. It reaches every receptor in the mouth and there's no hint of added acidity, the balance and length faultless. – James Halliday
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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.