2023 Varietal Winners

Top Rated: Riesling

By The Tasting Team

The diversity of wine 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 Best Rieslings of the Year in Australia

Best’s Wines Foudre Ferment Riesling 2021, Great Western

96 points | Price when tasted $35

Best’s Wines Foudre Ferment Riesling 2021, Great Western 

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Neil Pike's Polish Hill River expression. So scintillating, so pure, so much energy, so minerally. Scents of lime (of course), pink grapefruit and honeysuckle with a whiff of warm slate. The palate is compact, racy and very long. More of those lime characters, tightly bundled with an incredible brine-meets-granite mineral character that races through the wine, extending it on lacy threads to infinity. Immense drive. It's a superb riesling. – Mike Bennie
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The 2023 Halliday Wine Companion is available now. Secure your copy of Australia's most comprehensive wine guide here – and at all good bookstores.

Learn more about riesling in our essential guide.

*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.