December 13, 2023

Top 100 Wines of Australia 2023, by James Suckling

Just announced earlier this month, James Suckling’s senior editor for Australia: Ned Goodwin MW, published his Top 100 Australian wines for 2023 – with four Beechworth wines included in this exclusive list!

From Ned: “At its most rudimentary level, wine sustains us. At the Top 100 level, however, excellence is determined by those wines that announce themselves with a thunderclap of amazement before a lightning strike of such beauty that it is almost ineffable. In essence, these are wines that wow us because they ask us how a seemingly simple sum of place, grape and craft can render such profundity.

Assembling the Top 100 wines is a forensic process. It requires debate, provocation, arguments and fisticuffs, largely with oneself! As much as looking at scores across the last year of tasting – which serve more as a guideline than last word – along with re-tasting and reshuffling, the process is one of ascertaining which wines are stamped resolutely with that inimitable zip code, or sense of place, that is so crucial when sorting the wheat from the chaff.”

We are incredibly happy to see we have four amazing wines included in this years list. The four wines’ (in order of appearance) reviews are listed below:

Giaconda Chardonnay Beechworth Estate Vineyard 2021 – 97 points

“A glossy chardonnay that plays the reductive hand of match-struck flintiness on the nose. Delving deeper, white grape, fig, green plum, cantaloupe, and peach. Distinctly mid-weighted, but more tightly furled than in the past, there is ample tension as much as intensity. I appreciate the chewy seams, too, imparting an additional element of complexity to the structural lattice of the mineral pungency and granitic freshness. A tad green, to be critical, but an excellent wine in all. Drinkable now, but best after 2025.”

Castagna Shiraz Beechworth Genesis 2019 – 96 points

“The finest syrah in Australia, if not the New World. At least if the measuring stick is the Northern Rhone. A warm year, but with no dearth of freshness, nor aromatic fireworks. Think violets, salumi, blueberries, crushed clove, mace and Chinese five spice. The tannins, a beautiful weave from the fore to the aft. A little more astringent, perhaps, than the finest vintages, but this biodynamically certified expression will age beautifully across the mid-term. Best after 2025.”

Domenica Chardonnay Beechworth 2022 – 95 points

“Considered by many to be among the finest chardonnay in the land, my expectations are high. Far less tensile, or reductive as I recall. Vintage vagaries aside, I feel that there is more amplitude, just enough flesh and suggestive quotient of gingerbread, nectarine, oatmeal and certain mineral torque, to impart joy over cerebral rumination. I like this lifestyle! Even more, if there were malolactic complexities, which there are not. Despite the flavour intensity, there is a sense of neutrality and reticence that bodes for way, way more time in bottle. Best after 2025.”

Domenica Nebbiolo Beechworth 2019 – 94 points

“Australia does a fine job of nebbiolo. Admittedly, across a limited number of hands. But each time I am in Piedmont, there are plenty of Aussies being thrown up as worthy comparative cards. Here, one of them. A pallid mid-ruby. Lifted scents of briar, sandalwood, campfire, beef bouillon, pomelo and orange peel, with a sluice of the sourest cherry, and fiery pucker and brim. Undoubtedly, among the finest nebbiolo outside of the Langhe, although there is something here more akin to Gattinara, so etched are the tannins and perky the freshness. A standout.”

Read the full article here.

Image credit: Ned Goodwin MW, at Castagna Vineyard. Courtesy of Julian Castagna.