Halliday Wine Companion 2019
On 1st August 2018, James Halliday awarded the best Australian wines, wineries and winemakers at the annual Halliday Wine Companion Awards. The Margaret River region starred in many of the awards once again; the region produces around 3% of Australia’s total wine, but 20% of the premium wine.
You could easily spend a weekend – or a week – touring Margaret River on the back of a well-thumbed copy of the Wine Companion. We’ve done the hard yards for you and wrapped up some of Halliday’s picks with our local knowledge.
There’s around 100 cellar doors and the region is geographically huge – about 100 km north to south, so we’d recommend planning a day in the north – Yallingup and Wilyabrup, then a day in the south – Margaret River and Karridale.
Alternatively, pick your wineries based on your favourite varietals – this is how we usually arrange our private tours. We will ask what styles of wine you like and arrange the perfect day according to your taste, it depends on which style you love!
So belt up and enjoy the Chardonnay, Cabernet and the incredible winery restaurants!
Winemaker of the Year: Julian Langworthy of Deep Woods Estate and Goon Tycoons
Julian’s picked up many awards over the years including the Jimmy Watson medal and was a finalist in the Young Gun of Wine earlier in 2018. He’s known for his Cabernet and (our favourite) Rose. Deep Woods is on Commonage Road, Yallingup, and you’re invited to take a picnic to enjoy on the picturesque grounds. Julian recently launched his own brand, Goon Tycoons, which shares a cellar door just around the corner, with his wife’s business, Yallingup Cheese Company.
The 99-point Cabernet Sauvignon: Cullen Wines’ Vanya Wilyabrup Cabernet Sauvignon
Only two Cabernet Sauvignons were awarded 99 points, and Cullen Wines’ Vanya received this top privilege. Cullen follow a biodynamic farming and viticulture practice, and they’ve made Wilyabrup synonymous with outstanding cabernet.
Stop in for lunch and tour the kitchen garden; it’s a wonderful place to relax and soak up the south west vibe!
The Dark Horse: Windance Wines
We’re really excited about what Tyke and Billie Wheatley are doing at Windance in Yallingup. Long respected for their big, fruity reds, Billie’s parents handed over the reins a few years ago and the winery is going from strength to strength. In a region with so many family owned and operated wineries, it’s great to see the next generation doing such a ripper job.
Halliday names several local wineries as having the best chardonnays – Devil’s Lair (no cellar door), Evoi Wines and Watershed Premium Wines (middle and south)
There’s also the Top-Rated Chardonnays list which includes;
North – Clairault Streicker, Deep Woods, Domaine Naturaliste (their cellar door opens in October), Driftwood Estate, Evans and Tate, Flametree, Heydon Estate, House of Cards, Robert Oatley, Vasse Felix and Windows Estate
South – Cape Mentelle and Xanadu Wines
Best Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc blends
Larry Cherubino’s Sauvignon Blanc and Stella Bella’s Sauvignon Blanc Semillon took out top honours in their respective classes, and it’s worth a visit to Cherubino’s impressive new cellar door, located in the homestead of the former Laurance Wines estate.
North – Larry Cherubino, Cullen, Domaine Naturaliste, Fraser Gallop Estate, Juniper, Higher Plane (part of the Juniper stable), Clairault Streiker, Evans and Tate, Heydon Estate, House of Cards, Passel Estate and Windows Estate are all considered Top Rated.
South – Stella Bella, Leeuwin Estate, Xanadu, Flowstone, McHenry Hohnen and Preveli Wines
Other Whites and Rose
Southern wineries: Arlewood Estate’s La Bratta Bianco, Flowstone’s Gewurtztraminer, Cape Mentelle’s Semillon and Preveli’s Wild Thing Rose all rate a mention.
Wilyabrup, right in the heart/middle of the Margaret River region is where most of the best Cabernet comes from.
As previously mentioned, Cullen Wines is a must-visit; not only did their Vanya Wilyabrup Cabernet score an outstanding 99 points, their Diana Madeline has long been the go-to collectable Cabernet if you want to tuck something special away in the cellar.
Juniper Estate’s one-off The Tribute, Robert Oatley’s The Pennant and Vasse Felix’s Tom Cullity are all exceptional wines worth looking at.
We can’t go past Woodlands for red wines; they have an incredible selection at various price points – you can taste the $150 cabernet but the Margaret and Clementine are also great value at around $70 and $39 respectively. Their Reserve de la Cave Margaret River Cabernet Franc was named a Top Rated Cabernet.
Check out Evoi Wines’ Malbec and Cape Mentelle’s Shiraz