Hi there once again wine lovers.
As the year draws to a close, I thought that it would be a fantastic idea to create a few ‘top’ lists for the 2015 year. Seriously, who doesn’t love a good old fashioned countdown? It has been a year dominated by the illustrious bold red wines; as 2012 and 2013 brought around ideal to near perfect conditions for Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon in this state. It therefore should come as no surprise to many of you that this list is primarily filled up with wines fitting to the two mentioned varieties. Unlike most top listings, I have taken into account the actual costs associated with the wine. You will note that there will be wines that have a lower rating that appear higher in the countdown list/s. This is due more to the actual “value for money” aspect behind the bottle of wine and, therefore we have a wine that goes above its expectations. Also, there are wines on the list that I have tasted; however, they don’t have a review on this page. I will not go into details on each wine, just a little spiel about each wine.
I have also created a top 5 $25.00 or less, then I will move onto the big top 10 South Australian wines of 2015.
Without further ado, let’s crack on to the 2015 best wines of South Australia
Top 5 South Australian buys for the wine drinker on a budget. $25.00 or Less
- Taylor’s Pinot Noir 2014 $20.00, 93.5/100
At number 5 in the best $25 and under category is the only wine of my favourite varietals to make it onto this list. The Taylor’s 2014 Pinot asked all that it should from an Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir and at the price, was the best South Australian Pinot for the money I had come across.
- S.C Pannell, Tempranillo 2014 $25.00, 95/100
In the number 4 spot is a Tempranillo from S.C Pannell vineyards in McLaren Vale. This was a particularly outstanding wine, as it takes a lot for me to purchase this variety. This wine stood out as a beckon of light for Tempranillo, as it showcased the absolute best attributes behind its style and instantly won me over. Thus, leading me to purchasing a bottle.
- Leconfield, Cabernet Sauvignon $25.00, 96.5/100
Number 3, and it is probably one of the best structured Cabernet Sauvignons I have come across this year. This wine showed me a lot of promise. It even contributed with a lot more savoury characters than a majority of Coonawarra Cabernets from the same vintage. Yet, it promised that true blackcurrant fruit that we associate with the region. This was definitely a heads up tip from a wine magazine that I agreed 100% on. An absolute corker of a wine!
- Kay Brothers Basket Pressed Shiraz, 2013 $25.00, 94/100
Wow! This is a wine that only made it in here by the skin of its teeth! I just consumed this bottle as I was writing this list and it took me on one hell of a ride. This is a wine at its price that takes it right up to the big boys, and even the biggest kid on the playground the 2010 Grange. Yes, this wine, although not as big in all its characters, definitely comes to the table with aces up its sleaves. This wine has the potential to keep on going well into the future. It’s got tight tannin structure balanced by good fruit presence and then many herbaceous qualities. It is a Shiraz you should definitely consider looking at. Actually, scrap that last sentence. It is a Shiraz you should go out and buy many bottles, as you will be waiting a while for something like this to come around again for $25.00!
- Rymill “The Yearling” 2013 $12.00, 93.5/100
In top spot for the value wines it should come as no surprise really if you have kept in check with all my reviews, or if you know me personally. This wine was always going to take out top spot in this category. I have only ever come across one other wine that for just shy either way of $10.00 was this good; and that was the 2010 Vintage of Yalumba’s Y Series Shiraz. This wine however, was never a big kid, never offered anything elaborate, yet, it went so far beyond what was expected of it, that it would be ill minded not to put it as the best wine nearly of the year. This wine showcases everything we love about Coonawarra Cabernet and it delivers it to us for pittance! Absolute squat in the grand scheme of things. I have 18 bottles of this wine, and it has been nothing but money well spent! C’mon. A case, (6 bottles), will only cost you $63.00. How can you go past something like that!
Now. It is time to move on to the list of wines that you are all eager to read about! Here is the best South Australian wines I have come across this year!
The SA Wine Guy’s Top 10 South Australian Wines for 2015
- Henscke “Hill of Grace” Eden Valley, Shiraz, $600plus, 98/100
In number 10, it is the ever elegant Hill of Grace, a wine that I was thinking would be more than a medium bodied Shiraz, showcased and delivered to me what elegance in a glass should be like. The Rolls Royce of wine. Pure class… In a glass!
- Grosset “Polish Hill” Clare Valley, Riesling, $70.00, 97/100
Number 9, sees the only white wine entry for 2015. This is the granddaddy of South Australian Rieslings though and it deserves its spot. This is year after a year a testament to what great Riesling should be like. Full of citrus a mineral characters, if you prefer your whites, then this should be something worth your investment.
- S.C Pannel “Old Vine Grenache” McLaren Vale 2014, $55.00 96.5/100
In number 8, and it is a wine I only came across over the recent weekend. However, I could not let Shiraz and Cabernet dominate this whole list. Thus, this Grenache is an absolute corker of a wine. I love Grenache, and McLaren Vale in particular as I find the Barossa displays too much fruit texture, McLaren Vale Grenache offers just that little bit more in terms of fruit and refined sweetness. This wine is the Luke Skywalker of wines. It brings balance to the Grenache.
- Penfold’s Bin 389, 2012, Multiple South Australian Regions, Cabernet/Shiraz, $90.00, 97.5/100
Number 7, not just one of my favourite numbers but also an excellent wine to put in to this slot. This was an early front runner for the top spot for this year. Fortunately, I got to get around some very good wines from this state, and thus this excellent example of 389 had to settle for 7th spot.
- Leconfield “Cabernet Sauvignon” 2013, $25.00, Coonawarra. 96.5/100
Once again, this wine makes its return. Taking out the 6th spot in the 2015 South Australian wine of the year.
- Grant Burge “Filsel” 2012, Barossa Valley, Shiraz $30.00, 97/100
In 5th spot, and it was one Shiraz for the price that blew me away. This was an illustrious showcase of brilliant Barossa Valley condition which made the 2012 vintage so great, and here it is put into a bottle and presented to us the consumer at a very affordable price.
- Langmeil “Freedom 1843” 2012, $120.00, Shiraz. 98/100
In 4th spot, it is another wine I have tasted but not yet reviewed. Like the wine prior to this one, this is just that little bit grander in the scheme of what is quintessential Barossa Shiraz. The Freedom, is one of my personal favourites and the 2012 is one of the best that they have managed to produce. The Freedom Shiraz is made from some of the world’s oldest Shiraz vines dating back to 1843 and thus one of the Barossa Valley’s greatest wines has been bestowed upon us.
- Penfold’s “Grange” 2010, Multi South Australian Regions, Cabernet/Shiraz, $850plus. 97/100
In 3rd place and it is the Grand-daddy of South Australian wines. The Grange. This wine is something special. The 97/100 is an indication of what this wine was like when I came across it. It is still way too young to consider drinking; you’ll ruin the experience. However, this might be one of the best wines South Australia has ever made. Unfortunately, it is such a cluster f**k that there is no real definitive layout of this wine, and I am not yet aware of what a Grange can deliver once it has reached its peak potential. There is so much going on in the glass that it is just a plethora of characteristics that is not too unlike a 3yr old with ADHD. It needs to calm the heck down. Once we get on top of that, then yes, this is going to something unlike you have ever come across.
- Rymill “The Yearling” 2013, Coonawarra, $12.00 93.5/100
This wine could have taken out the number one spot, if it wasn’t for the winner doing something quite special to my wine tasting experience. This wine all year has been deserving of the number 1 spot on the 2015 list. This wine, should be one that everyone should at least try. Even if you’re not keen or savvy on wine, for a cheap price you can gain an understanding on the basic fundamentals of good Cabernet Sauvignon. If I was going to introduce a cabernet to someone, this would be the bottle I would reach out for. If you don’t enjoy this, then you’re not going to enjoy Cabernet. Easy as that.
Before I move on to the number 1 wine of the year. I feel that I should mention a few other wines that were shot listed for the top ten:
- 2009 Yalumba “Octavious” Shiraz
- 2013 Tintara McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2010 Torbreck “Run Rig” Shiraz
- 2012 Raidis Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Now onto the biggy, the SA Wine Guy’s South Australian Wine of the year for 2015. Let’s have the traditional drum roll please for…
- Penfold’s Bin 707 2012, Multi South Australian Regions, Cabernet Sauvignon, $500 Plus, 98.5/100
It was close for this number 1 spot, and in the end this wine was so good that I just had to give it top spot for 2015. It’s not a cheap bottle of wine by any stretch, but if I had the money at the time, I would happily depart with my half a grand for a bottle of 2012 707. This wine is a near masterpiece of structure and power; combined with elegance, it showcases the absolute pinnacle of Cabernet Sauvignon for this state. This wine had the power to take my tastebuds into uncharted territory, and like the Balfour’s meat pie, or the lamington, this wine stands up as one of the definitive South Australian icons. Take off into the skies 707 you are the wine the rest of the world should know about.
Well, that was an absolute privilege to be able to give you my best wines of the year. I hope you get something out of this list. It has been one big year with over 500 different wines tasted not just from this state, but around the world. However, I feel that I should stick to my roots and deliver to you primarily our states best wines. I look forward to doing this once again in 2016 and look forward to exploring the 2013-2015 vintages. Until next year, happy new year and happy drinking folks!
The SA Wine Guy