It’s that time of year again. Time to close out the current year and say hello to the next. But before I say farewell to 2016, it is time to present to you the annual SA Wine Guy’s top 10 wines of 2016.
There are rules to this list though:
Rule Number 1. All wines must be made from grapes from South Australia.
Rule 2. There are no more rules after rule number 1. I like to keep it simple.
However, wines higher in the top 10 may have a lower rating than wines that are lower down on the list. Be aware, that previous vintages and bottle price contribute to my overall decision of the top 10 list. Secondly wines that appear in the top 10 may be wines that I have not posted reviews on my page. For every review I put up around 25 wines don’t get a write-up. However, I have taken notes, and will inform you briefly on each wine. Very informal.
Last year I did a top 10 under 30 dollars. This year I have forgone this, and just stuck with a straight out top 10 list.
Before I get onto the main list though, I will drop down some honourable mentions.
- Hentley Farm “Poppy” White Blend, 2015, (Barossa Valley), $25.00 94/100
- Robert Oatley Rhone Blend GSM, 2014, (McLaren Vale) $25.00 95/100
- Penfolds “St Henri”, Shiraz/Cabernet, 2012, (Multiple SA Region), $90.00 98/100
- Teusner, “The Bilmore”, 2014, Shiraz, (Barossa Valley) $30.00
10: Ashton Hills, Riesling, 2015, (Adelaide Hills), $30.00, 95/100
In the number 10 spot, it is a real Riesling’s lovers Riesling. Common characteristics of citrus and minerality. A well rounded out wine, and a go to for any lover of this variety.
9: Maxwell Wines, “Eocene”, Shiraz, 2013, (McLaren Vale), $50.00 95/100
A plethora of red fruit. Rich and full of secondary oak characteristics. Plenty of plum and chocolate is offered up on the palate before it’s turned on its head and displays characters of baked earth.
8: Murdoch Hill, “Landau”, Shiraz, 2014, (Adelaide Hills), $50.00, 96/100
A wine I blind tasted as part of the AWRI research. This wine blew me away with its delicate cool climate characteristics and the ability to explore every side of my mouth with its flavours. This was a wine that can turn heads in wine shows.
7: Penfolds, Reserve Bin A, 2015, Chardonnay, (Adelaide Hills), $65.00, 97/100
Characteristically everything I want and come to expect from a chardonnay. Big stone fruit, nuts and a touch of flint. For the price, one of the best chardonnay’s I have come across. You would be mad to let this slip through your fingers.
6: Bird in Hand, “Nest Egg”, 2014, Cabernet Sauvignon, (Adelaide Hills), $100, 98/100
This Cabernet might just be the most interesting wine on this list. Sourced 100% from the Adelaide Hills, I was surprised that a cool climate region could produce a warm climate wine of such high quality, body and volume. This is a traditional Cabernet by all sense of the word. However, the fact that it is from a place that is not typical for this variety is mind blowing.
5: Hentley Farm, “The Beast, 2014, Shiraz, (Barossa Valley), $90.00, 98/100
A man’s wine. Dense and full bodied, bold and imposing. This is what we come to expect from our Barossa Valley wines. This wine is very much a showcase of the region. For that reason, it deserves the number 5 spot on this list.
4: Penfolds, Bin 95 “Grange”, 2012, Cabernet/Shiraz, (Multiple SA Regions), $800 100/100
There’s so much I can say about this wine. Like; “best wine ever.” But, all-in-all, this is what wine is all about. It commands the price, yet, you get the highest quality of wine. There is a reason I gave this wine a perfect score and it is all in the glass, followed by the satisfaction that you get as it slides down the back of your palate.
3: Fox Creek, “Red Baron”, Shiraz, 2014, (McLaren Vale), $17.00, 95/100
Always love myself a surprise packet wine. This one is it. Cheap and absolutely brooding with character and body. For a lover of the variety (which I sure am) this wine was the staple diet of Shiraz in my household over the course of the year.
2: Alpha Box & Dice, “Siren”, Nero d’Avola, (McLaren Vale), $40.00, 97/100
I have never tried Nero d’Avola before, and if I have, then I must have not thought too much of it. Yet, when Alpha Box & Dice dropped this wine on me, I was blown away by all these different wine characteristics I have never gotten before in wine. Lavender and bees wax just to name a few. This wine has opened my mind to the world of the variety, and now I keep a look out through the McLaren Vale region for any winery that produces this variety. I am yet to find any better than what AB&D have produced, and it comes to no surprise at all that this was one of their best-selling wines.
1: Molly Dooker, “The Carnival of Love”, Shiraz, (McLaren Vale), $75.00, 98/100
For a long time during 2016 I had held the AB&D Nero in the top spot. It wasn’t until recently, and with thought that this wine was a highlight reel in a glass. I remember very early in the year drinking this wine and thinking wow! However, I never gave it much more thought than that. Then I looked back and thought gees, this wine has character and punches well above its weight division. Flavours leaped out of the glass, it was extremely generous in character and nothing like I have had from McLaren Vale. I thus concluded, this to be one of the best wines for price you could get your hands on. As the name states “This wine surely is a Carnival of Love.”
That does it. Another year ends, and it is McLaren Vale coming off on top in this year’s top 10 list. I said very early in the year I was impressed with the wines that were coming out of the region, and it has shown in this list. I wish everyone a safe and happy new year and to looking forward to trying all the new vintages in 2017 from wherever in the world you may be. Cheers and happy drinking.
Signing off for 2016,
The SA Wine Guy