Highlights from the tasting panel.

10th August 2023

If you put a cross-section of wines in front of a group of wine drinkers, there will invariably be differing views on the relative merits of each wine. And my observation is that the more experienced the drinker/taster/aficionado, then the more divergent the opinions become.

A great example of this is the wine groups on social media. Often, someone will post about how good a wine was, only for another contributor to counter with a completely different view.

The following wines stood out in recent panel tastings for the fact that they were universally praised by all tasters.

They also stood out for me for their quality/price ratio. Not cheap, but not expensive when compared to many of the benchmark wines in their styles.


MillbrookSingle Vineyard – Chardonnay – 2020 . This has a bit of wow factor to it. Powerful, complex and intense, with peach, and mealy cashew notes. The palate is structured and deeply textured, yet this remains supple with near seamless palate transition. The acidity kicks in on the finish and drives the length of flavours, which linger for some time. A bigger style, with expressive oak, this was uniformly appreciated by the panel. 95pts – $35.

The winery is on to the 2021 vintage, but the 2020 is still available in the trade.

Fraser GallopParterre – Chardonnay – 2021. This is a superb wine. Intense, powerful and deep, with great depth of flavours supported by citrus-like acidity. Stonefruit and grapefruit notes build in the glass, with flint and a hint of curry leaf minerality adding to the appeal. The length and persistence of flavours are a standout. Don’t be fooled by the lighter colour; this is a sublime wine that would be perfect with miso infused salmon. 95pts – $60.

Tim Adams Aberfeldy – Shiraz – 2018. This is intense, powerful and impactful, with great depth of flavours to the inky fruit. Despite being tannic, structured and closed, this somehow, manages to be approachable at the same time, with ripe plum to the fore. The amazing old vine fruit has soaked up the new American and French oak with aplomb. This took 3 days to fully open up and the resulting wine was superb.

The Aberfeldy vineyard was a part of the original Wendouree vineyards and was planted in 1904. Many of the original vines are still in production. At $65, this is excellent value for a wine of this pedigree and quality. 95-96pts – $65.