A gala awards dinner was held in Melbourne last night for the 2018 Halliday Award and launch of the 2018 Wine Companion to reveal and celebrate Australia’s best wines, wineries and winemakers..
James Halliday, Australia’s most influential wine critic with the #1 best-selling guide to Australian wineries and wine has again rated Handpicked Wines a red five-star winery rating and scored multiple wines 94 points or above.
Handpicked’s flagship vineyard Capella, on the Mornington Peninsula, performed particularly well, scoring 97 points for the 2015 single vineyard Chardonnay. This wine was judged Best Wine in Show at the 2016 Victorian Wine Awards. The 2013 Capella Vineyard Pinot Noir received 97 points in the 2016 Wine Companion. Handpicked’s Highbow Hill Vineyard in the Yarra Valley also scored highly, proving that Handpicked is building a reputation as a producer of extremely high quality Australian Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These wines were made under the custodianship of newly-appointed Director of Winemaking, Peter Dillon.
Handpicked recently purchased a second vineyard in the Yarra Valley; Wombat Hill is the highest elevation vineyard in the Yarra Valley. Peter Dillon is confident that this will be one of Handpicked’s most premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir sites, proving that there are exciting things to come.
This is the result of extraordinary effort and dedication from our winemaking and vineyard teams and we couldn’t be more proud.
Here’s a sneak peek of James Halliday’s top picks and thoughts:
2015 Handpicked Capella Vineyard Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay - 97 points
This has everything, all the many winemaking steps proved 100% correct. In terms of flavour, what ye seek, ye will find.
2015 Handpicked Collection Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay - 94 points
The wine is still in its early days, notwithstanding the generosity of its stone fruit and pear flavours, French oak providing brioche/cashew notes that build on the back-palate and finish.
2015 Handpicked Collection Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir - 94 points
Like its '15 siblings, has bright, clear and light colour; the gently spiced, fresh bouquet leads into an elegant, carefully choreographed, red berry palate. It's a very nice pinot needing a little more drive/X-factor for top points.
2016 Handpicked Regional Selections Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir - 94 points
Bright, clear colour; the bouquet is very expressive, with floral, verging perfumed, aromas, and the palate is every bit as fresh and pretty as the bouquet promises. Ready for early consumption.
2015 Handpicked Highbow Hill Vineyard Yarra Valley Pinot Noir - 96 points
From the best blocks of the vineyard, substantial depth to the colour; a complex wine with some quasi-whole bunch notes from the spicy/savoury aromas and flavours. It has impressive structure and texture, black cherries uppermost, and has a long life ahead.
2014 Handpicked Highbow Hill Vineyard Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - 95 points
This gives a lot of credibility to the view that the right sites in the Yarra Valley can produce high quality cabernet as easily as pinot noir. There is a fusion between blackcurrant, cedar, dried herb and yet other flavours, the texture suave and welcoming, the finish and aftertaste long.
2016 Handpicked Regional Selections Yarra Valley Rosé - 95 points
A small amount of marsanne was included with pinot noir ‘to give the wine extra body and texture’. Very pale pink, it has a distinctly spicy/savoury twist to the small red berry fruit at its core, evident both in the fragrant bouquet and the crisp palate. A cut above.
2015 Handpicked Highbow Hill Vineyard Yarra Valley Chardonnay - 95 Points
A very good chardonnay, its balance established on the first sip. This brings into play a white and yellow peach, pear and apple fruit tapestry decorated by gently toasty oak and cashew notes. Just when you think that’s it, nothing more to say, a flash of zesty/pithy acidity spears through on the aftertaste.
2015 Handpicked Collection Yarra Valley Chardonnay - 95 points
The fruit profile is firmer and longer than its Mornington Peninsula sibling, with a twitch of apple and grapefruit joining white peach. Interesting (and successful) gambit to use partial mlf, which has increased the complexity without diminishing the length.
2014 Handpicked Collection Barossa Valley Shiraz - 95 points
This has the best of both worlds, richly evocative of Barossa Valley style established over many generations, yet elegant and supple. The colour is bright and fresh, the bouquet fragrant, the medium-bodied palate with satsuma plum and dark berry fruits, the oak/tannin balance right on the money.
2015 Handpicked Collection Tasmanian Pinot - 95 points
From the Tamar Valley and Pipers River. Unexpectedly does not have the usual Tasmanian depth to the bright and clear hue; that said, it is a complex, savoury, foresty/stemmy pinot with drive and length that may divide opinion. I like it.
James Halliday photo credit: winecompanion.com.au
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